George W. Aldredge biography

GEORGE W. ALDREDGE, who platted the town of Myra and has been successfully engaged in the promotion of its interests, is now devoting his time to the real-estate and fire insurance business there and is also a banker and merchant. He was born in Maury county, Tennessee, September 18, 1854, his parents being John R. and Sarah (Squires) Aldredge, the former a native of Tennessee and the latter of Kentucky. The paternal grandparents were William and Nancy (Lane) Aldredge of North Carolina, and the former was a son of Aaron Aldredge and a grandson of James Aldredge. The last named, with his brother John Aldredge, emigrated from England. They were shipbuilders and settled in Maryland. It is from James Aldredge that the branch of the family to which our subject belongs is descended. Aaron Aldredge settled in North Carolina and became a prominent farmer, who served throughout the Revolutionary war as a defender of the cause of the colonists. His children were James, John, Aaron and William.

Of this family William Aldredge was born, reared and married in North Carolina and afterward removed to Tennessee, becoming a pioneer settler there. He located on Duck river, where he operated a ferry boat for many years and the place became known as Aldredge’s Ferry. He was also an attorney-at-law by profession and was a stanch Democrat, who used his influence for the party but never aspired to political preferment. He became a prominent agriculturist and slave owner of his community and was highly respected in his home locality in Tennessee. In 1858 he left that state and removed to Fannin county, Texas, where he was living at the time of the Civil war. He used his influence in behalf of the Confederacy and was a staunch advocate of the secession movement. He had many slaves and by their loss his estate was badly crippled at the close of the war and the earnings of a lifetime which he had saved for his children were swept away. He resumed farming, however, and continued to devote his attention to agricultural pursuits until his death in 188o, which occurred when he was eighty-eight years of age. His children were : John R., father of our subject; Aaron, who died in Tennessee; Donna, the wife of George King; Mrs. Lizzie Kline, whose husband was killed in the army; Margaret, the wife of M. Rutledge; and Jasper, of Fannin county, Texas. Of this family John and Jasper served in the Confederate army. John R. Aldredge spent the days of his boyhood and youth in Tennessee and was there married, after which he began farming on his own account, successfully following the business until 1857, when he removed to Texas, settling in Fannin county. He brought his slaves with him and was thus enabled to open up and improve a large farm, becoming a very prominent agriculturist and stockman. At an early day he also found it profitable to carry on freighting as that was the only source of getting supplies into the country. He thus carried on business until the opening of the Civil war, when, in 1861, he enlisted as a member of a company of which George W. Aldredge was captain. The command became a part of the Trans Mississippi department and was assigned to General Price’s division, operating in Missouri, Indian Territory, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Mr. Aldredge was detailed to drive an ambulance and he proved his usefulness in many ways, continuing in active service until the close of the war. Hardships and privations were met and the usual exposures and dangers of a soldier’s life were meted out to him, but he never faltered in the faithful performance of his duty. At the time of Lee’s surrender the regiment was at Shreveport, Louisiana, and the regiment was then disbanded and soldiers returned to their homes. Mr. Aldredge was never wounded nor captured. Arriving home he found his slaves had gone and his farm was in a poor condition of improvement, owing to the ravages and neglect occasioned by the war. With resolute purpose, however, he sought to make the property again in good condition and he continued successfully in farming until 1879, when he sold out and removed to Bonham. Later he contracted for a mail route which he drove for four years, and in 1883 he removed to Hunt county, Texas, where he purchased and settled upon a farm, where he is yet living at the ripe old age of seventy-seven years. He votes with the Democracy, using his influence for the party, yet never seeking nor desiring office for himself. He belongs to the Methodist church and is a member of the Masonic fraternity and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His wife died in 1890. She was a daughter of George Squires of Kentucky, who removed from that state to Tennessee, where he became an extensive lumber dealer, rafting logs down the river and used a large number of negroes in the work. He married Miss Sarah Willis, a daughter of Edmond Willis, of Virginia, and one of the early settlers of Kentucky, where he became a prominent farmer and slave owner. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Squires were six children: Uriah and William, who died in Texas; Sarah, who became Mrs. Aldredge; Margaret, the wife of William Burns; Mrs. Hettie T. Andrews; and Parmelia, the wife of J. Aldredge. In the family of Mr. and Mrs. John R. Aldredge were four children: Josie, who died in childhood; George W.; Ida, the wife of R. T. Barnett; and Mollie, the wife of J. Davis, who is now district clerk at Bonham.

