SILVER NOTES II ONLINE
An Addendum to Silver Notes

 

VOLUME I

ISSUE No II

February 2003

http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~silver/south/newsletter.html

 

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

w/contributing articles by Cousin John Silver

 

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Greetings Everyone from Greenville South Carolina. Rex Writes…I am continuing this month with the historically significant Monroe Thomas letter that I began in last month’s edition of Silver Notes. You might want to reread last month’s newsletter to refresh your memory and to pick up the story line from where I ended. Again to remind everyone, all quotes from Monroe’s letter will be italicized. Monroe writes from page 2 of his letter....

 

Last summer I began an article on the history of the Silvers, centering my approach on their ancestor’s burying ground and their oldest existing ancestral home, both of which are located in KONA, the community in which the family took root locally and from which it spread to other sections.

 

(Please note the proper grammar used by Monroe by including his prepositions in the body of the sentence instead of at the end of the sentence.)

 

I hoped to get it ready in time to offer it to the Tri County News for publication just prior to our annual summer decoration, but ill health interfered and I laid it away unfinished with not even the first draft completed. When your letter came however, I got it out and made a transcript of it and am enclosing it in this letter. I do not mean it though as your answer to my question concerning the ancestry of the Reverend Tom Silver, of Windom; genealogies are hard to write and I am trying to answer that question in a clearer, more concise form in this letter and am enclosing the transcript only for background color. I hope the two together will give you the information which you desire.

 

Tom, Green, Henry, Jacob, Nancy, and Rachel Silver were all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same man.[1] That man was George Silver, who in turn was the son of George Silver the elder, founder and first head of the family. The elder George came to this country as an oldish young man from the Old World sometime during the 1750’s.[2] Some claim that he came from England, some from Germany, and some that he was Dutch. Mother is inclined to agree with the latter -- and she is my authority. On the ship coming over, he met and fell in love with a fellow immigrant, an English woman by the name of Ellis, and on arrival they got married and settled in Pennsylvania.[3]

 

In 1760 there was born to them their first and only child, a son, whom they named George after his father. This child was the George who became the father of the above-named brothers and sisters and who also became one of Toe River Valley’s first citizens.[4]

 

When the revolution broke out the elder George enlisted in Washington’s army and served for three years, when he returned, old and broken in health (Editor’s note: he was born Feb 4, 1741), and his son, the younger George, a youth of eighteen, volunteered in his stead and served under Washington till the war’s close, four years later. Very little is now remembered of their war exploits except that they served faithfully, yet the fact they served at all entitles their descendants today to full and active membership in that very select and autocratic brother-and-sister organization known as the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.[5] Though I dare say that not one out of five of their descendants knows that they are descendants of that they fought in the Revolution or that the younger George lies buried in Toe River Valley. If they knew it there would be more homage paid to the latter at his graveside in KONA.

 

The war over, young George did not go home; his father and mother having died during his absence,[6] he came south from the place of his discharge, and we find him next in Morganton, North Carolina, county seat of Burke, where he is married and has a family. What brought him here, and whether he married before or after he arrived, we don’t know. All we know is that his wife was a Griffith and that he had yet reached the end of his journey.[7]

 

For in 1809 or thereabouts, George’s son Jacob, who married young, became a widower, married again, took his leave of Morganton and, with his wife and young son Charles by his first marriage, made his way over the mountains and down Toe River to what is now KONA, in Mitchell County, where he was joined a short while later by George, now a widower, and his remaining children namely: Tom, Greene, Henry, Nancy, and Rachel.[8] (See foot note #1)  The land on which they settled was in the center of a vast and unbroken wilderness stretching for many miles in every direction, and although they did not know it they were its first settlers. Their closest neighbors being on Bear Creek and in the Deyton Bend section of what is now Yancey County. George’s other children soon married and moved out into the broad land to build homes and found families of their own, but George himself, continuing as a widower, made his home with Jacob for the rest of his life. 

