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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 707-709 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The first Wilder known in history was Nicholas, a military chieftain in the army of the Earl of Richmond at the battle of Bosworth in 1485. The fact that Wilder is a German name, and that it is quite common in Germany, would indicate that he was one of those who came with the earl from France and landed at Milford Haven. On April 15, 1497, King Henry VII. gave his friend as a token of favor a landed estate with a coat-of-arms. The family seat was at Shiplake until 1777, when Henry Wilder, LL.D., sold Shiplake House on the west bank of the Thames and purchased Purley Hall, two miles from Sutham, and six miles from Reading, Berkshire county, England, and which is still the family seat.

(I) Thomas Wilder, of the fourth generation from Nicholas Wilder, was born and died at Shiplake. He died in 1634. His widow, Martha Wilder, left Shiplake in May, 1638, for the American colonies. The presumption is strong that Martha was the widow of Thomas Wilder, of Shiplake, England, and that Thomas Wilder, of Charlestown, Massachusetts, was the son of Thomas and Martha Wilder. In the year 1638 there were in the colony of Massachusetts Bay five persons of the name of Wilder, supposed to be of one family. In 1638 the ship "Confidence" sailed from Southampton with emigrants for Massachusetts Bay, and in the list of passengers was the widow, Martha Wilder, and her daughter Mary. There were already there Thomas, Elizabeth and Edward Wilder, who are believed to have been the children of Thomas and Martha Wilder, whom the widowed mother had sent with friends to the colonies while she disposed of her effects, settled her business and after a short time followed them.

(II) Thomas (2) Wilder, emigrant ancestor, was made a freeman in Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1651, having been received into the church in March, 1640. He filled positions of trust, and was a man of Christian character and business capacity. In 1659 he removed with his family to (now) Lancaster, where he resided until his death in 1667. He was elected selectman of Lancaster in 1660, holding the office until death. He owned a farm of five hundred acres near the center of the present town of Lancaster, which he left by will to his widow Anna, three sons, Thomas (3), John, Nathaniel, and daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Thomas (3) and his mother were the executors. Until 1710 the descendants of Thomas Wilder, the emigrant, were all in the immediate vicinity of Lancaster, which then embraced the larger part of what is now Leominster, Sterling and Clinton, so that a residence in any part of these towns does not imply a removal. Many of the name still occupy the farms held by their forefathers.

(III) John, son of Thomas (2) and Anna Wilder, was born in 1646. He married, in 1673, Hannah ————. At the Indian war he fled from Lancaster to Charlestown, where two of his children were baptized. It is supposed that he returned to Lancaster after the war was over, but the time of his death is not known. He was one of the original proprietors of Worcester, Massachusetts, but it is not known that he ever resided there. He had four sons and two daughters, most of whom lived in South Lancaster (now Clinton), from which it is believed the family home was there. He owned a good deal of land, and was a farmer. Children:

  1. John, see forward;
  2. Thomas, married Sarah Sawyer;
  3. Hannah, died September 26, 1728;
  4. James, born 1681;
  5. Ebenezer, married Mary ————; died December 25, 1728;
  6. Anna, married Joseph Willard, a colonel commanding a fort at Brattleboro, Vermont.

(IV) John (2), son of John (1) and Hannah Wilder, was baptized July 12, 1673. He was a farmer of Lancaster. He married Sarah Sawyer. Children:

  1. Jonas, married Eunice Beaman;
  2. Josiah, married Prudence Keyes;
  3. Mary, married William Richardson;
  4. Hannah, born March 4, 1708;
  5. Jonathan, see forward;
  6. John, married Prudence Wilder;
  7. Thankful, born April 15, 1715;
  8. William, married Sarah Sawyer.

(V) Jonathan, son of John (2) and Sarah (Sawyer) Wilder, was born October 15, 1710. He was a farmer of Lancaster, Massachusetts, where he was born and died. He married, in 1738, Zerviah Houghton. Children:

  1. Silas, died in childhood;
  2. Silas (2), of Sterling, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Sawyer, and had issue;
  3. Martha, born February 16, 1751;
  4. Hannah, born March 22, 1753, died 1845;
  5. Calvin, of Lancaster, married Sukey Celandine, and had issue;
  6. Elihu, see forward;
  7. Martha, born November 3, 1761.

