The Sailer family — ancestors of my mother and her siblings — at one time lived in New Jersey. In 1996 I went to the National Archives to try to dig further back into the history of the Sailers. I knew my mother’s father, Dr. Joseph Sailer, lived from 1867 – 1928; his father, John Sailer, a banker, lived from 1840 – 1913; and his father, Joseph Sailer, a newspaper editor, lived from about 1808 – 1883. It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped to go back beyond this information at the Archives, at least through the U.S. Census. It turned out that census records for the early 1800s don’t give very much information, so I never located the father of the earliest Joseph Sailer. I did eventually find an obituary at the Library of Congress, though not the best one probably; he worked as a prominent editor for the Philadelphia Public Ledger, but the microfilm for that paper wasn’t available for the right date. I had to settle for an obituary from the Philadelphia North American for January 16, 1883. Here is the complete text:
OBITUARY. Joseph Sailer, of the Ledger
Mr. Joseph Sailer, up to the first instant financial editor of the Public Ledger, died at his home, 907 Pine Street, yesterday. Deceased was born in Clarksboro, Gloucester county, N.J., April 23, 1809, and passed his earlier years upon the farm of his father. He learned the printing trade, and at twenty years of age became connected with the Woodbury Constitution, of which he was proprietor and publisher for several years. Coming to Philadelphia, he associated himself with John S. DuSaile in the management and subsequent proprietorship of the Spirit of the Times, at the same time acting as correspondent of the Journal of Commerce, New York, and other papers of that description. The first article contributed to the Ledger by the deceased appeared on July 1, 1840, and he soon after disposed of his interest in the Spirit of the Times, devoting his exclusive attention to the first named journal, and continuing to edit its financial column until January 1 of the present year. Mr. Sailer was also editor of the Dollar Newspaper while published by the Ledger proprietors, and afterwards filled the position of secretary of the Magnetic Telegraph Company, the first line established under the Morse system, and secretary of the Atlantic and Ohio Telegraph Company. Up to nearly the close of his life deceased enjoyed robust health, and was rarely absent from his desk in the office. He leaves an estate valued at over $300,000, which he amassed by prudence, industry and economy. Mr. Sailer leaves a widow, three sons and two daughters, and the members of his family are noted for their longevity, his mother having attained her 100th year, and other relations an advanced age.