George W. Aldredge was born in Tennessee and came with his parents to Texas when two years of age, being reared and educated in this state, the public schools affording him his privileges in the line of  intellectual advancement. He early became familiar with the duties and labors of the farmer and assisted his father in the work of the old homestead until nineteen years of age, when he married and began farming on his own account in Fannin county, where he prospered in his work. After a number of years he traded his place for the old homestead farm upon which he resided until 1897. Altogether he made his home thereon for forty years, but in 1897 sold that property and bought eight hundred acres of land at the present site of Myra in Cooke county, the greater part of which he yet owns. In 1899 he purchased one hundred and sixty-seven acres from Mr. Bergman and platted the town, giving it the name of Aldredge. Soon after he admitted Messrs. Sears and Sanders to a partnership and they continued with him for two years, but Mr. Aldredge has since been the chief promoter of the village. He platted the entire tract of one hundred and sixty acres and there has been no man who has done as much for the improvement and upbuilding of the village. Before the town was laid out the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad had established a flag station here and the postoffice was called Myra. The postoffice name has never been changed to Aldredge, although the latter is the proper name of the town. During the first year Mr. Aldredge sold twenty thousand dollars’ worth of lots and he continues in the real-estate dealing, yet owning three hundred lots here. The town has had no “booming,” but has maintained a steady and healthful growth and there is now a good station house here, a large three-story merchant mill, three elevators, a cotton gin, a Methodist and a Baptist church, a hotel, two livery stables, hardware, furniture and implement stores, three grocery stores, a blacksmith, wagon and repair shop and a good school. Mr. Aldredge has a large brick business block in which he is conducting a general store, dealing in dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes and groceries. He carries a complete stock and has an extensive business, a liberal patronage being accorded him from residents throughout the surrounding country. He also conducts a private bank for deposit and discount, buys and handles produce and ships grain and cotton. All of these interests are conducted in addition to a real-estate business and he likewise has a fire insurance agency. His old home is a commodious and attractive two-story frame residence, erected in modern style of architecture and he has thirty-seven hundred acres of fine land which includes six well improved farms and also rich pasture lands which he rents. He supervises his business interests, looking after the details himself, including the rental of his property and the management of his commercial and farming interests, and he is indeed leading a useful and busy life. The town now has a population of six hundred with no empty houses and all branches of business here represented are doing well.

About 1870 Mr. Aldredge was united in marriage to Miss Mollie Foster, who was born in Georgia, and has been a valuable helpmate to him on life’s journey. Her parents were James B. and Carrie (White) Foster, both of whom were natives of Georgia. The father was a farmer and mechanic and served throughout the Civil war under General Stonewall Jackson in the Army of Virginia. He was on active duty, facing the enemy on a number of battle-fields and on the skirmish lines as well, and though he was often in the front ranks he was never wounded. He was detailed as wagon boss and acquired the title of captain. On one ‘occasion he was captured and detained at Alton for nine months, being there at the time of Lee’s surrender. He was a member of Company G. Twenty-first Georgia Infantry, and he met the usual dangers and exposure meted out to a soldier. Following his marriage in Georgia he settled upon a farm and was making progress in his business, but at the time of the inauguration of hostilities between the north and the south he put aside business considerations and when he returned to his home at the close of the war he found that the proceeds of his early labor had all vanished. He remained in Georgia until 1867, when he removed to Texas, settling in Fannin county, where he purchased a tract of land and successfully carried on farming up to the time of his death, which occurred February 26, 19o4, when he was seventy-four years of age, for he was born in South Carolina on the 24th of January, 183o. He accumulated a competence for old age during his connection with agricultural interests in Texas and he left a good name and home. He always endeavored to make the golden rule the standard of his life and to exemplify its spirit in his daily relations with his fellow men. His widow yet survives him and continues at the old homestead. Her father was T. P. White, a prominent and highly respected resident of Georgia, who, on making a prospecting tour through Texas, became ill and died in this state. Both he and his wife were members of the Methodist church. In their family were seven children: Thomas Henry, Joe, Mack, Emma, Betty and Carrie. The last named became Mrs. Foster and by that marriage there were seven children: James S., who died at Savoy College; Sallie, the wife of J. H. Cooper; Mollie, now Mrs. Aldredge; W. R., who carries on farming on the old homestead for his mother; Mrs. Ella Buley; Mrs. Emma Marshall; and Mrs. Minnie Barrett.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Aldredge has been blessed with thirteen interesting children: Maud, who is the wife of William Lettres; John O., who is assistant in the store; James G., who is head salesman in his father’s store; Hattie, the wife of George Sewell; Mary Cleveland, Ida and Lexia, all at home; George M., who died at the age of ten months; Ruth, Audrey, Pauline, Gordon and Naomi. There has been only one death in the family. The parents are members of the Baptist church, also four of their daughters and two of their sons. Mr. Aldredge is a stalwart Democrat, but has no time nor inclination for public office. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and in his church has served as deacon for a number of years. His life has indeed been a busy and useful one, crowned by successful accomplishment, and his various business undertakings, all successfully conducted, indicate his keen discrimination, foresight and unfaltering enterprise.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 491-493.