JOSEPH ALSTON was born in all Saint’s Parish, South Carolina. Privately tutored, he attended Princeton University and studied law. Married to the daughter of Aaron Burr, he helped manage his family’s plantation. After serving in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1802 to 1803 and again from 1805 to 1812, he was elected governor by the legislature. As governor during the War of 1812, Alston had to contend with disorder among members of the state militia who resented being placed under the authority of the regular army’s articles of war. Consequently, he disbanded the militia and demanded that the state legislature give him control over the troops. The order was soon revoked, however, and Alston lost popularity in the state. He died less than two years after leaving office, grief stricken after the death of his eleven-year-old son and the subsequent disappearance of the ship to New York on which his wife was a passenger.
*note: Date of birth is not known.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.