Now well advanced in years Mr. Sly is numbered among the valued and venerable citizens of Nemaha county, making his home in Seneca. His life has been one of active usefulness and one commanding the respect and confidence of all with whom he has come in contact. For a number of years he has lived retired, enjoying a well earned rest, his needs being supplied by the comfortable competence which he acquired through his well directed labors in former years.
Mr. Sly is a native of the Empire state, his birth having occurred in Montgomery county December 29, 1826. The family is of Scotch lineage and was founded in America by his grandfather, Robert Sly, who left the land of hills and heather to seek a home in the new world. He located in eastern New York, where he carried on agricultural pursuits. His son, Israel, was born in New York and made farming his life work. He wedded Rachel Van Ness, also a native of New York and of Holland descent, her father having been born in Holland. In 1827 Izerd Sly removed with his family to Erie county, New York, whence he went to Ohio, and in 1850 removed to Indiana, where he died at the age of eighty-two years. His wife passed away when about seventy years of age. In their family were thirteen children, eleven of whom reached mature years; namely: Eliza, Willard, Seneca, John. Philena, Lucy, Catherine, Gilbert, David, Minnie and Russell. Mr. Sly, of this review, has seen none of his brothers and sisters since 1855. He is the fourth child and third son of the family and was about a year old when his parents removed from his native state to Erie county, New York, where he remained until twenty-two years of age. During his youth he pursued his education in the common schools of the neighborhood and through the summer months assisted in the work of the farm. He was married there, in 1850, to Miss Mary Hammond, who was born in Montgomery county, New York, where she spent the first five years of her life, after which she was taken by her parents to Erie county. Her father, Benoni G. Hammond, was a native of the Empire state and was a farmer and teacher, who lived to the advanced age of eighty-five years. Paul Hammond, his father, was a son of an Englishman. Mrs. Sly's mother bore the maiden name of Ruth Lobdell and was born in Connecticut, of English parentage. Mrs. Sly is the tenth in order of birth in a family of thirteen children, all of whom reached mature years.
After their marriage our subject and his wife located in Erie county, New York, vhere he engaged in farming until 1855, when he went with his family to Iowa, establishing a home in Delaware county, whence he came direct to Nemaha county in the spring of 1857. He was one of the first settlers in this locality. He took up his abode on Turkey creek in what is now Nemaha township, building a square log house, 16x16 feet, and in that cabin home he experienced the usual hardships and privations of pioneer life; but his labors at length overcame all obstacles and he became the possessor of a valuable property. His farm comprised one hundred and sixty acres of land, which he continued to cultivate and improve for twenty-one years. By additional purchase he added eighty acres to the place, there residing until 1878, when he came to Seneca. In the meantime he had erected large and substantial buildings upon his place, including a good residence and the necessary outbuildings. On coming to the city he purchased two blocks in the northwestern part of town and erected a stone residence, in which he has since made his home, living retired in the enjoyment of the fruits of his former toil.
Mr. and Mrs. Sly have a family of three living children: Philo P., who is now a resident of Lincoln, Nebraska; Catherine E., wife of E. H. Street, by whom she has three children; and Ruth A., wife of John B. Moriarty, who resides two miles west of Seneca. They have a family of seven children. Mr. and Mrs. Sly have also lost three children, who died in early life. The parents are prominent and consistent members of the Methodist Episcopal church, in which they take an active part. Mr. Sly served as trustee for many years and has ever been a strong advocate of temperance and Christianity, doing all in his power to promote the growth of both interests. In politics he may be termed a Republican Prohibitionist and at the same time he is an advocate of the free coinage of silver. He has given a close study to political questions concerning the welfare of the nation, and his opinions are the result of mature deliberation. His wife, who has been to him a faithful companion and helpmeet through many years, was one of the first school teachers in Nemaha township, conducting a school in a log house, where she had a membership of twenty pupils. For her services she received forty dollars per month and her labors were continued through seven months. She is a well educated lady, having attended Mrs. Willard's Female Seminary, of Troy, New York. She was engaged in teaching for ten years in the Empire state and for one year in Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Sly are now well advanced in life, but maintain an active interest in the affairs of the community and have always given their support to everything pertaining to public progress along material, intellectual and moral lines. Their well spent lives have won uniform respect and it is with a feeling of satisfaction that the biographer records the history of this worthy couple.