(NOTE: On December 1, 1930, of the 992 men who had served in the 86th Illinois during the Civil War, only 27 were still living. Of the more than 50 men who had served as commissioned officers during the course of the war with the 86th, only 1 was still living. Edwin Calvin Silliman, who had been commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant late in the war, was the only 86th Illinois officer still living. After Private Stephen Grady, of Co. E, died on December 4, 1930 and Lt. Edwin C. Silliman died on December 11, 1930, the last of the 86th Illinois officers was gone and only 25 enlisted men remained.)
2nd Lieutenant EDWIN CALVIN SILLIMAN, Co. C, 86th Illinois
Edwin Calvin Silliman was born on November 18, 1840 in Hallock Township in northern Peoria County, Illinois, the son of Marshall Bennett Silliman and Clarissa (Hyde) Silliman, Marshall was born on May 12, 1812 in Delaware County, New York, the second son of the Rev. Gershom Silliman and Polly (Colman) Silliman, who were both natives of Connecticut. Rev. Silliman was a Lieutenant in the War of 1812. In 1814, Rev. Silliman moved with his family to Jackson County, Ohio, remaining there 14 years. In 1828, he again moved with his family to Illinois, where they settled about four miles west of Chillicothe, Illinois in Peoria County, arriving in September of 1828. There they built a log cabin. Edwin was born in his parents log cabin, which according to his obituary "was one of the first built on the 'high prairie,' or the open land beyond the high bluffs." Rev. Silliman was the first Baptist Minister to permanently locate in Peoria County. Marshall was married on Nov. 16, 1837 to Miss Clarissa Hyde, a sister of Norman Hyde, one of the first settlers in Peoria and it's 1st Probate Judge. Clarissa died Nov. 5, 1842, leaving Marshall with two young sons, Edwin C. Silliman and Norman H. Silliman. Marshall B. Silliman was married 2nd on Feb. 6, 1844, to Nancy Y. Hawley, a daughter of Truman Hawley, who came to Peoria County in 1834, and who settled near Mt. Hawley. Truman kept the Post Office there for many years. Nancy died on June 4, 1885, at the the homestead in Hallock Township, while Marshall died on March 11, 1888, at Toulon.
At the time of the 1850 census, the Silliman family is found in Peoria County;
1473 1522 Sulliman Marshall B. 38 M Farmer 3,700 NY
1473 1522 Sulliman Nancy 34 F NY
1473 1522 Sulliman Edwin C. 9 M Ill
1473 1522 Sulliman Norman H. 7 M Ill
At the time of the 1860 census, the Silliman family is found in Hallock Township of Peoria County;
662 648 Silliman Marshall 48 M Farmer 6,300 4,000 NY
662 648 Silliman Nancy 44 F NY
662 648 Silliman Edwin C. 19 M IL
662 648 Silliman Norman 17 M IL
662 648 Malone Ellen 23 F Servant Ireland
Edwin C. Silliman was very well educated for his day. Edwin was educated in the country schools of northern Peoria County, attended the Toulon Academy in Toulon, Illinois and then attended Lombard University in Galesburg, Illinois. During the winter of 1861-62, Edwin C. Silliman earned his Teaching Certificate and is known to have taught school in his home district in Peoria County. During this time, Edwin was residing in Hallack Township in northern Peoria County.
On August 6, 1862, Edwin C. Silliman volunteered to serve in a company which was being raised in Chillicothe, Illinois, and in the townships immediately north and west of Chillicothe, including Halleck Township in Peoria County and LaPrairie and Saratoga Townships in Marshall County, by John H. Batchelder, who operated the Ferry at Chillicothe, and Dr. Joseph Thomas, a Chillicothe area Physician.
