GEORGE P. WILDER
The Chanute Daily Tribune, May 19, 1911
Died: May 18, 1911
HAD LIVED IN KANSAS
Store Has Occupied One Site
Years, and One Building
P. Wilder for fifty-six years a resident of Kansas and the dean of Chanute’s
pioneer businessmen, died at his home, 17 North Forest avenue last evening after
a two week’s illness. Mr. Wilder was taken to his bed May 6th and his
condition grew steadily worse from that time. The end came quietly at 6:45
The physicians attribute the cause
of death to a general breakdown and a complication of diseases. Two years
ago tomorrow Mr. Wilder was operated upon for gall stones. He recovered
from the operation but it was a heavy drain on his vitality.
The funeral services will be held
at the home this evening at 8 o’clock. The Masons will have charge and
the pall-bearers, picked from the local lodge, will accompany the body to
Lawrence in the morning for burial. Rev. H. G. Mathis, pastor of the
Presbyterian church will conduct the funeral services this evening.
Mr. Wilder had been in business
here longer than any other man in the city. When the old town of Tioga was
founded, Mr. Wilder was connected with it. He came here in 1871 and opened
a drug store for B. W. Woodard & Co. of Lawrence, Kansas, soon becoming
proprietor and owner of the business.
His place of business has been at
the corner of Main and South Grant avenue for forty years. The frame
building which he originally occupied was moved away six years ago to make room
for the handsome two-story block which Mr. Wilder erected as more in keeping
with the progress of the city.
He took a great interest in public
affairs, and was a member of the city council for eighteen months. He took
much pride in his home, which occupies a half block on Forest avenue, north of
Main street, and until his strength failed he spent much of his time outside
business hours beautifying it.
Mr. Wilder was 66 years old.
He was born in Boston, Mass., December 20, 1844. His parents came to
Kansas in 1855, when he was a lad. His father died in Lawrence in 1868 and
his mother died there in 1875.
He had been in Kansas fifty-six
years and had seen many violent political storms roll over the state, witnessed
many changes and been cognizant of much bloodshed. He had also seen the
Sunflower state right itself, overcome all turbulence, settle down into a law
abiding state as there is in the Union, and become as rich, if not the richest,
of all the states.
Soon after his arrival in Kansas
Mr. Wilder took part in a historic incident. He drove the buggy in which
Governor A. H. Reeder left Lawrence after he had been indicted by a grand jury
for treason and his arrest ordered. The governor went from Lawrence to
Fish, where he took a stage to Kansas City.
The other member of the party was
Mrs. Eldrede, prominent among the pioneers of Lawrence in the troublous days of
territorial settlement. The party passed unmolested through a camp of
fifty Border Ruffians at Blue Jacket Ford on the Wakarusa river. The
guerillas paid no attention to them, thinking the three were merely an honest
old farmer, his wife and his son, returning home from trading in Lawrence.
Mr. Wilder did not know the
mission upon which he was going, according to the story he told of it to The
Tribune two years ago. He said:
“I didn’t know where I was
going, or that I was to help Governor Reeder get away. My brother came to
me, and asked me to drive a buggy for the governor and Mrs. Eldredge. We
lived on a farm adjoining Lawrence. My mother didn’t know anything about
my trip, either, until it was over and I was safe back home. When she
found out about it she was in a state of mind, I can tell you.
“The governor was dressed as an
old farmer, and Mrs. Eldrege as a farmer’s wife. I went just as I was
when my brother told me to go. I drove from Lawrence through Franklin and
crossed the Wakarusa river at Blue Jacket Ford. There was a camp of Border
Ruffians there. They didn’t say anything to us, and we didn’t say
anything to them—just drove on as unconcerned as we could, under the
“We reached Fish all right.
I left the governor and Mrs. Eldredge. We drove back to Lawrence alone.
Fish was on the stage line from Westport. The governor took the stage from
there to the river and went down the river as a deck hand, getting away
“That was in May, 1856. I
made the round trip in one day. It was about twenty miles from Lawrence to
Fish. The Border Ruffians were still in their camp when I went back.
It was about half way between Fish and Lawrence. Fish was down in the
Shawnee Indian nation.”
Mr. Wilder grew to manhood and was
educated in Lawrence, where he began life on a farm. During the war of the
rebellion he was quartermaster’s clrk in the 2nd Kansas colored regiment and
was in the service some months.
He is survived by his widow and
their daughter, Mrs. Anna Harris. Mr. and Mrs. Wilder were married
November 28, 1867. Her maiden name was Eliza M. Crew.
He was a member of the Masons,
Knights of Honor, Woodmen and Workmen.