EDWARD EVERETT SILL, born July 14, 1839, at Livonia, Livingston County, New
York, was the son of Andrew Sill, M.D., and Marina (Woodruff) Sill. He prepared for
college at the academies of Oxford and Geneseo, New York State, and entered our Class
at the beginning of the second term of Freshman year. While in college he joined the Delta
Kappa Epsilon fraternity; he was also a member of the 'Technian Literary Society, and was
one of the orators in the Adelphic Union exhibition, July 9, 1862, and treasurer of the
'Technian Literary Society one term during Junior year; was also toast orator in the Biennial
Celebration; and was elected a member of the Williams Quarterly editorial board, but
resigned on account of leaving college to enlist in the army. For this reason he left college
in June, 1862, and enlisted as a private soldier in the 136th Regiment, New York Infantry
Volunteers. His regiment joined the Army of the Potomac in September, 1862. September
25, 1862, he was made a sergeant of his company, and in March, 1863, was promoted to
sergeant major of the regiment. He took part in the campaigns of Fredericksburg, where
he was wounded, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.
Sill was promoted to first lieutenant on the field at Gettysburg, July 4, 1863, and
detailed for duty as adjutant of his regiment. In September, 1863, his regiment, with the
Eleventh and Twelfth Corps under General Hooker, was transferred to the army of the
Cumberland, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. He participated in the battles of
Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, and Knoxville. In December he was
ordered to duty on the staff of the brigade commander. At the opening of the Atlanta
campaign, May 2, 1864, Sill was promoted to the position of aid-de-camp on the staff of
Major General Daniel Butterfield, commanding Third Division, Twentieth Army Corps.
During this campaign he took part in the battles of Buzzard Roost Gap, Resaca, Kingston,
Cassville and Dallas, Georgia. While carrying dispatches in the night on the battlefield of
Dallas, May 25, 1864, our classmate was severely wounded on his head and taken prisoner,
and was confined in the rebel prisons at Macon, Georgia, Charleston and Columbia, South
Carolina. November 29, he escaped from the prison at Columbia, was recaptured,
December 29, by the rebels in the mountains of western North Carolina; but again escaped,
January 2, 1865, and reached the Union lines at Loudon, East Tennessee, February 7. As
soon as possible after this escape, Sill reported for duty with General Butterfield, and was
commissioned captain and assistant adjutant general United States Volunteers, and also
brevetted major by President Lincoln in March, 1865; also brevetted lieutenant colonel by
the governor of New York; and was finally mustered out of the military service, September
In 1866 our classmate began to study law at Rochester, and later attended lectures
at the Albany Law School. He was admitted to the bar in December, 1867, and in January
following was taken into law partnership with A. J. Abbott, Esq., of Geneseo, New York,
where he remained until June, 1874, and then removed to Buffalo, New York.
In 1875, being threatened with trouble from the wound on the head received in the
battle of Dallas, and acting upon the advice of his physician, Sill retired from the practice
of law, and since 1876 he has been engaged as general manager in life insurance.
During the past twenty-five years, as his business interests demanded, he has resided
in Rochester, New York, Newark, New Jersey, and New Haven, Connecticut. He has been
active and influential in behalf of the best interests of his various places of abode. For
twenty years or more he was an elder of the Presbyterian church, and is now a member of
the United Congregational Church, New Haven. For several years he was considerably
engaged in the lecture field, chiefly with a narrative of personal observations and
experiences, entitled, "In and Out of a Rebel Prison."
As time has permitted, Sill has followed a bent for historical studies which has
resulted in several published papers. Among these are the following titles:
1. "A Forgotten Connecticut Patriot," being a sketch of the life and services of the
Reverend Stephen Johnson, of Old Lyme, Connecticut, one of the noblest patriots of the
Revolutionary days. In a forty-five-page octavo pamphlet this paper was published by the
Connecticut Society of the Founders and Patriots of America, before which it was first read.
2. "Two Virginians: a Contrast of the Lives and Characters of Generals George H.
Thomas and Robert E. Lee." Several Memorial Day and other commemorative and
patriotic addresses have also been published.
Sill has served as president of the New York State Sunday School Association;
president Life Underwriters' Association of New Jersey; governor of the Connecticut Society
of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America; commander of the Admiral Foote
Post No. 17, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Connecticut; companion of the
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States; companion of the Hamilton
Chapter, No. 62 R. A. M., New York; director New Haven Colony Historical Society;
member of the American Historical Association; member of the Connecticut Society of the
Sons of the American Revolution, etc.
November 23, 1869, our classmate married Charlotte Elizabeth, daughter of James
S. and Henrietta (MacNiel) Fowler, of Buffalo, New York. They have had five children:
Herbert Fowler, born March 7, 1872; prepared for college at Newark Academy,
Newark, New Jersey; graduated at Princeton University, 1894; appointed instructor in
chemistry at Princeton, which position he has since held; and is now on a leave of absence
from the university to spend a year or more in original research at Leipsic, Germany.
Anna Elizabeth, born April 29, 1873; prepared for college at Newark, New Jersey;
graduated at Vassar College, Class of 1896; afterward a teacher in the grammar school at
New Haven, Connecticut, and library assistant at Princeton University. Died at Princeton,
February 26, 1903.
Edith Marina, born April 2, 1877; married, at New Haven, December 19, 1900, to
Robert Henry Keener, Class of 1899, Yale University. They have one child, Stuart Rowland
Keener, born May 20, 1903. Mr. Keener is now teacher of German in the high school at
Paterson, New Jersey.
Mary Henrietta, born June 27, 1881: until recently associated with her sister in library
work at Princeton University.
Gertrude, born April 7, 1883; died August 16, 1888.
Class of Sixty-Three Williams College Fortieth Year Report, by
the Class Historian, Thomas Todd Printer, Boston, 1903