Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GILDER, William Henry, clergyman, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 September, 1812; died at Brandy Station, Virginia, 13 April, 1864. His father, John Gilder, was a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, and laid the corner-stone of Girard College. The son was educated at Wesleyan University, and afterward received the degree of A. M. from Dickinson. At the age of twenty-one he became a preacher in the Methodist Church, and was afterward ordained. In 1836 he made an equestrian tour of the southern states, going as far as New Orleans. In 1840 he began the publication of the " Philadelphia Repository," a literary monthly, but discontinued it at the end of a year. Subsequently he published for a few years in Philadelphia the "Literary Register," a quarterly review. Mr. Gilder in 1842 established Bellevue female seminary in Bordentown, New Jersey, which in 1848 he removed to Flushing, L. I., and in 1857 it was chartered as a College. In 1859 he removed to Redding, Connecticut, and thence to Fair Haven, to Yonkers, New York, and to Bordentown. He became chaplain of the 40th regiment of New York volunteers at the beginning of the civil war, and remained in active service until his death; which resulted from small-pox contracted during attendance upon a military small-pox hospital. He published a " New Rhetorical Reader" (New York).--His son, William Henry, explorer, born in Philadelphia, 16 August, 1838, enlisted as a private in the 5th New York volunteers at the beginning of the civil war, and was afterward transferred to the 40th. But during a large part of the war he served on the staff of General Thomas W. Egan, and on being mustered out at its close was brevetted major. In June, 1878, he accompanied Lieutenant Sehwatka, as second in command, on his expedition to King William's Land in search of the relics of Sir John Franklin. This expedition was marked by the longest sledge-journey on record--3,251 statute miles, in June, 1881, he accompanied the "Rodgers" expedition in search of the " Jeannette," and when the " Rodgers" was burned, 30 November, he made a midwinter journey from Bering strait across Siberia, to telegraph news of the disaster to the secretary of the navy. He then joined in the search on the Lena delta for the survivors of the " Jeannette." Major Gilder spent the summer and autumn of 1883 in Tonquin, where the French and Anamese war was in progress, and in 1884 was one of the first to visit the scene of the earthquakes in Spain. On these occasions, as well as in his arctic expeditions, he acted as correspondent of the New York "Herald." He has published " Schwatka's Search" (New York, 1881) and "Ice-Pack and Tundra" (1883). The latter has been translated into French, under the title "L'expedition du Rodgers a la recherche de la Jeannette."--Another son, Richard Watson, editor, born in Bordentown, New Jersey, 8 February, 1844, was educated mainly in his father's school. As a member of Landis's Philadelphia battery, he enlisted for the "emergency" campaign in the summer of 1863, when the Confederate army invaded Pennsylvania, and took part in the defense of Carlisle. He joined the staff of the Newark, New Jersey, " Advertiser" in 1865, and in 1868, with Newton Crane, established the Newark "Morning Register." In 1869 he became editor of "Hour's at Home." and when that magazine was merged into " Scribner's Monthly" (now the " Century ") he was made associate editor of the new periodical. On the death of Dr. J. G. Holland in October, 1881, Mr. Gilder succeeded him as editor-in-chief. He received the degree of LL.D. from Dickinson College in 1883. He has published four volumes of poems, "The New Day" (New York, 1875); " The Poet and his Master" (1878); "Lyrics," which is largely made up of the two previous volumes (1885); and "The Celestial Passion" (1887). He is one of the founders of the Authors club in New York.
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