Dwight A. Aiken was born in Oswego, New York, during 1832 and moved with his parents to Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1848. From 1852 to 1861, he was a bookkeeper with a grocery store in Detroit. At the start of the Civil War, he became a captain in the Commissary Department of the Federal army and was stationed at Camp Nelson, Jessamine County, Kentucky, from 1863 to 1864.
After the war, he worked for the Campbell, Curley & Company, distillers at Camp Nelson. In 1874, he leased the Lexington Distillery and operated as the D. A. Aiken & Company until 1882. After a fire and other financial problems, he was forced into receivership, Aiken left Lexington. [i]
[i] Perrin, page 662.