JuLY 2003


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

w/contributing articles by cousin John Silver








When the sun rises over Mount Mitchell early on Saturday morning July 26th, and shines its bright face upon the hills of KONA, North Carolina, all the mountain roads leading to KONA Missionary Baptist Church will be full of Silver Family descendants slowly driving their way around the twisting, winding road of Highway 80 that lead back to the land of their heritage. They will come from the four corners of the United States to celebrate their famous German ancestry. Many will arrive to greet family cousins whom they have not seen in years while others arrive to meet those same cousins for the first time. The history buffs and family researchers will descend upon the little family church to search for their family roots and many too will listen to the retelling of the tragic story of Frankie and Charlie Silver. A whole heap of folks will arrive too to hear folk writer, Sharyn McCrumb, also a Silver descendant, speak to those Silver cousins gathered on Saturday morning.  A lot of hand shaking, a lot of neck hugging and a lot of mountain cooking will be eaten, plus a lot of tall tales will be exchanged and retold. We expect to see you there too. This year’s Silver Family Reunion At KONA agenda is as follows.


Friday afternoon, Blue Moon bookstore arrives to set up their tent from which Silver cousin, Sharyn McCrumb, will sell and autograph her books. Also on Friday afternoon cousin Tommy Redmon of Asheville, North Carolina, will arrive and begin smoking the BBQ we are having for lunch on Saturday. While Tommy and Blue Moon set up, Cousin Laura Cooper and her clean-up crew will be diligently working in the big church cleaning and getting every thing ready for the big two-day event.


Saturday morning’s activities begin promptly at 9:00 A.M. Saturday is history day at KONA and our family historian, Cousin James “John” Silver, will be available all day to talk family history with researchers and family historians. John plans to have a PC, a copier and a printer on hand to assist everyone interested in tracing their roots. Please remember, we have the Silver Family archives on display at KONA and everyone is welcome to use the files. Also on file are many of the extended families of Mitchell and Yancey Counties who married into our Silver Family.


Around 9:30 I will conduct a short, Newcomers-or-First-Timers-To-The-Reunion, gathering.  The gathering will be held upstairs in the big church where informational handouts, with reference to Silver Family history, will be given to all of those who attend. I will give a brief talk about the KONA Silver Family and answer questions the newcomers might have.


Our guest speaker, Sharyn McCrumb, arrives and begins her talk in the upstairs auditorium of the big church at 11:00. Cousin, Jere Howell, who grew up in Bandana has the privilege of introducing our guest speaker. After lunch, Sharyn will set up outside in the Blue Moon tent and sell and autograph her many books, including The Ballad of Frankie Silver.


Speaking of lunch. Because there are not any restaurants within a thirty-minute drive of KONA, we are providing a BBQ lunch this year with all the trimmings and a drink and desert for only $5.00 per person. We need to get an idea of how many are planning to have lunch so we will be sure to prepare enough food for everyone so please let either myself, Rex Redmon, at [email protected] or Laura Cooper at [email protected] know how many in your family will be having lunch with us. You may call us as well.  My telephone number is (864) 242-1307 and Laura can be reached at (865) 932-7625.


After lunch John will continue to be in the history room in the basement of the church for the benefit of family researchers and Sharyn will begin signing autographs about 1:00 P.M. also. This year we have permission from Randy Stewart, current owner of the property where Frankie and Charlie’s cabin was located, to use the property and have a story telling time about the famous tragedy on the original site of the famous murder cabin. Yours truly will tell the story, along with Neil Stewart, as it occurred from the marriage of Frankie and Charlie to the eventful death of Frankie on the hangman’s gallows. Bring a blanket and a bottle of water and join us at 2:00 for a walking trip to the Frankie and Charlie cabin site. Upon returning to the cabin we will feast on cold water melon, a popular refreshment enjoyed by everyone after last year’s KONA walk-a-bout.


We request that no products be sold on Sunday on the church premises. All merchandise, including books and family history, should be taken to the Dowd’s Studio located above the family cemetery.


Cousin and Editor of Silver Notes, Kay Silver is responsible for Sunday morning activities this year. A tentative schedule includes a memorial service in the Family Cemetery at 10:00 where many family members gather for decoration day. The passing of loved ones will be remembered and a closing prayer will conclude the memorial service.