ILLINOIS STATE ARCHIVES
Illinois Civil War Detail Report
Name SILLIMAN, EDWIN C Rank SGT
Company C Unit 86 IL US INF
Residence HALLECK, PEORIA CO, IL
Age 21 Height 5' 9 Hair LIGHT
Eyes BLUE Complexion LIGHT
Marital Status SINGLE Occupation FARMER
Nativity HALLECK, PEORIA CO, IL
Joined When AUG 6, 1862
Joined Where CHILLICOTHE, IL
Joined By Whom J H BATCHELDER
Period 3 YRS Muster In AUG 27, 1862
Muster In Where PEORIA, IL
Muster In By Whom
Muster Out JUN 6, 1865
Muster Out Where WASHINGTON, DC
Muster Out By Whom LT SCROGGS
Remarks MUSTERED OUT AS 1SGT COMMISSIONED 2LT
When Batchelder and Thomas had almost 100 volunteers, they led the Chillicothe area company into Peoria where they went into camp at Camp Lyon, near present day Glen Oak Park. On August 27, 1862, Batchelder, Thomas and 87 of their volunteers were mustered into service as Co. C of the 86th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Dr. Thomas was elected by the men of Co. C to serve as their Captain, while Batchelder was elected to serve as their 1st Lieutenant. Edwin C. Silliman was elected by the men of men of Co. C to serve as their 3rd Sergeant.
On September 7, 1862, the men of the 86th Illinois marched out the gates of Camp Lyon, through the streets of Peoria, with much fanfare, and boarded a train bound for Camp Joe Holt, Jeffersonville, Indiana. By early October, the men of the 86th were in the field in Kentucky as part of Col. Daniel McCook's Brigade, in pursuit of Confederate troops. On Oct. 8, 1862, the men of McCook's Brigade were engaged with those troops in the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, the 86th Illinois suffering their first casualties. There would be many more to come. After the Battle of Perryville, the Confederate troops withdrew from Kentucky and the men of McCook's Brigade marched on to Nashville, Tennessee where they would go into winter camp.
Prior to his entering the service, Edwin C. Silliman had probably never sat down to have his picture taken. There were a number of photographers working in Nashville during this time period and at least once, and probably at least twice, during his time in Nashville, Tennessee, we know that Edwin C. Silliman took the time to sit for a portrait. On June 16, 1863, Private Harvey S. Brown, also a member of Co. C, mentions that he "went to town with Ed (Silliman) and got some photographs." At this time, Edwin C. Silliman was probably 1st Sergeant of Co. C. The photograph we have on this site shows Ed as a Sergeant, so this photograph was probably taken sometime between November of 1862 and February of 1863, when we believe that Ed was promoted to 1st Sergeant. If this is correct, we have yet to find a copy of the picture that Ed had taken on June 16, 1863, which should show him as a 1st Sergeant.
During the two and a half years, Sergeant Edwin C. Silliman served faithfully in Co. C as the men of the 86th served in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. During this time, Edwin was witness to and a participant in numerous battles and skirmishes, some of the bloodiest fighting in the Western Theatre of the war, including the Battles of Chickamauga, Georgia; Resaca, Georgia; Rome, Georgia, Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, Peach Tree Creek, Georgia, Jonesboro, Georgia, Averasborough, North Carolina and Bentonville, North Carolina and marched with General Sherman to the Sea.
As a sign of his military bearing and his dedication to the service and to his men, Sergeant Edwin C. Silliman is known to have been elected to fill the position of 1st Sergeant. This is believed to have occurred on or about February 1, 1863, when then 1st Sergeant William G. McDonald was elected and promoted to 2nd Lieutenant. By the end of the war, Co. C numbered less than 45 men, including all of the late war recruits. Since the summer of 1864, Co. C had made due with only two commissioned officers. On June 6, 1865, the men of the 86th Illinois were mustered out of service in Washington City (now D.C.). Even though the war was now over, most of the companies took the opportunity to fill their vacant officer positions and about the time they were mustered out, the men of Co. C held an election to fill the position of 2nd Lieutenant and 1st Sergeant Edwin C. Silliman was elected. Edwin C. Silliman did receive his commission before he left the service, but, he was mustered out of the service as 1st Sergeant of Co. C. By the end of June of 1865, the surviving members of Co. C were home with their families.
Edwin C. Silliman was married to Sarah Marie/Maria Haynes on Christmas Day, December 25, 1866 at Lacon, Illinois. Sarah was born on August 20, 1840 in Steuben Township, Marshall County, Illinois, the daughter of Samuel Haynes and Irene (Atwood) Haynes.
Edwin and Sarah are known to have had 2 sons. They were;
1. Herbert H. Silliman, born July 5, 1868 at ________, Illinois. Graduated from the Chicago College of Dental Surgery in 1889. Dr. Herbert H. Silliman died on November __, 1892 at ___________, Illinois and his mortal remains were laid in the Chenoa Township Cemetery.
