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Subject: Moses V. Aldrich (Baxter 1891)
Date: 17 Oct 2004 08:43:47 -0600
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Surnames: Aldrich Ledyard
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MOSES V. ALDRICH, prominent for nearly a quarter of a century in the business circles of Grand Rapids, was born at Macedon, Ontario county, New York, September 13, 1829. His education was only such as could be obtained at the common schools of his boyhood days. His father, Stephen H. Aldrich, moved to Michigan in 1836. Soon afterward Moses was in the employ of a railroad company, working faithfully to earn his own subsistence and to contribute to that of his father's family. A few years later he entered a dry goods store at Plymouth, Michigan, as a clerk. While still a youth he attracted all who knew him by his affability, his obliging disposition, and his strict integrity. About 1852 he was promoted to partnership in the firm of J. S. Scattergood & Co., a fact which amply testifies to the confidence and esteem of his employers. Glancing at this beginning and through his uniformly successful career, the fact becomes apparent that Mr. Aldrich was essentially a self-made man. !
In 1855 he disposed of his business at Plymouth and came to Grand Rapids, entering into partnership with his wife's father, William B. Ledyard, in the manufacture of fanning mills and milk safes. This business grew to large proportions, and its products supplied the market in a large part of Michigan and Wisconsin. Mr. Aldrich was active manager of the concern, and pushed it with extraordinary vigor and success. In 1860 was organized the banking house of Ledyard & Aldrich, in which Mr. Aldrich continued as a partner until 1862. In February, 1871, he opened a private banking house and continued in this business until his death. After his death this enterprise was merged in the Grand Rapids National Bank, by reorganization. Mr. Aldrich's intuitive judgment of men and affairs, his thorough integrity, and his fine executive ability, commanded public attention, and he was chosen Mayor of the city for three consecutive terms, in 1868-69-70. He had a habit of close watchfulness, a!
s untiring in public as in private affairs, and he won general commend
ation in his official acts. From 1875 until his death he served as County Superintendent of the Poor, an office accepted purely out of kindness of heart to the unfortunate and suffering. The County Poor House may be rightly called his crowning charity. When asked why he should give his valuable time so persistently to this distasteful work, he replied that it was to satisfy himself that abuse should not be added to the ills already visited on the helpless and imbecile inmates of this institution. Mr. Aldrich was stern in justice. It was one of the pleasures of his life to give advice and assistance to young men of spirit and ambition. He had been poor himself, he said, and he knew how hard was the struggle. On the other hand, he had small patience with the shiftless poor, refusing aid to such except in cases of destitution. Though a stanch Republican, Mr. Aldrich was not ambitious politically. Such offices of local trust as he was persuaded to hold were accepted for the publ!
ic good and not for personal aggrandizement. He loved the place which he had chosen for his home, and he entered into all its enterprises with indefatigable and fearless zeal. The prosperity of Grand Rapids today is a fitting tribute to the sound judgment and untiring energy of her pioneers, her early "city fathers." One by one these able men are dropping from the ranks, and the record of their lives is preserved for their posterity. On the list of these the name of Moses V. Aldrich will ever have a foremost stand. The pathos of an early death accrues to him.. He was cut down in the prime of his manly success, at the age of only fifty years. He died December 8, 1879, leaving a wife, two grown daughters and two sons. The wish of his heart was not fulfilled - "that he might live to see his dear boys men."
page 392; History of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Albert Baxter; New York & Grand Rapids: Munsell & Company, Publishers; 1891