Our worship service has been switched from the little church to the big church this year where we will have more room and also where we can turn on some fans to cool our bodies in the event the weather is very hot. In addition, the little church has prior commitments according to the family owners of the property. So join us at the 11:00 hour in the big KONA Missionary Baptist Church for a traditional worship service where we will worship and praise our Creator through song, prayer and the reading of His word. A host of Silver cousins, Margaret Wyatt, Jere Howell, Alice Ruth and including myself will conduct the entire worship service this year so please plan to attend. Again, a love offering will be received this year for future work to the roof of the big church.


Our traditional covered dish lunch will follow the worship service at 12:00 in the basement of the big church. Everyone is asked to please bring enough food for your own family plus enough for one more person. Folks, let me tell you, these Silver women know how to cook. You are in for a big treat. 


We have left the afternoon open this year for visiting and catching up on everything you did not get completed on Saturday. Cousin Jere Howell will have some door prizes and possibly some games to play so I know you will want to stick around for those festivities that will be held in the basement of the big church.


We again plan to have a written reunion agenda and program available for you for this year’s events when you check in Saturday morning. You will be greeted at the door by Cousin Stacy Allen and her crew of courteous greeters that include Laura, Kay, Jere, Margaret, and myself. We will all take turns greeting at the door. Cousin Laura has control of the kitchen so whatever she says about the kitchen, except for Saturday’s meal where Tommy Redmon is in charge, is the law.


I want to remind everyone, it is still not to late to make reservations at the Nu-Wray Inn in Burnsville. Members of the Silver family will receive 10% off their lodgings bill if we fill ten rooms. Also, please remember, this is a resort area so the rooms are a little costly and will go fast. A buffet breakfast fit for a king is included with the room price. So meet me there for Saturday morning breakfast.


And finally, one more word about the reunion. All the reunion planners will be wearing red bandanas this year so you will know to whom to go for questions. Each reunion planner will be well informed as to what activities are happening and when. See you in KONA, NC Saturday at 9:00 A.M., July 26th.





Featuring Silver Family of West Virginia


I recently received a letter from Madaline H. “Mitzie” Preston, a lady from West Virginia who tells me about a diary she typed for a Mr.  James V. Hutton, Jr. that contains many Silver Families. The families are from the town of Gerrardstown, West Virginia and surrounding areas of Berkley, West Virginia. Following are some of the given names of the Silvers who were in the book listed on many pages. Ada Pearl, Ann, Boss, Edwin Glenn, Eleanor May, Eleanor (Ellie) Ellen/Ellie, Ellen McKown, Georgie/Georgia, Gilbert, Glenn, Grandma, Grey, H.S. H. Sid, Harry, Henry, Jane, Jim, John, Lewis, Mabelle/Mabel Clair, Maggie, Mary, Mary Ann, Mary Lou, Mollie, Nelly, Otie, Sam, Sid and Willie.  The book, or typed diary if you will, is at the Berkley County Historical Society in Berkley, West Virginia.


Also I received a request from cousin Barbara Robison of Springfield, Missouri, to send her Volume I, Issue No. III, Silver Notes II, in which has the history of the Robertson family recorded. Of course I will send Barbara the requested issue plus other information I happen to have on the Robertson family from whom I descend as well. Cousins, I will send any back issues of Silver Notes II that you request if only you are willing to pay the postage and handling. As a family historian and now editor of Silver Threads, I receive numerous requests for information and can no longer pick up the tariff on all the requests. I say thank you to those of you who have helped with postage. Your contributions and donations are greatly appreciated.






This is a plea for help! For all of you who descend from Greenberry Silver, cousin Elelyn Hyams of Charlotte, NC, is looking for a photograph of Greenberry and also she would like to know the location of where he lived in Michaville. We do know he and his wife, Malinda, are buried in the cemetery in Michaville. You may contact Evelyn my snail mail at Evelyn Hyams, 4319 Simsbury Road, Charlotte, NC 28226 or E-mail at [email protected]. Please let Evelyn hear from you or you may contact me at [email protected] with the information as well and I will pass it on to her.                        







Have you ever wondered what brought your particular ancestor to America? What were the motivating factors that made a man pull up stakes, leave the place of his birth, the land of his heritage and move with his family to a strange new land? Were times and situations in life so bad in his native country that he is driven by any means to provide for his family or were times and situations in American so good he could not resist the urge to immigrate to this strange new land of hope and promise? 


