An Addendum to Silver Notes




January 2003


Written and Published Online by Rex Redmon, Greenville, SC.




Greetings Everyone From Greenville, SC. Rex writes…I am excited about the year 2003 for Silver Notes and the many opportunities I have for writing and presenting to you, our readers, some very interesting material I am fortunate to have in my possession. Some of that material includes a twenty-six page letter that early Silver Family historian, Monroe Thomas, wrote to his cousin, James Hutchins, of Windom, NC. The letter itself is of great historical significance as Monroe Thomas goes into great detail about some of the Silver Family history. Monroe is credited with being one of the first family historians to write about our Silver Family, much of which he learned from oral tradition as he so states in his letter. In addition, attached to Monroe Thomas’ letter are about a dozen poems written by Monroe himself that will appear in a later editions of Silver Notes II On Line. Each month I will publish as much of the letter as space allows. I will edit the letter and make any historical corrections about which I know and add editor’s comments where I deem necessary.


Also I will continue to present material many of you are now sending to me about your family history as well as events occurring in your life. I greatly appreciate your trust in me for sharing your information with me. Finally, Silver Notes II will continue to feature special historical articles of interest as space allows. Hopefully I will find the needed space in future publications of Silver Notes and if space does not occur, perhaps I might start another Family Newsletter at some point and time in the near future.


Exerts From Monroe Thomas’ Letter Postmarked Kona, N.C. and Dated July (1950) to November 1951, To Mr. James Hutchins, Windom, N.C....(Editor’s comments…Mr. Thomas was afflicted with a very rare disease and on page twenty-three of his letter he speaks of his illness very graphically to Mr. Hutchins. If he lived with his afflictions which I’m sure took a toll on his life, I imagine we can bear to read about it. For the benefit of you, my readers, I will present that part of Monroe’s’ letter first so you will be aware of the great struggle he had to even write this letter which took him the better part of seventeen months to complete. Monroe Thomas was born in 1903 and was forty-eight years old when he wrote this letter. In keeping with proper writing standards, wherever I quote from Monroe Thomas’ letter I will Italicize and indent.)


…I was president of my class and graduated with valedictory honors. Great things were expected of me, but they have not materialized, chiefly perhaps because I lacked the prime requisite of success – push -- but also because I lacked health. Of the first I will say nothing, but of the later let me speak briefly.


I have been crippled since 1916 and a total invalid since 1939. In 1916, at the age of 13, I had typhoid fever, and following the typhoid I began having bone abscesses. I was told that the typhoid had “settled” in my body, and I believed this until 1931 when the real cause of the bone ailment revealed itself. I went to bed with the typhoid a strong healthy lad, and got up from it lame in my left leg and hip and with hard knots about the size of small walnuts settled on my bones throughout my body. Eventually these knots all abscessed and drained out, each disrupting small slivers of bone, but seemingly doing no deep or lasting injury. It was predicted that when these all got drained out I would be well; but it was not to be, for in the meantime I began having a series of major abscesses where no knots were known to exist and which did deep and permanent injury. These came in 1917 in my left thigh, in 1926 in my right arm, in 1931 in my right hip, and in 1939 in my left arm and shoulder. Until the last one came I was able to work between attacks. (I taught, served as a librarian, kept a railroad depot, reported for the Asheville Citizen, held a WPA {Federal Works Project} job), but since 1939 I have been a total invalid unable to do any work or even to wait on myself in elemental ways. I live with my aged mother, also an invalid, and with my two unmarried brothers, who support and take care of me. I am crippled in both hips and both arms and my right hip and left arm and shoulder are ringed with deep abscesses. I have to spend a large part of each day lying down, but when I’m up I can move about in the house by means of a cane but can’t get out. I haven’t been on the ground in over ten years. When my right arm abscessed I lost much bone and was left with a wrist and a finger droop; I had to learn to write, feed myself, and do all my work with my left hand. But when my left arm abscessed it became a total loss except for a slight use of my fingers and I had to relearn to use my right hand but have to be very careful not to over do it.


