On May 9, 1958, Missouri Alston Pleasants established the Alston-Pleasants Scholars Fund in 1958 for selected undergraduate University of North Carolina students from Franklin, Halifax and Warren Counties. Miss Missouri, as she was known, had said that she wanted the Fund to commemorate the memory of her grandfather, Willis “Congress” Alston, a late 18th and early 19thcentury state, regional and national political leader.
Miss Missouri was born June 11, 1867, at Saxham Hall, which was later known as Belmont Plantation, in Warren County. She died February 12, 1959. A long-time resident of Louisburg, she was the wife of William Henry Pleasants, who died in 1917.
Miss Missouri was the youngest of the eleven children of Archibald David Alston, who married a distant cousin, Missouri F. Alston, the daughter of Willis “Congress” Alston and Sallie Madeline Potts, of Washington, NC. She attended the John Graham School in Faulk Township in Warren County.
In a June 6, 1958, News and Observer interview, Miss Missouri explained the origin of her name. “I didn’t have a name until I was 11 years old,’ she told the press. “My mother died when I was two and my brothers and sister called me Baby. I didn’t like to be called Baby and I wouldn’t answer. Then they tried calling me Missouri, after my mother, and I came a-running. My mother had said she didn’t like the name Missouri, but I like it.”
She was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Louisburg, NC and was active in the Colonial Dames and in the Daughters of the American Revolution.