Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - the Silliman Siblings

GEORGE, son of J.W. & H.M SILLIMAN, DIED Aug 22, 1863
Two weeks ago, while searching for additional Civil War documents associated with my g2grandfather, Jervis Silliman, I discovered he had been married with a family prior to marrying my g2grandmother.  He had a wife and four children, two of whom died in childhood.

The first census record I could find for the family was the 1860 census, which showed Jervis and Harriet (Bartlett) (listed as Julia on the record, for some reason) living next door to Marvel and Eunice (Bartlett) Hayford, Harriet's sister and brother-in-law in Rockford, Wright County, Minnesota.  Harriet had two children at that time, Ida, age 5, born in New York; George, age 4, was listed as being born in Illinois. 

On the 1865 census, George is not listed, but Ida appears again, as do two other daughters, Nettie and Lydia.  In 1870, only Ida and Nettie are still shown on the census.  In 1875, Jervis is living in Rockford at Roberts' Public House with no family at all.  Ida married in the fall of 1870, and, as it turns out, Harriet divorced Jervis in 1873, and moved to Litchfield, Meeker County, where Marvel and Eunice had relocated, taking Nettie with her.

LYDIE E., Dau of J.W. & H.M. SILLIMAN, DIED Oct. 3, 1866, Aged 1 yr 10 m
Elmwood Cemetery is a small but active cemetery in the center of Rockford.  When the cemetery first opened, most families purchased lots, which contained 8 plots each.  George and Lydie must have been among the first to be buried there.  Their big sister Ida and her husband, William Frederick are buried several rows over, along with William's first wife, and their daughter Ione and Ione's husband Floyd H. McCrory.  The cemetery records show that in 1944, Ione deeded the other 6 plots in Jervis's lot back to the cemetery, and paid for permanent upkeep of George and Lydie's graves.  In addition, she paid for permanent upkeep of the Frederick family plot.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Very Grand Obituary - Maria (Wells) Forder

I went to the Minnesota Historical Society yesterday to look up obituaries.  My g3 grandparents, William and Maria (Wells) Forder, were from Hampshire, England, and immigrated in 1840 to Indiana, and then some time shortly after the 1870 census (probably in the spring of 1871), they migrated to Meeker County, Minnesota, settling in Dassel.

The Historical Society has the Dassel Anchor on microfilm, but the earliest editions they have are from late 1893.  William Forder died in 1891, so I couldn't find an obit for him, but Maria died 29 December 1893, so I was lucky that her obituary appeared just a few issues into the roll of microfilm.

Having just found an obituary last weekend for the first wife of my g2grandfather, Jervis Silliman, I noticed that Harriet (Bartlett) Silliman Rollins Larson's obit was titlted "Mrs. Louis Larson" and that while her ex-husband Jervis's name appeared in the obit, her own first name (never mind her maiden name) did not.  I was expecting something similar for Maria Forder, and therefore almost missed the obituary.

Maria's obituary took a full column and a half to print, and was mostly the text of a tribute read at her funeral by the Past Post Commander of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic), which took place in the town hall and was conducted by the W.R.C. (Women's Relief Corps)!  Most obits I have read indicate that the funeral service is held in the home.