My disease is called osteomyelitis. The typhoid ruptured the wall of my rectal column, permitting fecal infections to enter my blood stream, and this caused the disease. But I did not know this until 1931, when it revealed itself; that year my hip abscessed and the abscess made connection with the ruptured rectal column and opened a direct passage from my bowel through my hip to the outside. I went to hospitals and to noted surgeons and specialists and all of them told me the same thing -- that it was too late, that my condition was inoperable. The passage through my hip is still open, making mine a tremendous painful and at the same time an exceedingly foul disease.


Yet I’m not unhappy. “It is appointed to man once to die…” and what difference does it make when he goes or by what means? (In the margin of his letter, Monroe says, I am not a fatalist and don’t mean this in that sense. What I mean is that it is just as hard to die at 75 as at 35 and makes no difference from a subjective point of view.) His letter continues: All that matters is that he be ready. My life has been frail, but it has not been beautiful; I have sinned unspeakably. Yet “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able” to cleanse me of all sin and filthiness and to bring me into the presence of Him before whom no flesh shall be justified. In the meantime I have my books and magazines -- The Bible (I am eager to see the new Authorized Version), Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest -- and my writing; and for diversion I usually have an old clock to tinker with which some friend has given me. As far as I’m able I adhere strictly to a schedule and try to spend a portion of each day in creative writing. But I write very slowly, both because of my difficulty in composition (I am not the master of my tools) and because of my hand impediments. After I finally get a draft into acceptable form it takes me two hours just to copy a page the size of this (8 x 11½ note book paper) This is one reason why I have been so long in writing this letter. Another reason is my eyes. My eyes began hurting last August just after I started the first draft of this reply, and through the fall and winter I was able to use them only about a half hour a day. Unless hindered I devoted that half hour to this letter, but it was not enough to bring it to completion. Since the first Sunday in February, however, my eyes have been better. (it was poison from my hip that was infecting them causing them to hurt) and I have had more time. Perhaps never before has a letter been so long in composition. I hope the delay has not greatly interfered with your plans.


(This portion of Monroe Thomas’ letter concludes on his page twenty-five. I have presented this portion of his letter to you first, not to exploit Mr. Thomas and his ailments, but to uphold him in high regard for his great achievements in writing about our Silver Family history and to make you aware of what a great effort it was for him to compose this letter for which we should all be grateful. He did indeed make a difference.  He was certainly a great person extraordinaire. I know we all salute him. I will now begin at the beginning of his letter.)


Dear Mr. Hutchins:

I am always glad to hear from you, but I was doubly glad to get your last letter since it brought me the good news that you are doing a much-needed work. We have a rich colorful history, a history that any people would be proud of; yet it reposes not on paper but in the recollections of our elders, and unless someone gets busy and puts it into writing we will soon be a people without a remembered history. And when that time comes what will happen to our pride, to say nothing of a lamp for our feet? Consider, if you will, the case of George Robinson (Robertson) the man who brought the Robinson name to Toe River Valley and from whom all the Robinson’s in the valley are descended, the first white man to settle in what is now Double Island, he forms an important link in the chain of our past and it is essential that we know something of him.[1]  Yet obviation has swallowed him up, and try as hard as we will we cannot bring him out of the past to get a look at his life. He even lies in an unmarked grave and we don‘t know which grave is his or which is his wife‘s or his wife‘s Negro servant‘s. All we know is that they came from such a place at such a time and had such and such sons.[2] It is with the greatest of pleasure therefore that I learn of your efforts to put the history of your community into writing. You are highly fitted, both in education and zeal, for this task, and I trust that you also have the health.


Fortunately, the history of the Silvers has fared better in the hands of their descendants than that of most families, thanks to a thin small remnant of each generation who have been helped by certain factors which have been lacking (end of page one) for the most part of other families. The Silvers were the first settlers to come into a wide area; they preserved their first home and continued it in their ownership as the central home of their family; and they had a single burying ground where the deceased heads of their generation except the first was buried. These things gave them a visible link to the past that most families lacked. Then, too, judged by local standards, many of the early members of the family were scholars and lived lives that their descendents were proud to look back on and tell their children about. And finally the family got caught in a number of early stirring episodes which centered the attention of the community on them and gave their neighbors exciting material for conversation for many years to come and is even listened to with interest. (End of paragraph one, page two. Page two, paragraph two continues in next month’s issue of Silver Notes II).


