Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Accident Prone? Aaron B. Wilkinson (1827 – 1897) of Portland, Maine


Aaron B. Wilkinson was born about 1827 in Madbury, New Hampshire, the son of Rufus Wilkinson (1800 – 1868) and his wife Catherine Bunker.  He is my 2nd cousin 4 generations removed. Our closest common ancestor is James Wilkinson (born about 1730 in Berwick Maine) and his wife Hannah Mead. My third great grandfather was also named Aaron Wilkinson (1802 – 1879). 

Cousin Aaron B. Wilkinson was married twice, first to Elizabeth Edwards in 1852, and to Caroline Waterhouse on 3 November 1873.  His marriage to Elizabeth ended in October 1873 due to divorce (he wasted no time in marrying Caroline!) I could not find records of children from either marriage. 

During the Civil War Aaron served in the 5th Maine Regiment, Company B from 24 June 1861 to 17 September 1861 when he was listed as deserted two days after he was reported sick in Alexandria, Virginia.  This was about a month after this company fought in the First Battle of Bull Run in nearby Manassas, just 30 miles from Washington, D. C.  The newspaper of Saco, Maine The Maine Democrat, ran an article on 10 September 1861 where members of the Biddeford Company of Volunteers (Company B) ran a statement “We, the undersigned, members of the Biddeford Company of Volunteers, having been present with the 5th reg't of Maine during the whole time it was under fire at Bull Run, and having seen a statement repeated in the Union and Journal, printed at Biddeford, to the effect that Capt. Goodwin did not have command of his company on the battlefield, do wish most emphatically to deny that statement.     We wish to assert that Capt. Goodwin did command his company at Bull Run, and that Lieut. Stevens did not.  Lieut. Stevens was present and did his duty.  Capt. Goodwin was also present and did his duty well and bravely as commander of the Company.”  Aaron B. Wilkinson was one of the 22 names listed under this statement.

After I found this news clipping above, I had a lot of fun finding other information about Aaron B. Wilkinson in newspapers.  There was little about his life in other sources.  Censuses and city directories list him as a railroad employee, but the news clippings were fantastic and full of fun details!

Portland Daily Press, Thursday, 25 April 1867, Portland, Maine, Volume 6, page 3

"Municipal Court

Judge Kingsbury Presiding

Wednesday..... John Henderson, for assault and batery on Aaron Wilkinson, was found [sic] $5.00 and costs.  Committed"

The next news notice was in the Daily Eastern Argus, Wednesday 29 July 1868, Portland, Maine, Volume 36, Issue 147, page 3

"Shocking Accident - Aaron Wilkinson, a watchman at the P.S. & P. R. R., was engaged in firing up a locomotive, Monday, and used a can of naphtha to ignite the wood more quickly.  His foot slipped and the fluid flew up on his bare arms and at the same time took fire.  He screamed for a bucked [sic] of water and at the same time with his hands scraped the flames from his arms, taking the flesh at the same time, laying the cords and muscles bare to the wrists.  He was at once attended by a physician, who dressed the injuries as best he could under the circumstances, and had the man carried to his home.  It was a terrible accident, which may result in permanent injury."

Then this notice of another accident in the train yard was run in the Boston Herald, Saturday, 5 April 1873, Boston, Massachusetts, page 6.

"Portland, April 4, Aaron Wilkinson, employed as a switchman for the Eastern Road at the company's grounds on Turner's Island, near this city, as he was attempting to block a freight train going slowly at that spot, Wednesday afternoon, was struck by the stick of timber he was using in such a way that he was fatally injured.  He vomited blood when he was taken home.  He was about forty years of age."

Of course, we know that it was not a fatal accident, and soon after this accident Aaron was divorced, remarried, and lived to be enumerated in the 1880 Census with “Carrie” his wife. And then a third accident in the train yard was reported in the Portland Daily Press, Saturday 27 November 1886, Portland, Maine, Volume 24, page 2.

"Cape Elizabeth...

The hoisting gear of an engine used in hoisting coal for a Maine Central engine gave way and a large tub filled with coal fell and struck Mr. Aaron Wilkinson of Cape Elizabeth, inflicting serious wounds on his head and one shoulder, and slivering the bone of the right leg."

Aaron B. Wilkinson died in Portland, Maine on 8 November 1873.  The last news clipping I found recorded the death.  No cause of death was given.  Let's hope that poor Aaron was retired from railroad work and died peacefully at home! 

Portland Daily Press, Thursday 9 December 1897, Portland, Maine, Volume 35, page 6


.... In Pleasantdale, Dec. 8, Aaron Wilkinson aged 70 years 11 months.  [Funeral on Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock from his late residence, Kelsey Street.]"


Immigrant Ancestor Thomas Wilkinson "of London" (about 1690 – Before 1739) m. Elizabeth Caverly

Gen. 2                            James Wilkinson  (1730 – about 1800) m. Hannah Mead

Gen. 3     Daniel Wilkinson m. Hannah Weymouth                William Wilkinson m. Mercy Nason

Gen. 4     Rufus Wilkinson m. Catherine Bunker         Aaron Wilkinson (1802 – 1879) m. Mercy Wilson

Gen. 5     Aaron B. Wilkinson (1827 – 1897)                Robert Wilson Wilkinson m. Phebe Cross Munroe

Gen. 6                                                                               Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill

Gen. 7                                                                        Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts

                                                                                                              (my grandparents)

Aaron B. Wilkinson (1827 – 1897) was my 4th great grandfather’s (Aaron Wilkinson (1802 – 1879) 2nd cousin one generation removed.  These are only two Aaron Wilkinsons in my notes about the descendants of Thomas Wilkinson, so it was not a common first name.


To Cite/Link to this post:  Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Accident Prone?  Aaron B. Wilkinson (1827 – 1897) of Portland, Maine", Nutfield Genealogy, posted March 2, 2021, ( https://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2021/03/accident-prone-aaron-b-wilkinson-1827.html: accessed [access date]). 

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