March 2003


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

w/contributing articles by Cousin John Silver




Greetings everyone from beautiful Greenville, SC! Today is February 26th and today as I write Silver Threads© for the month of March, much of the country, especially the Northeast and the Southwest are covered with by several feet of snow or inches of ice and sleet. Here in the Southeast our weather is fair and my jonquils are blooming in the front yard and my tulips are beginning to poke their heads through the mulch that covers my flowerbed. I’m hoping as each or you read this month’s newsletter the coldness and misery of the February are now memories.


Perhaps you have noticed or perhaps you have not noticed, but I have changed the name of my portion of the Newsletter for reasons of clarification which distinguishes my publication from the Silver Notes publication. I hope you like the name I have chosen. It does sort of bind us together as a family doesn’t it?


I hope each of you are enjoying reading the writings of Monroe Thomas. From my understanding this particular letter of Monroe’s is only the tip of the ice burg with regard to all the material he wrote. With this month‘s issue of Silver Threads©, I will continue from where I stopped writing last month where Monroe was writing about the children of Jacob Silver and had listed them by name. He continues his writing describing the physique of Jacob Silver. Again, all quotes from Monroe Thomas’ letter are italicized using a different font for the benefit of differentiating between my writing and the writing of Monroe Thomas. Here goes…


Jacob was tall and heavily built, rough-made and muscular, but Nancy was small and delicately featured, a woman of culture and refinement and great physical beauty. Of about the same age, they were untiring workers and in a short time transformed their wilderness home into a place that became noted far and near for its order and charm and hospitality - graces that still lingers and enshrines it today. The family rarely went to bed without two or three guests from their many neighbors, and on weekends and at preaching times the house was always filled. Once when the association was meeting with their church there were so many guests that beds could not be made down for all of them and many, together with the boys of the family, slept in the barn. Their home was also a place of learning and culture, for Jacob and Nancy were passionate adherents of the printed word and saw to it that their children got the best education that Toe River Valley could give them. In fact, the greatest sorrow of their lives was caused by the eclipse that learning went into during the dark days following the Civil War when the children could hardly be spared from the fields to attend what little schooling there was. They were now old and stricken by toil, but nevertheless they did what they could. Jacob used every opportunity to urge upon his neighbors the necessity of maintaining the schools, and Nancy gathered the grandchildren of their home together every Sunday morning and gave them a lesson in their books. It was all the schooling that most of them got, yet those who are still alive today have good common-school educations.


It is hard for us to realize on first consideration what a tremendously important role Jacob and Nancy played in the establishment of their community, but it was no less than magnificent. Since they were the first to come into the new territory they had the oldest home and became a kind of parent to their incoming neighbors, furnishing each with seed, fowl, livestock, tools, and other necessaries. They were thus ancestral in every sense of the word. But what made this help noteworthy was the fact they kept it up right on through the years. When a new settler came in he refused to go to his near neighbors for assistance but went to Jacob and Nancy, and when an old established homesteader ran out of supplies he did like wise. For Jacob and Nancy to not only have the oldest home and were gracious in their dealings and were eager to help, but they also had the largest and best provisioned home. Jacob traveled all over Toe River Valley in his ministerial duties and made several trips out, and wherever he went he kept his eyes open for new things and if he found something he got a beginning of it for his place. He was thus in a position to render a continuing service to his community - and perhaps no man ever rendered it with more relish or received more esteem in return. People back then, being dependent on their soil for almost everything that they used, grew a much larger variety of things, both vegetables and animal, than people do today, and nearly everything that the people of the community at that time grew was brought in by Jacob and kept replenished by him. Even today many of the things that we grow, limited as our production is, have come down to us from his place and are more highly prized than newer varieties, especially our potato onions, sweet rhubarb and hallway apples. On one trip out, Nancy accompanied Jacob and they journeyed as far as Charleston, South Carolina, where they found a beautiful pink flower in bloom. They failed to learn its name but brought back a bulb, and soon every home in the community was growing “The Charleston Flower.” And we still grow it, though we now call it “The piney rose” but know what it is - a peony. Not for nothing do we study our seed catalogues.


