EDWARD DELAVAN VAN SLYCK, editor and proprietor of the Hamilton
Republican, and one of Madison County's best known citizens, has for many years wielded a marked and beneficent influence on the affairs of this section of the State, both professionally and as a man of strong, earnest character, progressive views, and true public spirit, who is a prominent factor in guiding its political destinies, and potent in guarding and advancing its dearest interests, materially, socially, and morally. A native of this State, he was born at Exeter, Otsego County, August 11, 1833. His father, Philip Van Slyck, was also a native of New York; and his birth occurred at Kinderhook in 1795. He was a son of Peter Van Slyck, who was likewise born and bred in the Empire State. Two of his sons went farther westward, and he spent his declining years on the frontier with them.
Philip Van Slyck learned the trade of clothier in early life. When a young man, he settled in Exeter, Otsego County, and there married Abi Rider, a native of Tolland, Conn., and a daughter of Stephen Rider, a pioneer of Exeter, where he located as
early as 1803. After his removal to Exeter the father of our subject bought land, and there engaged in farming until 1837, when he took up his residence in Cincinnatus, Cortland County. Thence he removed in 1830 to Homer in the same county; and from there, in 1847, to Sempronius, Cayuga County; then back again, the following year, to Cortland County, making his home in Cortlandville, and subsequently at Homer. Finally he returned to Sempronius, where his life was rounded out in 1866, at a ripe age. His widow survived him until 1878, when she, too, passed away, dying at the home of her son Edward. She was the mother of nine children, of whom six grew to maturity.
Edward D. Van Slyck early had to face the stern realities of life, having to assist his father in the support of the family as soon as he was able. Unfortunately, he was delicate lad, and on that account could not attend school until he was ten years of age. However, he had a bright, receptive mind, and managed to secure sufficient education to teach school at the age of seventeen. His experience in that line was confined to district schools, in which he taught five winters. At the age of eighteen he began to devote the time not occupied in teaching to learning the trade of machinist at Homer, and worked at it
a part of each year for five years. His tastes and inclination, however, led him to prefer a professional life; and, when he was twenty-three years old, he commenced reading law with the Hon. R. Holland Duell, of Cortland, and in 1858 was admitted to the bar. He had previously become interested in the newspaper business; and the same year he established the Cortland
Republican Banner, in company with P. H. Bateson, continuing as part proprietor and editor until 1861, when he sold it, and it was consolidated with the Cortland
The breaking out of the war roused in Mr. Van Slyck the spirit of the true patriot, and with voice and pen he advocated the cause of the Union until he could arrange his affairs so that he could go to the front with sword and rifle in defence of his country. In October, 1861, he devoted his energies to raising the original Company K of the Seventy-sixth New York Infantry, and had the honor of being mustered into that regiment as First Lieutenant of Company D. He was connected with the regiment one year, serving with gallantry and characteristic fidelity, and proving himself a good soldier and fine officer in the various battles and skirmishes, seven in number, in which he fought. A part of the time he was Quartermaster, and ably performed the duties of that responsible office. He was three times wounded, which so incapacitated him for active service that he was honorably discharged in October, 1862.
Journalism still had its fascinations for him; and as soon as sufficiently recuperated to attend to business once more he re-entered the field, purchasing the Hamilton
Democratic Republican February 6, 1863. He conducted the paper for twenty-three years with great financial success, making it one of the leading journals of this section of New York. At the end of that time he sold it to W. E. Tooke, as his health had become impaired while in the United States military service, from which he has never recovered. For a while he lived retired, but in 1889 resumed business as a pension attorney, in which he is still prosperously engaged. His abandonment of the editorial profession proved temporary, as in September, 1892, he resumed the proprietorship of the Hamilton
Republican, and has ever since had it under his management, in addition to his other business. His long experience in and decided talent for newspaper work enables Mr. Van Slyck to present to his patrons a model county paper, well conducted in every department, presenting the news of the day in an attractive form, its editorials sound on all public and political questions of importance, and devoted to advancing local interests.
Mr. Van Slyck was united in marriage to Miss Catherine Fisher in 1856. They have had two children, both of whom died in infancy. Mrs. Van Slyck was born in the town of Willet, Cortland County, a daughter of John and Clarissa (Fenton) Fisher, who were natives, respectively, of England and Vermont. Mr. Van Slyck is one of the leaders of the Republican party in this county. He was originally a Democrat, but was in full sympathy with the men who formulated the principles of the Republican party, and was an active and enthusiastic member of the Binghamton Convention that was convened in 184 to organize the party in this State. Since then he has often served as delegate to county and State conventions, and has nobly performed his part in upholding the standard of Republicanism. His war record is commemorated by his connection with Arthur L. Brooks Post No. 272, Grand Army of the Republic. He attended the Grand Army National Encampment at Denver in 1853; was a delegate to the San Francisco encampment in 1886, to the Boston encampment in 1890, to the Detroit encampment in 1891, and to the encampment at Washington in 1892. He is also prominently identified with the Masonic fraternity, of which he became a member at the age of twenty-four years.
Mr. Van Slyck has read and travelled extensively, and is exceptionally well informed on all subjects of general interest, which he handles in a broad and catholic spirit. We venture to say that no man in this part of the world has more knowledge of his native country than he, as in the course of his travels he has visited every State and Territory (including Alaska) in the Union, with the exception of Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. He has besides been in the principal cities of Mexico and the Dominion of Canada.
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