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

w/contributing articles by cousin John Silver



Happy New Year Everyone!


When I was a youngster growing up on my paternal grandmother Redmon’s farm, my grandpa Redmon once told me, “A man does all year what he does on New Year’s Day son.” So, my Papa talked me into working with him one New Year’s Day back in the late forties. Being a gullible, naive and innocent youngster of nine, I thought helping him work that day was a noble and honorable thing to do -- a thing that would set a precedent for me for the coming year of 1949. So I helped him muck out the stables in the old barn and then we gathered a sled full of leaves from the woods to bed down the animals. Today, as I think about working with my Papa that day, I’m thinking he tricked me into helping him by telling me it would be benefit me greatly during the coming year if I worked on New Year’s Day, the first day of the year. Well, good for him! He taught me a valuable lesson! A man or boy can always be proud of a good day’s work regardless of his age. 


The celebrations of New Year’s Day have probably changed for many of us over the years I’m sure. For instance, how many of you still eat hog jowls, black eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day? Well, I might have eaten a pork tenderloin, and all the other fixings but I don’t think I have ever eaten a hog jowl in my life, even when I lived on the farm when we slaughtered hogs on Thanksgiving day. Now, I might have eaten a rabbit on New Year’s Day, because New Year’s Day back on the farm, in the forties and fifties, was rabbit hunting day! After we boys, my teenage cousins and myself, came of age -- old enough to use a single barrel shotgun without shooting one another -- we walked the hedgerows that separated the pastures and the fields, hoping to scare up a rabbit or two for dinner. A bouncing rabbit is not an easy target for a boy of twelve but a 12-gauge shotgun with number four shot is an excellent equalizer. We always came home with at least four rabbits for the cook pots.


Ten years ago, I began a new tradition on New Year’s Day. Growing tired of boring and meaningless college football bowl games, I joined members of the Catawba Valley Scottish Society for a day of Scottish revelry and the partaking of Stone Soup.  The Scottish revelry includes walking the perimeter of the 600-acre Davidson Plantation in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina where we hold the Loch Norman Highland Games in April every year. Too, the Scottish revelry might include the nipping of a wee bit of Scotland’s own brew -- honorably carried in a hip flask -- as we go on our New Year’s Day walk-a-bout. Traditionally, in Scotland of old and perhaps on the continent as well, many of our ancestors who were large landowners, walked their property on New Year’s Day taking into account what repairs needed to be made to the outbuildings and looking at what lands would be suitable for the planting of crops that coming year. So, to those of you who are reading the newsletter today, New Year’s Day, think of me as I walk about the lands of the old Davidson Plantation celebrating my Scottish heritage. The soup will be good too as will a wee dram! We brew (cook) it outside over an open fire in a large black pot much like the pot in which your ancestors used to wash cloths. Then when the soup is finished we dip in our bowls and partake. (We pray for good weather too.)


Speaking of the weather…It looks like the woolly warm predictors got the winter weather all wrong this year and the Farmer’s Almanac was right on the money. The Almanac predicted an early December snowstorm that would cover the Northern Plains, the Mid-West States and the entire Northeast. That event occurred the weekend of Dec 13th. Yet, I have come to wonder about the woolly worm predictors of winter weather. After taking a survey of the woolly worm predictors, I learned those woolly worms who lived on the sunny side of the mountains always had fur that was brown. Those woolly worms who lived in the shaded side of the mountain always had black fur. So be it! So much for the woolly worm theory!


Howard Williams, president of the Frankie Foundation in Morganton, North Carolina, where Frankie Stewart-Silver was jailed, tried, convicted and hanged for the murder of Charlie Silver, forwarded a copy of his newsletter to me last week. Howard continues to promote the Frankie Foundation and on November 19, at a Eye Opener Breakfast for the Morganton Chamber of Commerce, Howard featured a program on Frankie and Charlie Silver. To read the complete newsletter, please go to the web site


Estatoe is an Indian name given to the two rivers that flow through the Toe River Valleys of Yancey and Mitchell Counties. Of course the rivers are merely known today as the North Toe and the South Toe. Yet a question that has been asked many times by countless cousins is, What was the name of the KONA community before the mica mining companies moved into the community?


