Captain Solomon Sylvester
Captain Solomon Sylvester is a thorough marine man, having been connected with the Great Lakes all his life. He was born in the township of Scarborough, York Co., Ont., June 16, 1837, his father, Samuel Sylvester, being a well-known farmer of that locality. His mother was Miss Janey Taylor, sister of Capt. Archibald Taylor, ex-deputy harbor master of Toronto port.
Captain Sylvester's parents were among the pioneers of Ontario, or Upper Canada, as it was then called, and their farm was situated about nine miles from Toronto, then known as York. The father died when Solomon, the third oldest in the family, was only eight years of age, or about the year 1845. Our subject has two brothers and two sisters, there being five children in the family, all of whom were educated in the public schools, the Captain proving an apt pupil. His one wish from childhood was to go sailing, and when he attained the age of thirteen he went on board a small coasting schooner on Lake Ontario. On different craft he worked his way up until, in 1857, he became a master, and took command of the schooner Atlantic. He owned and sailed different vessels until 1869, at which time he came off the water, and inaugurated a general wharfing and vessel owning and storage business in partnership with his brother David, and James H. Hickman. This firm traded under the name Sylvester Brothers & Hickman, on the Esplanade, at the foot of Church street, until 1879, when Mr. Hickman died. Then the firm name was changed to Sylvester Brothers as it yet remains. Some of the vessels which they own are the steamers L. Shickluna (wrecked) and the Eurydice, and the schooners J.G. Worts (wrecked) and the St. Louis.
When the Trent excitement occurred, Captain Sylvester entered in the naval brigade, under Capt. W.F. McMaster, and was stationed at Toronto. He held the office of master's mate, the highest that could be attained in the service. Notwithstanding his many secular duties, Captain Sylvester finds time to devote to Church and Lodge matters. He is a member of the Sons of Temperance, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen; and is a director and elder in the West Presbyterian Church, Toronto, in which he holds membership. In politics he is a Liberal, and is a strong advocate of liberal matters in the best sense of the term. He is also an active member of the Canadian Marine Association, in which he holds office, and looks carefully after inland marine matters. He has two sons who are energetically following in the footsteps of their father, and two daughters who are prototypes of their amiable mother, who was a Mrs. Janet Paterson, widow of Robert Paterson, of Kingston, Ontario, before her marriage with Captain Sylvester, which occurred in 1867.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.