Horace Wilder was born Aug. 20, 1802 to Eli and Mary Johnson Wilder in West Hartland, Conn. In 1819, he attended Yale University, graduating in 1823. He entered the office of Elisha Phelps, of Simsbury, Conn. to study law. He then left Connecticut for Virginia to teach on the Morton plantation of Stafford County. In January 1826, he was admitted to the bar in Virginia, but did not remain there. He returned to West Hartland briefly before setting out for Ohio. He settled near a sister in Geauga County and was admitted to the bar in Ohio in 1828.
He first entered public office in 1833, when he was commissioned by Gov. Robert Lucas as Ashtabula County prosecuting attorney. In the fall of 1834, he was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. In 1837, he moved to Conneaut and settled there.
In 1855, he was elected to the common pleas court in the ninth district, third subdivision to fill the vacancy left by R. Hitchcock and, in 1856 he was elected to a full term, serving until February 1862.
In 1862, Gov. David Tod appointed Wilder draft commissioner for Ashtabula County. In January 1863, he moved to Ashtabula and opened a law practice with Edward H. Fitch, Wilder & Fitch, which lasted until Wilder was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ohio, again by Gov. Tod. On Dec. 12, 1863, William Y. Gholson resigned and Wilder was appointed for his unexpired term. Wilder then won the election in October 1864 and completed the remaining part of Gholson’s term. His opinions are in volumes 14 and 15 of the Ohio State Reports.
Upon retiring from the bench in 1865, Wilder resumed his practice in Ashtabula. In May 1867, he retired completely and joined his brother, Eli T. Wilder, in Red Wing, Minn.
Wilder married Phoebe Jerusha Coleman on March 27, 1833 in Ashtabula and they had five children. Wilder died Dec. 26, 1889 in Red Wing. The funeral was at Christ Church in Red Wing and his remains were taken to Conneaut for burial next to his wife in the cemetery there.
b. Aug. 20, 1802
d. Dec. 26, 1889
44th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio