My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

HENRY ALDRICH, a successful pioneer agriculturist of Cass County, Mich., has for thirteen years resided upon his valuable homestead in Ontwa Township, and, arriving within the borders of the State a young man of twenty-five, has in his Western home witnessed the remarkable change of more than a half-century. During this length of time, he has been intimately associated with the progressive movements and various enterprises of the county, aiding generously in the promotion of mutual welfare. Our subject was born in Smithfield, R. I., May 5, 1813. He was the son of James and Hannah (Comstock) Aldrich. Grandfather Nathan Aldrich lived and died in Rhode Island, and devoted his days to the occupation of a farmer. He was of English descent, and in religious belief a Quaker. His family of children consisted of James, Nathan, Simon, Thomas, Sayles Scott, and Esther. The brothers and sister, with the exception of Nathan, reared families of their own, who occupied positions of influence.

The father of our subject, James Aldrich, was born in Rhode Island, March 29, 1786. By trade a carpenter, he also engaged in the tilling of the soil. In 1815, he went to Monroe County, N. Y., and thence removed to Evans, Erie County, where he bought and improved a farm. In 1834, the father came West and purchased a farm in Michigan, and in 1835, with his family, made his home near Niles. In 1837, he bought one hundred and sixty acres on section 12, Milton Township, and in 1841 he located on a farm west of Niles. In the fall of 1857, he removed to Prescott, Wis., where he passed away March 14, 1858. His widow returned to Niles, Mich., her former home. During his career of busy usefulness, James Aldrich occupied positions of official trust, and with great acceptability served as Supervisor and Justice of the Peace. He was a Whig in early life, and later voted the Republican ticket. In faith he was, like his ancestors, a Quaker.

The mother of Mr. Aldrich was also a native of Smithfield, and was born January 5, 1792. She was the daughter of Henry Comstock, who died in Rhode Island. The maternal grandfather married twice. His first wife, Hannah Green, became the mother of several daughters and three sons. Mrs. Hannah (Comstock) Aldrich died in 1884 or 1885, and was mourned by all who knew her. Henry Aldrich was educated in the district schools of his native State, and at the age of twenty-one began to work for himself chopping and splitting rails. In 1836, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Elkhart County, Ind., but in 1837 he returned to Michigan, to which State he had accompanied his parents in 1834. He next invested in eighty acres in Milton Township, to which he later added forty acres, and finally increased his homestead by the purchase of a quarter of a section, and partially improved the fine farm of two hundred and eighty acres. Later he bought one hundred and twenty acres in Ontwa, which has since been his permanent home. Upon this property, now under a high state of cultivation, he erected in 1881 a handsome and commodious residence, the homestead being one of the most valuable in this part of the county.

Mr. Aldrich has occupied with able fidelity various township offices, and as Supervisor has materially aided in the advancement of local improvements. He cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison, and, once a Whig, has long affiliated with the Republican party. September 7, 1840, Henry Aldrich and Miss Elmira Treat were united in marriage. Mrs. Aldrich was a native of Erie County, N. Y., and was born February 13, 1821. She was the daughter of Timothy and Louisa (Bentley) Treat. Grandfather Thomas Treat participated in the Revolutionary War, and after many years passed away in Erie County, N. Y. His wife was a Strattan, and belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Timothy Treat was born in Franklin County, Vt., March 80, 1786. He removed to Erie County, N. Y., and there enlisted in the War of 1812. In 1834, he emigrated by wagon to Cass County, Mich., and was three weeks making the journey. He bought forty acres in Milton Township, and two years later he settled in Silver Creek Township, where he improved eighty acres. In 1869, he went to Elk Grove, Cal., where he died March 29, 1875, a Universalist in belief. In political affiliation he was a Democrat, and after the Kansas troubles was an ardent Republican. Twice married, his first wife bore him Sullivan Treat, and in 1859 died in California. The second wife was the mother of twelve children, eleven of whom were reared to years of maturity. The sons and daughters were, Fidelia, Almira, Ruby, James B., Louisa, Ira H., Willard W. and Wallace W. (twins), Horace J. (who enlisted in Michigan, and was killed at Shiloh), Lucy A., Nancy J. and Amanda. The brothers and sisters, with one exception, reared families, who have occupied positions of usefulness and influence.

Louisa (Bentley) Treat was the daughter of James Bentley, who was born in Vermont and died at a good old age in New York. He served in the Revolutionary War with bravery and was a true patriot. The Treats were of English origin, and the ancestors of the Bentleys were of Scotch descent. Our subject and his estimable wife have been blessed by the birth of five children. Alpha is the wife of Harvey L. Drew, of San Bernardino, Cal. James M. enlisted in Company M, Fourth Michigan Cavalry, and died at Lebanon, Ky. Levi M. died at San Bernardino, Cal., his death occurring about two years ago. George B. passed away at twenty-one years of age at home. Jasper A. was the youngest. Mrs. Aldrich is a Close Communion Baptist and with her family has ably assisted in the good work and benevolent enterprises of her home locality. For fifty-six years our subject has been an influential factor in the advancement of Cass County, and is universally esteemed as a public-spirited citizen.

* * * *

This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.