ISSUE No II
Written and Published Online by Rex Redmon, Greenville, SC.
w/contributing articles by cousin John Silver
Brrrrrr … it is indeed a cold day here in Greenville, South Carolina, this 25th day of January. I sit in front of a window where my PC is located and I can feel the cold air permeating from the frosted window panes despite the fact the windows are double pane to ward out the cold. Freezing rain has been falling all morning and outside the ground is coated white. It is truly a winter wonderland this afternoon.
Greetings everyone, Silver Cousins and all who read Silver Threads! What a great time to be alive and enjoying life despite the cold weather. The hilarity of watching the Democrat Presidential Candidates square off at one another these days is enough fun to keep me hopping for days. And hey, what is your opinion of President Bush’s address/speech to Congress on the twentieth? Come on George, we do not need for you to be straddling the fence these days. We know it is an election year George, but… Aaaaand, what do you think about those Panthers? The Panthers are NFC champions and will meet the Patriots in the Super Bowl February 1, our press day! As you read this month’s newsletter, the Super Bowl is probably over, so here’s hoping, those of us who are “die-hard Panther fans,” will still have something about which to crow. I predict a win for the Panthers. Score? Probably be a low scoring game— 23-16, Panthers!
[Webmaster’s Note: MY Silver relatives, who migrated from Nova Scotia to the Boston area, may not totally agree with Rex’s prediction! Barney]
I have a lot about which to write for this month’s newsletter so let me jump right in with some news from up around KONA way. Jere Howell, one of our reunion planners who lives with the bears high up on The Black Mountains near Swannanoa, North Carolina, is working on having Silver Family T-shirts made. The shirts will be white with a rendition of the little church at KONA printed in black on the front, with the letters, Silver Family, printed above the likeness of the church. The words, KONA,NC, will be printed below the church. We, your reunion planners, have decided to print the shirts as generic as possible. Originally we thought about having reunion T-shirts printed. However, all of you do not have the opportunity to attend the big family reunion in KONA every year and we want to make the shirts available for everyone, thus the generic words. The shirts will sell for $10.00 each, plus shipping and handling for each shirt. Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will be applied to the roof repair funds for the big church at KONA. We want to order 200 shirts with our initial order so we will take your orders for the shirts at anytime. If you wish to purchase a shirt now, please contact cousin Laura Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org. No shirts will be ordered without prior payment and the shirts will promptly ship to you upon arrival from the printers. Please give Laura your size and make your checks payable to KONA Missionary Baptist Church, s/m “T-shirt.” All sizes are available including small for children and XXX for those who like the relaxed look. Lets all pitch in and help raise money to install a new roof on the big church.
For the past thirty days Cousin Laura and I have been communicating with a new found cousin, Jennifer Sparks, who lives in North East Oklahoma. Jennifer originally contacted Wanda Silver-Freeman of Spruce Pine, North Carolina and Wanda put her in touch with Laura and me. Jennifer is a Silver and Stewart Family descendant. She and 24 other cousins who live in Oklahoma, plus possibly an additional 30 more people from Oklahoma with ancestral roots in North Carolina, will tour Western North Carolina by coach in early October of 2004. Jennifer tells us their itinerary hopefully includes KONA, Frankie’s Grave and Nancy Silver-Parker’s grave. Also, Jennifer has Cherokee roots and the tour bus will take them to the Qualla Cherokee Reservations as well. Jennifer has asked, and I have agreed, to be their tour guide while they are in the KONA area. I plan another story-telling, weather permitting, at the cabin site of Frankie and Charlie like the one I did at last year’s Silver Family reunion. Also we will open the museum at KONA for the tour’s enjoyment, tour the graveyard, the home place and as much of KONA as time permits.
Cousins, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet and share our ancestral home place and our ancestral history with new cousins from a far-a-way place. Our family historian, John Silver, up in Dover, Delaware, is also delighted to know these folks exist because they will fill in many missing branches in our family tree. Laura is working on planning a mid-day meal, if at all possible, for those on the tour as eating places to accommodate fifty people are few and far between in and around Mitchell County, North Carolina. We will keep you informed about the tour group as time and space permits. Perhaps some of you might want to join us for the day— and help with the festivities— plus meet your long distant cousins. I personally think and feel this is exciting news.
Cousin Perry Deane Young, esteemed author and playwright,
has written to announce the publication of a monumental family history book,
Our Young Family.
