Rindge and Concord New Hampshire First Woman NH State Agency Director, Administrator, Speaker, Award Recipient: Abby Langdon (Alger) Wilder (1889-1978)

She was born Abbie Langdon Alger on 18 May 1889 at New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of William E.Alger and his first wife, Lucille V. (DeLeon) Alger. Abby’s father was a Bostonian who was living out of the country. He eventually served 26 years in U.S. consular service at several Central American consulates at Puerto Cortez, Honduras; Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Guatemala.

It seems that “Abby” attended schools in New Orleans, and possibly also in the Honduras. A later 1940 US Census document would show that she achieved 2 years of college, though which college she attended is unknown to me.  Another Abby Langdon Alger  (1850-1905) her namesake and aunt, was  a New England author, ethnologist and translator.

After 1918 she had met George Warren Wilder, a wealthy Butterick publishing heir, and they married.  In the 1930 US Census Abby and her husband George Wilder were living in Rindge New Hampshire, along with several of his children from his previous marriage. He died in 1931..

The Wilder estate, also known as The Cheshire Place in Rindge NH (aka Timbertop Farm). Photo from Rindge NH 1768-1968 Bicentennial booklet. Colorized by the blog editor.

The Hartford Courant, Hartford CT of 20 Feb 1931, p4 published George G. Wilder’s obituary: “New York Feb 19–(AP)–George Warren Wilder, former president of the Butterick Publishing Company and a new Hampshire state legislator died here yesterday at the age of 65. Stricken with tuberculosis in middle life, Mr. Wilder defied doctors who advised him to live in the West and returned to New York. Apparently cured after some years, he founded the “Linger Longer Lunger Club” and devoted much of his life to health work and child welfare. He was elected to the New Hampshire legislature in 1927 and was serving his second term when he died. His body will be cremated and buried under his favorite maple tree at Timbertop Farm, East Rindge, New Hampshire.”

John G. Winant, Bain News Service pub., George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington DC

In 1933 Abby served as selectman of Rindge NH, filling a year-long vacancy, and also serving as clerk. In 1935, then-Governor Styles Bridges appointed Abby L. Wilder of Concord to become director of a new NH Division of State Employment [though in a later statement seen below she credits John Winant to asking her], with another woman Elizabeth R. Elkins of Concord, becoming administrator of a Minimum Wage Division. By 1940 the US Census shows that the now widowed Abby Langdon (Alger) Wilder was living in Concord at 20 Spring Street, occupation, Director of State Employment Dept.

In 1935 she was Administrator NH Emergency Relief Administration, and elected in same year as president of the New Hampshire Rural Rehabilitation Corporation. In 1940, now widowed Abby L Wilder was living in Concord NH at 20 Spring Street, occupation Director State Employment Dept., State of NH. Education, college 2nd year.

In April of 1951 The Daily Advertiser newspaper of Lafayette Louisiana interviewed her. In response to reporter’s questions, Abby L. Wilder replied: “Its not your disability–but your ability that counts when you are holding a job,” says Mrs. Abby L. Wilder, the only woman director of a state employment security agency in the United States.” Her hearing is impaired, but that does not keep her from coordinating the work of many departments of the New Hampshire employment security agency which she directs….she is the only employment agency director that New Hampshire has ever had. “John G. Winant, governor of New Hampshire 20 years ago and former ambassador to England, asked me to take the position and I have held it ever since.” The article goes on to say, “Youngish looking Mrs. Wilder, mother of six children and grandmother of 16, was born in New Orleans. Her father and grandfather have been ambassadors to Spanish Honduras. Because there were few hospitals in Honduras when her father was there, her mother always came to New Orleans to have her children. Mrs. Wilder’s two sisters and one brother were also born there. But New Hampshire is home to her, for all of her father’s family settled there. She doesn’t employ many women in her department. But that isn’t because she believes them incapable of handling the work. In her opinion women have proven themselves…..    By 1953 she was considered Director of the Employment Service Bureau of the Division of Employment Security, of NH.

