Much of what we "know" about Nicholas Aldridge is conjecture. We know that he was baptized December 28, 1653 in East Wellow, Hampshire, England, to Nicholas Adridge and Martha. At present, Martha's maiden name is unknown. He was the oldest of six children, but was still a teen- ager when he sailed with his father to the New World in 1667. (I don't know whether the younger children came also, or came later, or perhaps stayed behind with other relatives.) The two Aldridges arrived at Annapolis, Maryland from South Hampton, England. They settled near the Severn River, close to All Hallows Parish, Maryland. The senior Nicholas lived only two years, and died March 2, 1669. Nicholas, our subject, would have been only a little over 15. He was in a strange land and it's hard to know how much or what he had learned to support himself as an almost grown orphan. The next ten years are a mystery at present.
By 1679, things were looking up for Nicholas. He married Martha Beeson or Besson in 1679 at All Hallows Parish, Maryland. The next year, on August 20, 1680, he purchased 300 acres of land named "Aldridge's Beginning" in Anne Arundel County. I can almost feel the hope in his heart as he came to manhood with a new bride and land of his own in the New World. By this time, the worst part of troubles with the native Americans and the worst part of the religious disputes between Catholics and Protestants was over. Slavery had already begun, but much labor was done by indentured servants and by the colonist's own family. The family of Nicholas and Martha began with son Thomas in 1680, and he would have been doing chores for most of the day by the time he was four or five. Thomas and his 9 brothers and sisters were all baptized or christened at All Hallow's Parish.
We don't know if Nicholas owned slaves or not, but it is certainly possible. He grew tobacco, and tobacco is a labor intensive crop. If he had cleared all 300 acres of land, then slaves would have been considered a necessity.
We know that Nicholas raised crops, had children, and apparently attended church services at All Hallow's Parish, but that is basically all that I have learned of him. He died November 20, 1708, at an age of approximately 55, and Martha died October 19, 1719.
I'd love to know more about him. Was he literate? If he owned slaves, how did he feel about that? Did he treat them well? What caused his death? If someone knows more about the life of this man, I'd love to hear from you!
The line of descent is
Nicholas Aldridge-Martha Besson
Thomas Aldridge-Elizabeth Purdy
John Aldridge-Eleanor Watkins
Jacob Aldridge-Eleanor Soper
John Simpson Aldridge-Mary Lakin
John Simpson Aldridge Jr.-Lucinda Wheeler
Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harver H. Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger