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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Silliman

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1425-1426 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The name Silliman, Sillemant or Sillivant is derived from a silly man not silly or witless, as used in modern times, but innocent, free from guile, a good man. About 1690 the name came to be spelled Silliman. It has been suggested by persons familiar with the pronunciation of family names that this family was of Irish extraction, but there has been no proof yet found.

(I) Daniel Silliman was in Fairfield in 1658. He married (first), in July, 1661, Peacable Eggleston, widow of John Eggleston. He bought of Joseph Middlebrook, administrator of John Eggleston's estate, ten acres of land left for the use of Eggleston's son. This lot was southwest of the present Black Rock bridge. He married (second) Hannara, Henichy or Hannah Hendrickson, widow of "Hendrick" or "Henry Hendrickson." He was one of the land dividend holders of the town. He died intestate in 1690, and the inventory of his estate, valued at three hundred and two pounds, was made January 13, 1690-91. His property was divided between his wife Hannah and his three sons. It has not been determined whether he was related to Daniel Sillivant or Selevant, of New Haven, who married, before 1654, Abigail Cole, only daughter of James Cole, of Hartford, and who married, October 17, 1654, Eliza Lamberton, daughter of Captain George Lamberton, master of the famous phantom ship, or the ship in the air, lost in 1646. In the New Haven records, it says that a William Trowbridge married, March 9, 1667, at Milford, Elizabeth, widow of Sillivant and daughter of George Lamberton, but before this Elizabeth deeded the house and lands given to her husband and his former wife, Abigail, by James Cole, her father, in his will, and it also says that the said Daniel died in Virginia in 1655, and he left a will, proved June 1655, naming his widow. Tradition says that Daniel of Fairfield was from Holland. Children by first wife: Daniel, Thomas, Robert, mentioned below.

(II) Robert, son of Daniel Silliman, married Sarah, daughter of Cornelius Hull. He died in 1748. Children:

  1. Sarah, baptized September 16, 1694;
  2. Nathaniel, September
  3. 27, 1696;
  4. Anne, March 12, 1698-99;
  5. Martha, August 24, 1701;
  6. Robert, March 19, 1703-04, mentioned below;
  7. Rebecca, April 8, 1705;
  8. Ebenezer, September 21, 1707.

(III) Robert (2), son of Robert (1) Silliman, was baptized March 19, 1703-04. He married (first), October 20, 1715, Ruth, daughter of Samuel Tredwell, of Pequonnock. She died March 15, 1756. He married (second), Mary Morehouse, December 14, 1756. Children by first wife:

  1. Robert, born September 26, 1716, mentioned below;
  2. Ruth, baptized August 24, 1718;
  3. Daniel, born December 31, 1722;
  4. Sarah, February 17, 1728-29;
  5. John, April 9, 1731.

By second wife:

  1. Ruth, born August 19, 1760.

There were perhaps other children by second wife.

(IV) Rev. Robert (3) Silliman, son of Robert (2) Silliman, was born September 26, 1716, at Fairfield, died in 1781 at Saybrook. He married Annie, daughter of Samuel Cooke, granddaughter of Thomas Cooke and great-granddaughter of Thomas Cooke. Samuel Cooke was born November 22, 1687, and became a Congregational minister; settled in Stratfield, Connecticut, now Bridgeport, with a salary of a hundred pounds a year with his firewood. He is described as of dignified appearance and manner, wearing a particularly careful ministerial dress. He married Anne Trowbridge, a girl of twenty, only daughter of John Trowbridge, of New Haven. For a time Cooke was the principal of the Hopkins grammar school. The wife of John Trowbridge was a daughter of Governor Leete, a distinguished member of an old English noble family. Anne was the youngest child of seven. Robert Silliman moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, to succeed Rev. John Eells, as pastor, and continued there for thirty years. He accepted a call to Saybrook, Connecticut, January 8, 1772. Solomon A. Silliman has in his possession a copy of the old church record of Saybrook, which contains the proceedings of a meeting of the society to give a call to Rev. Robert Silliman, and his letter of acceptance. It was voted at this meeting to give him a salary of sixty pounds and twenty cords of firewood a year, the sixty pounds to be one-third in cash, and two-thirds in food products at the market price in that town. His wife died two years and a half before him. His own death came unexpectedly while he was visiting. Among his children were:

  1. Samuel Cooke, died February 14, 1798; married Elizabeth Stratton and Dinah Comstock, and lived on the homestead.
  2. Dr. Joseph, mentioned below.
  3. John, who built the first boat that navigated the Connecticut river propelled by any power but the wind, namely horsepower; he loaded it with grain to go up and down the river, and, running against a "snag," it sank. He afterward left that part of the country and moved to a place north of Troy, called Half Moon, and from him have come three or four generations who have lived along the Hudson in this vicinity, some of whom have been prominent business men in Troy; one each of the third and fourth generations are still living here, also some in West Troy, now called Watervliet.

In the census of 1790, the only heads of families of this surname at Stamford and Norwalk, which are reported together, were Dr. Joseph, who had two sons under sixteen, and three females, and Samuel Cooke, who had one son under sixteen and one female.

(V) Dr. Joseph Silliman, son of Rev. Robert (3) Silliman, was born about 1760. He removed from New Canaan at the age of fifteen, but returning later settled there. He was a prominent physician and held various offices of trust and honor. He died in Bedford, New York, aged seventy-one. He married, November 23, 1785, Martha Leeds. Children:

  1. Joseph, born August 13, 1786, graduate of Yale, married Martha Mitchell;
  2. William, January 17, 1788, graduate of Yale, married ———— St. John;
  3. Eliabeth [Elizabeth?] Leeds, October 22, 1789, married Hon. Minot Mitchell;
  4. Samuel Cooke, January 11, 1792, graduate of Yale, married Uriah Reeds' daughter;
  5. Elisha, December 22, 1793;
  6. Ann, October 23, 1795, died young;
  7. John Leeds, mentioned below.

(VI) John Leeds, son of Dr. Joseph Silliman, was born at New Canaan, Connecticut, June 14, 1798, died at White Plains, New York, May 2, 1879. He was a farmer. Originally a Whig, he supported the Republican party after it was established. In religion he was a Presbyterian and active in good works. He married, December 24, 1822, Catharine Mary, born at Poundridge, Westchester county, New York, October 13, 1802, daughter of Solomon Lockwood (see Lockwood VI). Children: William, Joseph, John, Minot M., Ann Eliza, Chauncey M., Solomon Augustus, Charles H., Charles H. M. and Caroline M.

(VII) Solomon Augustus, son of John Leeds Silliman, was born in Brutus, Cayuga county, New York, November 5, 1837. He was educated in the public schools of his native town and the Union School at Weedsport, New York. He also took a private course in accounting and commercial branches at Auburn, New York. He came to New York City in November, 1858, and engaged in temporary business for a year, then entered a firm dealing in trimmings and millinery goods. The firm imported goods extensively. He was in charge of the financial part of the business and of the accounts. In 1888 he came to Troy, New York, and since that time has been virtually retired from business, though he has taken some engagements as an expert accountant. He enlisted in the Twenty-third Regiment (Brooklyn regiment), New York National Guard, in the civil war, in 1862, and served from October 6, 1862, to May 1, 1867. He was for four years a member of the State National Guard Association. In politics he is a staunch Republican, and his first vote was cast for Abraham Lincoln. In religion he is a Presbyterian. He was formerly a member of the Union League club of New York City. He married June 26, 1879, Martha Ann, born at Troy, daughter of Henry Ingram (see Ingram VIII).

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