ALDRIDGE, CHRISTOPHER, Jr, military officer; son of Christopher Aldridge Sr; d. 1760 in England.
Christopher Aldridge Jr followed his father in a military career in the 40th regiment, serving in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. In July 1734 as “Eldest Ensign” stationed in Nova Scotia, he was promoted lieutenant. A friend of the Pelhams had evidently been interested in the opening, and King Gould, the regimental agent in London, commented to the elder Aldridge: “Lucky was it for us that the Duke of Newcastle [Pelham-Holles] was out of Town!” After his father’s departure from Canso in 1735, Christopher Jr continued to serve there. In March 1737/38 he was entrusted with the handling of King Gould’s Canso trade goods, for which he was allowed “to Charge Commission for yr. trouble.” In May 1744 he was among the English officers captured at Canso and taken to Louisbourg, Île Royale (Cape Breton Island). After his exchange, he reported, along with other officers, to Governor William Shirley* of Massachusetts the state of Louisbourg’s garrison and fortifications. Shirley claimed Aldridge’s information was a cause for his setting “on foot the late Expedition against the French settlement there.” Armed with a letter of introduction from Shirley to Christopher Kilby, the London agent of the Massachusetts government, as well as a promise that Shirley would write the Duke of Newcastle on his behalf, Aldridge set out for England in 1745. Rewards were not long in coming: he received a captaincy in the 40th regiment in January 1745/46 and took command of his father’s company upon Christopher Sr’s death in March.
In the spring of 1746 he left England, depositing some regimental recruits at St John’s, Newfoundland, and proceeding to Boston and then on to Annapolis Royal with clothing for the troops stationed there. The following year he served as intermediary in the abortive attempt made by his brother-in-law, John Bradstreet*, to purchase Sir William Pepperrell’s military commission and regiment (the 51st). Shortly thereafter he began the Newfoundland service which was to consume the remaining years of his life. By 1749 Aldridge was serving with his company at St John’s where he encountered the same problem as his father had at Canso – conflict between civil and military authorities. In 1753, for example, a private in Aldridge’s company was arrested on the orders of Justice William Keen for stealing three potatoes, held in jail for 20 days, and, though no one appeared against him, given 21 lashes. Aldridge then complained to Otho Hamilton, lieutenant governor of Placentia, about Keen, “who Commits Soldiers when he thinks proper.” Hamilton himself had often advocated controls over the civil authorities, particularly Newfoundland’s justices of the peace.
A report to the Board of Trade in 1757 tells something about St John’s during this period. The fortifications were in bad repair, with one of the batteries at the harbour entrance “being hardly able to support the Guns mounted, and totally exposed.” Near Fort William were a number of huts, some erected by soldiers of the garrison who, considering them “their propertys,” had signed several over “to the Merchants and Agents for Debts Contracted.” A 1750 report says that St John’s had “twelve Taverns or Publick Houses” – perhaps a cause of indebtedness.
In March 1758 Aldridge was promoted major. He requested leave that September to return to England to recover from sickness and was granted permission the following spring. He apparently did go back to England; General Jeffery Amherst* received word of his death in a letter sent from England in December 1760.
His will, proved in November 1760, named as his beneficiaries his wife Martha and son Christopher, a lieutenant in the 40th regiment.
Mass. Hist. Soc., Belknap papers, 61.A.130. National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth), Tredegar Park collection,