by Ken Raymond
Marshall P. Wilder was born September 22, 1798 in Rindge, NH. He was the son Samuel Locke Wilder Esq. and Anna Sherwin Wilder of Rindge. He married, December 31, 1820 Tryphosa Jewett, the daughter of Dr. Stephen and Nancy (Colburn) Jewett of Rindge, Marshall and Tryphosa had six children. Tryphosa died July 31, 1831. Marshall married 2nd, August 29, 1833, Abigail Baker, a daughter of Capt. David and Jemima (Richardson) Baker of Franklin, MA. Marshall and Abigail had six more children. Abigail died of consumption April 4, 1854. Marshall married a third time September 8, 1855, Julia Baker, a sister of Abigail Baker. Marshall and Julia had two children. Julia died November 15, 1885Marshall P. Wilder died in Dorchester, MA on Dec. 16, 1886, aged 88 years. He is interred at Forest Hills cemetery in Jamaica Plain, MA. His wives Abigail and Julia are interred at the Union Street cemetery in Franklin, MA. Marshall’s first wife Tryphosa and two of their children are interred in Rindge at the Meeting House cemetery.
The Hon. M.P. Wilder was a man of considerable accomplishment and enjoyed a level of fame in his lifetime, though relatively unknown today. He was the originator of numerous hybrid varieties of plants of many kinds including flowers and especially fruit, most notably, pears. Wilder helped establish the State Board of Agriculture of Massachusetts in 1852. He was considered instrumental in building support for establishing an agricultural college in Massachusetts and was a trustee of Massachusetts Agricultural College from 1863 until 1886, now a part of UMASS Amherst. His dedication in this field led to the founding or principal involvement of many agricultural organizations still existing today. Mr. Wilder served as president of many of these organizations. Wilder traveled extensively and spoke before many of these organizations and agricultural expositions.
- New England Horticultural Society
- Massachusetts Academy of Agriculture
- American Pomological Society
- Massachusetts Agricultural Club
- Norfolk Agricultural Society
- United States Agricultural Society
Outside agricultural and horticultural organizations he was president of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (1868-1886) Wilder also advocated for the founding of MIT.
In his early life he was active in the state militia in his native NH as an Adjutant of the 12th Regt. NH Militia, in 1828 he was made Lt. Col. and in 1824 made Col. After his removal to Boston he became a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Co. and became commander in 1857. Beside his other accomplishments he could rightly be addressed as Colonel.
Additionally Wilder made his start in life in the mercantile business, at first with his father, in Rindge, then later on in Boston he enjoyed considerable success in several partnerships, “Wilder and Payson”, “Wilder and Smith”, “Parker, Blanchard, and Wilder” later becoming “Parker, Wilder and Co.”
Mr. Wilder represented the town of Dorchester in the Legislature in 1839, in 1849 was a member of the Governors Council and the following year was elected to the Massachusetts Senate and selected Senate President.
It should be noted that Mr. Wilder shared the same name with a nephew who was a notable actor around the turn of the 20th century.
The following link goes to a page for the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMASS outlining the MP Wilder collection with a brief biography:
There is a more extensive biography of M.P. Wilder written in his life time that appears in the History of Rindge New Hampshire by Ezra S. Stearns (1875) (ISBN 0-914659-38-3) pages 335 – 342. Genealogical information for the Wilder family appears on pages 764 – 768.
Marshall P. Wilder, born Sept. 22, 1798, Rindge, Cheshire county NH Wilder died in Dorchester, MA on Dec. 16, 1886.