Archive:Who Was Aaron Whitney

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Whitney Family Groups > Unconnected Whitney Families > Most Wanted Whitneys > Who Was Aaron Whitney

Aaron Whitney of Fairfield, Somerset Co., Maine - Most Wanted

by Kenneth L. Whitney

Precis: The parentage of Aaron Whitney of Fairfield, ME, is a problem. There is no specific record of his birth, nor documentary proof of his parentage. Nevertheless, a theory about his placement in the Whitney family has been formulated, and can be satisfactorily documented using a combination of primary and secondary sources. Civil records either don’t exist or have yet to be discovered to document all claims within secondary sources. However, I have found the secondary source material to be credible.

Census Evidence:

Aaron Whitney first appears in the U.S. Census of 1850, residing in Waterville, Maine. He is 41 years old, born about 1809 in Maine. Residing with him are Deziah Dillingham, age 39, John and Herman Dillingham, Joseph B. Whitney, age 3, and Benjamin Brand. In this census, Joseph can be deduced to be Aaron’s son and Deziah to be Aaron’s wife. But, why is her last name Dillingham? Possibly a census taker error?

The U.S. Census of 1860 finds Aaron Whitney and family residing in Fairfield, Maine, a town neighboring Waterville. Aaron is 46 years old. Deziah Dillingham is now found as Desire Whitney, now 49 years old, and Joseph is 12 years old. All are born in Maine.

The U.S. Census of 1870 finds Aaron Whitney, age 57 and born in Maine, residing in Fairfield, Maine, with the family of George and Cornelia Gullifer. Deziah is not found in the census and can be assumed to be deceased. The son Joseph is found as Joseph B. Whitney, residing in Fairfield with his wife Ida and infant son Walter.

The 1900 census of Comville, Maine reveals the son Joseph B. Whitney and family residing there. The census shows that Joseph’s father (Aaron) was born in Massachusetts.

The 1810 census of Watertown, MA, reveals Aaron Whitney, Jr. had one male child born between 1805 and 1810.

Primary Source Evidence:

Intention of Marriage between Mr. Aaron Whitney and Miss Keziah Dillingham, both of Fairfield, were published and entered on 25 December 1846 (1).

Aaron Whitney died in Fairfield, Maine on 14 December 1873 (2).

Hannah Abbott, daughter of Joseph Abbott & Ruth, his wife, was born 14 April 1781 in Lincoln, Massachusetts (3).

Aaron Whitney, son of Ezekiel and Katherine Whitney, was born in Watertown, MA on 20 June 1780 (4).

Aaron Whitney of Watertown and Hannah Abbott of Boston were married in Boston on 16 April 1805 (5).


(1). LDS FHL Film #10864, Town & Vital Records of Fairfield, Maine, 1788-1867; LDS FHL, Kensington, MD.

(2). Vital Records of Fairfield, Maine: births, marriages and deaths, 2 volumes; compiled by Christine R. Brown. Found at the D.A.R. Genealogy Library, Washington, D.C. Whitney records were scant, and this was the only record pertaining to this discussion. No marriage intentions were compiled.

(3). Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988;

(4). Vital Records of Watertown, MA; as published on the WRG web site.

(5). Boston, Massachusetts, Marriages, 1700-1809;

Secondary Source Evidence:

(6). The following is contributed by Robert L. Ward:

From: Descendants of George Abbott of Rowley, Mass., of his joint descendants with George Abbott, Sr., of Andover, Mass., etc., by Maj. Lemuel Abijah Abbott, U.S. Army, published in 1906. 2 Volumes, found at the D.A.R. Genealogy Library in Washington D.C.; pp. 416-417.

655 Hannah7 Abbott, b. Apr. 14, 1781; d. -----; m. Aaron Whitney, of Watertown, Mass., a desc. of John and Eleanor Whitney, who embarked from Ipswich, Eng., Apr., 1635, and settled in Watertown, where he was selectman and town clerk. Aaron d. in Watertown.[1]

She m. (2d), prob. in Fairfield, Me., Mr. Litdefield ; had 1 child (8th gen.), b. in Watertown, Mass.:

i. Aaron8 Whitney, b. 1806(?); d. in Fairfield, 1873(?); m. there 1844(?), Keziah Dillingham, dau. of Benjamin, prob. of Sandwich, N.H.; blacksmith and laborer; Repub.; Univ.; had 2 chil. (9th gen.), b. in Fairfield, Me.:

a. Joseph Benjamin9 Whitney, b. Nov. 30, 1847; m. in Fairfield, May 22, 1869, Ida Emma Wyman, b. in Cornville, Somer-

--- ^  Bond's His. of Watertown, 1855, p. 642.

