DAVID ALDRICH
& WILKINSON FAMILY

BIOGRAPHY

AS RECORDED IN:

COMMEMORATIVE BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF 
TOLLAND AND WINDHAM COUNTIES CONNECTICUT.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF PROMINENT AND REPRESENTATIVE  CITIZENS AND OF MANY OF THE EARLY SETTLED FAMILIES
PUBLISHER: J.H.BEERS & CO., CHICAGO; 1903     P.  436

DAVID ALDRICH.  The old Bay State had contributed most graciously to the population of Connecticut from the very earliest days, many of the good people of this state claiming nativity in her borders, or being descendants of those who were born there.  Mr. Aldrich, one of the most substantial citizens of Woodstock, Windham county, a man who is held in the highest esteem by his friends and neighbors, is a native of Uxbridge, Mass., where his family has for long years resided.

David Aldrich was born Sept. 15, 1848, son of Nathan Aldrich, who was born in the same town Dec. 12, 1794, in the same house which sheltered our subject.  He died Oct. 22, 1873, in Woodstock, whither he had come Nov. 4, 1857, and where he purchased the Thomas Lyon farm of 157 acres, spending the rest of his life in agricultural pursuits there.  In his early life Nathan Aldrich was engaged in freighting, that being the day when there were few railroads, even prior to the building of the Providence & Worcester canal.  He was long engaged in this business successfully between Slatersville and Providence, R.I., transporting much of the brick and lime and supplies used in building the canal.  Although of rather frail build, he was very robust and a very industrious, hard-working man, which, together with fine business judgement, brought him to a state of comparative affluence.  He was in the best sense of the term a self-made man, having begun life as a poor boy.  Politically in his earlier life he favored the Whig party, and on the formation of the Republican party became one of its stanchest supporters.  It is remembered of him that he was one of the first six voters who supported that ticket in Uxbridge, Mass.  In his native town he served as overseer of the poor for twenty-one consecutive years, as assessor for seven years, and was a member of the selectmen’s body in Northbridge, Mass., where he lived for three years from 1854 to 1857.  He was a man of masterful traits of character, able, shrewd and tactful, and was held in high repute for his discriminating judgement.  He was reared in the faith of the Friends, of which Society he was a member, but after coming to Woodstock attended the services of the Methodist denomination, of which he was a liberal supporter.  Mr. Aldrich was first married in 1830, to Maria Fowler, a popular school teacher in her day, and the daughter of John Fowler, of Northbridge, Mass.  She died in Uxbridge, Aug. 16, 1844, aged forty-seven years, the mother of one son, Henry Clay, born Aug. 25, 1832, who died in 1877; he married Rebecca Robbins and conducted the old homestead farm.  On July 8, 1846, Mr. Aldrich was united to Eunice Gaskill, born Oct. 22, 1807, in Uxbridge, where she died Oct. 23, 1892.  She was a daughter of Ezekiel Gaskill, of Uxbridge.  She was of a bright and sunshiny temperament, a loving and faithful wife and kind mother.  Her children were:  Maria Fowler and David (our subject).  The daughter, born May 11, 1847, in Uxbridge, where she now lives with her children, is the widow of Albert Adams.

Passing back one generation, Obadiah Aldrich, father of Nathan, was a native also of Uxbridge. Born in about 1762.  He died in that village at a comparatively early age, in 1808, when his son Nathan was but fourteen years old.  By occupation he was a farmer, and a hard-working and industrious man.  He married Judith Chase, of Killingly, Conn., a member of the time honored family of that name in that village, and to them were born in Uxbridge Nathan, Phila, Elizabeth and David.  Obadiah Aldrich and his wife assisted materially in the building of the Friends meeting-house in Uxbridge five years before Lexington'’ cry brought forth the hosts of “embattled farmers” to avenge her insult, and the building still stands, a fitting monument to the self-sacrificing souls who gave their time and labor to its erection.

David Aldrich passed the first five years of his life in Uxbridge, and remembers his first teacher there, Miss Kate Pond.  The next four years he attended school in Northbridge, whither his parents had removed, and finished his elementary training in the schools of Woodstock.  At sixteen he entered the Nichols Academy at Dudley, and his education was further supplemented by a course in the Woodstock Academy.  His school life ended when he was twenty years of age, at which time he entered upon his agricultural career on a farm purchased for him by his father some eleven years previously, and which he now deeded to the son.  To this original body of land Mr. Aldrich has added now owning 171 acres, comprising one of the most valuable and highly cultivated farms in the county.  As is usual in his part of the State, Mr. Aldrich diversifies his crops, and makes somewhat of a  specialty of dairy products.  It is his pride that for a period of twenty-two years he furnished butter to patrons in Webster, without a break in his regular weekly trip.  However, he is at present shipping his milk to the Boston market.