Below are shown the rough dates of major immigrant movements to the United States, the primary “push” factors, and an estimate of the immigrants numbers who poured into the United States in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.



Irish Catholics fleeing potato famine

1.5 Million


“Germans” fleeing recessions, political unrest

4.0 Million


Scandinavians fleeing land shortages

1.5 Million


Chinese Railroad workers fleeing poverty



Jews fleeing Russian Czar persecution

2.5 Million


Poles fleeing disease, oppression, poverty

1.0 Million


“Austrian-Hungarians” fleeing poverty, oppression

4.0 Million


Italians fleeing revolution, unemployment

4.5 Million


Mexicans fleeing poverty, revolution



Mexicans fleeing poverty, unemployment

10 Million


Cubans fleeing Castro, communism



Haitians/Dominicans/Salvadorans, fleeing poverty



Vietnamese/Cambodian fleeing war, oppression








One Hundred years ago, in 1903, the United States was prospering and moving ahead of other countries in the world as an economic power. So if you long for some of the good old days of yesteryear, take a look at how things were at the turn of the twentieth century then compare your life today with perhaps the life of your grandparents in 1903, that is if you are my age or older, otherwise it could be your great grandparents era.


·         The average life expectancy was only 47 years in 1903. (Today it is over seventy.)

·         Only 8% of the homes in the United States had a telephone. A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.00. (Now even children carry cell phones and we can call the same distance and use the same time for fifteen cents at five cents a minute.)

·         Only fourteen percent of the homes in the United States had a bathtub. (What about a potty? Oh, yes, that was out back.)

·         There were 8,000 cars in the United States and only 144 miles of paved roads.

·         The maximum speed limit in most cities was only 10 MPH. (They did not want to kill the horses who were going 35 MPH.)

·         More than 95% of all births took place at home. (Mine too)

·         Only 6% of all Americans had graduated from high school.

·         The average wage in the United States was only 22 cents an hour.

·         The average worker made between $200.00 and $400.00 per year.

·         California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.

·         Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee each were more heavily populated than California.[2]






The majority of us who are now senior citizens (well, middle aged at best), I’m sure remember the old TV show, Father Knows Best. Father was always handing out advice to his children based on his wisdom and experiences in life. His wisdom and advice was always for a good means to an end. But lets not forget for a moment the advice our Mothers taught us in our own homes.


·                     My mom taught me to appreciate a job well done. She said, “If you’re going to kill each other do it outside. I have just finished cleaning the house.”


·                     Mom taught me religion. I remember her saying “You better pray that comes out of the carpet!”


·                     Mom taught me logic. Her words of reason were, “Because I said so that’s why!”


·                     Mom also taught me irony. “You keep laughing and I will give you something to cry about,” she warned me.


·                     She taught me the silence of osmosis. With a slap on our wrist she said, “Shut your mouth and eat your supper!”


·                     She taught me about the weather. With a look of disgust she shouted, “It looks like a tornado went through your room!”


·                     She taught me to have stamina. With stamina and fortitude as her goal she chimed, “You will sit there until your lima beans are gone!”


·                     Remember the hypocrisy she taught you?  “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times, do not exaggerate,” were her words of wisdom.


·                     And finally, she taught us about the circle of life. “Sonny boy, I brought you into this world and I can take you out!”[3]





Where did I come from?


Where indeed did you come from? Yes, we hear them all the time don’t we John? Every month, cousins from all over America and beyond write to us to ask questions about the ancestry. Imagine the following if you will?


Someone… (now I are not going to name names here at all I promise, but this first letter came from over Asheville way) someone once wrote a letter to me asking,  I’m interested  in tracing part of my family tree -- namely on my mother’s and father’s side of the family.


Just last week Nancy wrote to say, Please send me some documents on where I came from and how. I replied, Well, you see Nancy, your mother and father were out walking in the woods one day and they turned over a rock and -- now you know the rest of the story.


Another interesting letter from Tennessee reads, My ancestor came over on the Mayflower and was also one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. (let’s see the Mayflower landed in 1620 and the Declaration of Independence was signed in the year 1777. Hmmm…)


I remember a letter last year from a lady in Florida wanting to trace the Looney family name because she said, She was Looney, too.


You will love this one. A cousin up in New York City wrote to me once asking, me to send him his genealogy all the way back to Noah and wanted to know when the Flood records would be online.


