Friday, March 28, 2014

Monday Mystery: Will Ed and the Well

Will Ed Aldridge death

The Enterprise
24 March 1904 • Page 3

Caleb Aldridge had two sons, Henry Garner Aldridge and Josiah Aldridge. I am descended from both, so it does not matter which line of the Aldridges you trace up or down in Stanly County, they both end at Caleb and I am related to all of them. Henry Garner Aldridge was the father of Julina Aldridge Davis whose son William Hampton Davis was my great-grandfather on my maternal line. Josiah Aldridge was the father of James Pinkney "Pink" Aldridge, who was the father of Judith "Judy" Aldridge who married James Robert Hudson and they were the parents of my grandmother, Hattie Helen Hudson Thompson on my Dad's side. 

The above story, from the Albemarle newspaper "The Enterprise", was concerning William Edward Aldridge, better known as "Will Ed". 

Will Ed was the son of Josiah Aldridge and a full brother to my great-great grandfather Pink Aldridge. 

Josiah Aldridge would marry twice. His first wife was Elizabeth Ledbetter. She was the mother of Will Ed and Pink. It is recorded that she had a brother named Alan Ledbetter buried just across the Rocky River in Anson County near the old homeplace of a man named Benton Turner, who I am also related to through my great-grandmother, Pennie Wayne Turner Davis. It is almost nearly certain that she was the sister of Catherine "Katie" Ledbetter who married Edmund Murray/Coley, who I've mentioned in past posts, most recently in this one:

Josiah's second wife and mother of most of his children, was Martha Elizabeth McIntyre, whom he would marry in 1857, about two years after the death of his first wife Elizabeth. 

Now, to make things even more complicated, Martha Elizabeth McIntyre was the daughter of Malachi Stokes McIntyre and Elizabeth Murray McIntyre. Elizabeth Murray was the aunt of Edmund Murray Coley, the sister of his father. 
Malachi Stokes McIntyre and wife Elizabeth Murray McIntyre

Will Ed Aldridge was the oldest son of Josiah "Sy" Aldridge and first wife Elizabeth Ledbetter. He took for a wife Francis "Fanny" Murray/Coley, the daughter of Edmund Murray and Catherine "Katie" Ledbetter Murray. This family was sometimes seen or called by the surname of Coley as Edmund parents were never married and his mother was a Coley. If you recall, Catherine Ledbetter Murray was the sister of Elizabeth Ledbetter Aldridge, making Will Ed and Fanny first cousins. Are you still with me?

This was the course of things in the 19th century rolling green hills of the Tyson Community in southern Stanly County, where roads were few and folk were fewer and the Rocky River was the life's blood of the community. 

Will Ed and Fanny Murray/Coley Aldridge would become the parents of 5 children:

William Millard "Bud" Aldridge was born May 10, 1870
James Aldridge was born August 15, 1871
Isaac Adam Addison "Add" Aldridge was born December 16, 1878 (would marry Sarah Corrina "Sallie" Sinclair)
Cornelia Frances "Nealie" Aldridge (Mrs. John O. Sinclair) was born September 14, 1879
Lula "Lou" Aldridge was born February 15, 1882 (Mrs. Arthur Ray Dry)

Name:Wm. Aldrage
Birth Year:abt 1842
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:Tysons, Stanly, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital Status:Married
Spouse's Name:Frances Aldrage
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and Dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:
Household Members:
Wm. Aldrage38
Frances Aldrage30
Millard Aldrage8
James Aldrage6
Neley Aldrage1
The 1880 census, showing 3 children listed. 

Fannie died about 1885, leaving Will Ed a single father. 

Name:Will E Alderage
[Wille E Aldredge] 
Birth Date:May 1844
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1900:Ansonville, Anson, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Widowed
Marriage Year:1874
Years Married:26
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:View on Image
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Will E Alderage56
Millard Alderage25
James Alderage23
Nelie Alderage20
Addison Alderage18
In 1900, Will Ed and his older children had all moved to the town of Ansonville in Anson County to work as farm labor on the big plantations that reigned in that area, just a few miles from the Stanly County border.
The Joel Tyson house, Ansonville, NC
William Smith house, Ansonville, NC

Lula Aldridge, the youngest daughter, may have fallen through the cracks of research, having been born after the 1880 census, and there being no 1890 available. She had gone to live with her grandparents after the death of her mother when she was still just a toddler. Her father had not remarried. After the death of her step-grandmother, Martha Elizabeth McIntyre Aldridge, Lula remained in the home of her young uncle, Jesse Brady Aldridge. As she joined in the lawsuit involving her siblings and her mother's siblings in the Murray/Carpenter case, her identity as a child of Will Ed and Fanny's was revealed. 

Name:Louisa Alridge
Birth Date:Feb 1884
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1900:Burnsville, Anson, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Granddaughter
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:View on Image
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Martha Alridge63
Eliza A Alridge32
Richmand Alridge28
Jesse Alridge25
Louisa Alridge16
Name:Lou Aldridge
[Lan Aldridge] 
Age in 1910:27
Birth Year:abt 1883
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1910:Burnsville, Anson, North Carolina
Relation to Head of House:Niece
Marital Status:Single
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Neighbors:View others on page
Household Members:
Jesse B Aldridge30
Corranna Aldridge29
Gennett Aldridge4
Lena Aldridge2
Lou Aldridge27
Shortly after the 1900 census, having raised his children, Will Ed Aldridge continued to work upon the farm and old plantations of Anson County.  It was reported that he had went into the village of Ansonville to buy rope with which to clean out a well. He then traveled down the Grassy Island road. 

-Wadesboro Messenger and Intelligencer - Last Thursday afternoon Mr. W. E. ALDRIDGE , who lived on the plantation of Mr. J. I. DUNLAP  in Ansonvilletownship , left his home without telling his family where he was going.   Friday morning he had not returned and his people and the neighbors becoming alarmed for his safety, search was instituted for him, which resulted in the finding of his dead body Friday afternoon in an old open well on the place on which Clerk of Court T. C.ROBINSON  lived until a few years ago.   The well was about two miles from Mr. ALDRIDGE’ S late home and had about twelve feet of water in it….. 
Rear view, Joel Tyson House, Ansonville, Anson County, North Carolina
Back view of the Tyson House
What happened on that fateful March day 110 years ago? Was Will Ed after some thing in that abandoned well? Had he secreted a treasure in its depths and then designed to retrieve it? Or had his demise arisen from foul play? Was he robbed and tossed in the well to perish? 

This mystery of Will Ed and the Well has never been solved. There have been many theories pondered over it and in the Aldridge history, a mention is made of possible racially motivated vengeance. However no one has ever been arrested and the results of the inquest were not reported. 

No comments:

Post a Comment