 

Jacob took up the land on which he first settled and made it his permanent homestead. However, the community which he founded was not then called KONA; it was called Double Island from two nearby islands in the river and comprised the five present day communities of KONA, Lundy, Bandana, Fork of the River and Double Island, the later two in Yancey. Jacob’s first neighbors were Aaron Thomas and family from the valley of the French Broad, who arrived about a year later and settled five miles down the river, in the bottom opposite the mouth of Rose’s Branch, in what is now Yancey County, well beyond the bounds of the community. But his first near neighbors were George Robinson (Robertson) and family from Virginia, who arrived about three years after his own arrival and settled just over the river, about midway of the creek in what is now Double Island, and who thus became that present-day community’s first settlers. All three of these families were ancestral; that is, they were the first and only families of their name to come into Toe River Valley and are thus the forebears of all the valley today who bear their names. After this the community built up rapidly and by 1820  had enough settlers to organize and build a church and a school, both which still function near their original sites in present-day Double Island. But no more ancestral families came in; therefore increases were simply overflows in other sections. Moreover, all three of these families intermarried; albeit it was the Silvers girls who married the Thomas and Robinson Boys rather then the Thomas and Robinson girls marrying the Silver boys. For this reason many of the Thomas’ of today, and most of the Robinsons, have Silver blood in their veins, but few of the Silvers have Thomas or Robinson blood in them. All of them also took up land on which they first settled. Jacob’s tract lay on both sides of the river and included almost the whole of present day KONA. But of their first homes, only Jacob’s remains. (The cabin at KONA). A two story log structure, it has come down to us almost unchanged and has the unique distinction of having never been bought, sold, mortgaged, rented, or insured and it has never been vacant but has been lived in continuously by successive generations of the same family -- seven in all, counting minors as of 1951. Its present owner and occupier is Jacob’s grandson, Will Silvers, head of the fifth generation and a man now in his mid seventies. (The cabin today, February 2003, is empty and awaiting restoration).

 

Of George’s remaining children, Tom moved to Windhom and Greene to Micaville, then known as Big Crabtree. Their descendants, both direct and collateral, live in these sections today. Tom was a preacher, but morally Greene was the exact opposite of a preacher. It is not my purpose to go around pulling skeletons out of the pioneer cupboards of our ancestors, but facts are facts and should be recorded. Greene did not marry until all except the youngest of his several children were born and then he married only because the law required him to. Moreover, he had a son out of wedlock by another woman, (Sarah E. Woody) and his offspring by this son is perhaps as large today, and certainly as respectable as his offspring through his other children.[9] The son was Greene Woody, grandfather of the Reverends Edd, Sewell and Charlie Woody and of Bright and Greene Woody, of Burnsville. Greene Woody retained his mother’s maiden name for his surname, but he was given his father’s first name for his Christian name. And his father acknowledged him as his son and treated him accordingly, giving him vast tracts of land lying on and between the headwaters of the creeks that drain the communities of Double Island and Pleasant Grove, the highest mountain of which has since borne the names of its first two owners - Green(e) Mountain. Much of this land is still in the possession of Greene Woody’s heirs, his only living son, Jason Woody, of Pleasant Grove, a man now in his nineties, being the owner of part of it. Greene Silver was also an advocate of slavery and owned several Negroes, but his brothers and sisters, although loyal to the Confederates, were opposed to slavery.

 