Perry’s book includes more than 15,300 names, many of them Silver,
450 photographs and hundreds of stories, memoirs, letters and documents.
Perry tells me Our Young Family is now available from:
The Overmountain Press
P.O. Box 1261
Johnson City, TN 37605
Perry says you may also buy Our Young Family directly from him by
sending a check for $74.50 for each copy to:
Perry Deane Young
P.O. Box 1366
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
Perry asks if you order Our Young Family directly from him to please specify
if you want the author to sign your copy of the book.
This historical creation of course is about many of our Western
North Carolina Mountain relatives. The book will certainly be one of
those keepsake books one can pass down from generation to generation.
Perry also included in his communication to me, he is very pleased to have the opportunity to read Silver Threads every month and he salutes the efforts of John and me for what he says is such a wonderful on-going project as Silver Threads. Perry has also written a new play with director of Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre, Bill Gregg, titled Mountain of Hope. The play will have its premier at the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre at Mars Hill College on July 7, 2004. One final note from Perry. He happily informed us a major Hollywood producer renewed his option on Perry’s first book, Two Of The Missing. The renewed option gives Perry high hopes the movie will sometime be made in the near future, hopefully. Perry, we also have high hopes for the production of the movie.
Civil War Letters From The Battlefields Of The South continues in this month’s edition of Silver Threads. I certainly hope everyone is enjoying reading the letters. As I recreate the letters to you, the readers of Silver Threads, I try to imagine the situation in which each soldier is placed. Having served in Europe during my military years I know the feelings of loneliness by being separated from loved ones. Too, many of the Civil War letters I have read and rewritten to date in Silver Threads, contain a sense-of-humor. Each letter writer has attempted to convey to his loved ones back home, that he is OK and everyone needs to go on living their lives and not mourn for him, even in the event something tragic happens to him. This month’s first letter continues the trend of good humor. It is letter #620714 from William Willis to sister-in-law Rosanah Gouge and Garret Gouge. William describes the bad habits he has acquired in the Army Camps. You will find the letter refreshing.
July the 14, 1862
Mr. Garrett Gouge and Rosanah:
I take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines informing you that I am well at this time and hoping that this will come to hand and find you both well.
I haven’t anything new to write to you at the present time more than I received a letter from you by the hands of Thomas Willis and I was glad to receive it and hear that you were well.
I haven’t any war news to report that is reliable. Our regiment is on the other side of Clinch Mountain and we were ordered here to guard the government property. We don’t know how long we’ll stay here.
I suppose that you heard that I had taken up playing cards and betting and swearing. I have been in camps long enough to learn all habits. But I can say to you that all I have made betting will not make me rich. And as to swearing, it’s about like always.
Garrett, I would like to see you and Rose the best in the world and tell you some of my travels and hardships. I would like for you to come and see me for I could show you more women that you can shake a stick at.
John is most well and sends you his love and best respects. And James H. Thomas sends you his respects.
To Garrett Gouge and Rosanah
(Editor’s note: William Willis was married to Rosanah Wilson’s sister.)
Our next letter, #620803, is from Bartley Wilson and again addressed to Garrett Gouge. Bartley on the other hand is not as humorous with his letter. He is certainly despondent, lonely and misses his family and he says so in no uncertain terms. He also has a premonition that his death is inevitable. Enjoy this letter as Bartley relays his feelings to Garrett.
August the 3, 1862
State of Tennessee
Mr. Garrett D. Gouge:
I have the pleasure of dropping you a few lines informing you that I am well at this time, hoping these few lines may come to hand and find you and Rosannah and the children well.
I have no serious news to write to you at this time. Garrett, I would like to see you all and your father’s people. Camp life is hard for certain. May God hasten the time when peace may reign.
Old friend Brinkley said he saw you as he came on. Said he believed you were all well and father-in-laws.
I wish I could get to see Emaline and little Thomas. God bless their sweet little bodies. Indeed, I wish I could see all of you. Garrett, you must come and see us the first chance you get. So Garrett you and sister and stay with mother’s and my little sweet children. (Apparently he means you and sister go and stay with my mother and my sweet little children.)
I want you and sister and everybody else to try and meet me in a better world than this. It is useless to tell you I am tired of camp life. Oh, that peace would come to the joy and comfort of us all. But if peace should fail and my lot is to die in my country’s defense, may each (of us) meet where peace and friendship reigns to all eternity.
No more. I remain your brother-in-law until death.
