Garfield Post to honor Sillyman, Civil War vet
MOUNT CARMEL - As part of the Mount Carmel's joint veterans services on Memorial Day, James A. Garfield Post 34 will pay honor to the memory of Sgt. Oscar H. Sillyman, a veteran of the Civil War.
Born in Pottsville Jan. 26, 1830. Sillyman was a son of John and Margaret (Bobb) Sillyman. The father was one of the first rivermen to raft coal to Philadelphia and one of the most successful superintendents in the Pottsville region.
Oscar H. Sillyman was raised in Schuylkill County and received a good education. He started work in the mines where he filled many positions, with a view of being trained for a superintendency. In 1847, he began work at a general store in Pottsville where he remained until 1853. He then embarked in business for himself and later had charge of several stores in Schuylkill County.
In September 1862 at age 32, he enrolled at Pottsville with Company B of the 6th Regimental Infantry (Emergency) Militia and was made a sergeant at his training in Harrisburg. This enrollment lasted about two weeks. The regiment's purpose was for defense against Lee's invasion of Maryland. In May 1863, he was mustered in again as a sergeant in Harrisburg with Company B of the 27th Infantry (Emergency) Militia. The regiment was formed again for protection against General Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania. He served until July 31, 1863, including during the Gettysburg Campaign. The regiment had marched to Gettysburg and arrived after the battle. They were involved in burying the dead and cleaning up the battlefield.
In 1865, he moved to Locust Gap, and embarked in merchandising. In 1868, he moved the business to North Oak Street in Mount Carmel. Sillyman took a great interest in the public schools, where he served as a school director. Several of the early buildings were built during his terms. He was a member of Lodge 378 Free and Accepted Masons, and an ardent supporter of the Republican Party since its inception.
Sillyman was the first president of the Mount Carmel Cemetery Company, which was organized March 29, 1883, and later served 20 years as its secretary. He was also treasurer of the Anthracite Building and Loan Association.
Sillyman died after a four-month illness in his home on Hickory Street May 29, 1889. He left behind four children, Carrie, wife of Dr. R.W. Montelius, Mrs. Iren Bauber, William and Maude. Interment was at Mount Carmel Cemetery.
The Memorial Day program is part of the joint veterans services. The wreath ceremony at Sillyman's grave is coordinated by Garfield Camp.
The camp, chartered August 9, 1883 is the oldest veteran-affiliated organization in Mount Carmel. It is named for Civil War Major General and 20th President James A. Garfield. Its next meeting will be held Nov. 13 at the camp headquarters in the Lithuanian Social Club in Mount Carmel.