In May of 1972 she was one of 3 awardees of the Joseph D. Vaughan Award for outstanding service to older Americans. In that year it was note that Abby Wilder had 10 years of service, first as the chairman of the original State Council on Aging, and more recently as a member of the Council. still gardens and is active in a number of civic organizations. She has been director of at least 2 state departments and was the original Director of Welfare in NH. The award was given by Gov. Walter Peterson. The award was established in 1962 following the death of Joseph D. Vaughn of Newport who was an active member of the original State Council on Aging and a representative of the General Court. The award is presented annually by the New Hampshire State Council on Aging to persons who, in the opinion of the Council, have shown outstanding leadership or demonstrated meritorious achievement on behalf of senior citizens; or to older persons, who, following retirement, have continued in various civic and community activities.  In October of 1975, Abby L. Wilder was honored by the Concord club of the NH Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs.

Abby L. (Alger) Wilder died on April 1978 in Concord NH.

=====PARTIAL GENEALOGY OF ABBY L. (ALGER) WILDER=====

Thomas-1 Alger
Israel-2 Alger
Israel-3 Alger

James-4 Alger (1729-1810) & Martha Kingham

James-5 Alger (1770-1844) & Hannah Bassett

—–Next Generation—–

Nahum-6 Alger, son of James & Hannah (Basset) Alger. He was b 27 Feb 1794 in Bridgewater, Plymouth Co MA and d. 7 May 1846 in Hooksett, Merrimack Co. NH. Buried Head Cemetery, Hooksett NH. He married Catharine Sampson Rounseville, daughter of William & Rhoda (Sampson) Rounseville. She was b 5 Apr 1799 at Bridgewater, Plymouth Co MA and d. 26 Dec 1840 in Hooksett NH.
——-
Children of Nahum & Catharine (Sampson) Alger:
1. Angeline alger b 1816, d. 1893; m. Thomas W. Nickelson
2. James L. Alger, b. 1820, d. 1854
3. +Rev. William R. Alger b 22 Dec 1822 Freetown MA
4. Nahum Alger, b. 1836, d. 1842

—–Next Generation—–

Rev. William Rounseville-7 Alger, son of Nahum & Catharine (Sampson) Alger, b. 22 Dec 1822 in Freetown, Bristol Co. MA and d. 7 Feb 1905 in Boston MA. Buried Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge MA. He married 1847 in Roxbury MA to Ann Langdon Lodge. She b. 6 June 1816 Boston MA, daughter of Giles & Abigail (Harris) Lodge.
———-
Fall River Daily Evening News, Fall River MA, 8 Feb 1905, page 5
REV DR. WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER, one of the most noted Unitarian clergymen of his day, died Tuesday at his home, in Boston, aged 82 years. A generation ago Dr. Alger was famous throughout the country as a pulpit orator and also as an author. His daughter, Miss Alger, was the companion of his last years. Dr. Alger was a native of Freetown, and in early life worked in a grocery store and cotton mill and prepared himself for college in his spare time. He graduated from Harvard in 1847. He was pastor of a Roxbury church for seven years and the Bullfinch street church for 10 years. He succeeded Theodore Parker at the Music Hall, and from 1868 to 1872 he preached there every Sunday to from 2000 to 3000 people. In 1868 he was made chaplain of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. From 1874 to 1878 he was pastor of the Church of the Messiah, New York. He also held pastorates at Chicago and at Portland, Maine. He had published several books. Dr. Alger was married in Roxbury in 1847 to Miss Annie Langdon Lodge. He had seven children. The funeral will be held Thursday at the resident, and will be strictly private.
———-
1870 US Census > MA > Suffolk > Boston
William R. Alger 48
Ann Alger 51
Abbie Alger
Caroline Alger 18
Arthur Alger 16
William Alger 14*
Philip Alger 12
————
Children of Rev. William R. & Ann L. (Lodge) Alger:
1. Henry Lodge Alger b 1848 Roxbury MA, d. 1864
2. Abbie/Abby Langdon Alger, b 3 Aug 1850 Roxbury MA, d. 22 May 1905 Brookline MA, buried Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge MA; namesake of the subject of this blog post.  She was  a New England author, ethnologist and translator.
3. Caroline Alger, b abt 1852 MA, died 3 Sep 1877 in Scarborough Maine [New England Farmer newspaper. Died, In Scarborough Me, Sep 3, Miss Caroline Alger, daughter of Rev. Wm R Alger, formerly of this city.]
3. Arthur Martineau Alger, b 1845 Boston MA; m. 22 Apr 1822 in Taunton MA to Leila C. Sanders, dau of George B. & Elizabeth (?) Sanders.
4. +William Ellerton Alger, b 1 Sep 1856 Boston MA
5. Ensign Philip Rouseville Alger, b 29 Sep 1859 Boston MA, d. 23 Feb 1912 Annapolis MD. Buried US Naval Academy Cemetery. He married Louisa Taylor.
6. Annie Langdon Alger b 1861, d. 1864. Buried Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge MA.