Charles Silver, Jacob’s son by his first wife, married Frances (Frankie) Stewart, a woman three or four years his senior[1], and settled on the northeast corner of Jacob’s place, just over the hill from Jacob’s house. After Charlie’s death Jacob gave this end of his estate to his son Sam, and Sam sold it to John Ellis whose heirs still own it[2]. Most people are under the impression that Charles was left heiress (spl) when he was murdered, but he wasn’t; he had one child a little girl named Nancy who lived to womanhood and married a Parker. Nancy had several children, one of whom, Alice, married Mack Thomas and settled on Gouge’s Creek where, as a widow, she still lives (1953), hale and hearty and greatly beloved at 94 despite the fact she suffered attempted rape by a Negro employee of the Carolina Mineral Company in 1922. Nancy’s other children eventually migrated with their families to other sections, yet through Alice, Charles Silver’s descendents are legion (spl) in the land which he paid with his life to remain in.


Of Jacob’s children by his wife, Nancy, Alfred and Reuben settled in the Estatoe section, and a little later Edmond, the youngest child, moved into the Newdale area. Alfred was a great hunter and bee raiser, but Edmond, like his father and uncle Tom, was by profession a preacher, although he was also a tinkerer and a tailor. Nat Silver, of Newdale, is Edmond’s son, and Levi Silver, of Estatoe, was Alfred’s son. Reuben was killed by lightning before he had a male issue, but he left two daughters, one of whom married John Burleson and became the mother of George Burleson, of Estatoe. Jacob’s son Sam settled on his father’s place, in the house left by the ill fated Charlie, but not liking here he soon sold out and moved to the top of the Blue Ridge, to the place now owned by Nealy Willis and from there he migrated to the State of Washington, taking his entire family with him. Billy, (William Jacob) another of Jacob’s sons, was a self-educated school teacher and settled in the end of his ancestral community now known as Bandana. (He is buried at Silver Chapel Cemetery.)  All of his children except three - Will, Sam and Emma - followed their Uncle Sam west, but a fourth - Alice, wife of Pink Chandler - left heir’s here, Fletcher and John Phillips, of Spruce Pine, being her grandson. Of the children who remained here all settled in Bandana, but Will sold out in 1932 in his old age and moved to Raleigh in order to give his children who were still with him greater education advantages. Ralph Silver, of Micaville, is Will’s youngest son. Sam, Billy’s other son, was blown up as a young man in a dynamite explosion while working on the grading of the railroad through the Gorge and lost both eyes and his left arm. For most men such an accident would have meant the end of their usefulness, but Sam was made out of tougher stuff than most men; learning to read Braille, he educated himself and became perhaps the greatest moral and spiritual leader that Bandana has ever had. Mrs. Edd Phillips, of Ingalls, is Sam’s daughter, and Mrs. Jennie Willis Collis, of Spruce Pine, is his grand daughter. Emma, Billy’s daughter who remained with him, was deaf and dumb from birth, yet she got a good education in school for her kind and learned to lip read and to talk normally. She inherited her father’s homestead and married her neighbor and kinsman, William A. Robinson, both of whom have been dead for several years. Clyde and Bryan Robinson of Bandana, are Emma’s sons.


David, Jacob Silver’s remaining son was a school teacher and a Confederate veteran serving through the entire Civil War as a member of Lee’s army. Succeeding his father as owner of the ancestral home, he took care of his parents through their old age, and was a progressive and scientific farmer, being one of the first of our community to practice and teach crop rotation. He also field selected and developed a strain of bread corn that is still grown and prized by several of our leading farmers. Thrice married, his first wife was Elizabeth Baker, of near Bakersville; his second wife was Sarah Ledford, of Snow Creek; and his third wife was Mrs. Rosanna Gouge, of Bandana, widow or Garret Gouge. His first wife died during the Civil War. By her he had four children: Lish, who settled on Beaver Creek, near spruce Pine; Nancy Ann, who married Lace Woody, son of Greene Woody; Mary, who first married John Hutchins, was divorced, and then married widower Byrd Wheeler; and Bob. (Monroe kind of leaves us hanging here! Who is Bob I wonder?)  His second wife died in 1892. By her he had six children, three of whom - Maggie, Frank, and Will - still live, Will, the youngest son, being the present owner and occupier of the ancestral home. By his third wife whom he married in his and her old ages he had no children. David died in 1911 at the age of 79, and was outlived several years by his last wife who died at the great age of near one hundred. Rosanna’s portrait and an account of her life together with that of her first husband, the late George Gouge Sr., are given in Muriel Sheppard’s “Cabins in the Laurel.”


