Third great-grandfather John Alston was a carpenter. He was born in Symington, Lanarkshire, Scotland on September 2, 1806, to John Alston and Jean Jamieson. I found Scottish birth and marriage records at FamilySearch.org and wrote about them here.
John married Lillias Johnston on June 28, 1833.
Alston, John Alston, Wright, in Glasgow, Lillias Johnston, residing in the parish of Douglas. Married 28th June by Mr. John Jamieson, Burgher and Minister in the parish of Douglas.John's marriage record lists his occupation as "Wright," which is a Scottish term for Carpenter. (A great list of Scottish occupations can be found at ScotsFamily.com.)
His wife Lillias died in January 1852 and soon after, John married Marion Slimon, who was also born in Scotland. I don't believe they had any children together.
I find John Alston and his family in the U.S. Federal Census several times in the 19th century. His occupation is listed as:
|1850 U.S. Census John Alston, Allegheny City, Pennsylvania|
1860: M[aste]r Carpenter.
|1860 U.S. Census John Alston, Allegheny City, Pennsylvania|
1870: Lumber Merchant with a value of real estate of $10,000 and value of personal estate of $20,000.
|1870 U.S. Census for John Alston, Allegheny City, Pennsylvania|
1880: Carpenter Contract[or]. The 12 after his occupation is in the column titled: "Number of months this person has been unemployed during the Census year." (Most of the heads of households on this page have "12" after their names, so I wonder if the economy was really bad in Pittsburgh at this time, or if the census taker made a mistake and wrote down the number of months each man was employed.) His household includes his wife and his youngest daughter, Christine, who never married.
|1880 U.S. Census for John Alston, Allegheny City, Pennsylvania|
I tried to find him in Pittsburgh-area newspapers in the 19th century, but there was more than one John Alston and without names of his family members, I'm not sure if what I find is "my" John Alston.
He died on April 4, 1882. I shared his brief death notice here.
I have previously shared a Surname Saturday post for my Alston line. In summary, I descend from John Alston as follows:
Marion Helen Alston
Helen Lysle Hunter