Don A. Salyer, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Don A. Salyer

DON A. SALYER. To this venerable and honored citizen of Valparaiso, where he is now living virtually retired after years of earnest and fruitful endeavor, belongs the distinction of being the oldest citizen of the city in point of continuous residence, as he was but two months old when his parents established their home in the little pioneer village, in which he has resided continuously during the long intervening period of more than three-fourths of a century. He has witnessed the development and upbuilding of the thriving and beautiful city of Valparaiso and, like his father before him, has contributed a generous quota to the work of constructive progress along both civic and material lines. He has accounted well to himself and to the world in all the relations of life and his is the reward of gracious prosperity and the confidence and esteem of the community in which virtually his entire life has been passed. It is a matter of peculiar gratification to the publishers of this work to offer within its pages a brief review of the career of this sterling pioneer citizen.

Don A. Salyer was born at LaPorte, the judicial center of the Indiana county of the same name, and the date of his nativity was September 22, 1834 -- a date that signified that the family home was established in this commonwealth in the pioneer epoch of its history. He is a son of George Z. and Zenia (Reed) Salyer, both of whom were born and reared in the state of New York, the former having been of staunch Holland Dutch lineage and the latter of English extraction. The paternal grandfather of the subject of this review immigrated from Holland to America in an early day and established his home in the state of New York, where he passed the residue of his life -- a worthy representative of that staunch Dutch stock which has played so important a part in the history of the old Empire state. George Z. Salyer came to Indiana about the year 1830, and, establishing his home in LaPorte, he there followed the work of his trade, that of carpenter and joiner, as the familiar expression of earlier days designated this vocation. In 1834 he came to Valparaiso and he became one of the leading contractors and builders of this section of the state in the pioneer days. He erected many of the best houses of the time in Valparaiso and was successful in his business operations, the while he became a citizen of prominence and influence in the community. He finally engaged in the general merchandise business, in which he continued for a number of years, and he was called upon to serve in various local positions of trust, including that of justice of the peace. He was fifty-four years of age at the time of his death and his widow attained to the venerable age of nearly eighty years, she also having continued her residence in Valparaiso until she was summoned to the life eternal. Two sons and one daughter are now living (1912). The parents were charter members of the Methodist Episcopal church and the father was a Republican in his political proclivities. The names of these worthy citizens merit enduring place on the roll of the honored pioneers of Porter county.

Don A. Salyer, the eldest of the children, was but two months old at the time of the family removal to Valparaiso, in 1834, and here he has continued to maintain his home during the long years in which has been compassed the upbuilding of a populous and attractive city. He acquired his educational training in the common schools of the early days and in due time began to assume a proper share of the active responsibilities of life. He early became associated with his father's mercantile business and with this line of enterprise he was identified for many years in an independent way, as one of the representative merchants of Valparaiso. He was also concerned in the establishing and operation of a paper mill in this city and the enterprise was a successful one during the time of his connection therewith. Mr. Salyer remained actively concerned with business interests in Valparaiso for many years, but is now living practically retired in his attractive home on LaFayette and Chicago streets, where he is enjoying the just rewards of former years of application and where he is veritably surrounded by a host of loyal and valued friends. No other resident of Valparaiso has here resided for so many consecutive years as has he, and his knowledge of all that has touched the development and progress of the city and county is clear and comprehensive, so that few are better informed concerning the history of this favored section of the state than is this venerable and honored pioneer. Mr. Salyer has at all times shown a deep and helpful interest in those agencies and enterprises that have tended to advance the general welfare of his home city and county, and he is the owner of valuable real estate in Valparaiso and also has a well improved farm of eighty acres in Center township, this county. In the supervision of his property he finds ample demands upon his time and attention and thus does not give himself to a life of idleness. He takes marked pride in the city that has so long been his home, has served many terms as a member of the city council and has at all times shown the greatest of civic loyalty and public spirit. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party, he having cast his first vote for General John C. Fremont, and his religious faith is that of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which his wife likewise was a devoted member.

Mr. Salyer was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Armstrong, who was born at Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence county, New York, and who was a child at the time of her parents' removal to Indiana. The maximum loss and bereavement in the life of Mr. Salyer was that entailed by the death of his beloved and devoted wife, who passed to the "land of the leal" in the year 1904, at the age of seventy-one years. Her gentle and gracious personality gained to her the affectionate regard of all who came within the sphere of her influence and her memory will long be reveled in the city which was her home for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Salyer became the parents of two sons and one daughter, but both the sons, Dorsey and George C., are deceased, and Miss Fidelia remains with her venerable father, to whom she accords the utmost filial solicitude, the while she presides most effectively over the domestic economies and social affairs of the pleasant home.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 527-529

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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