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Reuben Gilder papers


Reuben Gilder papers
Gilder, Reuben
Collection number:
1 linear inch
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Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

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.

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

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