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Aldrich, Mark

Born: 1802-01-22 Warren County, New York

Died: 1873-09-21 Tucson, Arizona

Flourished: Hancock County, Illinois

Aldrich migrated west in 1829 to work as a clerk for the American Fur Company. He initially settled in Keokuk, Iowa Territory, then moved in 1832 across the Mississippi River to Fort Edwards. A founding member of the town of Warsaw, Illinois, Aldrich was elected Commissioner for Hancock County in 1832, served as a State representative for Hancock County from 1836-1840, and served as a Commander of the Warsaw Independent Battalion. A Whig, Aldrich was a founding director of the Carthage Female Seminary and served as Warsaw's first postmaster between 1834 and 1838. On October 22, 1844, he, along with eight other men, was indicted by a grand jury in Hancock County for the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, but was later found not guilty. He moved to California in 1849 to open a supply store for gold rush settlers and settled in Doña Ana County, New Mexico Territory, in 1855. One of the earliest American settlers in the area, he became a wealthy Tucson merchant and land developer, served as the city's first postmaster, and in 1861 was appointed the city's first alcalde (mayor). Aldrich was appointed a Arizona territorial probate judge and served in the Arizona Territorial Legislature from 1864 to 1873. In March, 1861, he was chairman of the convention that declared Arizona's secession from the Union. Aldrich married Margaret Wilkinson in 1829.

Th. Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman, 1880), 329, 435, 447, 448, 637, 638, 653-54; History of Hancock County, Illinois (Hancock County: Board of Supervisors, 1968), 110, 154, 577, 578, 597; John Clayton, comp., Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1968), 205, 207; Obituary, Arizona Citizen (Tucson, AZ), 27 September 1873, 3:2.