Henry, George Silver’s remaining son, was twice married, lived first here and then there, and had many children. His daughter Rachel by his first marriage married Tommy Thomas, youngest son of Aaron Thomas, and thus brought about the first union between the two great ancestral families. Tommy and Rachel’s offspring is today innumerable and includes so many preachers that Rachel has aptly been called the mother of ministers. In a count made in 1945 there were at that time among her off spring more than a score of active ordained ministers, including the late Jimmy and Isiah (Zair Bud) Thomas, sons; Edd, Sewell, and Charlie Woody, grandsons; and Ade Buchanan and Arthur and Edd Thomas, great grandsons. Another of Henry’s daughters is Mrs. Linda Laws of Yancey County, Rachel’s half-sister and mother of Jeff Laws, of Boonford. She is the only one of George Silver’s grandchildren who is still alive and has the added distinction of being perhaps the only living person in Western North Carolina -- certainly in Toe River Valley -- whose grandfather was a veteran of the Revolution and fought in Washington’s army.[10] But evermore wonderful is the fact that three generations -- father, son, and granddaughter -- cover the entire period of the United States, reaching from the close of the French and Indian War (late 1750s and early 1760s) to the present (1951). (This is an interesting insight by Monroe Thomas.) 

 

Nancy, daughter of George Silver (Jr.) married a neighbor boy, Tom Robinson, son of George Robinson, and thus brought about the first union of the Silvers with the third great ancestral family of the community. Nancy and Tom had a whole sluice of children, including Tom (a confederate veteran), Rile or Riley, Jasper, Sam, Sadie, and Martha Ann. Martha Ann married David Hall, pioneer herb doctor, and is still survived by one son, Luce Hall of Micaville. The Reverends Wood and Don Hall were also her sons. Mollie Robinson, of Bandana, is Tom‘s son. Rachel, George Silver’s (Jr) other daughter married a Wilson (Edward, “Big Ned”) beyond Burnsville. She had a son whom she called “Big” Tom but whether he became the “Big” Tom Wilson of mountain-climbing fame or not Mother doesn’t know.[11]

 

Jacob Silver, like his brother Tom, was a preacher and pioneer evangelist and was twice married, both times to Morganton girls. His first wife died when he had only one child, the ill-fated Charles, but no one remembers who she was.[12] His second wife was Nancy Reid (or Reed), a great woman if ever there was one. By her Jacob ___ had twelve children, all of whom were born on this side of the mountains (west side of the continental divide) and lived to maturity, though three -- John, Marvel Alexander, and Milton -- died as young men. The others, in the order of their ages, were: Alfred, Peggy, Rachel, Cindy, Billy (William Jacob), David, Rueben, Sam, and Edmond.

 

End of page 7 ½. More to come next month when we will learn more about Jacob and Nancy Silver’s rolls in the community as well as the fate of many of Jacob and Nancy’s other children.

 


 

            Following are several of the poems that were written by Monroe Thomas and are also part of this historically written paper by him.    

                            

FALL

The valleys below are black

But the mountains,

Shrouded in the veil of the first snow

Stand out like gray tombstones in the night.

With their icy breath they chill my frame

And cast depression into my soul,

For they are mute omens

After black winters.

Monroe Thomas

 

IN HEAVEN

In heaven I will not ask for a harp,

But growing tired

Will steal out from the angel throng

And wander on alone until I find a wooded hill

With singing birds and wild flowers

And a rock or a mossy log where on to sit and dream

Until the sun, listing down the west, brings the night

With a silvery moon or friendly stars….

Monroe Thomas

 

Here In These Woods

Here in these woods, amid the vales

I’ll make my bed and lie,

Where rule the winter’s howling gales,

And never men pass by,

And let the rains my body seep,

And summer build a bower

Where none may come, perchance to weep

And leave behind a flower.

Monroe Thomas

 

To________

I find you in the dewdrops

I find you in the flowers;

I find you in the moonbeams

That light the mighty hours,

I find you in sweet laughter,

In everything divine;

But what are all my findings worth

Since you can ne’er be mine!

Monroe Thomas

 

(In the margin off to the side of this poem, To___, Monroe Thomas writes, “Ah Me!” We can only imagine perhaps he wrote the poem to the love of his life. Someone whom he knew he could never hold dear to his heart in an intimate way because of his bodily afflictions. How sad!) 

 

Rose

A rose

Grew by a spring,

A wayfarer who came by to drink

Pluck off her head and pinned it to

His coat.

Monroe Thomas

 

(Hmmm…could his true love have been someone by the name of Rose who was plucked from his grasp and nonchalantly carried off as was the flower?)

