Mollie Mary Cabiness Alston

By: Cameron-Ashley Heath

   Mollie Mary Cabiness was born July 1859 in Walker County, Texas. Her father was James A. Cabiness born 11 Mar 1818 in North Carolina. Her mother Martha Ann Calhoun Cabiness, was born 1 Mar 1818 in Georgia, the eldest daughter of Samuel Calhoun. Samuel Calhoun was a close relative of the famous John C. Calhoun--most famous for his role in pre-Civil War debates over states’ rights. In 1845 Samuel Calhoun’s family, along with Martha Ann Calhoun Cabiness and her husband James A. Cabiness moved from Alabama into Texas where he purchased land in the form of a Spanish grant, the land being in what is now Walker, Madison and Houston counties where the Bedias Creek joins the Trinity River. When Mollie Cabiness was born her parents were 41. The Cabiness, Calhoun and Alston families were all large plantation owners along the Trinity River. At one time there was a chapel there called the Alston Chapel, which later was used as the site to form the Alston Presbyterian Church in 1879.

   Mollie Mary Cabiness married first Robert H. Alston, born 1859 TX. He was the grandson of Philip Henry Alston born 27 Oct 1801 in Chatham Co NC and his wife Eliza M. born 3 Apr 1808 GA. Mollie Mary Cabiness and Robert H. Alston married in 1880 in Houston Co. TX according to family Bible records. It is unknown at this time how Robert H. Alston died, but he passed away in 1889 in Huntsville, Walker Co. TX. In the 1900 census Mollie stated she bore five children, but only one was still living. Only two other graves of her children have been located: Bernice Alston b. 1882 d. 1896 and Winston Scott Alston b. 15 Feb 1885 d. 31 Oct 1885. The surviving child was a daughter, Willie Augusta Alston born 13 August 1887. Within a year, the widowed Mollie Mary (Cabiness) Alston married her first husband’s cousin, Dr. W.H. Alston. Dr. W.H. Alston died in 1892 and there were no further children.

   Mollie M. Alston, now twice widowed, raised her daughter Willie Augusta Alston. In 1907 she made a beautiful wedding dress for her daughter, who was to be married to Lonnie Dee Warren of Rusk County, TX. After their marriage Lonnie Dee Warren brought his new bride back to Rusk County, where they lived. Mollie M. Alston, her mother was a very big part of their lives. Affectionately called ‘Big Mama’, Mollie M. Alston was a large part of the growing Warren family in Rusk County, and adored her grandchildren of which there were four: Mary Maurine Warren, Ella Cathryn Warren, Robert Luther Warren and George Langford Warren. She was a participant in all the Warren family gatherings. When her daughter Willie Augusta became ill with tuberculosis, her mother Mollie was there to help. Her daughter died in 1920 after a five year struggle with the disease, and tragically Mollie herself was to die 17 years later, in 1937, also from tuberculosis.

   Both Mollie Mary Alston and her daughter Willie Augusta (Alston) Warren are buried in Old City Cemetery, Rusk County, TX.