Posted By: Bruce L. Pearson (email)
Date: 7/28/2010 at 14:40:32
Nathan Tower Aldridge and Mary Walter Aldridge
Nathan Tower Aldridge was born on 13 April 1849 in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana. Based on U.S. census records for the year 1850, and on Nathan Tower Aldridge's death certificate, we believe that Nathan Tower Aldridge’s father was Nathan Aldridge, born on 3 August 1803 in Clermont Clounty, Ohio, and that his mother was Rachel Stiers , who was born in May 1819 in Ohio, the daughter of Andrew Stiers and Elizabeth Creviston. (see separate biographies on the first Nathan Aldridge and on Andrew Stiers and Elizabeth Creviston). (Note that the surname "Stiers" was often misspelled in old records as "Stires.")
Nathan Tower Aldridge’s grandfather was John Simpson Aldridge, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. John Simpson Aldridge was born on 9 February 1761 in Prince Georges County, Maryland and died on 17 November 1842 in Rush County. His grandmother was Mary Lakin, born on 20 June 1760 in Maryland and died on 27 November 1843 in Rush County, Indiana. (See separate biographies on John Simpson Aldridge and on Mary Lakin Aldridge).
Nathan Tower Aldridge married Mary Walter on 26 November 1872 in Caldwell, Appanoose County, Iowa. It is not known when Nathan moved from Indiana to Iowa. The Appanoose County records list Nathan's age as 23, and Mary's as 19, at the time of their marriage. Mary Walter was born on 17 August 1853, somewhere in New York State. Her parents were John Walter and Barbara Spack. (See separate write-ups on John and Barbara). William Walter, probably Mary's brother, signed the affadavit for the marriage license.
Nathan and Mary moved several times during their married life. Their first child, Lulu (or Lula) Gay Aldridge, was born on 6 September 1877 somewhere in Indiana, according to her California death certificate. The exact place of her birth is not known. If she was in fact born in Indiana, that could indicate that her parents Nathan and Mary might have moved back to Nathan's family home in Rush County, Indiana -- but this is just one possibility, and may not be correct. Unfortunately, Rush County did not begin maintaining birth records until 1882.
The next record of the Aldridges is the U.S. census for 1880, taken on 15 June 1880, in which they are listed as living in Chanhassen, Carver County, Minnesota. The census misspells Nathan's name as "Toerer Aldridge", age 31 years, occupation farmer, born in Indiana, and both parents born in Ohio. His wife is listed as "Mollie", age 26, born in New York, and both parents born in Prussia. The daughter is listed as Lula, age two, born in Indiana. "Mollie" can be a nickname for Mary. So these three are definitely our Aldridges.
The Aldridges do not appear in any Minnesota state census during the 1880's, but they must have returned to Minnesota, because their next daughter, Lillie Montrose Aldridge, always claimed to have been born in Minnesota on 15 October 1885 or 1886, and their youngest daughter, Crystal Eglantine Aldridge, always listed her date and place of birth as 28 November 1889 in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the Carver County Recorder's Office has no information on any Aldridge births during the 1880's.
Virtually all the records of the 1890 U.S. census were destroyed in a fire, so we do not know where the Nathan T. Aldridge family was at that time. However, by 1891, they had moved to Canada. The 1891 Canadian census for District 162, New Westminster, British Columbia, dated 20 May 1891, lists the following residents: Nathen (sic) Tower Aldridge, age 41, born in the U.S., parents both born in U.S., occ: farmer; Mary Louise Aldridge, age 37, born in U.S., both parents born in Germany; Lulie Gay, age 13, born in U.S.; Murtie May, age ten, born in U.S.; Wally Dow or Dou. (possibly a nickname for Wally. The "Dou." may have been an abbreviation for Douglas), age eight, born in U.S.; Lillie Montrose, age five, born in U.S; and Crystal Eglantine, age one, born in U.S.. Their religion was listed as Methodist. This census is very interesting, for a couple of reasons. First, it indicates that the family must have moved from Minnesota to Canada sometime between 28 November 1889, when Crystal was born, and 20 May 1891, when they were living in New Westminster, British Columbia. Second, this is the first indication we have that Mary Aldridge's middle name was Louise. Third, it indicates the names of the only son, Wally Dow, and that he must have been born in the U.S. sometime around 1882 or 1883.
At any rate, they next appeared in the U.S. census for 1900 as living in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, Calif. This census lists them as follows:
N.T. Aldrich (sic), born April 1849 in Indiana, parents both born in Ohio, occ: laborer; Mary L., born in August 1854 in New York, parents both born in Germany; married 27 years; had six children (four living); Lillie M., age 14, born in October 1885 in Minnesota; Crystal M. (sic), age ten, born in November 1889 in Minnesota. By this time, daughters Lula and Myrtie were no longer living with their parents, nor was their son, Wally. We do know that as of June 1908, Nathan and Mary were living at 228 West Eighth Street, Santa Rosa, California.