Death of Margaret A. Tillery.  It is with great sadness and sorrow we report the death of Margaret A. Tillery, wife of cousin and former Silver Notes publisher, Clarence Tillery. Today we received the following E-mail from cousin Clarence.


Dear Friends,

      It is with deep personal sorrow but in great joy for her that I announce the passing of my wife, Margaret A. Tillery today. She fought bravely, her battle with A.D. and today she received her final healing and a place among the saints of the church. Thanks to those of you who prayed for her and for me. Prayer did make a difference to us. There will be much rejoicing and singing in heaven tonight as heaven’s choir celebrates the coming to their fold, of a new alto. Thanks be to God for his mercy. Clarence “Til“ Tillery


(Clarence also notified us that a memorial service was held at 2PM, Sunday, December 29, 2002, at the West Market Street, United Methodist Church with a visitation to be held after the service.)


Cousin Kathrine Philbeck writes that she wants to correspond with any descendents of Henry Silver from whom she also descends. Katherine works in the Old Tryon Genealogy

Library in Rutherfordton County, NC and she compliments Silver Notes II for extraordinary research.  (Thank you Katherine.) Katherine re-subscribed to the Silver Notes newsletter and as well, paid for a new subscription for her daughter, Kathy Jolly of Luray, VA. For you Henry Silver descendants, Katherine’s address is 739 Tiney Road, Bostic, NC, 28018.  Contact her and update your Henry Silver family genealogy.


The Annual Parker Family Christmas Party was held in Macon County, Franklin, NC on the Seventh of December and was another gala affair reports cousin Barbara Gregory who hosts the event.  Barbara reports the family had a wonderful weekend which began on Friday evening when many of the Frankie and Charlie Silver family descendants got together for a Christmas dinner just across the state line at the Dillard House in Dillard, Georgia. After dinner, Barbara reports many of the family went over to the “Coon Hunter’s Building” where the Christmas party is held on Saturday and set up tables and got things ready for Saturdays affair. The aroma of hot-spiced cider that was boiling on the red-hot wood stove greeted everyone as they entered the building from distances as far away as Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The dinner tables were decorated with red and white poinsettias and the popular Christmas flowers were given away as door prizes at the end of the day.


Cousin John Silver, our family historian is on his way to Sarasota, Florida for his annual “southern” vacation and to visit family as well. Really John, I just think you are just escaping the cold weather in Dover, Delaware. John wants everyone to know he has his laptop with him so if anyone has a desire to contact him, please feel free to do so.


Cousins, this concludes my portion of Silver Notes for the month of January. I do hope everyone tolerates the winter well and I look forward to filling your mailboxes again at the end of February with notes about your Silver and extended families. In the mean time if you wish to contact John Silver, who is our Silver Family historian, or myself, Rex Redmon, who writes Silver Notes II On Line, please do so from the addresses or phone numbers listed below. Also note I have two E-mail addresses.

Cuzin Rex.


Rex Redmon
Editor, Silver Notes II Online
40 Wood Pointe Drive #68
Greenville, SC 29615
[email protected]
[email protected]

John Silver
Family Historian Online
64S Fairfield Drive
Dover, DE 19901
[email protected]

Barney Kaufman
Keeper of The Web
7408 Lake Drive
Manassas, VA 20111-1960
[email protected]




Thought for the Month…


Did You ever wonder that just maybe God is really real

and that we here on earth are  just the illusions?

                                                        Rex Redmon 2002


[1] New Research has revealed that John Robertson was the first Robertson to arrive in Toe River Valley with sons, George, Edward, and daughters, Sarah, Susanna and Mary Emily. Edward lived near Mars hill in Madison County and two of his sons, Thomas and Mitchell, were raised by George because of Edward’s early death. So some of the Robinsons/Robertsons in the valley descend from Edward as well. Before he moved to Double Island, George Robertson/Robinson lived in the Celo community near his father, John. The Robinson name is a corruption of Robertson, which is the correct Scottish enunciation of the name. All other spellings, such as Roberson and Robison are also corruptions of Robertson.

[2] For a complete history of the Robertson/Robinson Family see Silver Notes, Volume I, Issue No. III, Silver Notes II. Also grave markers do now mark the graves of George Robinson and his wife Susannah Woody as well as the grave of Phoebe, the slave house servant and her two sons Joe and Simon. The graves are located in the double island Cemetery.