2. Lester Lee Silliman, born October 2, 1870 in __________, Illinois. Lester, like his father, attended Lombard University in Galesburg and was a member of the Class of 1892. He is known to have been President of his class during his Sophomore Year.
Lester L. Silliman began working in the Haynes, Holder & Jordan Bank when he was 21 years of age at $21 per month. He later was Cashier of the State Bank of Chenoa for a number of years.
It was said in a Chenoa history that "Mr. L. L. Silliman has an insurance policy which belonged to his father, which
has a clause protecting them against Indian attack."
Lester L. Silliman was married to Lottie Elder on May 3, 1894 in McLean County, Illinois. Lottie was born on February 3, 1868/69 in Illinois.
At the time of the 1900 census, Lester and Lottie are found in Chenoa Township, Chenoa city Ward 1-3, McLean County, Illinois. Lottie has had no children at this time;
Lester L Silliman Head M Oct 1870 30 Illinois
Lottie Silliman Wife F Feb 1868 32 Illinois
Charles S Elder Boarder M 64 New York
At the time of the 1910 census, Lester and Lottie are found at Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois;
Lester L Silliman Head M 39 Illinois
Lottie E Silliman Wife F 41 Illinois
Charles S Elder Father-in-law M 75 New York
Stella Fisk Nurse F 54 Illinois
At the time of the 1930 census, Lester and Lottie are found residing at what is identified as 416 Division Street in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois;
Lester L Silliman Head M 59 Illinois
Lottie E Silliman Wife F 61 Illinois
Helen E Fifield Cousin F 26 California
Edwin C Silliman Father M 89 Illinois
Lottie E. (Elder) Silliman died on August 25, 1933 in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois and her mortal remains were laid in the Chenoa Cemetery in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois. See her Find A Grave Memorial# 8632891.
Lester was then married to Martha E. _____________. At the time of the 1940 census, Lester and Martha are found residing at 416 Division Street in Chenoa, Chenoa Township, McLean County, Illinois. He is listed as a Cashier for the State Bank;
Lester L Silliman Head M 69 Illinois
Martha E Silliman Wife F 47 Illinois
Lester Lee Silliman died on November __, 1958 in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois and his mortal remains were laid in the Chenoa Cemetery in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois. See his Find A Grave Memorial# 86328851.
Now to continue with the biography of Edwin C. Silliman;
Edwin was elected Peoria County Treasurer in 1869, serving one term. At the time of the 1870 census, Edwin and his family are found in living in the city of Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois. He is listed as the County Treasurer;
Edwin C Silliman County Treasurer M 29 Illinois
Sarah A Silliman Keeping House F 29 Illinois
Hubert H Silliman Son M 2 Illinois
Catharine Macken Dom. Servant F 22 Illinois
In 1872, after his term had expired, Edwin and Sarah moved to Chenoa, Illinois. Edwin's obituary states that "he was identified with the merchantile and social interests of Chenoa since that time, a period of fifty-eight years. Mr. Silliman entered into a partnership with George W. Jewel in agricultural implements and carriage making upon coming to Chenoa, and after a few years sold his interest to John T. Gibson, who served as a Sergeant in Co. G of the 86th Illinois, and went into the drug business with John W. Lenney. He later served for a short time as assayer for a mining company in Colorado, and after following the merchantile business for several years, retired from active business in 1890, investing wholly in farm lands."
At the time of the 1880 census, Edwin and his family are found residing on Emma Street in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois and is listed as a Druggist;
Edwin C Silliman Self M 39 Illinois
Sarah M Silliman Wife F 39 Illinois
Herbert H Silliman Son M 10 Illinois
Lester L Silliman Son M 8 Illinois
Edwin was very active through the years in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) and in the 86th Illinois Association. Edwin was a Charter Member of Chenoa Post No. 185, G.A.R., serving as it's 1st Commander. Edwin then served as the Adjutant of the Post for most of the next 20 years. Edwin served as an Aid on the National and Illinois State G.A.R. staffs and served several terms as Commander of the 86th Illinois Association and was heavily involved in organizing the reunions of the 86th through the years.
Over the years, Edwin came to be addressed often as "Colonel" Silliman because of his service in the military and his active involvement in the G.A.R.
