This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Few men enjoy a more desirable and extensive fame than the subject of this narrative. For a long coarse of years, he has been favorably known on both sides of the Atlantic, on account of his zealous and persevering efforts to promote pomology and the rural arts. His indefatigable labors, aside from his mercantile pursuits, have contributed largely for the advancement of American horticulture and agriculture. For many of the facts in this article, we acknowledge our indebtedness to biographical sketches, recently published in the American Portrait Gallery, and in the Merchants' Magazine.
Marshall PincknEy Wilder was born September 22, 1798, in Rindge, N. H, a town which has given many worthy citizens to the republic, and many devoted disciples to the church. Among these may be noticed Rev. Edward Payson, D. D., of Portland, Me., whose praise is in all our churches; Hon. Addison Gardner, of Rochester, late Lieutenant Governor, and at present Judge of the Supreme Court; and Hon. George P. Barker, recently Attorney General, of New York; all nurtured in the same district school with Mr. Wilder; all consecrated at the same baptismal fount This town is situated in Cheshire County, twenty miles south-east of Keene.
He was the eldest of ten children. His father, Samuel Loch Wilder, Esq, who derived his christian name from an uncle, one of the Presidents of Harvard College, was a worthy merchant and farmer, who, in boyhood, moved to that place from Lancaster, Mass,* and who has there been honored with many municipal and State offices, and still lives in a green old age. His paternal ancestors performed valuable services in the suppression of Shay's insurrection, in the Indian and Revolutionary wars, and in the formation of the American government. "Of all the ancient Lancaster families," says the Worcester Magazine, + "there is no one that has sustained so many important offices as that of the Wilders".
His mother was Mrs. Anna Sherwin Wilder, a lady of good natural endowments, nervous temperment, lively imagination, quick sensibility, and devoted piety. She was passionately fond of rural life; and early took him with her into the garden to dress and keep it There she infused into him the spirit, and nurtured in him the taste which has subsequently honored her memory and distinguished her first-born. Nor did she neglect his intellectual, moral, and religious culture. In all these, she was a help meet to her husband.
Having given their son the advantages of the district school, his parents sent him, at the age of twelve years, to the Academy in New Ipswich, in the hope that he might seek a public education, and prepare for one of the learned professions. But he pre ferred more active life; and after a period spent in this institution, and under a classical teacher at home, a period during which he nearly completed his preparation for admission to college, they gave him his choice to continue his studies, to enter the store with his father, or to labor on the farm.
Of these three pursuits, he at once relinquished the idea of professional life; and after considerable deliberation between mercantile business and agriculture, he chose the latter. But he had not been long occupied therein, when his father's business demanded his sen-ices in the store; and he reversed his decision, and resolved to be a merchant His father assigned him the place of the youngest apprentice, with the promise of advancement as he grew in age and wisdom. This was a severe trial to his youthful ambition. But it was necessary, in order to give him a thorough knowledge of business, to form in him a habit of endurance and perseverance, to qualify him to take a leading part in a large mercantile establishment, and to make him the arbiter of his own fortune. Humiliating as this assignment may have been to his pride, yet it exploded his boyish and anti-republican theories of distinction by birth and ancestry of inheriting rather than earning a fortune, and of accidental and favorable turns of fortune which have no enduring subjective basis, and which therefore the storms and the flood carry away.
* Book of the Lockes, pp.81, 90,198. † Vol II, p.45.
Having served his apprenticeship under the watchful eye and the approving smile of his father, formed a good character, the best part of a young man's capital, and obtained his majority. In 1820 he was admitted junior partner in the firm, which was denominated " Samuel L. Wilder & Son," and which from that time to 1825 transacted an extensive and profitable business. During a part of that period, he acted as post master in the town.
On the last evening of the year 1820, he married Miss Tryphoso Jewett, daughter of Dr. Stephen Jewett, of that place, an amiable and intelligent lady, by whom he had six children, and who died suddenly, August 1, 1831.* By a second marriage, August 29, 1833, he was united to Miss Abby Baker, of Franklin, Mass, daughter of Captain David Baker, an accomplished and devoted lady, by whom he had six children, and who died of consumption April 4th, 1854. Of his twelve children, seven still survive to mourn with him over the afflictions which have so often interrupted the family circle and overwhelmed them with sorrow.
Colonel Wilder naturally partakes of that military passion which distinguished his ancestors. This was early developed. When he was but eighteen years of age, he received an appointment in the staff of the twelfth regiment of N. H. Militia. When he was twenty-one, he received a commission as Adjutant in the same body, an office which he soon resigned to take the command of the Rindge Light Infantry. This company he did much toward raising and equiping in the best military style. After two years, he was elected Lieutenant Colonel; and the next year, at the age of twenty-five, Colonel of the regiment The latter of these offices he resigned at the close of the year on account of his removal to Boston, being then in the line of rapid promotion. In the city of his adoption, he joined the ancient and honorable Artillery Company, which consists of commissioned officers either in actual service, or whose term has expired, and of which he is still a member.