Mr. Aldrich has always exerted his manifold talents in lines having for their object the uplifting of society, and his influence has been widespread in his section of the State.  Fraternally he is affiliated with Putnam Lodge, No. 46, A.F. & A.M., of Woodstock, of which he is a past master, has also served a term as treasurer of the lodge, and has acted as its delegate in the Grand Lodge of the State.  For over twenty years he has served as treasurer of the Society for the Prevention of Theft, an organization established in Woodstock in 1793.  The Grange movement also enlisted his interest, and has profited by his intelligent support.  He is past master of Woodstock Grange, No. 150.  When the movement for greater activity in temperance circles culminated in the organization of the Good Templars lodges, Mr. Aldrich was one of the first to initiate the work in his local community, being a charter member of a lodge established in that village in 1868.  Politically Mr. Aldrich was for long years a tower of strength in the party of Jefferson, and it was with the most sincere regret that he witnessed the desertion of its time honored principles in the great contest of 1896.  He felt that a vote cast for the Republican ticket would more nearly voice his sentiments, and with his usual courage of conviction he so acted.  He lives in the hope that the party will yet be weaned from its false leadership.  In the local affairs of his town he has taken a helpful part, having served as assessor and justice of the peace, and in the jury box many times.  His fine administrative and executive ability has been frequently called into service as executor of estates in his community, in which work his faithfulness has been uniform.

For a life companion Mr. Aldrich chose a most estimable lady, who has contributed largely to his success by her advice and assistance.  She has been a faithful wife, and a loving mother to her children, of which she has had two:  Nellie Josephine, born Sept. 7, 1876, died in girlhood, Sept. 23, 1884.  Mary Eunice, born Sept. 13, 1883, has been given an excellent education, being well grounded in the elementary branches in the district school and at Woodstock Academy where she graduated with honor in June, 1901; she is now attending Wheaton Seminary, at Norton, Mass.  Mr. and Mrs. Aldrich and their accomplished daughter are leaders of thought and movement in their local community, where they receive the kind offices of a host of friends, which they delight to return in kind in their commodious home.

LAWRENCE WILKINSON, a native of the County of Durham, England, and son of William and Mary, with his wife and child came to America and settled in Rhode Island colony about 1650.  In the mother country he had been a lieutenant in the King’s Guards, and was taken prisoner at the battle of Newcastle by Cromwell.  His estate was thereupon confiscated.  In New England he took a leading part in King Philip’s war.  He was a deputy to the General Court in 1659 from Providence; owned some thousand acres of land; married Mary Smith; both died in 1692.  His son Samuel, born probably in England, died in Providence in 1727.  He married Plain Wickeden, daughter of William.  He was a surveyor; justice of the peace; administrator; deputy from Providence to the General Court in 1693 and many other times.  Joseph Wilkinson, next in line, was born June 22, 1683, in Smithfield, R.I.; married Martha Pray, lived in Providence and Scituate, being one of the first settlers of that town, about 1700; became an extensive owner of land; held nearly all of the town offices; was prominent and influential; was justice, member of town council, deputy to the General Court in 1731; lieutenant in the militia; died 1740.  His son, Benjamin Wilkinson, born Oct. 9, 1713, was a farmer of large possessions; married in 1740, Mary Rhodes; lieutenant of the Trainband of Scituate, 1742; lived in Killingly, where he was a man of prominence; in 1775 bought of Samuel Morris the George Dudley farm, on the Quinebaug, in Killingly, price 20,000 pounds, where he lived ten years; then established the village of Wilkinson, forty miles southeast of Boston; returned to father’s homestead, where he died, aged ninety, in 1803.  Of his nine children, one became grandmother of Commodore Morris of the United States Navy.  Another, Rhodes, was the next in line to our subject.

Rhodes Wilkinson, born in Woodstock, married Clarine Marcy, also a native of Woodstock.  Children:  (1) Hannah, who married Danforth Lyon, of Woodstock, died in Providence lacking fourteen days of being 101 years old.  (2) Mary never married.  (3) Rhodes.  (4) Clarine became Mrs. Olverson Sumner, of West Woodstock, and died in Providence while on a visit.  (5) Samuel is the next in line.  (6) Esther married William Eliakim Sessions, of Abington, Connecticut

Samuel Wilkinson married Mary Maria Bradford, of Woodstock.  He was a successful farmer and a prominent member of the Ecclesiastical Society of the Universalist Church.  He and his wife had two children, of whom Mary Rhodes, born Feb. 7, 1826, married Nov. 10, 1847, Thomas L. Phillips, of Woodstock Valley, and Mary E., Mrs. Aldrich, was their only child.

 Reproduced by:  Linda D. Pingel

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