Samuel Arlidge, of Deddington, Weedon Bec, and Nether Heyford, England

1870 Letter, Weedon, Northamptonshire, to New Brighton, PA, back

On July 18, 1870, a letter edged in black was mailed from Weedon, Northamptonshire, to New Brighton, Pennsylvania. A handwritten note on the back says that it was received in Pennsylvania on August 4, 1870. Who sent this letter, and what news did it probably contain?

As noted in the last article, William Arlidge of Deddington, England, and New Brighton, Pennsylvania, the baptism records of two of William Arlidge's daughters recorded his residence as the Brick Kiln or Brick Yard in Deddington, England. While looking for William, I found a short autobiography of a Samuel Arlidge, organ builder, who was born in Deddington and brought up at the brickyard there. In 1842 he left for the United States and spent some time in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. He returned to England in 1847.1

This information matched that of William so closely that I felt they must be related. I decided to learn more about Samuel. It turned out that Samuel was William's son from his first marriage.

Samuel Arlidge

Samuel Arlidge was baptized 11 May 1818 in Deddington parish, the son of William and Lucy (Bennett) Arlidge. On 25 Dec 1836, he married Rhoda Billing in Heyford, Northamptonshire. In 1841 Samuel, Rhoda, and two daughters, Hannah and Lucy, were living in Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire. And in 1851 they were in Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire, with children Lucy, Sarah, William, and Comfort.

At this point I should point out that Samuel's autobiography was signed "Samuel Arlidge, husband of Rhoder Arlidge" and was written in 1855 from Lower "Flyford", Northamptonshire, matching his wife's name and their location in the 1850's.

The only step remaining to identify Samuel as the sender of the letter was to put him in Weedon in 1870—He and his family, including a son Thomas and grand daughter Lucy Faulkner, are found in a cottage in Weedon on the 1871 census of Daventry, Northamptonshire.

The Letter

The postal cover was $25 to purchase, and I almost would have been tempted to spend the money if there was a letter enclosed. But the owner of the site (see the credits below) informed me in the past that the accompanying information would have mentioned a letter if there was one. Still, I think we can make an educated guess as to its contents:

Joseph Albert Arlidge was born in the fourth quarter of 1862 in Northampton Union, his mother's maiden name being Billing. He was baptized 29 May 1868 in the parish of Weedon Bec, the same day as his sister Comfort. Their parents were Samuel, an organ maker, and Rhoda. They lived in Weedon. On 7 July 1870, Joseph Arlidge, age 7, was buried from the same parish.

The letter to Pennsylvania was mailed 11 days later. So sadly, William Arlidge learned of the death of his grandson Joseph Albert via this letter. Hopefully this article will tie up a few loose ends of the Arlidge family history, especially if someone is wondering what happened to William Arlidge of Deddington.

There is a brief family tree for William and Samuel Arlidge at William and Samuel Arlidge Family Trees.


^1. You can find the complete autobiography in the PDF at The Tracker, Journal of the Organ Historical Society, Inc., Volume 21, Number 1, Fall 1976 or in The Organist and Choirmaster, Volume 4, Number 42, October 15, 1896 at Google Books.


Censuses of England
Church of England Parish Registers, Deddington and Weedon Bec
The Tracker, Journal of the Organ Historical Society
General Records Office of England and Wales, website.
Google Books


The image of the envelope sent from Weedon, Northamptonshire, to New Brighton, Pennsylvania, is from Jim Forte's Postal History site and is used with his permission. It was for sale at the time of this writing. I am not connected with that site in any way.

My Old Ohio Home
Most of the information here is about my family or my wife’s, or about families with ties to Cleveland, Ohio, or the area near Rostrevor and Kilkeel in County Down, Ireland. There are also some unrelated families included that I came across. Whatever the case, I hope the material is helpful in your own research.
-- Ed Hamilton