In turn, John tells me, his first cousin who lives in Mississippi, wrote to me and said, He was mailing his aunt, uncle and their three children to him for the family archives. 


Another cousin wanted all the information on all the Dripps I have in my files.


One distant cousin wrote to me and wanted to know, If she had any living relatives, or dead relatives or ancestors in her family.


And the best one of all came from someone we all know very well, but I ain’t telling who. He wrote and told me he had been looking for his grandfather for twenty years and wanted to know if I had him in my files. What about that David?[4]


I have great pleasure in writing the articles for Silver Threads each month. Sometimes I wonder from where my next article will fall, but somehow they seem to keep coming. So in that vein cousins, please write to me and send me stories about your family. You just tell me the gist[5] of the story and I will write a creative story from what you send. I have been known to take only five words and write an award-winning story. (Well, maybe you need to give me at least a few descriptive sentences.) So, won’t you please give John and I a try. Send us old family photographs and your family history for the archives at Kona. Send us your family tales, small or tall. Read all about your family in print in Silver Threads.



John’s History Corner


For the past two months we have read of the arrival of Georg Wendel Silber (George Silver Sr.) in Philadelphia, his subsequent move to the farmlands west of Philadelphia and his final move to Frederick County in Maryland. We now take up the story of his son, Johann Jerg Silber (George Silver Junior).


George and Nancy remained in Frederick County, Maryland until September 1806. They became the parents of eleven healthy children. John, born about 1786. George (III), born July 17, 1787. Elizabeth, born about 1790. Jacob, born February 22, 1791. Sarah, born abt 1792. Greenberry, born February 8, 1795. Rachel, born about 1796. William Griffith, born June 14, 1800. Henry Gilbert A., born October 26, 1801. Nancy, born about 1802 and Thomas, born December 15, 1803. These children would spread the Silver name to the four corners of the United States of America.


Our ancestors left very little information as to their daily lives. George and Nancy appear to have been a very happily married couple and they had been blessed with healthy children.


As I have mentioned before, I have been unable to fathom why they would want to leave Maryland and take up lands in the Carolinas. One can only guess at their reason or reasons for leaving Maryland. Was it the adventuring? Were they unhappy with the local taxation and restrictions? Was it poor farmland? At any rate, they did decide to move to Burke County in North Carolina.


Early in 1806, George began to sell his farm. Apparently, his mother, Elizabeth Margaretha Schmieden Silver, had passed away leaving the farm to her only son, George Silver Jr. The three deeds found by James D. “John” Silver show that the farm was sold in three parcels. The last parcel was sold on September 6, 1806. One could accept this date as the actual departure date for leaving Maryland. All the land had been disposed of.


We have no records of the journey south to North Carolina. We do know that the wagon train was partially made up of the Buchanan and Ellis families. We can only assume that there were others. And, we can only guess at what route they used on their way to North Carolina. From the maps I would think they traveled most of the distance on the western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains that is now Route 81. And, what kind of animals pulled their wagons? Oxen? Horses? Mules? There are so many little bits of history missing.


Upon arriving in Little Crabtree on Christmas Eve, 1806, they camped for the night during a snowstorm. The following morning, the families bade each other goodbye. George, Nancy and the children set out for their tract of land in the Estatoe Valley. Since this had already been surveyed and marked, there was no question as to where their “plantation” was located.


As one would imagine, over three months of living in a wagon had made them weary and ready to accept a permanent home or house. There being vast acres of building materials would solve that problem. We can assume that work was begun immediately to cut timber for the new log home. Spring crops had to be prepared for in addition to the other laborious tasks ahead of them. Members of George Silver’s family, including the children, would have plenty of work to insure their survival in this wild country.


George and his sons chose a small valley for their log home. It was protected from the freezing north winds and situated on sloping ground far above the water table. Warmth, dryness and food were to be their main concern for the next two or three years. (to be continued next month)








Charles M. Silver, age 88, of Marion, McDowell County, North Carolina, died November 15, 2002 at the McDowell Hospital. A native of Yancey County, he was born April 6, 1914 to the late William Grayson and Florence Mae Murphy Silver.


Mr. Silver was a retired electrician and a veteran of World War II. While in the Navy he served aboard the U.S.S. Oahu.


