Sunday, June 1, 2014

Line 20.1 Samuel Aiken, Scots-Irish American

You’ve got to love the fierce bravery of the early settlers in the far North New England states. They were facing a frontier that was days, if not weeks from the ocean and an escape back to civilized Europe. On the other hand, they were facing an adventure that would lead to more religious freedom and thought. The Scot-Irish Presbyterians found a haven in Chester where they could build a church and create a community. And on the other hand (I know that makes three hands) there is also the sense of loss where the “native” population is concerned too. I’ve done a poor job of determining the effect of the building of a Scot-Irish community in the wilderness might have done to the Indians of the area. But I still have to admire a people group that would pick up and leave the familiarity of Ireland (even if they were transplant just a generation or two before) for a totally foreign place.

Samuel Aiken was born about 1708 in Ireland, probably the son of John AIKEN although William Aiken and Janet Wilson have also been suggested as Samuel’s parents

He married a woman whose surname may have been YOUNG.

The children of Samuel AIKEN and his wife were:
1.       William AIKEN born about 1730 in Ireland. He married Rebecca FOWLER. They drowned together at Passamoquaddy. His two sons, James and Robert died at the Battle of Bunker Hill

2.      James AIKEN born 1 June 1731 in Ireland or in Chester, NH and died 13 May 1787 in Londonderry, Rockingham, NH. He married Mary “Molly” McFARLAND

3.      Peter AIKEN born 1736 at sea and died 21 October 1806 in Canada. He married Rebecca Fowler the daughter of Thomas FOWLER (obviously a different Rebecca Fowler from the one who married Peter’s brother William.)

4.      Sarah AIKEN was born about 1740 in Chester, Rockingham, NH. She married Robert WITHERSPOON and had at least four sons

5.      Samuel AIKEN was born about 1749 probably in Chester, New Hampshire. He died there 4 January 1825. He married Isabella MCMCDOLE 17 April 1738 in Gofftown, Hillsborn, New Hampshire.

6.      Sarah AIKEN possibly born about 1736 and died young as a second daughter named Sarah was born about 1736.

Samuel AIKEN died in 1786 in Chester, New Hampshire and was buried there.

These early AIKENs in New Hampshire were a bear to research. Records were sparse and they, as was the English and Scottish tradition, name their numerous children names that were repeated by the many branches of their family tree. In one source (1) Samuel is listed as the son of John AIKEN; in another William and AIKEN and Janet Wilson (5) are named as his parents. I think Benjamin Chase just got the generations mixed up as Samuel is not mentioned in John AIKEN’s will and Chase in his book on Chester, New Hampshire mentions that he Samuel) was a young brother of John Aiken. Chase writes that He took the scenic route stopping at Portsmouth and Greenland where they might have lived for a short while before continuing on to the America colonies. The Scots-Irish who settled in Chester were early settlers although not the earliest European settlers. However, they soon became the largest group of settlers there. Samuel purchased one half of lot No. 32 in Chester on 22 June 1738. He later bought the other half for his sons, James and Peter. Samuel is mentioned in the town and church records but not as often as his older brother.
The Rev. John Wilson became the minister of the First Presbyterian Church in 1734. They worshiped in private homes until 1749 when the church was built. Samuel was one of the men in a committee to “examine the collector’s list” in 1743/4 and 1745 and again in 1749.

The Presbyterian Church seemed to be the center of this community, made up mostly of Scots-Irish immigrants. The government of the church was led by the Pastor but controlled by the elders. There must have been a very strong sense of democracy in this little town. Many of the Aikens and their cousin participated in the Revolutionary War. I imagine (and this is just my imagination) strong preachers who emulated the fierce image of John Knox of Scotland and the independence of pioneers in a new world.

Samuel AIKEN died about 1788. His wife survived him nine years and died in Chester in 1797. Only daughter, Sarah and son Samuel seemed to have remained in Chester until their deaths.


1. "History of Old Chester, From 1719 to 1869" by Benjamin Chase, 1869

2. "Probate Records of the Province of New Hampshire" Vol. 4, 1750-1753 State Papers Series Vol 34, Edited by Otis G. Hammond, 1933, 974.2 Rec 21.2-4
3. "History of Chester, New Hampshire" a Supplement to the History of Old Chester," compiled and published by John Carroll Chase, 1926; 974.22  CHE 3.60

4. Internet

5. Roots Web surname searches "CNIDR I search -cgi 1.20.06" Akin Family by Marci
6. Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History

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