Tributes Bespeak High Regard by Friends and Associates
The profound honor and respect in which Byrl E. Sylvester was held by all of this community and surrounding country was clearly manifest by the throng of nearly 5,000 people who congregated in Plainview on Monday afternoon to pay a last tribute to this hero of the war. The funeral was one of the most impressive and largest burial services ever held in this part of the state.
The remains arrived from Pensacola, Florida, Sunday morning, having been accompanied through by his friend and companion, C. M. Sanborn, student naval aviator, and met at Chicago by the father, E. L. Sylvester. Several auto loads of friends drove to Eyota Sunday morning to accompany home the remains.
During Sunday and Monday morning the body lay in state and was viewed by many thousand friends at the Sylvester home. All Sunday afternoon and Monday morning thousands of friends passed the khaki colored bier and for hours the long line with bowed heads, slowly wended its way through the home.
Byrl Sylvester, Plainview’s war hero, who met death while flying at Pensacola Naval Station, Wednesday morning June 19 at 6:30 o’clock, was born at Plainview October 29, 1892, the second son of Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Sylvester. His life in this community is known to all, cheerful, courteous and ambitious. As a boy, liked by all his companions, and as a young man admired and esteemed by associates and friends. He received his education in the Plainview High School, after which he attended the State University for three years, becoming a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. After leaving school he became connected with his father’s bank, becoming a valued assistance. In this position he added to his many friends by his courteous treatment, pleasant and accommodating manners.
After war had been declared he became enthused with the same spirit that prevailed in the hearts of many of his college friends. He left his position in the Plainview State Bank and on April 24, 1917 entered the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps, leaving for France where he spent five months in active Red Cross service as an ambulance driver until he was wounded in action, September 12, 1917. After returning home to recover from his injuries, he had but one aim, that of returning to France to do his part in the great struggle. From the time of his return he was a changed man. That buoyant spirit he had carried all this life, had left him. The stern reality of war and what it meant to the people of Belgium and France seemed always to be his foremost thought. He had attained a serious attitude, feeling that he owed a duty in returning to that war ridden country to aid in securing a permanent peace.
As he regained his strength his chief thought was upon the war and the sacred duty of doing all in his power for suffering France. Most modest toward himself he was most enthusiastic in his patriotism. Acquainted with all the horrors of war, and well knowing his possible fate, he could remain home no longer, and reenlisted for service, this time with the U. S. Forces. From Dunwoody Institute he went to the Boston School of Technology, studying aviation as a member of the naval flying corps. Six weeks ago he was transferred to the naval aviation station at Pensacola, where he would have completed his course and received his commission within a few days. His death was due to a collision with another machine 700 feet in midair. His body fell into the bay and was recovered. The news of his death was the greatest shock that ever befell this community.
The funeral was held from the home in this city Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock. The services were conducted by H. J. Hill, pastor of the Church of Christ, who gave a most complimentary tribute to our departed hero. The services were held on the front porch in front of which several thousand people were gathered. The immediate relatives were seated in the front parlor near the bier. Dr. J. P. Caldwell, a brother-in-law of
* SOURCE: Manzow, Ron (compiler), "The Sylvester Family of Plainview, Minnesota - a collection of information taken from the Plainview News, other newspapers, letters, and diaries beginning in 1884": Plainview Area History Center, 40 4th St. S.W., Plainview, MN 55964. Compiled in 2001.
NOTE: from Ron Manzow, December 2001: "Feel free to reproduce the pages for anyone who wants a copy. It was
compiled to be shared... All I ask is that they consider sending a check to the [Plainview Area] History Center to help us out. That
should be enough."
NOTE: from Ron Manzow, December 2001: "Feel free to reproduce the pages for anyone who wants a copy. It was compiled to be shared... All I ask is that they consider sending a check to the [Plainview Area] History Center to help us out. That should be enough."
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