E. R. Sylvester Cole

E. R. Sylvester Cole was born 1842 in Livingston County, New York., the son of John B. (b. 1817) and Sarah (b. 1819).

Both his parents were born in New York and were presumably married there. By 1850 Sylvester (listed as “Err. S” in the census) was attending school with two of his siblings and living with his family in Springwater, Livingston County, New York, where his father worked as a blacksmith. Sometime between 1853 and 1855 his family moved from New York to Michigan, and by 1860 had settled on a farm in Jamestown, Ottawa County.

Sylvester stood 5’10” with gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion and was 19 years old and working as a farmer possibly in Crockery, Ottawa County when he enlisted in Company I on December 18, 1861 at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Ottawa County, and was mustered the same day. (Company I was made up largely of men from Ottawa County, particularly from the eastern side of the County.) He was absent sick in a general hospital in May of 1862, wounded on August 29, 1862 at Second Bull Run and subsequently hospitalized until he was discharged on October 30 or November 2, 1862 at Point Lookout, Maryland, for the loss of his left thumb as a result of his wounds.

Sylvester returned to Michigan, and he may have settled in Hillsdale County. He apparently reentered the service in Company K, Eleventh Michigan cavalry on October 28, 1863, at Litchfield, Hillsdale County for 3 years, crediting Litchfield, and was mustered on October 31 at Detroit. In August of 1864 he was on recruiting service in Michigan, and on July 20, 1865, he was transferred to Company A, Eighth cavalry. He was discharged from the Eighth cavalry on September 22, 1865.

After the war Sylvester again returned to Michigan, possibly to Hillsdale County.

Sylvester married 16-year-old New York native Mary A. Dugan (b. 1851-1933), on December 25, 1866, in Litchfield, Hillsdale County, and had at least one child: a son Wirt J. (1875-1944).

In 1870 Sylvester purchased nearly 80 acres of land through the Ionia land office in Michigan, and he eventually settled in Litchfield, where he probably lived the remainder of his life. (In 1870 his mother Sarah, apparently widowed, was listed as head of the household and living in Spring Lake, Ottawa County; several of her children were living with her.) By 1880 Sylvester was working as a carpenter and living with his wife and son in Litchfield; his brother Harvey and his family were also living in Litchfield.

He received a pension (no. 10,684?), dated January of 1863, for his service in both cavalry and infantry units.

Sylvester died on March 10, 1884, in Litchfield and was buried in Mt. Hope cemetery in Litchfield, row 8, lot 30.

His widow was residing in Michigan in 1885 when she applied for and received a pension (no. 325655). She was living in Litchfield, Hillsdale County in 1890, and she remarried in 1893 to Frank Boxler (d. 1907). Mary remarried in 1911 to one Newton Chamberlain.