In 1887, some of the surviving members of the 86th Illinois organized and held a reunion of the old 86th during the week of August 27th, the 25th anniversary of the mustering in of the old 86th back in 1862. Edwin was one of 20 members of old Co. C to attend that first reunion, with more than 130 surviving members of the 86th attending in total. The 1887 reunion was such a success that they decided to continue to hold these reunions every August as long as they could and they continued to hold these reunions through 1923, when the few that were able to attend that 1923 reunion tearfully decided that they were too few and too old to continue to hold them any longer. Through the years, 34 different members of old Co. C were able to attend at least one reunion, Edwin C. Silliman being one of the most faithful. From the 1st reunion until the last in 1923, Edwin C. Silliman only missed 5 reunions, those being the reunions of 1894. 1895, 1896, 1900 and 1918. Edwin was one of only 3 men from Co. C to make the 1923 reunion when it was, tearfully, decided that that reunion would be the last earthly reunion to be held. The other two men were Ansel Crouch and Adam Crawford.
Edwin was also a very active member of the Illinois State and McLean County Historical Societies and "wrote several articles upon the early history of his native county. Mr. Silliman was ever a staunch patron of the Chenoa Public Library, and gave liberally to this institution since its establishment, many volumes and books on the library shelves attesting to his deep interest in this cause."
At the time of the 1900 census, Edwin and his family are found living on Davis Street in Chenoa Township, Chenoa city Ward 1-3, McLean County, Illinois. Sarah, incorrectly listed as Sarah, is listed as having had 2 children, only one of whom is living;
Edward C Silliman Head M Nov 1840 60 Illinois
Susan M Silliman Wife F Aug 1840 60 Illinois
Jennie Tingley Servant F 28 Indiana
At the time of the 1910 census, the Sillimans are found in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois;
Edwin C Silliman Head M 69 Illinois
Sarah M Silliman Wife F 69 Illinois
Jane Tingley Servant F 38 Indiana
Lt. Edwin C. Silliman was a member of the Chenoa G.A.R. Post #185 in Chenoa, Illinois. In 1914 a book was published entitled "Illustrated Roster of the Department of Illinois, Grand Army of the Republic." E. C. Silliman, of C of the 86th Illinois was listed as a member of this post at this time.
Sarah Marie (Haynes) Silliman died on March __, 1922 at Chenoa, Illinois. Her earthly remains were laid to rest in the Chenoa Township Cemetery in Chenoa, Illinois.
At the time of the 1930 census, Edwin C. Silliman is found residing with his son Lester at what is identified as 416 Division Street in Chenoa, McLean County, Illinois. He is listed as being widowed;
Lester L Silliman Head M 59 Illinois
Lottie E Silliman Wife F 61 Illinois
Helen E Fifield Cousin F 26 California
Edwin C Silliman Father M 89 Illinois
Lt. Edwin C. Silliman passed away on December 10, 1930. The following morning, the headline of the announcement of his passing from the Pantagraph read;
"COL. SILLIMAN, CHENOA, DIES
Charter Member of G.A.R,
survived by One Son,
Col. E. C. Silliman, 90, last Civil War veteran in this vicinity, died at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the home of his son, L. L. Silliman. He had been in failing health several years caused by his advanced age................."
It continued, "The veteran was a charter member of Chenoa Post No. 125 (probably 185) and only one member survives him, Wilbur H. Loper, of Weston. He was a member of the Gridley Lodge I.O.O.F.........."
The earthly remains of Lieutenant Edwin Calvin Silliman, the last living Civil War Veteran living in Chenoa, were given a full military escort by the local American Legion and laid to rest beside those of his wife of 55 years in the Chenoa Township Cemetery in Chenoa, Illinois.
With the passing of Lt. Edwin Calvin Silliman, only three members of Co. C of the 86th Illinois are known to have been living. They were Private Adam Crawford, Corporal George E. Morrill and Private John H. Sarver.
by Baxter B. Fite III and Carol Dorward, of Washington, Illinois
(Baxter would enjoy hearing from anyone, especially descendants of the Silliman family, who might be able to add to the biographical material that we have on Edwin C. Silliman and the Silliman family. Baxter would also love to see copies of any pictures of Edwin C. Silliman that may have survived the years added to his Find A Grave site for all to see.)
Sarah Marie Haynes Silliman
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