During a residence of more than 40 years at Anderson, Sylvester Bleckley acquired a fortune as merchant and identified himself so completely with the life and spirit of the community that he deserves permanent memory as one of the builders of the city. In March, 1853, at the age of 21, Mr. Bleckley, a Rabun County, Georgia native came to Anderson and established a mercantile establishment. The mercantile store was located behind the old courthouse on Granite Row and was known as the Bleckley, Brown, and Fretwell Company. Mr. Bleckley was one of the leading merchants of Anderson for a number of years, and in that time amassed considerable property. His business was conducted on an extensive scale, bringing in large returns each year. He did this by honesty and uprightness, combined with good business habits.
He was a democrat in politics, and served as Commissioner of Anderson County and for many years a member of the city council. He was a member of the Baptist church and his influence was always sought in support of every public-spirited enterprise. He was a large stockholder in the Anderson cotton mills, the Oil & Fertilizer Company, the Chiquola Hotel, the Bank of Anderson, and the Farmers and Merchant Bank. Sylvester Bleckley served as a trustee of the Patrick Military Institute. He was in charge of one of the Confederate States largest commissary deposits in Anderson.
In September 1856, Mr. Bleckley married Miss Ann Elizabeth Hammond, a native of Anderson. Mr. And Mrs. Bleckley became the parents of five daughters: Josephine who married John E. Peoples; Mary who married J.J. Fretwell; Ella who married William Laughlin, Annie who married Albert Means; and Zoe who married Fred Maxwell. The family grew up at The Bleckley Place located in the 900 block of North Main Street directly facing Bleckley Street.
Mr. Bleckley was remembered as a gentleman of fine appearance, large, portly and dignified. He died in Anderson in 1896 and was buried in the old Silver Brook Cemetery.
We honor Sylvester Bleckley and his family with this hotel and hope to capture his spirit.