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Relzy Mitchell Aikin
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Birth: Mar. 23, 1841
Death: Dec. 18, 1912
Nuckolls County
Nebraska, USA

From The History of Fresno County by Paul E Vandor, published 1919

JOHN W. AIKIN A prominent citizen of exceptional ability and influential as a man of afiairs, who is such a good "booster" for Selma and vicinity that he is naturally found actively identified with every important movement for the development and uplift of the community, is John William Aikin, the office manager of the Libby, McNeill & Libby Cannery at Selma.

He was born in Clark County, Iowa, on October 12, 1868, the son of Relzy Mitchel Aikin. a native of Martinsville, Morgan County, Ind., a district in which the Aikins were pioneers. He had married Talitha L. Stansbury. of Iowa. The parents in an early day settled in Indiana, later removing to Illiois, and from that State Relzy M. Aikin enlisted in Companv B of the Thirtythird Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in which he served from 1861 to 1864. After the War he went to Iowa, and there married Miss Stansbury. Her family progenitors, of English and Welsh origin, settled in Virginia in Colonial times, and some of the family later removed to Maryland ; and there is a stone
house still standing in Baltimore which has been continuously occupied by the family for two hundred years, and was originally built by one of them. Having become a farmer and a stockman, R. M. Aikin removed to Nuckolls County, Nebr., in 1872, and there he was
ranching when, in 1874, the grasshoppers desolated the land. He was a member of the Nebraska legislature from 1883 to 1889, and for a term was Assistant Secretary of the Nebraska State Board of Irrigation. He made many trips to California, but never settled here, and he died in Nuckolls County in 1912, where he owned a halfsection of land. His
wife is still living at Nelson, Nebr. She was the mother of six children, among whom John W. was the oldest. Then came Luella. who died when she was two and a half years old ; Oliver L., a Nebraska farmer who is living on the old Aikin homestead which was taken up
by Relzy Aikin under the homestead act; Mary Ellen, the wife of William Wetzel, the butcher at Superior, Nebr.: Hattie Leola, now Mrs. Bert Hewitt, residing at Republican, Nebr.; and Charlotte Grace, the wife of Frank W. Fletcher, living near Edgar, Nebr. John
W Aikin was only three and a half years old when he removed from Iowa to Nebraska, with his parents, and later he helped to break the virgin soil of Nebraska. He attended the high school at Edgar, Nebr., and took a commercial course at the Lillibridge & Roose
business college at Lincoln. Then he became a pedagog and taught in Nebraska for three years, after which he came on to Selma, where an uncle, J. A. Roberts, now of Sanger, then lived. He received a notary public's commission, and took up the collection business. In 1895. Mr. Aikin began studying law with Mr. B. Good, and this he continued
under the direction of E. E. Shepard. but in the fall of 1899. when he had been reading law for three years, and just before he was to take the examination at Sacramento, he was induced to go into the newspaper business. He accordingly leased the office of the Fresno
County Enterprise, a weekly owned by Willis & Willis, and during the first year Frank G. Gill became associated with him, their cooperation extending over two years. Then Mr. Aikin purchased the entire plant and became its sole owner. In 1906 he completed the
brick building on High Street, which is still the home of the Enterprise. This plant of the Enterprise he sold in 1911; and about five vears later, he disposed of the building. From 1896 to 1900, Mr. Aikin served as City Clerk of Selma, and when the time was
opportune, he was a prime mover in securing the Carnegie Library, serving on the committee and as a member of the Library Board. In 1912 he removed with his family to Long Beach, and there engaged in the real estate trade: but like so many others who have
once lived in Selma and are never entirely satisfied to dwell anywhere else, he returned here in 1914. Messrs. Libby, McNeill & Libby had started their local fruit and vegetable
cannery in 1911. when they built a unit of their proposed works; and as editor of the Enterprise, Mr. Aikin had had much to do with their locating here. On October 4, 1915, therefore, Mr. Aikin went to work for them, starting in various subordinate capacities until he rose to be office manager. This extensive establishment and its output have
become of the greatest importance to Selma and the San Joaquin Valley, and there have been several new departures of late. In 1919 for the first time, for example, they are canning beets, and this year also spinach is being grown for and canned by them. The
company has encouraged the farmers to plant the edible, and they will seek to make it more popular as a wholesome and desirable food. It can be planted in the fall and disposed of by April, so that the land can then be used for corn or beans, and the neighborhood become a two-crop country. At Selma, in 1897, Mr. Aikin was married to Miss
Mary Gertrude Brown, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Brown, the latter now a widow residing on North McCall Avenue in Selma ; and two children have blessed their union: Viola Leonora is now the wife of Glenn W. Butler, a member of the postal service, stationed at Selma. and they have two children Glenn W., and Jack Aikin ; Relzy B. Aikin
is in the Selma high school and will graduate with the Class of 1920. Mr. Aikin has remodelled his residence property at the corner of Grant and North Streets, and there he has one of the most comfortable of Selma homes. In 1910 he became a Christian Scientist, and he is the first reader of the First Christian Science Society at Selma. Services are held in the Vanderburgh Hall of the Selma Irrigator Building, and although the So- ciety is not large, it is steadilly growing and looking forward to the building of an ornate
and useful church edifice. As a charter member, Mr. Aikin helped to organize the Selma Lodge of the Woodmen of the World ; now it has 500 members, and he has been through the chairs three times. He is also a member of the Independent Order of Foresters, and has passed through its several chairs. While doing newspaper work, Mr. Aikin for a while
served on the Republican county central committee, but this did not prevent him, when he became interested in temperance reform and convinced that Selma (at one time harboring many saloons) needed prohibitive legislation, from throwing himself into the thick of the
bitter anti-saloon fight. Through his editorials, he made the Enterprise speak in no uncertain terms for a dry and decent town ; he was bitterly persecuted for his uncompromizing attitude ; and yet he saw Selma go dry in' 1904, the first town in the San Joaquin Valley to "mount the water-wagon," and also witnessed the dawn of
constitutional prohibition.

Bio from Gary Mumper (#46489843) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Talitha L Stansbury Aikin (1849 - 1932)*
 
 Children:
  John William Aikin (1868 - 1929)*
  Oliver Lewis Aikin (1874 - 1949)*
  Mary Ellen Aikin Wetzel (1878 - 1932)*
  Harriett L Aikin Hewitt (1882 - 1960)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Inscription:
Co.B 33Rd ILL. Vol. INFT
 
Burial:
Nelson Cemetery
Nelson
Nuckolls County
Nebraska, USA
Plot: Block 1 Lot 12, Grave 1
 
Created by: Marilyn Sanner Keim
Record added: Jun 01, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27247536
Relzy Mitchell Aikin
Added by: Marilyn Sanner Keim
 
Relzy Mitchell Aikin
Cemetery Photo
Added by: John R.
 
 
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


- Peggy Bargen Duey
 Added: Jun. 7, 2012

- Row Walker
 Added: May. 7, 2012
 
 
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