Crystal Aldridge Martin once told her nephew, Bruce Pearson, that the Aldridge family worked in a fruit cannery in Santa Rosa, and that she had a brother who died while the family was living there. Unfortunately, Bruce doesn’t remember this brother’s name, only that he died while still a teenager. However, his name may have been Warren. In July 2006, Bruce's cousin, Mrs. Shirley Reese Payne, gave Bruce a brief note, handwritten in pencil, which Shirley found along with a number of old photographs which her mother, Lillian Mae Pearson Reese, had saved for many years. The undated note was apparently written to Lillian's mother, Lillie Montrose Aldrich Pearson, and reads as follows:
"Dear Litte (possibly Lille) Sister -
I want to write you a letter. I am in bed with cold rags on my head to drive fever away. I tell you little girl I suffer every thing. I would like to see you all but if we don't meet in this world we will in heaven. Give all, Bob, Pa and that sweet little baby. Goodby Lille. Until we meet again. Warren"
In September 2010, Bruce Pearson went to Santa Rosa, Calif., and checked the County of Sonoma for a death certificate for a Warren Aldridge. The only one he found was a certificate for a W.W.D. Aldridge, who died of typhoid fever in Santa Rosa on 21 September 1898, at the age of 16 years, three months, 12 days. The only other information on the death certificate stated that this W.W.D. Aldridge was single, white, born in the U.S. and had "died in Santa Rosa, lived here a few months, printer." It did not indicate the names of his parents. The word "printer" may have meant that he had been a printer's apprentice. This individual may have been the Warren who wrote the note to his sister. He may also have been called Wally, Wallace or Wallse. At this point, we simply don't know.
Comment: the top of the paper is partially torn off, but it looks as if the writer may have written "Santa Rosa" and "April" at the top. "Bob" is not known but is almost certainly not Robert William Pearson, Lillie's son, who was born in 1910. "Pa" may have been Nathan Tower Aldridge. The "sweet little baby" may have been Lillian Mae Pearson, who as noted above was born in 1907, after William Pearson and his wife Lillie Aldridge had moved to Los Angeles, Calif. If so, then the writer could not have been the W.W.D. Aldridge who died in 1898. Finally, as Warren (or Wallace) was suffering from a fever, he may have been somewhat delirious when he wrote the note. At any rate, Lillie saved it for many years, along with the old photos. Thus it could well have been the last time she ever heard from her brother -- whoever he was.
We also know that as of June 1908, Nathan and Mary were living at 228 West Eighth Street, Santa Rosa, Calif. On 12 June 1908, their daughter, Lillie, sent her mother a postcard from Los Angeles, which says in its entirety “Dear Ma and All, Will write soon. We are all O.K. and hope you are the same. Baby is fine and fat. Lillie.” The baby was, of course, her daughter, Lillian, who had been born the previous year.
Sometime after 1908, the Aldridges moved to southern California. As noted above, their daughter Lillie was already living in Los Angeles with her husband, William Pearson. Nathan homesteaded 20 acres of desert land near Victorville, Calif., but it is not known how long he lived there. The family later settled in Long Beach, Calif. The U.S. census for Long Beach for 1910 lists the following residents of 763 Euclid Ave., Long Beach: Nathan T. Aldridge, age 61, married 33 years, occ: laborer and odd jobs; Mary L., age 56, married 33 years; six children, four living; and Dorothy Kidd, age six, granddaughter; born in Calif; father born in Calif., mother born in Indiana. (This Dorothy was the daughter of William Kidd and Lulu Gay Aldridge Kidd).
The 1920 U.S. census shows Nathan and Mary still living at 763 Euclid, Long Beach. The 1930 U.S. census for the same address shows the following residents: Nathan T. Aldridge, age 80; first married at age 22; Mary L., age 76, first married at age 19; Lulu Welch, daughter, age 52, first married at age 21; and Marion Kidd, granddaughter, age 17, single, born in Calif., father born in California, mother born in Indiana. (Comment: This Marion was Lulu's younger daughter).
Robert William Pearson remembered his grandfather Nathan as being a very tall man who was a good carpenter. During World War I, Nathan built a little store for his daughter, Lillie, on Bixby’s Pier in Long Beach. Nathan also helped remodel the Pearsons’ house at 3411 Glen Albyn Drive, Los Angeles, so Lillie could rent out part of it to boarders. Also according to Robert Pearson, Nathan was a very religious man. During his later years, he had a white beard. He also went blind.
Evelyn Brown, the daughter of Crystal Aldridge and George Martin, remembered that her grandparents Nathan and Mary lived at 763 Euclid Avenue, Long Beach. According to Evelyn, Mary was a very small, pretty lady who liked music, especially the piano. Mary was a very kind person. She kept lots of canaries on the back porch of the Euclid Avenue house, and sometimes brought them into the house. Evelyn also remembers Nathan as being very tall, both blind and deaf in his old age, and somewhat mean and grumpy. Nathan didn’t like the canaries.
Mary Walter Aldridge died on 25 October 1931 in Long Beach and was buried in Block 31, Section P, Space 34, Westminster Memorial Park. According to information supplied by Lula G. Welch on Mary’s California death certificate, Mary E. Aldridge was born on 17 August 1853 in New York State, the daughter of John Walters (sic, should be spelled Walter) and Barbara Spack, both natives of Germany. Nathan Tower Aldridge died on 31 October 1944, at the age of 95, and was buried in the same plot as his wife. Unfortunately, however, there is no marker on their graves.
See separate write-ups on Lulu, Myrtle, Lillie and Crystal.
Appanoose Biographies maintained by Renee L. Rimmert.
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