—–Next Generation—–

William Ellerton-8 Alger, b. 1 Sep 1856 in Boston MA, son of Rev. William R. & Ann L (Lodge) Alger. Attended classes at Harvard 1875-76 He m1) Lucille V. DeLeon. In 1895 she was living in New Orleans LA listing herself as “wid. William, r. 2805 Baronne. In 15 Sep 1912 he left the U.S. arriving in Mazatlan Mexico on 7 Nov 1912. He married 2d) 1896 Mucia Paz. She was b. Pinaleigo, Honduras.
—–
The Boston Globe, 22 March 1917, page 2
WILLIAM E. ALGER DEAD. Consul in Guatemala was a Native of Boston. In the Service 26 Years. WASHINGTON, March 21–State Department dispatches today announced the death of Consul William E. Alger, aged 60, of Bosotn, at his post in Guatemala. He has been in the consular service 26 years serving at various Central American consulates. Mr. Alger was born in Boston, Sept 1 1856, the son of the late Rev. William R. Alger, a prominent Unitarian clergyman. He lived for many years at 6 Brimmer St. He graduated from the English High school in 1875 and then taught for some time. In 1891 he was appointed consular agent at Puerto Cortez, Honduras, and in 1902 became consul at Tegucigalpa, in the same country. Later he was transferred to Guatemala. Mr. Alger married Mucia Paz of Hunduras in 1896.
—–
Children of William E. & Lucille V. (DeLeon) Alger
1. +Abbie Langdon “Abby” (Alger) Wilder, b 18 May 1889 New Orleans Louisianna, daughter of William E. & Lucille V. (DeLeon) Alger;
Died April 1978 Concord NH.
2. William Reginald Alger, b. 29 June 1891 New Orleans LA. He married Helen C. Howard. Children include William Howard Alger, b 8 Jan 1926 in Chicago IL, d. 20 Dec 1993
Children of William E. & Mucia (Paz) Alger:
3. Isabel Alger b 16 Sep 1897 Pinaleigo Honduras, moved to New Orleans LA
4. 3. Prospero Alger, b. 29 Dec 1899 Puerto Cortest, Honduras Central America. In 1918 living in Boston MA, member of Students’ Army Training Corps, Harvard Unit.
5. William E. Alger Jr., b. 10 Sep 1902 in Puerto Cortez Honduras
6. Philip D. Alger, b. 19 Dec 1907 Puerto Cortez, Honduras
7. Jack Alger, bl 11 June 1910 Puerto Cortez Honduras
8. Leslie M. Alger Paz, b. 19 Aug 1913 Maxatlan, Mexico, died 9 Sep 1978 at Coyoacan, Mexico. She m. Zelaya Romero. Children Zelaya, Alger Alfonse, Hector, Illeana, Lorenzo.

—–Next Generation—–

Abby Langdon-9 Alger 1 born 18 May 1889 New Orleans Louisiana, daughter of William E. & Lucille V. (DeLeon) Alger. She died April 1978 Concord NH. In 1930 living in Rindge, Cheshire Co. NH with husband and his children by previous marriage. In 1940 widowed living in Concord NH at 20 Spring Street, occupation Director State Employment Dept., State of NH. Education, college 2nd year.
She married by 1920 to George W. Wilder, son of Jonas Warren & Jane Eliza (Raymore) Wilder. They had no children together. He was b 29 March 1866 in Sterling, Worcester Co MA and d. 18 Feb 1931 at Doctor’s Hospital in Manhattan, New York. buried Wilder Cemetery, Rindge. He built up the small publishing firm left him by his father, one of the first men to travel for Ebenezer Butterick, said to have made the first paper dress pattern in 1863. He sold his interests in the publishing firm in 1926 and retired to his New Hampshire farm. NH. He was president of the Butterick Publishing Co for many years.

