The History of Otsego County, New York
D. Hamilton Hurd
Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia
SILL, Jedediah P. - Cooperstown
Jedediah P. SILL was the fifth son of Abel Sill and Hepzibah
PECK, and grandson of the late Judge Jedediah Peck, a man of
note in his day in this county and in the State.
He was born in the town of Burlington, May 28, 1808. His
father died in 1824, leaving to the care of his wife - a woman of
remarkable strength of character and well-balanced mind - a family
of nine children.
When seventeen years of age, by her consent, Jedediah P. left
home to learn the trade of gunsmith, at which he served four years,
and then engaged in the business on his own account, taking jobs of
his former employers. Having worked at the trade about seven years,
he then abandoned it, believing that he was pursuing the wrong
calling. He then entered the store of his uncle, Henry Sill, at
Burlington, with a view of getting an insight into the mercantile
business, and gave to him nine months' service; after which he
removed to Schuyler's Lake and opened a store there with his
uncle as partner, under the firm-name of H. & J. P. Sill. This
co-partnership lasted for about six years, when Mr. Sill bought out
the interest of his uncle and continued in trade on his own account
until 1848, when he sold out. He held the office of postmaster for
thirteen years, and represented his town with marked fidelity and
success for seven years in the board of supervisors. He ran for
delegate to the constitutional convention of 1846, and was defeated
through a split in the Democratic party of this county.
After closing his mercantile business, Mr. Sill engaged in the
produce trade, and continued the same up to August, 1854, when
he moved to the village of Cooperstown, and entered into the hop
and wool trade, under the firm-name of Scott, Pier & Sill, which
firm dissolved after the expiration of one year, and was succeeded
by the firm of Scott, Sill & Co., which firm remained in the trade
about three years and was then dissolved; after closing the business
of the late firm he occupied most of his time in looking after the
affairs of the Bank of Cooperstown and operating in real estate.
During fifteen years, ending with 1874, he purchased about 30 acres
of land lying on the corporation of Cooperstown, nearly all of which
he divided into village lots, and sold to actual settlers. He also put
up a number of dwellings, and loaned to others the means with
which to build.
In January, 1853, the Bank of Cooperstown, was organized,
and at the first meeting of the stockholders Mr. Sill was chosen
one of the directors, which position he held during the existence of
that institution. In 1859 he was elected vice-president, and in 1861,
on the death of Colonel PRENTISS, president of the bank. When
under the act of congress it became expedient to close the affairs
of the bank, it was succeeded by the Second National Bank of
Cooperstown. This took place in January, 1864, and at the first
meeting of the stockholders Mr. Sill was elected president, and
held that position for ten years, till January, 1874, when he resigned
the office on account of ill health.
Mr. Sill took great interest in the location and construction of
the Cooperstown railroad, and no man was more efficient in raising means
for that object. He was a large stock and bondholder, a director
from its organization until his death, and one of the railroad
commissioners for Cooperstown.
In 1872, Mr. Sill, though always a most ardent old-school
Democrat, heartily indorsed the nomination of Horace Greeley for
president, and was that year placed upon the Democratic-Republican
ticket as elector for this congressional district. Mr. Sill was a man
of excellent natural abilities and strong common sense; for several
years previous to his death he was a member of the congregation
of Christ's church, of Cooperstown, and one of its vestrymen at
the time of his decease. He was twice married, first to Caroline S.,
daughter of Noah WOOD, of Smyrna; second to Lavantia, daughter
of the late Noah WOOD, of Syracuse, and niece of his first wife.
He died at Cooperstown, Sept. 27, 1875, leaving two children,
Florence V. and Henry D.
Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, opposite page 271
Return to Biography Index