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Scott Aldrich and his children

by Lois Barris and Wendy Straight
February, 2007

Compiled from selected Aldrich family records and selected Forest Hill records. The names of persons buried or re-interred at Forest Hill Cemetery are underlined.

An important land developer in the Village of Fredonia and Town of Pomfret during the second half of the nineteenth century was Scott Aldrich (1801 – 1885), who is buried at Forest Hill with several of his descendants. His Great Great Great Great Grandfather George Aldrich (1605 – 1683) of Derbyshire, England, married Katherine Seald (1610 – 1691) in 1629. George reputedly was a tailor. They came to America in 1631, first settling in Dorchester, Massachusetts. They later moved to Braintree, and finally to Mendon. From 1633 to 1656, they had the following children, listed in their birth order: Abel, Joseph, Mary, Miriam, Experience, John, Sarah, Peter, Jacob, and Martha.

Joseph (1635 – 1701) was the next ancestor in the line of Fredonia’s Scott Aldrich. He and his wife Patience Osborne lived in Smithfield, Rhode Island, and had the following children: Samuel, John, Ephraim, Sarah, Mercy, and another Joseph. Of that group, Scott’s next ancestor was Samuel, who died in 1747. Samuel and his wife Jane had produced the following children: Peter, James, John, Mary, Ruth, Abigail, and another Samuel, the Great Grandfather of Scott.

Samuel, Jr. and his wife Hannah still lived in Smithfield, RI. Their children were Reuben (1704 – 1726), Simeon (born in 1706), Levi (born in 1708), Hannah (born in 1711), Phebe (born in 1717), and another Samuel, (born in 1722). Reuben was Scott’s grandfather.

Reuben lived in Rhode Island on a reputedly unproductive farm. In a ceremony performed by Justice of the Peace Thomas Sayles, Reuben married Ruth Verry in 1744. Reuben’s children were Levi and Nathan. It was Nathan (1762 1851) who was Scott’s father.

Scott was a member of the seventh Aldrich generation in America. He eventually settled in Fredonia. According to his obituary, which appeared in the Fredonia Censor on October 28, 1885, Scott Aldrich was born in Smithfield, Rhode Island. His parents, Nathan and Phebe Appleby Aldrich, were Quakers. Scott was the youngest of six sons. The others were James (1786 – 1858), Sayles (1791 – 1865), Simon (born in 1794), Thomas (1796 – 1885), and Nathan (1799 – 1869). Scott also had an older sister, Verry (1788 – 1796) and a younger sister, Esther (born in 1803).

According to his obituary, Scott worked for two years as a journeyman shoemaker after a typical apprenticeship. On April 13, 1823, he married Eliza White (1804 - 1835), and they immediately left Rhode Island in a covered wagon for the town of Evans in Erie County, New York. Scott’s two oldest brothers, James and Sayles, were already there and provided some support for Scott and his new wife.

Scott and Eliza purchased a 100-acre farm east of Hamburg at a settlement known then as White’s Corners. "Thus began his career as a dealer in real estate," said the Fredonia Censor, "which brought him a goodly amount of worldly goods and made his name a familiar one upon the assessment rolls of Erie and Chautauqua Counties." Much of the Village of Hamburg was laid out on the Aldrich farm, and Scott was said to have laid out many of the streets.

He resided there until 1857. Eight years earlier, he had purchased 185 acres at $100 per acre on the flats of Buffalo Creek. His brothers had advised against the purchase, but Scott sold the land for $200 per acre four years later. Scott’s move to Chautauqua County shortly thereafter was the result of more land speculation.

He had been a promoter and chief executive officer during the construction of the plank road from Hamburg to Buffalo. The project had included the construction of an iron bridge over Buffalo Creek, the first of its kind in the region. Scott later traded his stock from the plank road venture for a farm in vicinity of Sheridan and Forestville. He soon had enough funds to buy the lands at Temple and Central Avenue in Fredonia. This farm also included the Sunset Hill lands now bounded by Lambert, Curtis, and Day Streets.

Although he did not build the mansion now known as 17 Central Avenue, which is situated at the top of Sunset Hill, he did construct a house partly up the hill. A neighbor was said to have asked why Scott was building up there, and according to legend, Scott amicably replied, "Because I did not ask the advice of any of my neighbors." He later exchanged Sunset Hill for a grape farm on Main Road just west of the Village, but soon returned to town and built a house at the corner of Lambert and Day Streets, where he resided until the time of his death.

With his first wife Eliza, Scott had seven children. His daughters were Mary Aldrich Miller (1834 - 1891), Ann Aldrich Long (1829 - 1865), and Amy Aldrich (1831 - 1838). His sons were Amos (1824 – 1891), Seth (1827 - 1914), Mason (1826 – 1907), and Ira (1832 – 1912). Eliza died in Hamburg, but her remains were later re-interred at Forest Hill in Fredonia.

With his second wife, Anna Mehl or Meal (1813 – 1857) of Boston, NY, Scott had nine more children. Daughters were Eliza Aldrich Daily (1843 - 1907), Martha Aldrich Kelly (1846 - 1909), and Maria Aldrich (1848 - 1924). Sons were David (1836 -1872), George (1838 - 1918), Nathan (1840 – 1912), Simon (1850 - 1915), Sayles (1853 - 1923), and Eli (1841 - 1845). Anna’s remains were also re-interred at Forest Hill.

In 1859, with his third wife Lydia A. Snell (1815 – 1895) of Waterford, PA, Scott had another daughter, who died in infancy and was buried at Forest Hill. By the time Scott filed his will in 1874, his children Ann, Amy, David, and Eli had died. However, since Ann and David were mentioned in the will, their descendants were included in the partition of Scott’s estate in 1890, when his thousands of acres of land were essentially divided into thirteen shares. Scott’s living children Mary, Seth, Mason, Ira, Eliza, Martha, Maria, George, Nathan, Simon, and Sayles each received one of the shares.

Several of Scott’s descendants had remained in the Hamburg, Sheridan, or Forestville areas. Mary Aldrich married Benjamin Miller (born in 1833). Ann Aldrich and her husband Isaac Long died in Hamburg. Mason is buried with his wife Licena Clark (1833 – 1906) in Forestville. Ira is buried in the Forestville Pioneer Cemetery. His three wives were Louisa Lord Taylor, Nellie M. Lewis, and Minerva Baldwin.

David lived in Sheridan and married Lora Elizabeth McClenathan. After her death, he married Harriet Wright. George, who also remained in the Sheridan area, married Martha J. Dye (1842 – 1936). Scott’s daughter Maria married Jasper K. Aldrich (1849 - 1905), the grandson of her father’s oldest brother James. They lived in Michigan. Scott’s daughter Martha married John Joseph Kelly.

Several of Scott’s descendents ended up in the Fredonia area. Scott’s daughter Eliza married Carmi(e) Eugene Dail(e)y (1835 – 1891). Seth married Martha Clark. Simon married Carrie Pamelia (Pamela) Spink (1854 – 1919). Sayles married Virginia Harriet Sweet (1854 – 1933). Amos Aldrich married Cordelia Culbertson. Nathan married Mary Elvira Prescott (1846 – 1868). His second wife was Mary Ellen Dye (1846 – 1916). His grandson Nathan Everett Aldrich (1897 – 1949) compiled the family’s genealogy in the 1940s, and a copy resides at the Barker Museum in Fredonia. An update to those records, compiled in 1952 by Maria’s granddaughter Elva Aldrich Rice, also resides at the Museum, and lists Scott’s known descendants as of the first half of the twentieth century.

Interred at Forest Hill’s Section C-24 with Scott were his three wives, his infant daughter, and his young son Eli.