[p. 417]

set Co., Me., Sept. 7, 1852, dan. of John, of Skowhegan, Me.; served in the Civ. War, priv. Co. B, 2d Regt., Me. Vol. Cav., Nov. 16, 1863, to Dec. 20, 1865; res in Corn- ville; has 12 chil. (10th gen.): i. George Everett10 Whit- ney, b. in Fairfield, Mar. 20, 1870; m. in Framingham, Mass., Nellie Dennis. 2. Charles Edwin10 Whitney, b. in Fairfield, Feb. 19, 1872; m. in Harmony, Me., Sadie Lizzie Ames; res. in Cornville. 3. Ervin10 Whitney, b. in Fair- field, Nov. 17, 1874; d. there May 2, 1877. 4. Walter10 Whitney, b. in Fairfield, Mar. 5, 1876; d. there May 7, 1S77. 5. Harry10 Whitney, b. in Fairfield, July 18, 1878; d. there Sept. 20, 1 88 1. 6. Henrietta10 Whitney, b. in Fairfield, Nov. 6, 1880. 7. Richard10 Whitney, b. in Canaan, Me., Feb. II, 1883. 8. Mida Bell10 Whitney, b. in Fairfield, Dec. 13, 1884. 9. Mattie10 Whitney, b. in Fairfield, Jan. 31, 1887. 10. Frederick Ernest10 Whitney, b. in Canaan, May 20, 1888. II. William10 Whitney, b. in Canaan, Aug. 29, 1 891. 12. Grace May10 Whitney, b. in Canaan, Dec. 29, 1893.

b. Dau.,9 b. -----; d. in Fairfield, 1852.


The author tells us that the Aaron Whitney of Fairfield, ME, is the son of Aaron and Hannah (Abbott) Whitney of Watertown, MA. The census and primary source information at hand do not in any way dispute the claim. The footnote concerning Bond’s work seems to intimate that it is the source for the information about the elder Aaron’s ancestry. The detailed, voluminous information concerning Joseph Benjamin Whitney’s family infers to me that Joseph is the source for this information, as well as for the information about his father and grandparents. The fact that his grandmother, Hannah Abbott Whitney, remarried to a Mr. Litdefield (Litchfield, Littlefield?), probably in Fairfield, can be indicative that she was the source of some of Joseph’s knowledge.

(7). A Genealogy of the Dillingham Family of New England; compiled by Winthrop Alexander. Typewritten in 1923.
Note: There is a hand-printed note on the cover of the volume. It says there are 3 copies of the text in existence. The first is in the library of the NEHGS in Boston. The 2nd is in the hands of the compiler. The third copy is this one, in the collection of the D.A.R. Genealogy Library in Washington, D.C.

Page 77, #6049. Benjamin

Son of 528 Benjamin and Desire (Tupper). Born in Sandwich, Mass. In 1812, being of Fairfield, Me., he sold 131 acres in Emden, Me. on which he had lived in 1810 and 1811. He was of Waterville in 1816, 1818, and 1824 as shown by deeds.

He is, with little doubt, the Benjamin, aged 65, who, with Herman, aged 25, was an inmate of the Sandwich almshouse at the census of 1850. Mary Dillingham, aged 57, was also an inmate at that time (possibly his wife, Polly Tozier).

He married 10 April 1805, at Fairfield, Polly Tozier of that town, daughter of John and Hannah. She was born 8 March 1788.

Children: There are 6 mentioned, with a note that there is a possibility of more.

7096 i. John. Born about 1810; living in Waterville in 1850, aged 40, a laborer; with Herman in family of Aaron Whitney.

7097 ii. Keziah. Born about 1812; married (int. 25 Dec. 1846) at Fairfield, Me., Aaron Whitney, son of Aaron and Hannah (Abbott). They had but one child, Joseph B. Whitney, who was living in Cornville (sic.), Me., 1906.


Two independent genealogists, both possibly influenced by information provided by Joseph Benjamin Whitney, have supplied information connecting Aaron Whitney to the Whitney family. These secondary sources are consistent with the meager primary record.

I believe that Keziah Dillingham became Deziah and Desire in the censuses as she wanted to honor her grandmother, Desire Tupper Dillingham. Joseph’s middle name of Benjamin probably honored his grandfather, Benjamin Dillingham.

All of this leads me to believe that Aaron Whitney’s ancestry is: Aaron6, Ezekiel5, John4, Benjamin3, John2, John1).

Copyright © 2013, Kenneth L. Whitney and the Whitney Research Group.