Jacob Silver’s daughters also married. Cindy married Wilborn Norman, of Bear Creek, and lived to a hundred but had no children. Peggy married Mitchell Robinson, son of George Robinson[3], of Double Island, and thus brought about the second union between the communities two great ancestral families; and Rachel followed suit by marrying Mitchell’s brother, William, thus bringing about the third union. The first union, as we have already noted, was effected by Peggy and Rachel’s Aunt Nancy who had married Mitchell and William’s older brother Tom some years earlier.[4] Each of these daughters had large families, and one of them, Rachel, has a son still alive. He is John Melvin Robinson (he spells the name Robertson)[5], of Burnsville, who is reportedly hale and hardy at 88. Dr. Burdette Robinson, of Burnsville, was Rachel’s grandson and Cornelia Anglin, of Micaville, is her granddaughter. Grover Robinson of Boonford, head of the Robinson Dairies, is Peggy’s grandson, as is also Fred Robinson, of Bandana.


Try not to get mixed up on the names; for the Silvers like most families had their favorite names, which each generation sought to preserve. In this letter which for the sake of brevity I have kept more or less narrowed to the ancestral home there are four Nancy’s - George’s daughter Nancy, Jacob’s wife Nancy Charles’ daughter Nancy, and David’s daughter Nancy Ann; three Rachels - George’s daughter Rachel, Henry’s daughter Rachel, and Jacob’s daughter Rachel; two Sams - Jacob’s son Sam and Billy’s son Sam (it is probably the latter whom you inquired about in your letter); and two Wills - Billy’s son Will and David’s son Will. (Will is short for William.)  There are two Davids - Jacob’s son David and Tom’s son David; and goodness knows how many Georges, Levis, and Alexanders there were and still are among later-day members of the family.


I will for now bring this portion of Monroe Thomas’ letter to a close. I am presently up to the middle of page 12 and from outward appearances, I will finish his letter with June’s issue of Silver Threads©.


Now, how about some reunion news? February 12th, I wrote authoress and folk writer, Sharon McCrumb, a letter inviting her to be our guest speaker on Saturday, history day, at this year’s reunion. Sharon is credited with writing The Legend Of Frankie Silver, The Song Catcher - a book about the patriarch of the McCurry Clan of Yancey County, Malcolm McCurry and in July her new book about the bushwhackers, outliners, and deserters that plagued the mountain counties during the civil War is expected to be published. We, the reunion planners, are hoping Sharon will be able to attend our event. If she cannot attend, we go to plan “B“. We do have plans “B” “C” and “D“.


Speaking of the reunion, we do have other great plans for this years reunion which we will announce as each event is finalized on paper. I can announce at this time cousin John Silver, our family historian, will be available in the basement of the large church all day on Saturday and Sunday for the benefit of those seeking family history. I will assist John Saturday morning, however in the afternoon I plan to lead a group of newcomers, and others who might want to join us, to the cabin site of Frankie and Charlie and retell to our first time visitors the chilling story of Charlie’s death and Frankie’s eventual hanging for the brutal murder. Sitting at the actual scene where the event occurred I believe will bring drama to the setting. So make a note now to bring your blankets the last weekend in July and join us.


News from 1940, the Year I was born. Churchill becomes prime minister of Britain! German troops parade through Paris! Germans build concentration Camp at Auschwitz! Allies evacuated from Dunkirk! Germans capture Denmark and Norway! British cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth, launched. (She rests now in a California harbor as tourist attraction.)


Now, fifty-three years later, we are again facing another major enemy and are about to go to war. Yet this time in history we are facing an enemy of uncertainty. Does Sadam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction? If so, will he use them on American and allied soldiers?  As I go to press in late February and as you read this article in late March, we might well know the answer to that question. Let us pray for the safety of our Armed forces.



by John Silver


This is my first attempt at writing for the past several months. Hopefully, I will be up to speed in a short time so as to become an asset to Silver Threads. In my next attempt, I will try to write an understandable history of our branch of the Silber/Silver family to include all the research that is available so far.


