Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 30] one of Lawrence County's most representative men, and a leading agriculturist and fruit dealer of Shenango township, was born in Wayne township, Lawrence County Sept. 11, 1837. He is an eminent citizen of Shenango township, being both a man of large agricultural interests, and a man endowed with the qualities that make a successful legislator.

He is a descendant of David Aiken, and traces his ancestry back to his grandfather, William Aiken, Jr., and to his great-grandfather, William Aiken. The latter was born in Ireland, where he passed the early years of manhood until he was attracted by the prospects of America, whether he came, bringing his family, one of whom was William, Jr., and settling near Baltimore, Md. After a period of years, he removed to Westmoreland County, Pa., which was the place of-his death.

William Aiken, Jr., the grandfather, removed from Pennsylvania to St. Clairsville, Ohio, and there he was united in marriage to Miss Dorothy Newell. The worthy couple was blessed with the birth of triplets, whom they named David, William and Dorothy. In 1801 William Aiken, Jr., returned to Pennsylvania, making his home in Wayne township, at that time a part of Beaver County, but now included in Lawrence County. In 1821, some time after the death of his wife, he married Miss Margaret Clark, and they lived happily together until her death in 1845. Immediately after his settlement in Wayne township, Mr. Aiken became interested in the milling business, and built a carding- mill and also a saw-mill and grist-mill, being engaged in this line of work until his death at the age of eighty-three years.

David Aiken, father of the Hon. David W. Aiken, was born during the time of the family residence in Ohio, in 1800. He remained in Wayne township, where his father had located until 1845, when he obtained possession of a tract of land in Shenango township, this county, 267 acres in extent, and there he lived and farmed until his death. He was a Whig, and during his life-time served as assessor, and also as school director; he was a delegate to the first county convention that was held in the county. The wife of Mr. Aiken was Martha Vance, daughter of James Vance of Slippery Rock township, and she was born in 1807, and passed away in 1883. Their children were: Martha; Dorothy (Van Horn); William N.; James W., who fell at the battle of Petersburg in defense of the Union; David W.; Isaiah W., who also served in the Federal Army, and who died from disease he contracted there; William H.; Sarah E. (Adams), deceased; Mary J. (Palmer), deceased; Margaret M. (Walton), deceased; and Isabella T., deceased. The family attended the United Presbyterian Church, where David Aiken, the father, took an active part in church affairs, and acted as trustee for many years, keeping up his interest until his death, which occurred March 1, 1860. He was a colonel in the State militia and was commonly known as Col. David Aiken.

Hon. David W. Aiken, whose history is chronicled here, was the fifth child of David and Mary (Vance) Aiken, and came with the family from Wayne to Shenango township, where he passed the early years of his life, and at maturity engaged in farming. In 1861, he enlisted for a period of three months in Co. F, 12th Reg. Pa. Vol. Inf., and in 1864 he re-enlisted in Co. I, 6th Battalion Pa. Heavy Art., where he was almost immediately promoted from his position as private to the rank of fourth sergeant, which promotion was followed in a short time by another to the rank of second lieutenant, which office he held until he was mustered out June 16, 1865.

In 1869, Mr. Aiken was married to Mary A. Young, daughter of James and Margaret (Scott) Young of Perry township, and took up his residence on the homestead, a half of which had been apportioned to him from his father's estate. Here he has lived since that time, devoting himself to farming and fruit-raising, in which he has attained a satisfactory degree of success, for during the season of 1897, the crop from his apple trees amounted to over 1,000 bushels. Mr. Aiken's family consists of: Martha B., who married J. Barcklay Gibson; J. Frank; Dora M.; and Mary E., and they attend the United Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Aiken possesses the keen instinct of a politician, and, with the happy faculty that characterizes a man of Irish-American origin, he succeeds in holding his own, and in winning others to his side. Shortly after passing his majority, he was elected constable and collector, and served in this capacity for five years. He has held various township offices, and in 1870 he was appointed to take the census in six townships of Lawrence County. Mr. Aiken derives his title of "Honorable" from his service in the State Legislature, where he had the privilege of representing his district during the years of 1873-74, 77-78 and 79. He has been a justice of the peace since 1885, receiving successive commissions in 1890, 1895, and 1896. He is a member of Princeton Post, G. A. R., and has served as quartermaster. On account of his success in political affairs, Mr. Aiken is often chosen as a delegate to county and state conventions, and his career as a farmer and as a loyal follower of the "Stars and Stripes" places him among the foremost men of Lawrence County. He also was school director twelve years, not missing a meeting in all that time.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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