From: Yaphank As It Is and Was
by: Beecher Homan
SERENO BURNELL OVERTON.
S. B. Overton was born on the 6th- day of -August, 1827, which makes him forty-seven years old. He has a tall and muscular form, well proportioned and developed. Personally and physically he appears not over twenty-five. His invariable pleasantry and good humor have made him friends or all who enjoy his acquaintance and society.
Mr. Overton is the sole surviving brother of a family of five-all falling victims to that implacable foe to mankind, consumption. He is a working member of the Yaphank Presbyterian Church; and a supporter of that incorporation.
In his dealings with men, he is sharp and shrewd, but honest and relenting. All his actions are characterized by an original system of his own. No man pays more regard to the laws of health, or the demands or nature, than does Mr. Overton. He has learned that the best is the cheapest; thus walking in light, while thousands grope in darkness to their graves. He has, long- ago, arrived at the laudable conclusion that "it is not all to live, or all to die;" and made the choice of eternity in 1853. Mr. Overton builds not on the sand; be knows that life is but a breath compared to the great unfathomed, and sows his seed wisely. He is an unostentatious man at home, and in the church; and attracts no attention with pompous words and gilded deeds. No man completes my beau ideal of perfection for no man is free from guile. As long as, the sun throws its effulgent rays over the earth, so long will wickedness abound. But, if more were like S. B. Overton, the sun's beams would pierce less dens of horror, and the peals of Sabbath bells echo over less "waste places."
EMBARKS UPON A MERCANTILE SEA.
Mr. Overton was early apprenticed to the carpenter trade; and after mastering it, he restlessly gazed over more fascinating fields than wielding the indispensable plane. In 1851, lie cast aside his architectural tools, and opened a store in Yaphank, in partnership with his eldest brother, Osborn.
In combination with butchering and marketing, they did an extensive business. In 1851, Alfred Ackerly and Son purchased the business and good will, and the Overton partnership was dissolved.
Reverses are many. Bankruptcy, and not success; adversity, and not prosperity, is the law or trade. While many around Mr. Overton envy him his success in life, but few possess his energy, shrewdness, and clear comprehension of business. What sensible mind believes that the wheel of fortune is driven by the hand of luck; and who credits the virtue of luck?
Sereno Overton had fewer opportunities to rise in the world than most young men of his clay. His parents were poor; he early began to struggle for himself ; and if the tide of fortune ebbed and flowed in his favor, and the billows of adversity beat and tossed those around him, it was due to superior business talent on his part, and poor management on the other.
While in mercantile business in Yaphank, he was saving, prudent, and judicious. He made money, friends, and an honorable name; and is more popular today than twenty years ago.
No one can speak depreciatingly of Mr. Overton ; no one doubts his Christian integrity, and no one is too high or too low to cherish his name. In Yaphank, and wherever his popularity extends, he is honored and respected for his unchanging pleasantness, sociality, and honesty.
He is master of his business, and makes or refuses a bargain almost immediately. As a speculator in his business, he is very successful. He would be successful at anything he might apply himself thoroughly to. He is sagacious, has excellent judgment and much experience, and is candid and unwavering.
The struggle for wealth may prove the doom of many; many memories may be destroyed by gold, and many may deviate from the pledged vows and narrow path, because the glittering god shines more transplendent in the broad; but there are men that we naturally credit with more stability of mind, and firmness of will, than to be swerved by even the powerful influence of gold; and one glance at the genial but firm-looking gentleman at the head of this sketch, will confirm that he can unquestionably be included in that list of lamentably scarce individuals who rank, honor and friends and a hope in the good by-and- by above the short enjoyments of gold. Mr. Overton is a True Man.