Isaiah Aldrich was the first settler on the land that we think of as containing the Aldrich cemetery. A beautiful place on Town Farm Hill Rd, it’s not hard to imagine the joy he must have felt at being able to live and work in this setting. Isaiah was the son of Noah 1, who was born in 1709 at Scituate, R.I., and he was born in Glocester, R.I. in 1749. Noah was a member of the Society of Friends at East Hoosuck, Adams, Mass. Isaiah had five children with his first wife, the third being Noah 2, born Jan 21, 1787 in Hartland. Noah and his wife, Lydia Herrick had eleven children. Two of these children are of special interest to us but we must not forget the larger family when we imagine life on the Aldrich farm. At some point Isaiah disappeared from the Hartland scene and we don’t know where he went, where he died or is buried. He was listed on a school list in 1823 as a head of a family, along with Noah for five students in the 11thSchool District. Isaiah did have a second wife and maybe they moved out of Hartland. At any rate, Noah stayed in Hartland and is listed on the school list of 1827 as having five school age children and in 1831 with four. His daughter, Rebecca appears to have owned the next farm up Town Farm Rd. with her husband, Jude Adams. In 1831 they are listed as having 1 school age child. Staying also in Hartland was his son Lorenzo who was born in 1817 and married Sarah Strank of Hartland in 1840. It seems that he most likely stayed on the farm settled by his grandfather and occupied by his father and mother.
Noah Aldrich 2 died Jan 15, 1848 AE 61. As they would not have been able to bury him in Jan. the gathering on the hill would have been at a later date, but as far as we know, his was the first Aldrich body to occupy that hallowed ground. There are three unmarked stones that we will never know the story of. They may be the bodies of still born children or they may not be Aldrichs at all. Perhaps someone who worked for them or someone they had taken in out of charity. The gathering for Noah 2 would have been substantial. Not counting friends, there was a large family in the area. How I would love to have a diary entry from that time, but unfortunately we have none that go back that far. The family provided Noah with a substantial stone and this verse:
“Unveil thy boson faithful tomb,
Take this new treasure to thy trust,
And give these sacred relics room,
To seek a slumber in the dust”
Imagine the sadness, two years later when two small daughters of Lorenzo died on March 28 and March 29, 1850. I have heard that they died from smallpox but can’t seem to verify that. One of the problems in research is that you get different information from different sources. I have 3 names for their mother. I have a genealogy listing her as Louisa, marriage record as Sarah and the gravestone says Laura. These were children # 3 and 5 in the Lorenzo Aldrich family. They eventually have nine children. There is also a fine stone for these children and the verse,
“We have wandered to regions more glorious far,
Mid flowers that never decay;
Unto him who did bless and receive such as thee
Bright spirits ye’ve soared away”
Moving on to the census of 1850 we find Jude and Rebecca living as neighbors of Lorenzo and Laura ( Laura in the census) with 12 members in their household, including Lydia, widow of Noah and 2 of Noah and Lydia’s children . Also two young Adams boys and a 77 year old woman that we know nothing about, as well as four individuals in their 20s. Hired help?? I wanted to make this out to be the poor farm but that didn’t happen until 1870. More mysteries.
Lydia dies in 1852. She is 61 when she joins her husband and grandchildren. It is June so the burial would have been prompt. The top of a hill in Vermont in June. How much closer to heaven can you get?? How they must have loved that land and that hilltop. Lydia’s stone got knocked over, broken and buried. However we do know its location and were able to expose the name Lydia with careful probing and hand digging. We know from Byron Ruggles that her verse is:
Now gone from earth and it’s cares
To realms of bliss above
From grief and pain and trouble here
To meet a Saviour’s love”
In December of 1853 Jude Adams and Rebecca Aldrich Adams sold the Aldrich farm. All the lands were sold with the exception of the area designated as the “burying ground”. It was never intended that that special parcel ever be anything but a place for the dead to rest. The members of the Aldrich family never appear in a census of Hartland again but I must admit that I did not follow married children, particularly daughters, to see what paths they may have taken.
It is my understanding that many family members relocated in Illinois.
My thanks to Clyde Jenne, Hartland Town Clerk, Lori Bullock Sullivan, an Aldrich descendant from Burlington, Vt., Diane Bibby’s sister Hazel for a D.A.R. Descendants Database Search, Arthur Peale from West Hartford, a specialist in gravestone repair and cleaning and member of V.O.C.A. and our own records here at the Historical Society.
Carol Mowry, Editor
Extracted from the Fall 2008 Hartland Historical Society Newsletter.