(VI) Elihu, son of Jonathan and Zerviah (Houghton) Wilder, was born February 11, 1760. He was a farmer of Lancaster and of Sterling, where he died. He was also a manufacturer of bricks, and in a small way established the business carried on by later generations. He was an active member of the Unitarian church. He married Prudence Manning. Children:

  1. Jones, born May 7, 1791, died November, 1861; succeeded to the homestead farm, and continued the brickmaking business founded by his father; married Arethusa Manning, his cousin; children:
    1. Mark, married Nancy J. Stoddard;
    2. Salem, married Betsey S. Shaw;
    3. Emily;
    4. Fordyce, twice married;
    5. Eliza, married James P. Wickes;
    6. Adaline A., married Charles D. Newton;
    7. Jones Warren, married Jane E. Raymore. He was for many years connected with the Butterick Company. He became president of the company, and lived to see it develop from a very small beginning to a great and prosperous corporation. George Wilder, his son, is the present head of the company, and a resident of New York City.
  2. Spencer, see forward.
  3. Prudence, married ———— Smith, a farmer of Princeton, Massachusetts.
  4. Flavel, married, March 2, 1827, Laura Taylor, in Rindge, New Hampshire, and removed to Denmark, Lee county, Iowa, where he became a wealthy farmer and died in old age, leaving six children.
  5. Anna, married Ebenezer Smith.
  6. Mahala, married Stacey Lindsey, a merchant of Prescott, Massachusetts, where both died in old age, leaving issue.
  7. Ivory, born December 21, 1804, married, April 8, 1830, Louisa Wilson. He was a farmer and hotel proprietor of Princeton, Massachusetts, and died at the age of eighty years, leaving four children.

(VII) Spencer, son of Elihu and Prudence (Manning) Wilder, was born in 1798, died in Sterling, Massachusetts, 1866. He succeeded to the brick manufacturing business of which he was the third generation to operate. He enlarged and extended the business, opened new fields or markets, and was very successful in his undertakings. He retired in his later years to a farm near Sterling, where he died. He was one of the best known men in the state, and ranked high in business circles. He married Harriet Rugg, born in Sterling, Massachusetts, March 30, 1801, died there August 23, 1892, eldest of the thirteen children of Luther and Ruth (Jewett) Rugg. Luther Rugg was born April 12, 1770, died at the age of ninety-two years. He was the son of Amos, born March 20, 1746, and Sarah, his wife, born September 13, 1749. Of the children born to Luther and Ruth (Jewett) Rugg, nearly all grew to years of maturity, married and had issue. They are:

  1. Harriet, married Spencer Wilder;
  2. Mason;
  3. Luther (2);
  4. Amos;
  5. Ruth;
  6. Eliza;
  7. John A.;
  8. Adolphys;
  9. Augustus R.;
  10. Prentiss M., father of Judge Alfred P. and Oliver Rugg, of Worcester, Massachusetts.

The children of Spencer and Harriet (Rugg) Wilder are:

  1. Harriet, born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, died in St. Louis, Missouri; married Anderson Arnott, a leading liveryman and public man of St. Louis; he carried on a most extensive business, and was known all over the Mississippi Valley; he furnished all the equipages used at the funeral of President Lincoln at Springfield, and was in charge of that portion of the ceremonies; he was born in Virginia.
  2. Jane, died in young womanhood, unmarried.
  3. Spencer Augustus, see forward.

Two children died young.

(VIII) Spencer Augustus, only son of Spencer and Harriet (Rugg) Wilder, was born in Rutland, Massachusetts. He obtained his early education in the public schools, and completed his studies at Leceister [Leicester?] and Munson academies, and Powers' Institute at Barnstable, Massachusetts (or Barnstead). He adopted teaching as his profession, and for several years taught at Northfield, Massachusetts, and elsewhere. Failing health obliged him to abandon that line of work, and he went west to St. Louis, where he remained five years. In 1867 he became associated with the Butterick Company, and began the work of introducing their patterns and specialties to the western trade. They were comparatively new and unknown at that time, but through hard work and intelligent effort Mr. Wilder met with an abundant success, and did much to establish in popular favor this now strong and prosperous company. He traveled constantly for seven years for the company, and then retired from their employ. In 1871 he settled in Schenectady, where he established a dry goods and millinery store, which he conducted until 1890, when he retired from active business. He is a Republican in politics. He married, November 6, 1870, Mary Vedder, born in Rotterdam, Schenectady county, New York, in 1834, died in Schenectady, October 6, 1890, a daughter of one of the oldest of the Dutch families of the Mohawk Valley. She was a member of the First Reformed Church of Schenectady, and a most capable business woman. She was her husband's trusted business associate, and contributed in a marked degree to his successful business career. Mr. Wilder has no children. He resides in Schenectady, at 17 North Ferry street. His life has been an active, useful one, and the success he has attained financially has been fairly won and richly deserved.

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