~ Fort Hill Cemetery ~
Dr. Sylvester Willard
Born 1798, died 1886
from "Historical Records of A Hundred And Twenty Years" by Joel H Monroe, 1913
For nearly half a century, Dr. Sylvester Willard was more than ordinarily prominent in the life and affairs of Auburn. He was known by nearly every citizen and had their respect and honor.
Dr. Willard was born at Saybrook, CT., December 24, 1798, where he spent his early boyhood. He was educated at the New Canaan Academy and later graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He practiced his profession in his native state until 1840, at which time he moved to Chicago and there engaged in professional work. While in Connecticut he married, in 1830, Miss Jane Frances Case, daughter of Erastus Case, who also located to Chicago in 1840. Dr. Willard was accounted a good physician, although the later years of his life were devoted to other activities. He possessed a genial manner and a kindly spirit that made many warm friends and commanded the highest regard of those who were merely acquaintances. His time, energy and means were given liberally in support of al movements for good, while he was interested in many business enterprises and business institutions. Dr. Willard was one of the organizers of the Oswego Starch Factory in 1848 and served as its president until his death. He was officially identified with banks and manufacturing industries.
Dr. Willard was the first physician at the Cayuga County Asylum for the poor, a trustee of the Young Ladies Institute and of the Elmira Female College. He was devoted to the church and its advancement in Christian work. His substance was generously given to the First Presbyterian Church. He contributed a good part of the funds for the building of the present church edifice and was no less liberal to the Auburn Theological Seminary. When Dr. Willard died in 1886 the whole community mourned the loss. He left two daughters (*), however, who continued the stream of charity and welfare work.
(*): Georgina (1832-1901) and Caroline (1834-1916). These daughters donated to many worthy causes in Auburn, not the least of which was the Tiffany-designed Willard Memorial Chapel. Upon Caroline's death, the Willard family house on West Genesee Street was inherited by her cousin, Willard E. Case, father of Theodore W Case, who in 1936 donated the house and grounds to create the Cayuga Museum of History.
The Willard monument is located in the Woodlawn Bower section of the Cemetery.
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