Source: A Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men of the State of Indiana, Volume II (Cincinnati, Ohio: Western Biographical Publishing Company, 1880), pp. 33-34.
HOLLEY, SYLVESTER JOSEPH, Justice of the Peace, Argos, Marshall county, was born September 1, 1838, in the province of Upper Canada (now Ontario), in the vicinity of Toronto. His mother, Catharine, was a Pennsylvanian, and his father, Joseph, was a Canadian; he was a farmer. When a child his parents removed to Tuscarawas, Ohio, where his father engaged in agriculture, and he was brought up on the farm. He attended the common school, where he received a good and thorough English and German education. As the district was largely German, he acquired a complete knowledge of that language--almost equal to his native tongue. On leaving school, at the age of fifteen, he served three years with a jeweler to learn his trade, when he removed to Indiana, remaining for some time with an uncle in Miami County, and there teaching school until the outbreak of the war, when he went to Terre Haute and enlisted in the 97th Indiana Infantry Volunteers. He was mustered in August 13, 1862, and immediately proceeded to Camp Morton, Indianapolis, from there to Louisville, Kentucky, thence to Memphis, and was there assigned to the Thirteenth Brigade of the Seventeenth Army Corps. June 17, 1863, he received his discharge, by general order, for the purpose of receiving promotion to commissary sergeant of the 59th United States Regulars. He remained with that regiment nearly one year, when he was detailed to the quartermaster's department at Memphis, Tennessee, where he continued until the end of the war, receiving his discharge in August, 1865, when he returned to his friends, who in the meantime had removed to Huntington County, Indiana. He then, for a short time, engaged in the jewelry business there, and afterward for four years in Missouri. Then he went to North Manchester, Indiana, where for four years he took charge of a large jewelry house, when he removed to Argos in 1877, engaging in the same business on his own account, and still continuing it. In November, 1878, he was elected Justice of the Peace by a small majority, he being a Republican in a strongly Democratic district. Reared a Democrat, his opinions were changed during the war, and he is now an ardent Republican and faithful worker in the ranks of that party. As a boy of studious habits he made the most of his opportunities to acquire an education, from which in after life he has derived much benefit. He is a man of good personal appearance and pleasant manners; he is courteous and obliging, and stands high in his community as an honorable, upright man. He was married, February 14, 1875, to Susie B. Snearly, daughter of George Snearly, a large farmer of Miami County. Mr. Holley has been for four years a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He is a member of the Order of Odd-fellows, in which order has as taken all the degrees, was Chief Patriarch of the Encampment at Manchester, and is Noble Grand at Argos. He has in his possession, as a memento and relic of the war, the saddle which was given to the wife of a captain who was lost by the explosion of the steamer "Sultana," laden with troops whom Sherman had released from Southern prisons. The saddle was given to the lady by General Buckland, for the purpose of raffling off to raise funds for herself on the loss of her husband. Between five hundred and six hundred soldiers subscribed, and Mr. Holley was the winner.