As a child Mary Brewton Motte was held hostage in her own home, with her mother, the Revolutionary heroine, Rebecca Motte, by British officers during the Revolution. She held on to her patriotism throughout her life and her obituary stated, "The leading trait in Mrs. Alston's character, was a pure and disinterested benevolence. To do good to others was the business of her life. . . ." Mary Motte became Colonel Alston's second wife in 1791 and they had six children.