This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1899. Pages 679-680
SILAS R. OLDFIELD, a leading agriculturist and highly-respected citizen
of Sumner township, Spink county, South Dakota, was born in Canton, Ohio, in 1844, a son of Jonathan and Charity Oldfield, natives of New
York and New Jersey, respectively. The parents and grandparents of our subject, however, were early settlers of Ohio, and there the father
engaged in business as a contractor, and also conducted a livery stable. The great-grandfather, Thompson, was a native of Scotland, and
fought for American independence as a soldier of the Revolutionary war.
Silas R. Oldfield grew to manhood in Canton, Ohio, and when the Civil
war broke out he was among the first to offer his services to the government, but was rejected on account of his youthfulness. In
October, 1861, however, he enlisted in Company I, Sixty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland.
With his command he participated in the battle of Shiloh, the siege of Corinth, and the engagements at Perryville and Stone River, but in 1
863 he was disabled and transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, with which he served until hostilities ceased, being mustered out in June,
1865, at Chicago. He then remained in that city as a trusted employee of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad for twenty years.
On the 3d of November, 1864, Mr. Oldfield married Miss Elizabeth
Crawford, a native of Pierceton, Indiana,who was reared on a farm, and to them have been born two children, who are still living, namely:
Nellie May, who is married and living in Turton, South Dakota; and William Judson, who is now a minister of the Congregational church.
It was in 1882 that Mr. Oldfield came to Spink county, South Dakota,
and secured a homestead on the northeast quarter of section 30, township 118, range 60, and also filed a tree claim. In the spring of
1883 he brought his family to their new home, where a shanty, 10 x 12 feet, and a small frame barn with a hay roof, were built. After living
in the shanty for two months, however, a more comfortable residence was erected. Mr. Oldfield began life here with two horses and three cows,
and in addition to general farming has always given considerable attention to cattle raising and dairying. The first summer spent in
Dakota, his wife became lost within a half mile of their home, as there was nothing but open prairie for miles around. To the improvement and
cultivation of his land our subject has devoted his time and attention with most gratifying results, and now has one hundred and fifty acres
of his three-hundred-and-twenty-acre tract under the plow. One year all of his crops were destroyed by hail, and twice they have been partially
destroyed in the same way, but notwithstanding this, he has steadily prospered and is now quite well-to-do. He is a strong Republican in
political sentiment, and has been an influential member of the board of education for several years.