B.R. Wilson to G.D. and Rosanah Gouge
Direct you letter: Bartley R. Wilson, Washington County, Tennessee, 5th Battalion, N.C. Partisan Rangers, Company K, Hainsville, P.O. in care of Capt. (Samuel Marion) Silver.
(Editor’s note:; Bartlett Wilson, born 6-16-1832, was Rosanah’s brother. He married Susanah Gouge on 11-30-1854. Emaline and Thomas were his children. His “old friend Brinkley” was Alexander Brinkley, 58th Regiment.)
More than Civil War letters of our extended Silver Family have survived. Eventually, Garrett D. Gouge too went into the military and the following article, #000005, tells us about his uniform jacket.
Garrett D. Gouge’s uniform jacket…
Garrett D. Gouge’s uniform jacket is pictured in “Time-Life’s Illustrated Atlas of the Civil War, Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy (Echoes of Glory) series), page 139.
According to the accompanying article, the jacket is now in the Greensboro Historical Museum. (Greensboro, NC)
The article also states that his is a “Tait” jacket— one made in Limerick, Ireland, by P. Tait, one of the largest ready-made clothing manufactures in the world at that time. The Confederacy had contracted with Tait for the jackets. Tait not only manufactured them but also delivered them in his own blockade-runners.
The jackets are characterized by a five-piece, eight-button front, and a lining usually stamped with size markings of the British Army system. The material was cadet gray kersey.
Of Garret’s jacket, the article states:
In near-mint condition, Private Gouge’s blue-trimmed Tait jacket was probably drawn before he went home at the end of the war.
Its markings read,`5 feet 10/39-34’ which indicates that it was made for a man five feet 10 inches tall, with a chest of 39 inches and a waist of 34.
If you recall, I announced back in October of 2003 that I became engaged to my Silver first cousin, five times removed, Margaret Ruppe-Wyatt. We are still engaged and are enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company very much--although we still live thirty miles distance from one another. As of this writing, wedding plans are still a little inconclusive, but we are getting closer to the event. Margaret and I have decided sometime in the near future to leave town one weekend, go to Disney World for a week and arrive home married. I will keep everyone updated as events unfold.
Our Silver Family Historian, Cousin John Silver continues this month’s newsletter with more of his wonderful research work on our Silver Family history. He is currently writing about the children of our ancestors, George Silver and Nancy Ann Griffith. John and I thank everyone for reading our newsletter. Please let us hear from you and send us material about your family and we will edit and publish it as space and time permits. Until March, when the days are longer and winter is slipping away, remember, With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world!
I remain your humble Cousin…
This month we will cover two children of George and Nancy’s family. Sarah, of whom we have no information, was the 5th child. Born about 1792 in Frederick County, Maryland, she would have been approximately 14 years of age when the family moved from Maryland to North Carolina. She married a Mr. Edes and we are not sure whether she remained in North Carolina or moved elsewhere with her new husband. Most of the tillable land had been taken in western North Carolina so the offer of free land on the western frontier was enticing. Many of our family members moved in that direction. Hopefully, we will be able to find information on Sarah in the future.
Next we come to Greenberry, the 6th child of George and Nancy. Greenberry was born in Frederick County, Maryland on February 8th, 1795. He would have been approximately eleven years old when the Silver family came to western North Carolina. Growing up, Greenberry developed a head for numbers enabling him to become a fairly wealthy man by the time he was 30.
Greenberry speculated widely and built his fortune in farming, forestry and trading. In the 1860 Yancey County census, his estimated worth is over $10,000 dollars. He owned vast tract of land on Green Mountain and it was said that the mountain was named for him. That amount would equate to over a million dollars by today’s standards. Investing wisely and selling wisely continued to increase his worth over a long life.
After fathering two children with Sarah Woody and another child with Margaret McMahan he would marry. At age 46 he married Malinda Elizabeth “Eitel” Smith. Malinda was a granddaughter of the well-known John Gottfried Arndt, the first ordained minister of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina. Malinda and Greenberry became the parents of seven children. Lodemia Elizabeth Silver, David Hamilton Silver, John R. Silver, Margaret M. Silver, George Washington Silver, Alexander Burton Silver and Emma Manassa Silver.
