Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 472] of New Castle, Pa., for many years the efficient superintendent of public schools of Lawrence Co., Pa., and now interested in life insurance business, was born in Wayne township, now a part of Lawrence County, but formerly in Beaver County, Jan. 12, 1834. He traces his ancestry back through David Aiken, William Aiken, Jr., to William Aiken, who was the first of the family to settle in America. Our subject's great-grandfather, William Aiken, was born in Ireland, where he spent the years of his early manhood until he was attracted by the glowing accounts he had heard of this country to take up his home in a foreign land, and to grow up with the country with a chance equal to that of any other young man of industrious habits and energetic disposition. He brought his family with him, among whom was William Aiken, Jr., to a place near Baltimore, Maryland, where he lived a number of years, removing from there at last to take up a residence in Westmoreland. Co., Pa., which was the place of his death.

William Aiken, Jr., did not long remain in Pennsvlvania after attaining his majority but removed to St. Clairsville, Ohio, where he met Dorothy Newell and won her hand in marriage. This worthy pair was blessed with the birth of three children, triplets, all of whom grew up to maturity and married and raised families. David was the father of our subject. William married Martha Smiley of Wayne township, and they had two children, William and Margaret. The other one of the triplets, Dorothy, married Daniel Thomas, and has five children: William, John, Elam, David, and Sarah. In 1801, Mr. Aiken returned to Pennsylvania and took up a residence in Wayne township, and immediately after his settlement there he became interested in the milling industry, and built a carding mill, saw-mill and grist-mill, and was quite busily engaged at this work in connection with some farming until his death at the advanced age of eighty-three years. In 1821, some time after the death of his first wife, he married Miss Margaret Clark, and they lived happily together with nothing to mar the calmness of their lives until her death in 1845, leaving him then to walk the path of life alone. In religious matters Mr. Aiken was a Presbyterian, having been elder many years. Politically, he was an adherent of the old Whig party.

David Aiken, the father of our subject, was born during the time of the family residence in Ohio in 1800. He remained in Wayne township, whither his father had removed since his birth and located, until 1845, when he obtained possession of a tract of land in extent 267 acres in Shenango township. Here he farmed until his death, being very highly respected among his neighbors as a very prosperous man, and as one of more than ordinary ability. He was a Whig, and he served as assessor, as school director, and as a delegate to the first county convention ever held in Lawrence County. His wife, Martha, was a daughter of James Vance of Slippery Rock township, and was born in 1807, and died in 1883. Their children were: Martha; Dorothy, wife of Robert Van Horn of Slippery Rock township; William N., our subject; James W., who fell in the engagement at Petersburg; David W., who married Marian Young, and has four children, Bell M., Frank, Mary, and Dora; Isaiah W., who served in the army, and died from disease contracted there; William H., who married Mary Gemmel of Greensburg, Westmoreland Co., Pa.; Sarah E. (now deceased), who became the wife of James Adams, and bore him two children, Henry W. and William N.; Mary J. (now deceased), who married Harvey Palmer of Shenango township and had three children, David, Hugh, and William; Margaret M. (now deceased), who married Milton Walton of Slippery Rock township, and left him with the care of three children, William D., Jesse, and James H.; and Isabella T., deceased, a twin sister of Margaret M. The family were regular attendants of the United Presbyterian Church, where David Aiken, the father, took an active part in church affairs and for many years acted as trustee. In his political belief he was a Whig, but upon the formation of the Republican party he joined the ranks of the new organization. His death occurred March 1, 1860.

Prof. William N. Aiken was educated in the district schools of his neighborhood, and took an advanced course at Westminster College, which was located at New Wilmington, Pa., and graduated from that institution in 1861. Immediately after his graduation he accepted a position as teacher, and taught in the public schools of the city of New Castle several years. In 1869, he was elected superintendent of schools of Lawrence County, a position he held intelligently and to the great good of the educational interests of the county until 1878. He was also city superintendent of the New Castle schools from 1884 to 1887. Since that time he has been engaged in the life insurance business, representing as its agent the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance of Newark, N. J. In politics, he sides with the Republicans, and casts his vote in support of Republican candidates.

On April 6, 1865, he married Margaret M. Laughridge of Youngstown, Ohio. Their marriage has been blessed with two children: Martha R., a teacher in the public schools; and Willlam L. The family are United Presbyterians in their religious attachments.

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

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