continue, "when they learned their savings were lost, so I took all the resources of the bank I could reach and invested them in improved farm lands at the time thee was a boom up there. I thought the land would increase in value. I paid $200 per acre for some of the farms. You know the bottom fell out, John. Those farms dropped to $100 an acre. I couldnít face my friends so I ran away."
His loyalty to his family is remarkable. Not one speck of blame has the old man placed on their heads. He has not mentioned their expensive living as disclosed in Winona by Senator James A. Carley, from bank records after the first bankruptcy hearing. He almost refused to talk about his own bank account.
"It was on February 28, 1925, when I first knew that the bank was doomed. I started for Florida but on the train I thought of the many northern people there and changed my route to Biloxi."
Sylvester has not yet been told that banking experts traced his shortage back twenty-two years, and are very well acquainted with the methods he employed. He doesnít know that Senator Carley has evidence to prove that he had planned to leave Plainview three months earlier than he really did.
He likes to tell newspaper men of his rise from a bookkeeper working for $200 a year to the presidency of a bank, of his standing in the community, his church membership, and his Sunday school classes.
"Now of course, Iíve got to go back and face it all," Sylvester concludes. "It makes me sick just to think of those folks among whom I spent my life. It makes me even sicker to think of my wife and children and the same they will feel."
"I didnít do it for myself," he would repeat. "I tried to save the bank and save the people who had invested money in it and the depositors who had put their money in it. I got nothing out of it myself. Itís just a horrible nightmare from the time things began to go wrong. But as far as any dishonesty out of which I was to profit myself, I am innocent."
February 5, 1926- Winona Republican Herald
Expect Large Crowd at Depot When He Arrives
Four Indictments Await Fugitive Bank President
Sylvester More Nervous as Train Approaches Winona
Planned to Settle With Family in South, He Tells Reporters
Mrs. Sylvester Has Been Under Care of Nurse
Friends in Plainview Sympathetic
Wabasha, Minn. Feb. 5 Ė Mrs. Hetty Sylvester will be on the depot platform tonight to greet her husband with open arms. Sylvester will arrive here this evening on Milwaukee train No. 17 at 7:00 PM according to word received from County attorney John R. Foley. Mrs. Sylvester came here from Minneapolis this afternoon. She still maintains strong support of her husband.
Not a word betraying her husband has escaped her lips. Even last night in Minneapolis, after the old gray man from Plainview broke down and confessed his wrong doings, and a newspaper man approached her and told her the facts, she still had a stiff upper lip and stated, "I have nothing to say."
Sylvester still has friends in this community. A large crowd will be at the depot to meet him tonight and to cheer him up.
Many automobile parties will plow through the snow from Plainview to be at the station when the train pulls in. He has the sympathy of the community, and the confidence of a good many of the Plainview People. They believe that "Ed" is honest at heart, and did the best he could with a hopeless situation.
* 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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