Virgil Alston, a native of Darrtown, achieved acclaim as a track star at Miami University, served in World War II, and became a successful commercial artist in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Virgil was the son of Stanley "Doc" Alston and Anna Mae (Bufler) Alston. Virgil's father, Stanley, was a brother to Emmons Alston, who was the father of Walter "Smokey" Alston. Thus, Virgil Alston was a first-cousin of Walter Alston, baseball's Hall of Fame manager.
Virgil was the brother of Betty Mae (Alston) Martin and the uncle of Betty's son, Rick Martin.
Rick Martin, a life-long resident of Darrtown contributed many of the items that appear on this page.
VIRGIL ALSTON - A BORN ARTIST
From an early age, it was obvious that Virgil Alston had a special talent as an artist. People of his era recall young Virgil walking about Darrtown, with drawing pad and pencils in hand, sketching various individuals and local scenes. The following art pieces are examples of Virgil Alston's artistic abilities.
Teenager, Virgil Alston, honors his cousin with an illustration
Virgil Alston was 15 years old when he created the
illustration that appears at the right. The subject of this 1937 piece is Virgil's cousin, Walter "Smokey" Alston.
Darrtown native, Ron Wiley contributed this item to the Darrtown website, in September 2012.
The image at the right is a reduction of the original drawing, which measured about 12x18 inches.
The captions that appear in the drawing are difficult to read in this reduced image; therefore, they are listed in the section that follows.
1. By Virg Alston ~ 15 yrs. ~ March 1937
2. Smokey is 6 ft. 2 and 195 lbs.
3. Walter Smokey Alston ~ St. Louis Cardinals rookie - after a brief stay in the minors - Greenwood, Miss. and Huntington, W. Va., Walter was called up to the Gas House Gang's lineup. Sent to Rochester for more seasoning.
4. "Smokey" batted .336 for Huntington RedBirds last season - and delivered 36 circuit clouts.
5. Along with being an outstanding baseball player, Walter starred in college and high school basketball.
6. Walter held down the initial sack for Huntington during the 1936 season.
7. Emmons Alston - "Smokey's" father coached the Baldwin team to a Clark County Championship & says that in his day, he could have kept "Smokey's" tracks warm in a foot race.
8. V. Stanley Alston
9. "Knock it over here, Pop." Smokey was a born ball player.
10. And, he hails from Darrtown.
11. While playing with Baldwins, Smoke collected 3 homers and a triple - all in a day's work.
VIRGIL ALSTON - CHAMPION LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER
Before entering the Army, Virgil attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
As noted below, Virgil was an accomplished long-distance runner for the Miami Redskins. His collegiate running career was acknowledged posthumously in 2006, when Virgil Alston was elected to the .
VIRGIL ALSTON RECOGNIZED AS ARTIST
WITH THE U.S. ARMY
The following article (and Alston's art work, at the left) appeared in the Hamilton Journal during World War II.
“Alston Wins Fame As Artist With Army Group In Germany
Staff artist on “The Warrior,” published by the men of the First Armored Division in Germany, is Pfc. Virgil Alston, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Alston of Darrtown.
Copies of “The Warrior,” which have reached Hamilton, show that Private Alston is doing a fine job. The accompanying art, a sketch of Private Alston by himself, further attests to his ability at the drawing board.
Before enlisting in the army, Alston was connected with a Cincinnati firm as an artist and plans to return when he leaves the service.
Alston’s capability as an artist is not his only claim to fame. He was one of the greatest distance runners to compete in intercollegiate track events. A noted harrier, or cross-county runner, at Miami University, Alston went on to win the national two-mile championship in the Drake Relays at Des Moines, Iowa, in 1942. He was practically unbeaten as a distance runner at Miami University.
Athletics in the Alston family are traditional. Private Alston’s father, “Doc,” is one of the legendary baseball figures of Hamilton and vicinity.”
RIGHT: This is an image of a drawing that Virgil Alston created.
Rick Martin, nephew of Virgil Alston, contributed this item in 2012.
The barn, that is depicted in the image above, stood about 200 yards west of Darrtown's southwest corner, on the north side of Darrtown Road - where it turns to the south.
Unfortunately, the barn no longer exists.
Virgil Alston Elected to the Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame
On May 3, 2006, Miami University recognized Virgil Alston and his accomplishments in track by awarding him membership in the 2006 Class of the . Since the Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame began in 1969, the inductions of 2006 marked the 38th Hall of Fame Class and brought the total number of Hall of Fame members to 200.
The citation included the following information about Virgil Alston and his track exploits:
"Virgil Alston (Cross Country/Track and Field, `44) was a three-time All-American for Miami from 1940-43. Twice he earned All-America status in cross country, placing fourth at the NCAA Championships in 1941 and 14th in 1942. Alston went on to capture his third All-America honor with a fourth-place finish in the two-mile run at the 1943 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. During his Miami career, he posted first-place finishes in dual-meet action 24 times, while placing second twice. As a junior, he went undefeated in dual cross country meets and led Miami to an Ohio AAU Cross Country title with a second-place individual finish--second only to NCAA and American Champion Gil Dodds. Later that year, he set a Miami record in the mile run at the Ohio Wesleyan dual meet. The following year, Alston won the Ohio AAU Cross Country Meet, National AAU 10,000 Meter Run, the two-mile run at the Ohio AAU and was second at the Central Collegiate Meet in the two-mile run and at the Ohio AAU in the one-mile run. Alston earned six letters at Miami as a three-year letter winner in cross country (1940-42) and three-year letter winner in track and field (1941-43)."
RIGHT: This is an image of a drawing that Virgil Alston created.
Ron Wiley, the young lad portrayed in the drawing, contributed this item on April, 19, 2020.
From Ron's comments at the right, we calculate that the drawing was done in 1942.
Ron shared his memory of being sketched by Virgil Alston:
"I believe I was 5 when Virgil drew this. My brother Roger and I had been playing ball in the Methodist church yard and were headed home. Virgil was sitting under a tree in Dick Bufler’s front yard sketching Harry Teckman’s barn. He called us over and in just a few minutes he had sketched both of us. He captured the look of my hair, as I had trimmed it with scissors, much to the chagrin of my mother. I was known as Butch at the time."