I have seen so many versions of our origins that I can see where the confusion begins. I will attempt to end the confusion and hopefully I won’t be hunted down and burned at the stake or at least whipped in public. The romantic stories are great but somewhat misleading. So, in the near future, look out.


Thanks to John Silver Harris we will have new articles to be passed on. Thank you again, Johnny.


I have heard from a lot of our cousins asking when we would go online. Well, we are! Through the hard work in the technical division on Barney’s part, Rex’s writing skills, Laura’s whip cracking and my perseverance as an onlooker, we are in business. So, I would like to ask everyone’s participation by sending in their family news, obituaries, wedding and birth announcements and any other articles that you would like to share.


If anyone has any questions about the family tree and the database, I will be more than happy to try to answer them. If I can’t I’ll at least try to research them. If anyone desires a pedigree chart, I will also be happy to produce one for you. That is, if you can give me enough information so that I can place you. Parents and grandparents are usually enough for me to get a good start.


So, until next month, I will be hoping to hear from you.

Cousin John





Gainesville GA Daily Times

March 4, 2003


   Funeral services are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, March 6, 2003, at First Redeemer Baptist Church in Cumming, GA, for Edith Lee Kirksey, 72, of Lighthouse Manor, Gainsville. After the services, burial will take place in the Alta Vista Cemetery.

   The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.

   Mrs. Kirksey died Monday, March 3, 2003, at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Lanier Park Campus following an extended illness.

   Mrs. Kirksey was born November 30, 1930, and was the daughter of the late Andy and Florence Barrett Lee. She was a housewife and a member of the Hazel Creek Baptist Church.

   Survivors include her daughters, Scheree Murray of Lawrenceville, Georgia  and Suzanne Smith of Indianapolis, Indiana; grandchildren, Andrea Nelson, Leah Black, Iesha Smith; great-grandchildren, Madison Black, Olivia Black, Everett Nelson and Owen Nelson.


(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Charles Silver > Nancy Silver m. David William Parker > Rethar Elizabeth Parker m. William Barrett > Florence Barrett m. Andrew Franklin Lee > Edith Lee m. Kenneth Kirksey)





Portland Oregon

September 17, 2002


   A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, September 19, 2002, in Finley’s Sunset Hills Mortuary for Dwane Mervan Shippey, who died September 6 at age 70.

   Mr. Shippey was born August 7, 1932, in Stockton, California, and moved to Beaverton as a child. He graduated from Beaverton High School and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. A graduate of the City College of San Francisco, he was a sales manager for Greyhound in San Francisco, Spokane and Portland, where he transferred in 1961. He was then a salesman for Raz Transportation. In 1957, he married Paola M. Villa.

   Survivors include his wife, sons Mark D. and Craig E., daughter, Juliane Pfeifer; five grandchildren.

   Remembrances to Providence Saint Vincent Hospice.


(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Samuel Marion Silver > John Maccamail Silver > Velma T. Silver m. Lloyd E. Shippey > Dwane Mervan Shippey)




John and I ask you to contact us with any family articles or family history you might want to publish.  Between the two of us we will see to it your material gets the best of attention. If you have a problem accessing current or archive issues of Silver Threads©, then contact Barney Kaufman for a solution.


Rex Redmon
Editor, Silver Threads
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]




[1] Editor comment; According to modern day research by many genealogists, myself included, Charlie was born in 1812 and Frankie was born in 1813.


[2] Editor comment; The land now (2003) belongs to a member of the Stewart Family.


[3] According to research by Rex Redmon, Editor of Silver Threads, Mitchell Robinson (Robertson) was actually the son of Edward Robertson, brother to George Robinson (Robertson). Edward Robertson died in 1835 at age 55 and two of his sons, Mitchell and

Thomas, moved from the Mars Hill area of Buncombe County to live with their uncle George at Double Island.


[4] Again, William was a first cousin to Mitchell and Tom.


[5] What a pity this wonderful ancient Scottish family name of Robertson has been corrupted by the many spellings, such as Robinson, Roberson, Robison, and Robeson, Regardless of how you spell the name today, all of you are Robertsons.