My ggggg-grandfather Nathan Aldrich (1773-1862) had a brother David (1781-1879). Their father, Asa Aldrich, endeavored to give each of his sons a farm, but to David, he gave a college education instead. David’s choice of the ministry seemed to go wrong early on. Instead, David lived a long and quiet life in Cumberland, Rhode Island as a farmer, on the estate formerly owned by Rev. Benjamin Shaw. After Asa’s death in 1826, there seems to be some controversy about a copy of Asa’s will being destroyed by fire, and whether the copy David put forth was a true copy.
It may take me years to get to the bottom of that. If you are curious about the sources so far, or a descendant of David, please contact me.
Meanwhile, I’ve learned more about David through the two documents, below.
His graduation announcement:
R. ISL. Providence, Sept. 6
On Wednesday last the annual Commencement of Brown University was celebrated in the Baptist meeting-house in this town.
The degree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred on David Aldrich, Richard B. Bedon, David Benedict, John B. Brown, Martin Benson, Palmer Cleveland, Elijah Dexter, John G. Deane, Henry Holmes, Daniel Johnson, Daniel March, David Perry, Willard Preston, Lewis R. Sams, and Noah Whitman : — And the degree of Master of Arts was conferred on Benjamin Cowell, Gardner Daggett, John Godfrey, David Holman, Paul Jewett, David Leonard, Jeremiah Pond, jun. Jason Sprague, Jonathan Thayer, Daniel Thomas, and Wilkes Wood, all alumni of the University.
The Reverend Henry Edes, of Providence, and the Rev. John Pipon of Taunton, Masters at Harvard ; the Rev. Joseph Clay, of Savannah, Master at Nassan-Hall ; the Rev. Elitha Williams, of Beverly, Master at Yale, and Dr. John Mackie, of Providence, Bachelor of Medicine at Dartmouth, were admitted ad eundem.
– Newburyport Herald, September 9, 1806, accessed on GenealogyBank.com
The second item is an obituary:
Brown University. Necrology for the Academical Year of 1878-9
Rev. David Aldrich, class of 1806, died in Cumberland, R.I., May 19, 1879, aged 98 years, 4 months and 5 days. He was the son of Asa and Lucy (Haskell) Aldrich, and was born in Cumberland, January 14, 1781. He pursued his preparatory studies in West Wrentham under the instruction of Rev. William Williams (B.U. 1769), who was a member of the first class graduated at Brown. After a course of theological study, which he pursued with Dr. Gano, he was ordained to the Christian ministry under the direction of the First Baptist Church, which church he had joined by baptism while he was at the college. He was then settled as pastor over the Baptist Church in Goshen, Conn. But very soon he was obliged, by ill health, to give up the pastoral care of the church, and afterwards, from a distrust of his fitness for preaching, he retired from all ministerial service, and purchasing a place in Cumberland, devoted himself to farming pursuits, in which he continued all his long life. He was, however, always fond of study, was a great reader, and was especially well versed in American history, and interested in all great national questions of the past as well as the present. Mr. Aldrich was justice of the peace for many years, and filled other offices of trust in his native town. He was honored as a good Christian man, interested in all enterprises favorable to morality and philanthropy. His faculties continued to be clear and vigorous to the very end of his extended life “his eye was not dim, nor his natural strength abated.” His Christian faith and hope were strong and bright to the last; and his end was peace. Mr. Aldrich was at the time of his death the senior Alumnus of the University. Mr. Aldrich married in 1813, Miss Jemima Rhodes, of Wrentham, Mass. Three of their children survive him, Mr. Amos Aldrich, of Foxboro, Mass., Mr. Emulus Aldrich, of Ashland, Mass., and Mrs. Eliza (Aldrich) Freeman, of Cumberland, who is living on her father’s farm.
– The Providence Daily Journal, vol. LII, Wednesday Morning, June 18, 1879, no. 145, page 1, accessed on microfilm at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library.
David was buried along with many other family members at the Burnt Swamp Road Cemetery in Sheldonville, Massachusetts.
- picture from Frank Leslie’s Sunday Magazine, 1877.
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