Here is the full text of her obituary, which appeared in the Dassel Anchor Friday, January 5, 1894.
A Mother of Soldiers
As briefly announced in our last issue, Mrs. Maria Forder died on Friday morning, Dec. 29 1893, at her home in Dassel. The funeral services were held at the town hall the next afternoon, conducted by the W. R. C. No more fitting additional public tribute can be paid to her than the publication of the address read by Past Post Commander J. A. Whitaker.
Mrs. President, ladies of the W. R. C. and comrades of the G. A. R.:
Again you are assembled, clad in the habiliments of mourning, to render a last and loving tribute to the memory of one of your loving sisters, who, ripe in years, loved by all and lamented universally, has heard the whispered come! And has gone to her long rest and great reward. Again the dark bowman has flown into your midst and his cruel arrow has pierced the heart of a considerate, tender and loving mother, a devoted sister and warm friend; again has one who has stood with you around your altar and vowed to relieve the distressed, alleviate the pain and cheer the age enfeebled, disease-stricken veteran, fully, fulfilled that obligation, been relieved from duty and entered into that long, that abiding, blissful rest, that supreme, never ending peace, that is only found by those who consistently, faithfully and continually, do the Master's will while on duty here. Again has one of the links in the chain of your sisterhood been broken; again has that invisible tie, that binds you each to the other so strongly that only death can break it, been broken; again has the golden chord been severed; again has one whom in lie you loved been called from the home where she was the guide, from your ranks where she held a prominent and useful place, and left you lonely and tearfully sad. Your sister lived a blameless, cheerful life; and while she was going among you with warm words of encouragement, filled with loving kindness and sympathetic aid; “God's linger touched her and she slept.” Your assembling today is for the sole purpose of honoring her memory, consoling her weeping family and laying her remains at rest in the silent city of the dead, to await the sounding of the reveille that shall proclaim the end of time and summon the world to the bar of judgment, to receive the reward due for the deeds done in the body.
As part of your services today, you have assigned the writer the duty of preparing for this occasion a memorial sketch of the life of your departed sister. That duty is undertaken in love and performed as well as the time at the disposal of the writer, with the ability at his command, will allow. But oh how far short of performing that duty in a manner worthy of the departed will the writer come. He can but hope to place, with you, his wreath of regret upon her narrow home and, with you, testify to her noble character, her womanly worth and sisterly devotion.
By your words of service and notes of song, you are weaving in her honor a monument more lasting than the shaft of marble. By your attendance here to-day, you not only show your realization of your loss and the affliction of her relatives, but you proclaim to the world, that your band of sisterhood is not a rope of sand, but a tie, so strong, so sacred, that your bereavement is such as to properly place you close by the side of the relatives, who mourn her departure from the home where she was the light—the guiding star. No better, no higher friendship is known to earth than that that is built upon a solemn vow before God of aid, of counsel, of confidence, and friendship. And, aside from the tribute that is due her as a considerate, thoughtful, tender mother and devoted companion, it can be truly said that she was, by reason of her kindness of heart, charity of expression and willingness to sacrifice personal comfort for the purpose of doing something for the benefit of those to whom she was pledged, more and better fitted for that task than any of their surviving sisters. To her no appeal for aid within her means to relieve, was ever turned empty away; to her no sorrowing heart ever sought consolation in vain. Her life was made up of kind deeds and charitable effort.
Thus she lived, passing with the unchanging law of nature, the change of the seasons from the spring time, the summer of life, to the autumn, ripe with the golden fruit of duty well performed and reaching the winter of years happy in spirit, cheerful in manner, loved by all, until the old year was passing away and the dawn of the new was fast approaching.
At that time, when the quivering tones of the bells still echoed dimly in the distance, there fell upon her listening ear, the music of the harpists, who surround the throne of the Almighty. At that time, after a long weary night and just as the morn was at hand, while the words, “Peace on earth, good will to man,” were still heard on all sides and in every home untouched by disease or death, her vision pierced the unknown and she beheld that land, where disease never enters; night never comes; where pain is never felt; where peace—not the transitory, fleeting peace of earth, but that abiding, supreme, blissful, peace that is only vouch-safed the poor in heart and worthy in spirit.
Mrs. Maria Forder, in whose honor these services are held, was born at Hampshire, England, November 15, 1817; she was married to William Forder, who has gone before her to that better land, October 11, 1836, and with him came to America and settled in Salem, Washington county, Indiana, in 1840. She was the mother of 12 children, five of whom were sons. Four of them, went fourth in defence of the flag when treason threatened the life of the nation, and three of them came never back to her embrace, their lives having gone out amid the thunders roar, the dreadful crash and the withering fire of battle.
She was made a member of Colfax W. R. C., April 24, 1891, was elected to the position of chaplain, which she held continuously until her death. She was rarely absent from the meetings and was always a valued advisor in the deliberations of that body.
The time for the completion of these sacred services has arrived. The writer can add not one word that will fittingly portray the beauty of character, the gentleness of disposition, the kindness of heart, of her, whose body lies in yonder narrow home. The sister of the corps have paid her memory all the respect and honor that love and regret can pay; yet they would fain linger near to the form that in life, was so dear; would still look upon the face, that in life, was lighted up with a christian faith and the purpose of a noble soul. They would speak consolingly to the weeping ones of her household, but, alas! Their own eyes are filled with tears, their own hearts are swelled with sadness. They can only say as the body is laid to rest, sister, thy example was of priceless value to us; thy voice will be often and sadly missed at our gatherings; thy memory, we shall keep ever green in our hearts, and the choicest blossoms of springtime shall be laid upon thy bed, as long as we shall live; it shall be our aim to emulate thy virtues, to practice thy precepts, and to so perform life's duties that, when with us the night of life shall end, we may meet thee on the morning of the resurrection, so fitted that we may enjoy thy presence through the endless years of eternity. Until that glad hour, beloved sister, a last, a long, a final, a tearful farewell. Hail and Farewell.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Jervis W. Silliman

My g2grandfather, Jervis W. Silliman ("W" may stand for "Warren," his mother's maiden name) was born  28 Oct 1828 in Wethersfield, Wyoming, New York.  He died 8 Oct 1908 in Orting, Pierce, Washington, just shy of his 80th birthday, and is buried in the Soldiers' Home Cemetery. 

Jervis was the youngest of three children by Samuel Silliman and Roxillana Warren.  Roxillana was well into her 30's when she and Samuel married, and 43 years old when Jervis was born.  Samuel had been married before, and had many children with his first wife.  He was 73 when Jervis was born and lived to be 92.

Jervis and his father both served as volunteers in the army.  Samuel was about 18 when he first served in the Revolutionary war.  He volunteered and served in a number of capacities for the Connecticut Militia in Fairfield, as well as on several ships.  One of his commanding officers was a Capt. Jervis.  It's possible that it is for that captain that Jervis is named.

Jervis was in his mid-30's when he served in the Civil War, more than 80 years later.  Although he was a Mounted Ranger in the 1st Regiment of the Minnesota Cavalry, his service was focused on the Indian Wars, fighting the Sioux Indians who were pushing back against the pioneers settling in the Big Woods of Minnesota.