Mystery Place: Aldrich men served local, state government
The 1857 plat map shows William Aldrich owning 400 acres in Section 35 in the town of Spring Prairie, but by 1873 those acres had been divided. A.M. Aldrich is shown owning 240 acres and Wm. A. Aldrich 160 acres.
In 1907 the owner of the 240 acres, called the Old Homestead farm, is C.F. Aldrich, while W.H. Aldrich continued as the owner of the 160-acre farm.
The Prairie Farmer's Reliable Directory of Farmers and Breeders, Walworth County has only Charles F. Aldrich, arriving in the area in 1866, as owner of Glennwood Farm in Section 35. He married Minnie Bliss and their children as of 1919 were Bruce, Burnell and Beulah.
Albert Beckwith's “History of Walworth County” lists William H. Aldrich as the president of the Walworth County Agricultural Society in 1900. He was an associate town supervisor in 1854-'55, 1869 and 1893-'95. He was the town chairman and on the county board of supervisors in 1870 and 1896-'97.
That book has a short biography of Alma Montgomery Aldrich, the daughter of William and Hannah (Montgomery) Aldrich. The parents were born in New Hampshire. Alma was born in Ohio on May 6, 1837. The family came to Walworth County and the town of Spring Prairie in 1847.
An unnamed son also is mentioned in this biography. He served eight terms on the county board and was elected to the state Assembly. In 1865 he married Elizabeth Hewitt. He moved to Burlington in 1899 and died there in 1902.
Charles F. Aldrich served as town chairman and on the county board in 1899-1900. He was the town clerk from 1908-'12.
In 2010 the plat book shows Kevin P. McKillip as the owner of the 239-acre farm. Lafayette Springs LLC is listed as the owner of the 132.43-acre farm. It appears that the Wisconsin Highway 11 expansion carved out some of the acreage. The 2014 plat book shows Jerry E & Lori Warntjes as the owner of the 235-acre farm.
Ginny Hall, a Delavan historian, is author of the “Walking around ...” and “Meandering ... ” books, which highlight the history of Walworth County communities.