George Warren Wilder m1st) 1 Dec 1892 in Fitchburg MA to Gertrude Chapin Stowe, daughter of George Dunbar & Emily Ginerve (Atwood) Stowe. Divorced 1918. She was b. 23 Dec 1872 in Malden MA, d. 26 July 1922 in East Newport California. She is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery Gardiner Maine. Gertrude divorced him on the grounds of desertion (according to F.G.) He m2d) by 1920 to Abby Langdon Alger.
—–
Hartford Courant, Hartford CT 20 Feb 1931, p4
Obituary: George Warren Wilder. New York Feb 19–(AP)–George Warren Wilder, former president of the Butterick Publishing Company and a new Hampshire state legislator died here yesterday at the age of 65. Stricken with tuberculosis in middle life, Mr. Wilder defied doctors who advised him to live in the West and returned to New York. Apparently cured after some years, he founded the “Linger Longer Lunger Club” and devoted much of his life to health work and child welfare. He was elected to the New Hampshire legislature in 1927 and was serving his second term when he died. His body will be cremated and buried under his favorite maple tree at Timbertop Farm, East Rindge, New Hampshire.
—–
1910 US Census > NY > NY > Manhattan, 329 West 108th Street
George W. Wilder 44 Head
Gertrude C. Wilder 36 wife
Gertrude Wilder 12 daughter
George W. Wilder 8 son
Donald Wilder 5 son
Simon Wilder 6 son
Servants, Cecil E. & Grace Taafe, Schitiza Kurischima and Sausho Yamagata
——-
1920 US Census > NY > NY > Manhattan
George W. Wilder 53 head
Abbie Wilder 31 wife
——
1925 US Census > New York > NY
Geo W. Wilder 49 Head
Abby Wilder 36 wife
Stowe Wilder 21 son
Donald Wilder 20 son
Helen C. Wilder 12 daughter
John C. WIlder 15 son
——
1930 US Census > NH > Cheshire Co. > Rindge
George Wilder 64 Head
Abby L. WIlder 40 wife b Louisiana, fa b MA, mo b. Jamaica
John C. Wilder
Helen C. Wilder
4 boarders, surname Davis and Clark. Servant Georgianna Clark.
——
Children of George & Gertrude C. (Stowe) Wilder:
1. Stowe Wilder, b 24 Dec 1903 New York City; died March 1984. He m. 23 June 1927 in Cauahoga Co. Ohio to Elizabeth Howland, dau of Anson P. & Flora (Firestone) Howland. In 1930 they were living in Hartford CT, moving to Pennsylvania. He m2d) Mary Bryne of New Rochelle NY. He m3d) 16 Sep 1942 in Portsmouth NH to Julia Elvia Carty, dau of John Dawson & Mildred (Goldsmith) Carty. She was b 25 Feb 1913 and d. May 1989. He and his 3rd wife are buried Proprietors Burying Ground, Portsmouth NH. Stowe graduated from Amherst College then joined the National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford as agent.
2. Donald Wilder, b 1 Feb 1905, d. 11 Dec 1966 Ventura California. He m. 20 Nov 1926 in Licking, Ohio to Margaret A. Buell, daughter of Henry I. & Jane H. (Fulton) Buell. Margaret wrote book “Since You Went Away” (photo of dau Abby Langdon Wilder with Shirley Temple)
3. Helen C. Wilder, b 15 Dec 1912; d. 25 April 1989 Camarillo, Ventura Co. California. She m. F. Burrows Esty.
4. Gertrude Wilder, b 9 June 1897 in Manhattan NY; m. 1923 to William Cole Esty in New York City. She d. 20 Oct 1934. Buried Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst NH
5. George Warren Wilder Jr., b 20 Aug 1901 E. Rindge, New Hampshire, d. 30 April 1995 Palm Springs California. He m. 28 April 1933 in Hollywood California to Clarissa A. Thompson. 2 daughters Clarissa A. (Wilder) Thompson-French and Carman (Wilder) Hall of Durham NH.
6. John Clark Wilder, b abt 1910 California, d. 28 May 1957 in Jefferson, Louisiana. He m. 2 Jan 1935 in Dallas TX to Virginia Stoneroad, daughter of T.W. Stoneroad of Colorado. She was a teacher at Texas University. He attended Texas University and was employed by Knox Bottling Glass Co. In 1940 they had a daughter Susan Wilder, aged 1.

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2 Responses to Rindge and Concord New Hampshire First Woman NH State Agency Director, Administrator, Speaker, Award Recipient: Abby Langdon (Alger) Wilder (1889-1978)

  1. Patricia J VanDenBerghe says:

    Great story Janice

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