Born about 1840. Sylvester's place of birth is listed as Vermont in some records, and New York in others.
In 1850, Sylvester lived with Noble and Amelia T Lovely in Burlington, Vermont. He later moved to California where, on November 30, 1861, he enlisted as a Captain in Company H, 5th California Infantry. His company served in California and Arizona before Sylvester resigned on June 30, 1862.
Sylvester returned to Vermont, and on September 25, 1862, mustered in as a Private in Company C, 11th Regiment, Vermont volunteers. He was promoted to Sargent Major before being reassigned to Company C in November, 1863.
In January 1864, Sylvester was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant in Company B, 26th US Colored Troops. Promoted to Captain, he served with them until August 28, 1865.
Sylvester married Anna O Callaghan on January 14 1865 in Saint Albans, Vermont. The couple's only daughter was born in Washington, DC.
Sylvester accepted a commission as 1st Lieutenant in Company E, 40th U.S. Infantry in 1867. Two months later, Anna died on March 11, 1867, leaving their young daughter, also named Anna Emily. Two months later, Sylvester reported for duty, first in North Carolina and then in San Franciso. He passed away there from tuberculosis.
Sylvester's will leaves his entire estate to Anna Emily Soper, and stipulates that she live with Orson and Palmyra Ashley. The will underlines his concern for her future, specifying that she ".. shall have every possible opportunity given her for obtaining a good Education". The will also states that until she reached adulthood, she could never be placed in any institution or situation that would prevent or deprive her of the right and privilege of choosing for herself "...what faith she shall subscribe and to what Church she will attend."
Anna Emily O'Callaghan Soper