ArchiveUM
University LibrariesDigital CollectionsHomeCatalogResearch PortAsk us!Archives UM HomeSpecial CollectionsSearchAbout Archives UMHelpHow Do I...?Site Index A-ZSearch

Reuben Gilder papers

Abstract

Title:
Reuben Gilder papers
Author/Creator:
Gilder, Reuben
Collection number:
2003-160
Size:
1 linear inch
Bulk dates:
1815-1823
Inclusive dates:
1815-1827
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

Little is known concerning the details of the life of Reuben Gilder, other than various accounts of his military service during the War of 1812 in the Fort Niagara, Canada, theater of war, along with selected subsequent experiences in the capacity of a retired military man and unsuccessful merchant in Baltimore during the 1810s and 1820s. Reuben Gilder married an Eliza Mary Hughes in Baltimore on February 17, 1819. According to Gilder's own accounts, he and his wife had at least one son, possibly named Columbus Franklin Gilder. Court records show that Reuben Gilder and his wife were granted a divorce on February 12, 1836. Gilder attempted a life in national politics, as evident from his application for the position of Doorkeeper (today Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper) of the U. S. Senate, which he failed to obtain. Gilder also suffered from various post-war ailments and health problems. The papers of Reuben Gilder consist of twenty-six letters written by Gilder to his former military comrade, Isaac Dutton Barnard, between 1815 and 1822. Subjects covered in the correspondence include: former military comrades, acquaintances, and experiences related to the War of 1812 in Canadian territory; military conflict with the Creek tribes of Native Americans; a variety of contemporaneous political matters and figures, including those in the local, national, and international arenas; and family, business, and health matters. Another, separate letter included in the papers was written by Reuben Gilder's wife, Eliza M. Gilder, in 1823. This letter is an urgent appeal to Isaac D. Barnard for his written recommendation for a military disability pension on behalf of her husband, Reuben Gilder. In a final, type-faced document of 1828, Reuben Gilder himself, Isaac D. Barnard, and the unknown individuals N. Towson and George Gibson all write on behalf of Reuben Gilder's ultimately unsuccessful quest to become Doorkeeper of the U. S. Senate.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Reuben Gilder papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1341
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Little is known concerning the details of the life of Reuben Gilder, other than various accounts of his military service during the War of 1812, along with selected subsequent experiences, as gleaned from this collection, in the capacity of a retired military man and merchant in Baltimore during the 1810s and 1820s. Gilder's birthplace and birth and death dates are unknown. An examination of genealogical and Maryland court records reveals that Reuben Gilder married an Eliza Mary Hughes in Baltimore on February 17, 1819. According to Gilder's own accounts, he and his wife had at least one son, possibly named Columbus Franklin Gilder. Court records also show that Reuben Gilder and his wife were granted a divorce by the General Assembly of Maryland on February 12, 1836, but the cause of the divorce, or even which party initiated the divorce proceedings, is unknown.

Gilder served with the 14th Regiment of the U. S. Army, composed of Maryland members, during the War of 1812 in the Fort Niagara, Canada, theater of war. After a brief post-war stint in the U. S. Army, Gilder resigned in order to become a merchant of an unknown business in Baltimore, where he apparently met with little financial success. He also attempted a life in national politics, as evident from his application for the position of Doorkeeper (today Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper) of the U. S. Senate, which he failed to obtain. Gilder also suffered from various post-war ailments, which he attributed to his military service, and a letter from his wife describes his various bouts with apparent seizures and difficulties with what was generically described as "rheumatism.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers of Reuben Gilder consist of twenty-six letters written by Gilder to his former military comrade, Isaac Dutton Barnard, between 1815 and 1822. Subjects covered in the correspondence include: former military comrades, acquaintances, and experiences related to the War of 1812 in Canadian territory; military conflict with the Creek tribes of Native Americans; a variety of contemporaneous political matters and figures, including those in the local, national, and international arenas; and family, business, and health matters.