His former wife, Mary K. Parker Silver, and two sons, Terry Lane Silver and Jerry Wayne Silver preceded him in death. Surviving are two children, Loretta Silver Hall of Marion, NC and Charles Hal Silver of Swansboro; a brother, Rev. Dr. James Howard Silver of Burlington, NC; a sister, Gladys Silver Buchanan of Marion; three grandchildren, Michael Hall, Rebecca Elliott and Judy Yeater; two great-grandchildren Jonathan and Jeremiah Elliott; and three great-great-grandchildren, Devin Carr and twins, Sydney and Lauryn Elliott.


Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 at 10:a.m. in Westmoreland Chapel with *Rev. Dr. J. Howard Silver officiating. Burial will be in Rebel’s Creek Cemetery in Mitchell County. The family received friends Tuesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. at Westmoreland Funeral Home. Westmoreland is assisting the family with the arrangements.


(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Henry Gilbert A. Silver > John Britt Silver > William Grayson Silver > Charles M. Silver)


* Reverend J. Howard Silver was a brother of Samuel.




Ms. Emma W. Stokes


Ms. Emma W. Stokes, 74, of Dovers Chapel Road, Ellijay, died Sunday, January 27, 2002 in the North Georgia Medical Center.


Ms. Stokes was born November 21, 1927, the daughter of John and Tamer McClure Weaver. She was a housewife of the Baptist faith and was preceded in death by her husband, Homer Stokes.


She is survived by her daughters, Bertie Mae Stokes Silver, Bennie Lee Stokes Watson, Margaret Stokes Osborne, Rita Stokes Tatum, Janice Stokes Colwell, Shirl Stokes and Sandra Stokes Holloway, all of Ellijay; sons, Herman Stokes, Ermel Stokes, Bobby Stokes, Ricky Stokes, Winston Stokes, Walter Stokes and Tony Stokes, all of Ellijay; 30 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; brother, Cecil Weaver of Ringgold; sisters, Lemma Weaver Marlow, of Ellijay, and Sheril Weaver White of Epworth.


Services were Tuesday, January 29, 2002 at 11 a.m. from the chapel of Bernhardt Funeral Home with the Reverend Emuel Sanford officiating. Music was by Irene Wofford.


Pallbearers were Jackie Plumley, Thomas Silver, William Silver, Randall Stokes, Randy Osborn and Norman Osborn.


Interment was in the Sunlight Baptist Church Cemetery under the direction of Bernhardt Funeral Home.


(Thomas Silver > Clifford Lee Silver > Tommy Lee Silver m. Bertie Mae Stokes > daughter of Emma Weaver Stokes and Homer Stokes)




Ralph D. Silver


Ralph D. Silver, 89, of Wallowa, Oregon, died June 8, 2003 in Enterprise, Wallowa County, Oregon. Born January 3, 1914 in Grosse Flat, Oregon, he was the son of Weldon Nathaniel and Lelia Smith Silver.


Services were held on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 at 3 p.m. Pastor Don Silver officiating, at the Bramlet Cemetery in Wollowa, Oregon. Special music was sung by the choir, “Take Me Back to the Wallowas.”, “Master of Them All,” and “The Traveler.”


Following the services, Interment was in the Bramlet Cemetery in Wallowa.  Arrangements were entrusted to the Bollman Funeral Home of Enterprise, Oregon.


(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Samuel Marion Silver > Weldon Nathaniel Silver > Ralph D. Silver.




I realize that some of these obituaries are rather old but they have not been published in our newsletters. While I try to get them into print as soon as possible, a few do get overlooked. I’ll try to do better in the future!


Cousin John



Thought For The Month


Go placidly amid the noise and haste

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender,

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others,

even to the dull and ignorant;

they too have their story.


Selection from “DESIDERATA”, May Ehrmann, 1927



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] Thanks to Sacramento German Genealogy Society, PO Box 660061, Sacramento, CA, 96866-0061.


[2] Thanks to the Ballentine Branches, 2714 Phyllis Dr., Copperas Cove, TX  76522-4311.


[3] Thanks to the Polk Genealogical Society Newsletter, PO Box 10, Kathleen Fl 33849.


[4] Thanks to Professor Kip Sperry, Associate Professor of family history at BYU, in Provo, Utah.


[5] To show that Rex can take it as well as dish it out, the original text before I caught it was “So in that vain cousins, please write to me and send me stories about your family. You just tell me the jest of the story and I will write a creative story from what you send.” He really doesn’t want to restrict you to only funny stories.  [Barney]