Apparently, Greenberry was not a miser. The 1860 Yancey Census shows that in addition to their seven children there was another family residing in the Greenberry home. He was providing a home for Cordelia Silver Bowditch and her two children. Cordelia and her children had been abandoned by Nathaniel Ingersoll Bowditch. Nathaniel was never seen or heard of again. Cordelia was the daughter of Henry Gilbert Silver who would be killed in the Civil War. Cordelia would later marry her sister Catherine’s widowed husband, Andrew “Andy” Hall.
Another article of interest on Greenberry is found in the Minutes of the February Term (1837) of Yancey County, North Carolina:
The Court proceeded to bind William Robertson to Greenberry Silver until he shall attain the age of twenty-one years who is now about fourteen years of age he being the son of Hannah Robeson who (Greenberry Silver) is to give him twenty months of schooling one year between this and the time he is seventeen years of age the balance between that and his freedom and is to give him one horse bridle and saddle worth eighty dollars, four suits of clothing, one of which is to be a good broadcloth 2 of which is to be home spun; the other to be store goods.
Greenberry passed away on January 27, 1883 in Micaville, Yancey County, North Carolina and is buried in the Micaville Cemetery.
Malinda passed away on April 25, 1903 at Micaville. She is buried beside Greenberry.
Charlie A. Parker Sr., 82, of Fawn died at 6 p.m. Friday, December 5, 2003, at his camp in Elmenton, Allegheny Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania. He had been ill for the past seven years.
He was born January 19, 1921, in Morgan, Texas, and had lived at Fawn since 1946.
An Army veteran of World War II, he served with the 29th General Hospital Division in the South Pacific.
Self employed, he was the owner-operator of Parker Auto Company, Fawn, retiring in 1993 after 30 years in business.
Mr. Parker was a member of the Outdoor Life Lodge in Fawn. He enjoyed fishing and hunting.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Pauline Selmek Parker, two sons, Charles A. (Marjorie) Parker, Jr. of Fawn and David (Luann) Parker of New Port Richey, Florida; two daughters, Mrs. Mary Ann (Daniel) Haas of Elmenton and Mrs. Wilma (Ken) Amburgey of Ada, Ohio; eight grandchildren; three great-grandsons; and two sisters, Milley Lloyd and Josephine Thomas, both of Corpus Christie, Texas.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charlie and Mittie Thompson Parker, and two brothers, Abner and Kelcy Parker.
The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday in the Krynicki Funeral Home Inc., 1007 Freeport Road, Natrona Heights, Harrison (PA), where services are set for 11 a.m. Tuesday. Officiating will be the Reverend Emery Barnett, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sarver. Burial will be in the Greenwood Memorial Park, Lower Burrell (PA).
(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Charles Silver m. Frances “Frankie” Stewart > Nancy Silver m. David William Parker > Charles Wesley Parker > Mittie Thompson > Charley Allen Parker Sr.)
Ruth Robinson Silver, 85, 2441 Montrose Drive, died February 6, 2000 at Alexandria Place.
She was a native of Yancey County, daughter of the late Walter B. and Mary Arzilla Gouge Robinson and the wife of Galen Robert Silver. Sister of the late Galen and Joe Robinson and sister Thelma Robinson Noblit. She was a member of the Grace Baptist Church.
She is survived by a daughter, Dawn Silver Frederick of Gastonia; son and daughter-in-law Robert F. and Judy Silver of Royal Palm Beach, Florida; brother Bowers Robinson of Arden; sister Marie Robinson Porch of Lenoir and Julia Robinson Millen of Kings Mountain. Grandchildren, Tom Frederick of Asheville, Eric Frederick of Raleigh, Kim Zeugner of Cary, Tracy and Robert Silver of Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Grace Baptist Church with Reverend Don Mott officiating. Burial will follow the services in Gaston Memorial Park. Visitation will be 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at Carothers Funeral Home in Gastonia.
(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Rev. Edmund Drury Silver > Mary Jane Silver m. Rev. William Edward Gouge > Mary Arzilla Gouge m. Walter B. Robinson > Ruth Robinson m. Galen Robert Silver.)
Pauline Bartlett Silver, 78, of 40 O’Donald Road, Asheville, passed away on Tuesday, December 9, 2003, at Mission Hospital following a period of declining health.
Polly was the widow of Harold Eugene Silver Sr., son of Offie Silver.
Many times in the coming days and years, we will think of Polly and Harold and our other loved ones that have passed before us. Tears will well up in our eyes and a lump will come to our throats. Because of so many still living are dependent upon us, we will blink back the tears, clear our throats and try to get on with our everyday chores. But, our loved ones will forever be close to the surface.