 


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I certainly hope you have enjoyed reading this month’s issue of Silver Notes II. I continue to solicit family material from you for editing or reprinting. Please note, sign your material at the bottom giving me permission to copy and publish if you want your material copied exactly as you have written it. I do not wish to be charged with plagiarism.

 

In addition, please send Cousin John Silver all your family genealogy if you have not yet so done so he can add you to our data base as well as in the Family Archives at KONA.

 

Cousin Barney Kaufman who descends from the Nova Scotia Silver Family is our new keeper of Web for Silver Notes II On Line and we wish to extend our many thanks to Barney for his knowledge of things PC that John and I do not know.

Rex Redmon
Editor, Silver Notes II Online
40 Wood Pointe Drive #68
Greenville, SC 29615
864-242-1307
[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
703-368-9018 
[email protected]

SILVER CENTRAL

http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~silver/index.html

 



[1] In addition to the above mentioned children by Monroe Thomas, George Jr. and Nancy Anne Griffith had John, George III, Elizabeth, Sarah and William. A total of 11.

[2] George Silver Sr. arrived in the colonies from Wirtemberg, Germany in 1749 on the ship, Speedwell, according to ships manifest in the book, Names of German, Swiss and other Immigrants -- 1749. (P. 208-209.) 

[3] Extended family research has proven this theory of Monroe Thomas’ to be incorrect. There is not an Ellis family listed on the ship Speedwell’s manifest. We do know that George Sr. married Elisabeth Margretha Schmiden (Sissy Margaret) on February 16, 1752 in the Evangelical Augusta Lutheran Church in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania according to church records. 

[4] According to the same church records, George Jr. and his twin sister, Elizabeth, were christened 28 October 1753. Also a son, Jacob and possibly a son Johannes was born to George Sr. and Elizabeth as LDS records indicate.

[5] For the record, we do have proof of George Jr’s service in the Revolutionary War by his pension application but to my knowledge we do not have proof of George Sr. serving and according to our family historian, cousin John Silver, George Sr. did not serve in the Revolutionary War. 

[6] George Silver Sr.’s will was not probated until 21 October, 1785 and he names his wife as a beneficiary so they both were still alive at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 when George Jr. musterd out.

[7] I do not know on what documentation Monroe Thomas is stating his information,  but according to Senior’s will, Junior was still in Pennsylvania in 1785 as he is executor of Senior‘s will. Also modern day research by other Silver Family Genealogist shows George Jr. married Nancy Anne Griffith on April 12, 1782 in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Montgomery Co, PA. Also,  Jacob, the oldest child was born to them in 1785 and Thomas, the youngest child was born to them  in 1803 in Montgomery County, PA. They arrived in Burke County sometime in 1806 then were in what is today Yancey County by December, 1806 according to land grant records.

[8] This part of Monroe’s letter is also incorrect as Nancy Ann Griffith, wife of George Jr.,  did not die until September 30, 1849 according to her gravestone. George Jr. actually died before Nancy Ann on 7 August, 1839. Also Elizabeth Wilson, Charlie’s mother, died on September 3, 1812,  Charlie’s birthday.

[9] Greenberry Silver is supposed to have had at least six illegitimate children from both Sarah E. Woody and a woman by the name of Margaret McMahan.

[10] Unfortunately Monroe Thomas was unaware of the families of John Silver who had moved to Georgia, George Silver III who had moved to Indiana and also the whereabouts of  William Griffith Silver who lived all his life in Yancey County and Sarah and Elizabeth  of whom I have very little information.  Many of  those descendants could easily have had grandchildren of George Silver Jr. still living in their parts of the world.

[11] Monroe is speaking of “Big Tom Wilson” who led Dr. Mitchell on exploration trips up Mount Mitchell for whom the mountain was eventually named. And yes, he is the same person as well who is known as the great bear killer.

[12] She was Elizabeth Wilson, but where she was born, I do not know.