Abel C. Wilder, prominent in the free-soil movements of Kansas Territory, in the establishment of the republican party within its limits and the founding of the commonwealth, was born at Mendon, Massachusetts, March 18, 1828. With little book learning, he early became identified with business at Rochester, New York, and did much to found its public library. While still a resident of the East, the Kansas question enlisted his deep interest and sympathy, and he came to the territory at his first opportunity in March, 1857. Engaging in the land business at Leavenworth, he at once became prominent in that line, as well as an earnest opponent of the Lecompton constitution. Mr. Wilder was a delegate to the Osawatomie convention of May, 1859; afterward became secretary of the first republican central committee, and chairman in 1860 and 1862. He served as chairman of the Kansas delegation to the national republican convention held at Chicago in 1860, being a strong supporter of Seward. President Lincoln appointed him a brigade commissary in August, 1861, with headquarters at Fort Scott. He was elected a member of the Thirty-eighth Congress in November, 1862, and declined a re-election in 1864. In the fall of 1865 he returned to Rochester, New York, and, with his brother, Daniel W. Wilder, engaged in the publication of the Evening Express. He was elected mayor of that city in 1873, but resigned the office because of ill health and, after a vain endeavor to regain it by travel, died in San Francisco, December 22, 1875.
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