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Biographies ~ Aldridge, James Knox Polk (1852 - 1909)
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James Knox Polk Aldridge was a seventh generation American being descended from Nicholas Aldridge who settled in Maryland in 1681. Succeeding generations migrated through Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Missouri to Oregon. James was born December 31, 1852 in Irving, Oregon, was the fourth child and first son of William and Mary Ann Allen Aldridge who brought him to the Shingletown area in 1862.

Mary Brand, daughter of Mathias and Harriet Butler Brand was born in Shingletown, June 21, 1862 just four months after the death of her father. His partner. James La Tour had returned to Shingletown immediately upon learning of his death. He helped Harriet during the time the children were growing; Harriet ran a road-house which La Tour owned. Helping with the many and various chores in this business gave Mary experience which made her a desirable bride.

James and Mary were wed May 11, 1880; James was twenty-seven and Mary was seventeen. The 1880 Census listed James as a woodman and Mary was "keeping house". The couple had two children: #1 William b. October 8, 1882 d. December 8, 1942; He is known to have married and divorced but no records have been found. #2 Bertha Harriet b. July 17, 1885 d. May 8, 1945 m. John Rubottom in 1909; they had three daughters before they divorced. She married William Lynch and had another daughter. None of these people lived in Shasta County.

Mary died in 1888 of typhoid fever and spinal meningitis. After her death her children lived with her mother Harriet. According to the 1900 Census, Harriet Brand 74 had as boarders: James Aldridge 47, a road grader; Willie Aldridge 17, a day laborer; and Bertha Aldridge 15, a student. Two years later Harriet sold the Brand Place and moved away, but the children stayed in Shingletown with their father.

James Aldridge worked in the mills near Shingletown and was assistant road supervisor in District 5 for many years. He survived his wife by twenty-one years; he never remarried. He passed away at the Butte Ranch January 4, 1909.

Source: Shasta Historical Society

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