S. E. Aldrich McKinley County, New Mexico

Few living residents of the western part of New Mexico have had a wider experience throughout the west and the southwest than S. E. Aldrich, of Gallup. A descendant of old and prominent New England families, he was born at Cranston, a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island,' in 1845. In youth he entered the employ of the American Water and Gas Pipe Company of New Jersey, and at the age of nineteen, near the close of the Civil war, he enlisted in Battery E, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, serving in the closing campaign on the James River.

After his discharge Mr. Aldrich entered the service of the American Water and Gas Pipe Company in Portland, Maine, and in New Jersey, but his health failed, and, believing that a few years' experience in the west would prove beneficial, on the 6th of September, 1870, he enlisted as a private in the United States army. He was at once assigned to Company A, Third United States Cavalry, and sent to Fort Verde, Arizona, traveling by way of the Isthmus of Panama, San Diego and Yuma. After five years' service in New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and other centers of trouble in the west, he was discharged, but immediately re-enlisted, joining Company D of the Sixth Cavalry at Fort Apache. He thus was in continuous service for ten years. During the last year of his military life, in which he filled successively all the offices except those under commission, he was also engaged in the cattle business with a partner on a ranch near St. Johns. Arizona.

In November, 1882, Mr. Aldrich went to Manuelito, New Mexico, and purchased of a Mr. Brown a trading post, which the latter had established there about a year before. He also had a licensed trading post at Navajo reservation, at Washington Pass, but soon abandoned it. With Elias S. Clark, afterward attorney-general for Arizona, as a partner, he subsequently established a store at Tase-a-lee. Archibald Sweetland afterward purchased Mr. Clark's interest and remained as Mr. Aldrich's partner for three years, at the expiration of which time, in 1890, Mr. Aldrich opened his present store at Round Rock, a noted Indian trading point. In February, 1891, Henry Dodge, a half-breed Navajo and a self-made, self-educated man, became his partner in the latter store, Mr. Aldrich retaining individual control of the Manuelito store. In 1896 he erected a handsome residence in Gallup, where he and his family have since resided.

A strong Republican and a man of high public spirit, Mr. Aldrich has exhibited a lively interest in public affairs in town and County. He was one of the leaders in the movement which resulted in the erection of McKinley County from Bernalillo, and in 1903 and 1904 was a member of the board of County commissioners. He has been intimately identified with the best interests of McKinley County for so long a period that a record of his life forms an interesting chapter in the history of the Territory during the days of American occupancy.

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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