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Dale Alford

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Subject: Brooks Hays, United States House of Representatives elections, 1960, Thomas Alford, Mount Holly Cemetery, Alford (surname)
Collection: 1916 Births, 2000 Deaths, 20Th-Century Physicians, American Episcopalians, American Military Personnel of World War II, American Ophthalmologists, Arkansas Democrats, Arkansas State University Alumni, Cardiovascular Disease Deaths in Arkansas, Emory University Faculty, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas, People from Pike County, Arkansas, People from Rector, Arkansas, Phi Chi Medical Fraternity, School Board Members in Arkansas, United States Army Officers, University of Arkansas Alumni, University of Central Arkansas Alumni, University of Illinois at Urbana–champaign Alumni
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Dale Alford

Dale Alford
Dale Alford
U.S. Representative from Arkansas's 5th congressional district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1963
Preceded by Brooks Hays
Succeeded by Position eliminated by reapportionment
Little Rock School Board
In office
Personal details
Born Thomas Dale Alford
(1916-01-28)January 28, 1916
New Hope, Pike County, Arkansas, USA
Died January 25, 2000(2000-01-25) (aged 83)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Resting place Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) L'Moore Smith Alford (married 1940; deceased)

Thomas D. Alford, Jr. (died 1989)
L'Moore Fontaine Alford (died 2001)

Anne Maury Alford Winans
Alma mater

Arkansas State University
University of Central Arkansas

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Occupation Ophthalmologist
Religion Episcopalian
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Captain

Thomas Dale Alford, Sr. (January 28, 1916 – January 25, 2000)[1] was an ophthalmologist and politician from the U.S. state of Arkansas who served as a conservative Democrat in the United States House of Representatives from Little Rock from 1959 to 1963.


  • Early years and education 1
  • Military service and medical practice 2
  • Elections to Congress, 1958 and 1960 3
  • Two gubernatorial races 4
  • Civic leadership 5
  • Alford's death 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8

Early years and education

Alford was born to Thomas H. Alford and the former Ida Womack in tiny New Hope near Murfreesboro in Pike County in southwestern Arkansas. He attended public schools at Rector in Clay County in far northeastern Arkansas. He graduated from high school in 1932, a year ahead of schedule.[2]

Alford attended Arkansas State College in Jonesboro in eastern Arkansas, the Arkansas State Teachers College in Conway, and received his medical degree in 1939 from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock. He served his internship at St. Anthony's Hospital in Oklahoma City and his residency in general surgery at Missouri Pacific Hospital in Little Rock. He received post-graduate training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[3]

While he was in college, Alford was a radio sportscaster who covered the American football games of the Southwest Conference. He turned down an opportunity to become a national broadcaster to concentrate on his medical career.[4]

Military service and medical practice

Alford served as a

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Brooks Hays
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 5th congressional district

District eliminated

Adapted from the article Dale Alford, from Wikinfo, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

  1. ^ a b Social Security Death Index Interactive Search
  2. ^ a b Thomas Dale Alford, Who's Who in America, 1962-1963, pp. 62-63
  3. ^ a b ALFORD, Thomas Dale - Biographical Information
  4. ^ Thomas Dale Alford obituary, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 26, 2000
  5. ^ a b c d e f Thomas Dale Alford obituary, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 26, 2000
  6. ^ a b c Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections
  7. ^ Osro Cobb, Osro Cobb of Arkansas: Memoirs of Historical Significance (Little Rock, Arkansas: Rose Publishing Company, 1989), p. 62
  8. ^ "L.J. Churchill, 84, dies at Dover", Arkansas Gazette, October 3, 1987, obituary section


See also

Services were held on January 27, 2000, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, with the Very Reverend Henry Hudson officiating. He is interred at historic Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.[3]

Alford died in Little Rock of congestive heart failure. Alford outlived his wife, the former L'Moore Smith, whom he married on July 27, 1940,[2] and a son, Dale Alford, Jr. (died 1989). Survivors included two daughters, L'Moore Fontaine Alford and Anne Maury Alford Winans, both of Little Rock; daughter-in-law Kay Alford, widow of Dale, Jr., also of Little Rock; a brother, Dr. D. Boyce Alford (1923–2002)[1] of Pine Bluff, the seat of Jefferson County in southern Arkansas; a sister, Joyce Alford Gardner of Bryant, the seat of Saline County south of Little Rock; five grandchildren, Robert Wheat Goss II, Elizabeth Fontaine Goss Leonard, William Winans, Alexander Winans and namesake Thomas Dale Alford, III. [5]

Alford's death

Alford was a founding member of St. Mark's Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans. He was a Mason and a member of the Little Rock Country Club and the Yacht Club.[5]

Civic leadership

Alford ran for governor again in 1966 and finished fourth with 53,531 votes (12.7 percent). He received fewer voters than his old nemesis Brooks Hays, who with 64,814 (15.4 percent) finished third in the primary balloting. The runoff positions went to former Arkansas Supreme Court Justices James D. Johnson, a segregatonist, and Frank Holt. Johnson narrowly defeated Holt in the Democratic runoff but then lost to Republican Winthrop Rockefeller in the general election. In 1984, Alford entered the Democratic primary election for Congress in Central Arkansas's Second District for the open seat being vacated by Republican Ed Bethune. Appearing to many voters as a throwback to another era, Alford ran a distant fifth in a race ultimately won by Pulaski County Sheriff Tommy Robinson. Alford, was far outpolled by African-American Thedford Collins, a Little Rock banker and former aide to U.S. Senator David Pryor.

Alford's Little Rock-based district was merged with Arkansas's 2nd congressional district, represented by the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur D. Mills, after the 1960 census revealed that Arkansas had grown at less than the national average during the 1950s. Rather than face certain defeat in the 1962 Democratic primary against Mills, at the time an icon in Arkansas politics, Alford instead chose to enter the primary against incumbent Governor Orval Faubus. In an active campaign, Faubus polled a narrow majority over Alford, former Governor Sidney Sanders McMath, Vernon H. Whitten, and two other candidates. Faubus received 208,996 ballots (51.6 percent) to McMath's 83,437 (20.6 percent), Alford's 82,815 (20.4 percent), and Whitten's 22,377 (5.5 percent). Faubus then prevailed with ease over the Republican nominee, Fayetteville pharmacist Willis Ricketts.[6]

Two gubernatorial races

As a congressman, Alford appointed future General Wesley D. Clark, a confidant of later U.S. President Bill Clinton, as a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point New York.[5] Clark later headed forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

U.S. President John F. Kennedy appointed Representative Alford as delegate and keynote speaker at the 51st Inter-parliamentary Conference held in 1962 in Brasilia, Brazil.[5]

In 1960, Alford won his second term in the House with 57,617 votes (82.7 percent) to Republican L. J. Churchill (1902–1987) of Dover in Pope County in northwestern Arkansas, who received 12,054 ballots (17.3 percent).[6] Churchill was a highly regarded civic and political figure in Dover. A Cumberland Presbyterian and a Mason, Churchill served as mayor of Dover and on the municipal school board, both nonpartisan positions. He had been state chairman of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. He operated L.J. Churchill's General Merchandise Store and was a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Dover.[8]

There were loud protests and allegations of irregularities and fraud from Hays supporters. Because it was a federal election, I had a grand jury impaneled, and an order was obtained from the U.S. District Court that impounded all of the ballots cast for review by the grand jury. When the grand jury completed its minute review of all the votes cast, it was established that the count had been unusually accurate for each candidate [Alford and Hays], and the grand jury was so outraged by the allegations made and the lack of evidence to support them that it seriously considered indicting those who had made the accusations. I was surprised by Hays' defeat because I did not realize the extent and commitment of the majority of the voters in the Fifth Congressional District to separate-but-equal schools in lieu of integration, which they feared would destroy their schools.[7]

Osro Cobb, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, recalled that:

Alford was elected as a write-in candidate in the 1958 general election that occurred in the aftermath of the Little Rock Crisis. He was only the second write-in candidate ever to have been elected to the House. (The Republican Joe Skeen was thereafter elected to the House from New Mexico as a write-in candidate in 1980.) Alford jumped into the election against incumbent U.S. Representative Brooks Hays who had endorsed the integration of Little Rock Central High School. Alford supporters printed thousands of stickers with his name on them and handed them out at polling places. Hays maintained a lead during the counting until an extra twenty boxes arrived bearing ballots with Alford stickers. Ultimately, Alford prevailed, 30,739 (51 percent) to Hays' 29,483 (49 percent).[6]

Elections to Congress, 1958 and 1960

From 1955-1958, he served on the elected Little Rock School Board during the desegregation crisis as a staunch racial segregationist. He was also an appointed trustee of what became the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.[5]

On his return to Arkansas, he opened a private practice of ophthalmology and was also the chief assistant in ophthalmological surgery at the Veterans Hospital in Little Rock. He was active in all levels of the Arkansas and American Medical Association as well as the American Board of Ophthalmology, College of Surgeons, International Surgeons, and Cataract Refractive Surgeons. He served on the teaching faculty at the University of Arkansas Medical School at Little Rock and from 1948-1958.


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