Another, separate letter included in the papers was written by Reuben Gilder's wife, Eliza M. Gilder, in 1823. This letter is an urgent appeal to Isaac D. Barnard for his written recommendation for a military disability pension on behalf of her husband, Reuben Gilder. In a final, type-faced document of 1827, Reuben Gilder himself, Isaac D. Barnard, and the unknown individuals N. Towson and George Gibson all write on behalf of Reuben Gilder's ultimately unsuccessful quest to become Doorkeeper of the U. S. Senate.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased this collection from Charles Apfelbaum in August 1996.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed by J. Henry Allen, Jr., August 2003. Revised by Maureen Cech, May 2010.

Processing note:

The letters were placed in acid-free folders and stored in an acid-free box.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by J. Henry Allen, Jr.

Arrangement of Collection

The collection is organized as one series:

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Correspondence, 1815-1827 (1 linear inch)

Series I consists of twenty-six letters written by Reuben Gilder to Isaac D. Barnard from July 1815 to August 1822. An additional letter is included that was written by Gilder's wife, Eliza M. Gilder, in April 1823. Finally, a special letter of commendation on behalf of Reuben Gilder is included that is addressed to the Senate of the United States, the letter itself consisting of three separate sub-letters.

Gilder served in the military during the War of 1812 in the Canadian theater of combat, where fighting in the Fort Niagara region eventually reached a stalemate and the British retained control of this future Canadian region. In his correspondence with his military comrade I. D. Barnard, Gilder makes frequent reference to a wide variety of noteworthy military as well as political contemporaries, in addition to lesser-known military comrades who served with him in the U. S. 14th Regiment, composed mostly of Maryland men. Gilder also makes occasional reference to the continued military conflict with Native American tribes, especially the Creeks, with whom the United States had recently been engaged in the Creek War (1813-1814). Throughout the correspondence, Gilder reveals his political leanings, which were enthusiastically "democratic" according to Revolutionary War-era standards.

Gilder also writes about a variety of personal matters, including his resignation from the military in order to pursue the life of a merchant in Baltimore, as well as his subsequent appointment as Captain of the Maryland National Guard. Several letters display Gilder's intense focus on romantic relationships and the difficulties he experienced in finding a wife. Gilder's battle with poor health is a theme reflected throughout the entire correspondence with Barnard. A letter written on August 22, 1822, represents the beginning of Gilder's attempts to receive a type of veterans' disability pension from the government and Gilder's attempts to enlist Barnard's political prestige in service of such an endeavor. The letter of Gilder's wife, Eliza Gilder, written to Barnard on April 20, 1823, on behalf of her husband, is an urgent appeal to Barnard for his assistance in the pursuit of a military disability pension.

The final document in the collection is a typed letter addressed to the Senate of the United States, the letter itself consisting of three separate sub-letters. The first sub-letter, dated December 8, 1827, was written by Reuben Gilder, who requests consideration by the U. S. Senate for the position of "Door-keeper" (today, Sergeant-at- Arms and Doorkeeper). Gilder's sub-letter also mentions that he was a war veteran who, in civilian life as a businessman, has been "unfortunate" and is "now reduced in his circumstances." There is also mention that Gilder "has a wife and family of children dependent on him for support."

The second sub-letter was written by Pennsylvania Senator Isaac D. Barnard, who gives his recommendation on behalf of Gilder for the position of Senate Doorkeeper. Barnard also provides a thoroughly detailed outline of Gilder's military service in Canada during the War of 1812. Mentioned by Barnard is Gilder's involvement in the Battles of Fort George (1813); Chrysler's Fields Williamsburg, Upper Canada (1813); LaColle Mill, Lower Canada (1814); and Cook's Mill (Lyon's Creek), Upper Canada (1814). Notable U. S. military figures mentioned with whom Gilder was affiliated are Colonel Daniel Bissell, General William Winder, and General James Wilkinson. The final sub-letter is a brief statement of commendation on Gilder's behalf dated December 9, 1827, written by certain individuals named N. Towson and George Gibson.

Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Correspondence, July 1815-April 1823, December 1827 series 1box 1folder 1

Related Material

There are four letters written by Isaac Dutton Barnard to various individuals, 1818-1831, at the Dickinson College Library in Carlisle, PA. There are approximately one hundred letters of Isaac Dutton Barnard to various individuals in two collections of the Townsend Washington papers, 1820-1858, at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. There are eight letters of Isaac Dutton Barnard to various individuals in several collections, 1816, 1826-1829, at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in Harrisburg, PA.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.

Subjects

Names (Added Entries)