WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
DANIEL CORNWELL SILL
(teamster, miner, farmer)
BIOGRAPHYDaniel Cornwell Sill was born on October 4, 1830, in Ocean County, New Jersey. Daniel was the illegitimate son of Sarah Sill. His grandparents were John & Edith Sill and he had an uncle, John Sill. Daniel was living with his grandparents in 1840 in Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Daniel's uncle John had been baptized into the Mormon Church in January 1839, the first family member to join. Daniel was baptized in January 1850, and was living with his grandparents in September 1850 in Plumsted, Ocean County, New Jersey.
Daniel crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley and was re-baptized in February 1858 in the 15th Ward in Salt Lake. His grandmother also made her way to Utah by 1859. Daniel was living with her in the 15th Ward in 1860 and they lived next door to his uncle, John Sill, and his family.
In April 1862, Daniel enlisted as a private in Lot Smith's Company of the Utah Cavalry. Earlier that month, President Abraham Lincoln had called upon Governor Brigham Young of Utah to raise, arm and equip a company of cavalry to be employed in protecting the property of the telegraph and overland mail companies around Independence Rock, where there had been Indian trouble. They were to receive the same pay as other US troops and would serve 90 days, or less if relieved by a detachment of regular army. The company returned to Salt Lake on August 9 and was discharged August 14, 1862. The expedition was one of the most hazardous in the annals of local Indian warfare.
In 1863, Daniel and his partner William Haynes Hamblin were raising sheep in Nevada. Hamblin had befriended a Paiute Indian named Moroni, who brought him a piece of glittering ore. Moroni refused to tell him where it came from, as his dying father had warned him never to disclose the location to Whites, because they would drive the Indians from their hunting grounds to secure the riches. Eventually Hamblin wore down his resolve and gave him a new rifle as a gift. Accompanied by William Pulsipher and Daniel C. Sill, the three men dug down and exposed a well-defined vein and laid claim to the spot. When others heard of it, they tried to buy them out, but the partners refused to sell. In the fall of 1864, Bishop Edward Bunker, from Santa Clara, organized an expedition to the site. His group (including Hamblin, Pulsipher, and Sill ) surveyed and outlined a square claim but did not organize a mining district or post the traditional notice. The next year, a group from Salt Lake City arrived to find Hamblin, Moroni, and Sill, working on their claims. They came to an agreement, and the Meadow Valley Mining District was formed. The interested group returned to Salt Lake City for supplies, and Hamblin and Sill returned to their homes at Clover Valley. Organization of a mining district stripped the land from the Paiute Indians and loosened the grip of the Mormon leaders who hoped to settle the area. Paiute hostility stopped the mining activity for almost six years. Meanwhile, investors were sought, and John H. Ely invested machinery. Ely and William Raymond bought the original titles from Hamblin, Pulsipher, and probably Sill, and founded the famed Raymond & Ely Mine. In the spring of 1872, Hamblin was subpoenaed to testify in a case concerning the ownership of the mine. While doing that, Hamblin was poisoned and died.
Daniel knew he could not try to hold his mine against such lust for wealth, so he brought his few sheep and returned to Utah. He kept a few horses, cattle, and sheep, and was fairly prosperous. In July 1893, Daniel C. Sill of Silver Reef homesteaded an original patent of 60 acres in Washington, Utah. As of July 2011, his name is still on the patent. He had neither wife nor children, but he had three great loves -- his church, his animals, and children. He attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1893. On his return he brought each man, woman, and child in Leeds a fine, large Florida orange and delivered them in person.
In 1901, Daniel filed for a Civil War pension as an invalid. This was probably as a result of his cancer, which he spent a lot of money and effort trying to get cured. He made many trips to Salt Lake City for treatments; it was cured in one spot but broke out some place else.
In July 1907, Daniel applied to appropriate water from the Colorado River drainage area for irrigation from Quail Creek to Leeds.
Daniel was still a farmer when he died in Leeds on July 11, 1908 of malarial fever. He was buried in the Leeds Cemetery.
REFERENCESDaniel C. Sill
A research report by Elaine Young, PhD.