Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Ashley Aldridge

It's Sunday again . . . time for another entry that focuses on one of my ancestors and religion. Since I concentrated on a New England ancestor last week, I decided to focus on a Southern one this week. This one resided in Alabama, which is where I've been for much of the last week at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference.

Today's focus will be upon Ashley Aldridge, my 3 great grandfather. He was born somewhere around 1801, probably in Tennessee. The family migrated to the Mississippi Territory in the part known today as Alabama. He married his first cousin Celia Aldridge sometime around 1824.

In some of my early correspondence with another researcher, I was told that Ashley Aldridge was a Methodist minister. The 1850 census, of course, list him as a farmer. The 1860 census for Fayette Co., Alabama does list him as a Methodist minister. (My great grandfather Cape Thornton is listed as Capers Aldridge in this census. His mother had died at childbirth, and he was being reared by Ashley and Celia. Our family's spelling of Cape's middle name is Capus. His first name was Andrew.) There is additional indication that he was very influential in the Methodist Church and may have even been a lay minister.  Anson West's History of Methodism in Alabama (Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1983; orig. pub. Nashville, Tenn. : Pub. House, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1893) indicates he was involved in the Methodist Church in Walker County. One quote from that book calls him an "exhorter" which leads you to believe that he did fill the pulpit on occasion.

There were a number who filled the offices of class leader and steward who were men of good influence in that region. There were a number of exhorters who did good in the divine cause. WILLIAM CRUMP, BENJAMIN JONES, JONATHAN SHERLY, JESSE FREEMAN were all worthy of mention. ASHLEY ALDRIDGE and ROBERT DAVIS, men of but little education, were long in that section.
 One thing we do learn from this is that he was not well-educated. I have somehow lost what I remember to be a source over the years. When I first began researching my family, I had a very primitive database that did not allow one to input more than 10 fixed length lines of text in a notes field. This had to suffice for your citations (which I heavily abbreviated) as well as info learned. I ran out of space and filed some information, but I apparently misfiled the piece of information that I remember about Ashley. I remember seeing some sort of church record in a special collection that I intended to investigate in the future. I'm thinking that the repository was the Alabama Dept. of Archives and History in Montgomery, but I'm not sure. I seem to think it mentioned either a specific church or indicated that he had performed some baptisms or something like that. I'm hoping that I will run across it again at some point in the future. I found it in the days when what would become the Internet was still searched mostly through text-based browsers or through menus. I'm hoping that I'll run across the item again as I continue to work on reorganizing my older files.

His wife Celia's obituary mentions that she was a long-time member of the Methodist Church.

Ashley died probably before 1870 as Celia is enumerated as head of the household in Sanford County.

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