William Silvernail

Full name

William Henry Silvernail

Alternative names

Wm. H. Silvernail

Presence on Earth



Union College 1858


Seminary period faculty

William Henry Silvernail was a professor of languages at the Mount Carroll Seminary, which later became Shimer College, in the late 1850s and early 1860s. He taught German, Latin, Greek and English literature. He had graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Union College in 1858.[1] He was born in Schodack, Rensselaer County,[2] but at the time of his admission to Union College his family was living in Chatham, Columbia County.

According to the 1862 Catalogue, Silvernail had been teaching at the Seminary for the previous three years. He is also listed as a member invited to speak at the Reunion Club exercises for that year, although it is unclear whether this implies that he had already left the school.

Together with a student named William Ladd, Silvernail operated the Republican briefly but unsuccessfully after it was purchased by Frances Shimer. The presses were subsequently moved to the Seminary and used to print the Seminary Bell.

Silvernail subsequently returned to New York, where he studied law in Albany and practiced first in Valatie and then in Albany, where he lived from 1890 until his death in 1901.[3] He was an editor of several compilations of New York laws and jurisprudence.

Silvernail married three times in his life, first to a Kate Hopkins in 1866, then to a Mary Louise Spear of Valatie in 1877,[4] and finally to a May R. Stanley (or Staley) of Altamont in 1896.


  • in The Delta Upsilon decennial catalogue, 1903, p. 192:
    William Henry Silvernail Albany NY Lawyer b. 11 Mar 38 son of Adam and Laura Tanner ФВК AB Tea in West; stu. Alb. law sch.; law., Valatie NY; Albany, '90-01. Auth "Index of NY session laws." * m Kate Hopkins (2) Mary L Spear Valatie NY (3) May R Stanley Altamont NY 25 Nov 96 d. 27 Feb 01


  • 7-year discrepancy between age given in census (b. c. 1831) and in Delta Upsilon catalogue, etc. (b. 1838).

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