(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Alfred Leonard Silver > Tilman Blalock Silver > George Delbert Silver > Offie Silver > Harold Eugene Silver Sr. m. Pauline “Polly” Bartlett.
Loretta Buchanan Silver, 89, of Deal Mill Road, Granite Falls, died Tuesday, November 18, 2003, at Caldwell Memorial Hospital.
She was born September 12, 1914, in Mitchell County to the late Homer and Matilda Pittman Buchanan. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Roy S. Silver; three sons and two daughters.
Ms. Silver was a homemaker and a member of the Beaver Creek Baptist Church.
Survivors include a son, Wayne Silver of Granite Falls; five daughters and three sons-in-law. Martha and Billy Joe Johnson of Drexel, Berta Lee Jones of Granite Falls, Shirley and Rufus Church of Hudson, Darlene and Raymond Johnson of Jefferson and Cindy Silver of Jefferson; 19 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
The funeral is at 2 p.m. Friday at Mount Zion Baptist Church with the Reverend John Greene officiating. Burial will be in Blue Ridge Memorial Park.
Pallbearers will be Vernon Silver, Chris Pittman, Raymond Johnson, Bill Johnson and Ray Burleson. Honorary pallbearers will be Tommy Church, Larry Church and Wade Pittman.
The family will receive friends Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Pendry’s Lenoir Funeral Home.
(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > David Ralph Silver > Elisha P. Silver > George Thurman Silver > Roy S. Silver m. Loretta Buchanan.
Hazel McNeill, 81, of Marion, passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 17, 2004, at the McDowell Hospital after a brief illness.
The service celebrating Ms. McNeill’s life will be conducted by the Reverends Milton Hollifield and Stephen Willy at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Westmoreland Funeral Home chapel. Burial will be in the Blue Rock Cemetery in Yancey County, NC. She was a member of the Garden Creek Baptist Church.
Ms. McNeill was born on July 9, 1922 in Yancey County to Joe and Etta McNeill. Her family moved to Marion in 1932, where she grew up and attended school. She was a talented hairdresser who worked in several top named salons in the southeast. After retiring to help care for her parents, she became active in local, state and national politics, working diligently for the Republican Party.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Joe and Etta, brother Howard John McNeill and nephew, Michael Neill Padgett. She is survived by her son, Patrick A. McNeill and wife Sherry; daughters, Kendra Taylor and Kelly Lewis; four grandchildren; sister Virginia Lee McNeill Padgett of Marion; nieces, Judy French of Texas, Lynn Caldwell of Hickory and Christina Carroll of Ohio; nephew Joe McNeill of Marion; great-nieces Stephanie Edgrin of Iowa and Elizabeth McNeill of Marion; great-nephew Joey McNeill of Marion; Great-great-nieces, Amanda and Delaney Carroll; and great-great-nephew John Michael Edgren.
Ms. McNeill’s family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday at Westmoreland Funeral Home prior to the services.
In lieu of flowers donations should be made to McDowell Mission Ministries, P.O. Box 297, Marion, NC 28752. An on-line register is available under “Obituaries” at http://www.westmorelandfuneral.com/.
(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Nancy Silver m. Thomas Robinson > Samuel S. Robinson > Augustus John Robinson > Etta Florence Robinson m. Joseph Malone McNeill > Hazel Grace McNeill. (Hazel was a sister to Virginia Lee McNeill Padgett.
Joseph Raymond “Mr. Jim” Silver, 82, of Lusby died on January 7, 2004 at home.
He was born on August 16, 1921, in Pax, WVA, to the late James R. and Margaret R. Silver. Mr. Jim was a retired merchant seaman.
He was preceeded in death by his spouse, Catherine Silver.
He is survived by his sisters, Jackie L. Teller of Virginia Beach, VA, and Thelma Toarmino of Avon, New York; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial services were held on Sunday, January 11, 2004 at 5 p.m. at the Rausch Funeral Home of Port Republic, MD. The officiating minister was Reverend William Davis. The interment was private.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Solomans Volunteer Fire and Rescue Dept. P.O. Box 189, Solomans, MD 20688.
Funeral arrangements provided by Rausch Funeral Home, Port Republic, MD.
(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > David Ralph Silver > Robert Enoch Lee Silver > James Raymond Silver > Joseph Raymond Silver.)