I wish I could tell you where the name Darlington came from. I suspect he may have been a hero in a newspaper serial, but to the best of my current knowledge, it was not a family name. His parents gave rather "different" names to several of their children, much as many young people are trying to do today.
I don't know a lot about Darlington but here are the basics, and then the tidbits: He was born November 18, 1820 in Clermont County, Ohio to John Simpson Aldridge Jr and Lucinda Wheeler. He was one of at least 10 children and was either the oldest or the second oldest child. The entire Aldridge family had moved to Rush County, Indiana by 1835. Darlington married Leah Folsom, daughter of Jeremiah Folsom and Sally Lock, on October 28, 1841, in Shelby County, Indiana, less than a year before his father died, and about five years after his mother had died. Darlington and Leah later moved to Tipton County, Indiana where he died July 31, 1859. He is buried in Tucker Cemetery there, and his Findagrave site indicates there are actually two tombstones, with slightly different death dates.
These are the tidbits I've learned: At the estate sale of his father's property which was filed on May 9, 1842, Darlington, a newlywed, bought a few item. He purchased a dinner pot for 34 1/2 cents, a box of meal bag for 43 and one quarter cents, and a lot of meat for 12 and one half cents. Darlington would still have been a newlywed then, and apparently didn't have a lot of ready cash at the time. It is interesting to note that Austin Clark, who had been Leah Folsom's guardian before she married, made two purchases at the sale, so he was still keeping in close contact with the family.
The other tidbit that I found that fascinates me is the settling of "Dart" Aldridge's account at the Moscow store. I am not sure whether Dart was a nickname for Darlington, or whether that was his middle name (we know the middle initial was "D"), but it apparently was the name he used. Anyway, the ledger of this store indicates that there was a balance forward on July 7, 1851 for "balance on calico". Jusly 6, there were two entries totaling 75 cents for ballamean and 1 1/2 yards lining. On August 21, there was a balance forward of 70 cents for calico, plus purchases of 2 yards of ribbon for thirty cents, 8 yards of calico for $1, 2 yards of black lustre for $1 and 2 3/4 yards red flannel for $1.03. August 10 there was a purchase of 7 lbs cotton yarn for $1.75, 2 oz. indigo for $.30, 1/2 lb madder for 10 cents, 1/2 lb alum for 5 cents, an illegible item, and 15 yards brown muslin for $1.50. This was all settled on December 20, 1851 with a $9.15 cent cash payment. The crops may have come in or some livestock may have been sold at this time, so there was cash to pay the bill. Leah must have been keep awfully busy, sewing and perhaps knitting!
The above information came from a small book called "Happenings: Orange Township, Rush County, Indiana and Adjoining Townships," compiled by Opal Boring and found in the Public Library in Rush County, Indiana on our "field trip" last fall.
To put this in context, the book also noted that Millard Fillmore was the President of the United States, the thirteenth, during this time period. The Mexican War was over, but Kansas was beginning to "heat up" in events that were part of the build up to the Civil War and there were continuing disputes with Native Americans in the West. If Darlington could read, he may have been reading a best seller like Moby Dick or The House of the Seven Gables, both of which were published in 1851. Darlington's brother, Joseph, had purchased a lot of books at the 1842 estate sale, and there was a family Bible also purchased, so I am hoping that he could read.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief look into Darlington Aldridge's life. These little bits and pieces of information are what brings our ancestors to life, and help us realize just how alike, and different, we are.
The line of descent is:
Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Beeks children, grand children, and more generations!