CALDER, William
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CALDER William, son of William and Mary (Kirkwood) Calder, was born in Harrisburg July 31, 1821, and died July 19, 1880. His father was a native of Harford county, Md., and was one of the pioneers of that county. He came to Harrisburg and became a member of the firm of Calder, Wilson & Co., which conducted a stage line business. After this enterprise was destroyed by the opening of the canal, he established a livery trade. Our subject had limited education from books, being inducted into the stage line business at the age of twelve years as paymaster of the firm of Calder, Wilson & Co. At the age of sixteen his father put him in charge of the Philadelphia packet line from Columbia to Pittsburgh, and at the same time was interested in his father's livery. In 1851 he assumed the management of his father's business, and in 1857 undertook the completion of the Lebanon Valley railroad. In 1858 be became a member of the well-known banking firm of Cameron, Calder, Eby & Co., which afterwards became the First National Bank of Harrisburg, of which Mr. Calder was chosen president. The same year he was elected a director of the Northern Central railway, and was active in preserving Pennsylvania’s interests in that corporation. At the breaking out of the Rebellion he rendered the Government important service through his large knowledge in the purchase of horses, and supplied the Government with no less than 42,000 mules, establishing the price so low as to effect a very great saving to the Government in this department. Mr. Calder was always foremost in the promotion of Harrisburg's industrial enterprises. He was one of the founders of the Harrisburg Car Works, the Lochiel Rolling Mills, the Harrisburg Cotton Mills, Foundry and Machine Works, the Fire Brick Works and the Pennsylvania Steel Works.

In 1873 he was commissioned by Governor Hartranft a trustee of the Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital, and reappointed in 1876. In 1876 he was appointed by the same governor a member of the commission to devise a plan for the government of cities, and in 1880, just prior to his death, he was elected director of the Pennsylvania Institute for the Deaf and Dumb. For many years he ably officiated in the management of city affairs through its councils. He was among the founders of the Harrisburg Hospital and the Grace Methodist Episcopal church, of which he was an attendant. He was formerly a Whig, latterly a Republican, and influential in local and State politics, and one of the Presidential electors from this State in 1876.

Upon the occasion of President Lincoln's visit to Harrisburg, when a plot was laid to assassinate him on his return to Baltimore, Mr. Calder was selected to escort him safely to take another train from the one intended at first, and thus his enemy's designs were thwarted. His widow is Regina Camilla, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Krause) Greenawalt. Their children were: Edmund Kirkwood, who died December 31, 1862, aged thirteen years; William Jacob, Catherine Krause, Theodore Greenawalt, Regina, and Mary Kirkwood.

Historical Review of Dauphin County

Transcribed by Becky Tuszynski for The Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Transcription Project -

Date of Transcription: 31 Dec 2000

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