John W. Aldridge.

by Lisa Y. Henderson


JOHN WILLIAM ALDRIDGE (1853-1910) was born in Sampson County to Robert Aldridge and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge. In the 1870s, he and his brothers Mathew Aldridge and George Aldridge were among former free men of color hired to teach in Wayne County colored schools. (Another was E.E. Smith.) John and George were posted near Fremont, in northern Wayne County, where John met and married one of his students, Louvicey Artis.  The couple settled among his family near Dudley, in southern Wayne County.  The original site of John’s grave is now forgotten, but he now lies in a family cemetery on land still owned by Aldridge descendants. (The W on the headstone is a bit of a mystery, but suggests that the marker was second-hand.  The spelling of his surname, “Aldrich,” is that preferred by his son, Thomas, who paid for it.)