Alden, Dexter  


Dexter Alden, deceased, in his lifetime a prominent merchant and manufacturer of New Haven, was of the seventh generation in direct descent from John and Priscilla (Mullens) Alden.

The history of the family in America begins with the coming of John Alden to Massachusetts. He was born in England in 1599, was married in 1621 and died at Duxbury September 12, 16S7. His wife's parents came over with him in the Mayflower, to die in the February succeeding their landing. John Alden and his wife had eleven children, of whom (II) Joseph, the second child, was born in 1624 and died in 1697. He was admitted a freeman in 1659. Of his five children, (III) Joseph, born in 1667, is in the ancestral line. (III) Joseph Alden became a deacon in the Congregational church. He lived in what is now South Bridgewater, was a noted character in the history of his times and died in 1747. In 1690 he was married to Hannah Denham, of Plymouth, a daughter of Daniel Denham, and they became the parents of ten children. (IV) Samuel Alden, eighth child of Joseph, was born in 1705 and died in 1785. In 1728 he married Abiah Edson, a daughter of Capt. Joseph Edson, and they were the parents of nine children of whom (V) Josiah Alden, the fifth in order of birth, born in 1738, was the ancestor of Dexter Alden. Josiah Alden, born in Ludlow, Mass., settled in Bridgewater. In 1761 he married Bathsheba Jones and he became the father of nine children, of whom Benjamin, the youngest son, was the father of Dexter Alden.

(VI) Benjamin Alden was born in 1781 and died in 1841. Mary Hodges, called "Polly," who became his wife, was born in 1783 and died in 1865. They had seven children: Mary, Jefferson, Caroline, David, Dexter, Lucinda and Eliza.

Dexter Alden was born in Ludlow, Massachusetts, October 13, 1812. He was married twice, first time to Eliza, daughter of Leverite and Esther Griswold, of New Haven. Their daughter, Anna Griswold Alden, married William L. Fields, president of the National Tradesmen's Bank, in New Haven. On Dec. 30, 1857, Mr. Alden married Margaret E. Feeter, daughter of John and Nancy (Failing) Feeter, of Little Falls, New York. The Feeters constitute an old and honored family in the Mohawk Valley section of New York, and Mrs. Alden's grandfather, Col. William Feeter, was one of the bravest patriots in his section during the Revolutionary war and in the stirring scenes that led up to it. He belonged to the corps of forty picked men known as the "Tryon County Bulldogs." Col. William Feeter died at the age of eighty-eight years, in 1844. He reared fourteen children of his own to maturity and took into his own home, and cared for as he did his own, six children belonging to poor families in his neighborhood.

John Feeter, the father of Mrs. Alden, was reared at the old Feeter homestead on Top Notch, which is now known as the Goodell and Pickett farms, in the town of Little Falls, where he was born November 30, 1804. On September 17, 1829, he was married, at St. Johnsville, to Nancy Failing. For many years they followed farming and in 1847 removed to Little Falls, where Mr. Feeter did considerable contracting. His brother, Adam Feeter, was the first post rider between Newport and Albany, and for three years his father, Col. Feeter, who was a close friend of Gen. Herkimer, maintained the expenses of this ancient mail service. John and Nancy Feeter had children as follows: Jacob, a prominent lawyer of New York city; Margaret E., Mrs. Alden; Farmelia, Mrs. French, of Buffalo; Gertrude, Mrs. Cruttenden; Cynthia, Mrs. Walker, of Utica; and Mary C., Mrs. Easterbrook. The descendants comprise seventeen grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Dexter Alden came to New Haven when a young lad, and became associated with a Mr. Allis, proprietor of the leading hotel in New Haven, as his steward. In early manhood Mr. Alden went to Painesville, Ohio, with a party of settlers, but while there contracted the fever and was obliged to return East. He stopped at Little Falls, where he went into a joint stock company, composed of Gordon Trumbull, Washington Van Dreesen, James Aldrich and himself, and organized for the manufacture of carpets and rugs. He was also interested with Mr. Aldrich in a dry goods store at Little Falls, which they sold out after several years' successful management. Mr. Alden disposed of his interest in the factory about the same time and returned to New Haven, where he established a dry goods store in company with a Mr. Huntington, continuing with him until 1862. He then engaged in manufacturing, forming the Elm City Ruffle Company. He was one of the originators in the formation of the American Fish Hook & Needle Company, the first industry of the kind whose work was done by machinery. Mr. Alden also had an interest in a hide and tallow rendering establishment, which was very successful, and became a member of the United States Dairy Company, of New York city, individually purchasing the patent rights for Connecticut for the new process of making oleomargarine. In this business he was eminently successful, his profits from this interest in the month of March, 1883, being over fifty thousand dollars and during that year over two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. The ruffler business proved quite as satisfactory in its way. Mr. Alden also erected many fine residences that were an improvement and ornament to the city.

Mr. Alden was an upright and conscientious man, and during his residence in Little Falls was a deacon in the Presbyterian church. In New Haven he associated himself with the old Center Congregational church, and his daily living was in accord with his religious professions.

To Dexter and Margaret (Feeter) Alden were born the following children: Mary Elizabeth is the wife of Charles Kingsbury Billings, of New York city, and they have six children, Charles Kingsbury, Margaret Louise, Mabel Frances, Julia Holmes, Mary Elizabeth and John Alden. Louise Gertrude is the wife of Lieutenant William L. Howard, U. S. Navy, who was at the battle of Manila, when the Spanish fleet was destroyed, being on the "Boston." In October, 1900, he was put in charge of the gunboat "Bancroft," as executive officer and navigator, was later at Colon, and lated on the "Illinois," which was the flagship to meet Prince Henry of Prussia on his visit. She was sent to England, to represent the United States at the coronation of King Edward VII. Mrs. Alden survived her husband some years. She is now deceased.

A Modern History of New Haven
Eastern New Haven County
Volume II
NewYork Chicago
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
pgs 42 - 45
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Elaine Kidd O'Leary & 
Anne Taylor-Czaplewski
May 2002