Today would have been the 136th birthday of my great-grandfather, Willard Holt Eldredge. He was born on July 18, 1882 in Willington, CT, the third son of six children and the youngest child of William Hunt Eldredge (1826-1889) and Adelaide Frances Holt (1846-1922).
Willard’s father died when he was seven years old (and his next eldest brother, Walter, was nine)- and his mother never remarried. His eldest brother, Charles and one of his sisters, Mamie, remained at home – the sister never marrying – to help mother run the farm and care for the younger children. Charles was 29 when their father died – and Mamie was 26.
In a newspaper article, Willard’s playing of the alto horn was mentioned when he was 17 (in 1899). “The Congregational audience room was prettily and tastefully decorated as appropriate for the day last Sunday. Willard Eldredge’s alto horn, J.F. Whittford’s violin, the organ, Rev. A Gardner’s singing of “The Union Dixie” and the rendition by the choir of…”
On October 25, 1905, he married Olive May Lougee (1883-1956), daughter of Louis Fremont Lougee and Elvira May Smith. She gave him five sons that survived to adulthood and one daughter, that died within three months of birth. Howard Willard (1907-1952), my grandfather, Lester Fremont (1909-1991), Hazel Irene (1910-1910), Walter Sherwood (Jan 1912-1978), Louis William (Sept 1912-1970) and Charles Gilbert (1914-1985).
They lived in New London County, CT most of their married lives – Waterford, East Lyme, Old Lyme, etc. Olive died on Jan 9, 1956 when Willard was 73. He remarried the next year to Gertrude Button (1908-1995) on July 27, 1957 – and was dead within four months, on Nov 26, 1957 – under what many consider very suspicious circumstances.
Willard Holt Eldredge – Lester Fremont Eldredge – Charles S. Eldridge – me