Alice Maria Wilder
Older sister of Almanzo Wilder.
“Well, I like to make butter and I like to patch quilts. And cook, and sew, and spin. Boys can’t do that. But even if I be a girl, I can drop potatoes and sow carrots and drive horses as well as you can.” – Farmer Boy, Chapter 11, “Springtime”
Alice Maria Wilder was born September 3, 1853 near Burke (Franklin County) New York, the fourth of six children of James Mason Wilder and Angeline Albina Day. Alice had older sisters Laura (born 1844) and Eliza Jane (born 1850), older brother Royal (born 1847), and younger brothers Almanzo (born 1857) and Perley (born 1869).
Alice was educated at the local township school and at Franklin Academy in Malone, New York. In Farmer Boy, Alice Wilder is described as being particularly close to her brother Almanzo (see Chapter 11, “Springtime” and Chapter 23, “Cobbler”).
In the early 1870s, James Wilder decided to move to Fillmore County, Minnesota. Although Eliza Jane and Royal seem to have remained in New York for a while, Alice probably accompanied her parents to Minnesota. By June 1875, the whole family was settled in Spring Valley.
In September 1878, Alice Wilder married Albert A. Baldwin in Spring Valley. Albert was born in April 1848, the son of Lucius and Emeline Baldwin. Lucius Baldwin moved his family to Winona, Minnesota, where he died in 1868. Albert, his mother, and siblings moved to Fillmore County in 1879. Albert filed on a claim, northeast of Marshall (Lyon County) Minnesota. Alice’s mother, Angeline Wilder, purchased 160 acres in the adjoining section, and Almanzo Wilder farmed this land during the 1879 growing season (see The Long Winter, Chapter 17, “Seed Wheat”).
Alice and Albert Baldwin had two children born in Lyon County: Myrtle (born January 1880) and Leland Edward (born December 1884). Just before Leland’s birth, Alice and Albert sold their farm. Due to Albert’s ill health, they had decided to move to a warmer climate. They settled on the Atlantic coast in Georgiana (Brevard County) Florida. There, Albert worked in the orange groves.
Alice’s health suffered in the Florida climate; she died due to consumption in Georgiana in February 1892. The following year, Albert remarried. He and his wife Ellen had at least one child, a daughter named Nina who died young. Albert Baldwin died in Georgiana in March 1905. Both Alice and Albert Baldwin are buried in Georgiana Cemetery on Merritt Island (Brevard County) Florida.
Wilder, Alice (FB 1-3, 7-8, 10-13, 15, 17-23, 26)
looks for wintergreen berries with Almanzo (FB 10)
helps Almanzo fill potato baskets (FB 10)
plants carrots with Almanzo (FB 10)
feeds stray dog (FB 13)
sits in parlor with Almanzo (FB 18)
wins blue ribbon for jellies (FB 21)