More details; the E. L. Sylvester family visits Iowa by auto
June 28, 1918 - August 30, 1918
down and managed to get hold of his life preserver, but when rising to the surface the life preserver slipped off and though diving was kept up in that vicinity for hours his body was never recovered. This was probably due to the fact that there was a strong ebb tide flowing at the time.
Since that time boats have searched the Bay thoroughly and constantly during the daylight; divers have examined the bottom; drag nets have been used as long as daylight has allowed and the beaches have been searched, but to no avail. The search will be further continued.
This special information in regard to Blair is given you in the hope that it may be some little comfort to you to know that the body of your own son was not lost as in the case of Blair.
Your sonís efficiency and aptitude have been so great that he was about to receive his commission in record time. He was one of our most promising young officers and his death was a sorrow to the whole station and a great loss to the Navy. In writing this letter I am endeavoring to do what I can to convey what little comfort is possible to the parents of this fine patriotic young man who has given his life in the line of duty for his country in her great crisis. The whole station extends deepest sympathy to the parents of Byrl Edwin Sylvester COM, U.S.N.R.F.
F. W. Bennett
Captain U. S. Navy
Commandant July 5, 1918- Miss Marion Sylvester left Tuesday for Big Lake to spend a week with her friend, Miss Imogene Lutz. July 12, 1918- Miss Marion Evans, who has been visiting Miss Katherine Sylvester for a few days, returned to her home at Wabasha Friday. July 26, 1918- Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Sylvester and son Edwin Jr. left last Friday morning on an auto trip to Ames, Iowa and Coleraine, Minnesota where they will visit for sometime with their daughters. August 16, 1918- Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Sylvester returned last Saturday from a long auto tour visiting many points in Iowa and Northern Minnesota. They have enjoyed a delightful visit and passed through some very beautiful country. With the abundant crops it is indeed a pleasure to drive through the country this year and note the prosperous conditions of our farmers. August 23, 1918- The following letter of condolence to Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Sylvester indicate the length of time it requires for home news to reach the boys at the front in France.
My Dear Friends: I received a letter from Mother today (July 29) telling of the accident which resulted in Byrlís death and it was indeed a great shock. Why one so dearly loved by all who knew him, should meet with such a tragic end is beyond our power to answer. We are on this earth for a purpose at the Great Masterís will and having served this purpose, He calls us home.
I offer my heartfelt sympathy during these dark hours of sorrow. "This was a man". His will be done.
Sergeant Thaddeus D. Davey. (NOTE: Thaddeus Davey will die of T. B. on board ship coming back from France.)
They also received a letter of condolence from Byrlís former school mate and chum, Alvin Dickman. August 30, 1918- G. F. Sylvester and family returned last week from their auto trip to Moline, Ill. They have greatly enjoyed their outing and visited many points of interest. On their return they spent a day at Camp Grant, but were unable to see many of the Plainview boys.
Miss Alice Dyer of St. Paul is a guest at the home of G. F. Sylvester.
* 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."