As we know, the name KONA is taken from the three elements found in feldspar: K for potassium, O for oxygen and Na for sodium. The mica mines began operation on the Silver Family homestead in the 1940s so there must have been another name for the community prior to that time one would think, yes?


Last month, cousin John Silver, our family historian, published a letter in Silver Threads from George Silver III. George had written the letter to his parents from Indiana on September 12, 1822 after he (George III) had moved with his family from Old Burke County to the Midwest. I noticed the letter was addressed to his Father and Mother, George II and Nancy Ann Griffith-Silver at Estatoe, NC. Also apparently sometime after the Civil War the community was known as Jeff Davis. Now you know the rest of the story.


Barbara Gregory, host of the Parker Family annual Christmas Party in Franklin, NC sent in a report on the party that was held on December 6th. Barbara reports the Christmas party was probably the best party the Parkers have ever had. She says everyone came in with a smile, enjoyed themselves all day eating, drinking hot spiced cider, winning door prizes, trading white elephant gifts -- that were more than white elephant gifts as no one wanted to surrender their gift -- and she says everyone left with a smile. The Christmas tree as well as the Christmas music was enjoyed by everyone. Barbara reports there was a down side to the party however. On Friday evening the Parker Clan learned of the death of Charlie Parker Sr. Charlie’s four children are loyal attendees to all the Parker reunions. I know all the readers of Silver Threads and our extended Silver and Stewart family join with me and expressing our sincere condolences to the Charlie Parker Family.


Also Barbara reports, thanks to Allen and Shirley Nelson, you may view pictures of the recent Parker Family reunion by looking in on the website and read all the comments posted about the photos and the reunion. Barbara, thanks for keeping us informed about all the Parker Family happenings. 


Cousin Jerri Howell, one of our reunion planners who lives with the bears high up on a mountainside outside Asheville, North Carolina reports all is well with her and no, she is not part of a bear’s menu yet. (Jerri had bears on her back porch last winter.) Jerri has been working on a fund raising project for the Big KONA Reunion this year (2004) and she sent an E-mail to tell me that all was going well with the project to sell memorable reunion t-shirts at the reunion this coming July. She has feelers out trying to locate a source for the shirts and as well, what the costs to have the shirts printed will be. We will keep everyone posted as plans and progress for the 2004 reunion continue this spring.





Last month I promised to begin publishing a series of letters written by many of our extended Silver family cousins during the Civil War. The fifty-seven letters were sent to me on a disk by cousin John Silver-Harris of Boca Raton, Florida. The letters were compiled, edited and published originally by Sarah Gouge-McKee and John Silver-Harris. As space allows, I will publish at least two of the letters in Silver Threads each month until all the letters are published.


However, here is a little more information about the letters. John Silver-Harris and Sarah Gouge, now Sarah Gouge-McKee, were close friends when they each were students at Berea College in Kentucky. Over the years the two friends stayed in touch and recently, Sarah, who now lives in Kingsport, Tennessee, wrote John telling him about a batch of letters she had that were written by the Gouges and Silvers during the Civil War. One letter in particular was from John Silver to a Martha Gouge. John Silver was the great grandfather of John Silver-Harris so his interest in the letters peaked when he learned of them. John Silver Harris describes the letters as “Priceless, first-hand accounts of the hopes, fears and longings of our relatives in the war as well as eye-witness accounts of battles. He says, through their letters, we are privileged to take in the view through a window of life that will never again reopen.”


Sarah’s son, Ed, has painstakingly transcribed the letters by hand because the letters were mostly spelled phonetically so a great deal of literacy has been added to the letters while keeping them in their original format. John has lightly edited the letters as well, such as putting them on his PC, checking them for spelling and grammar to the point we can concentrate on the message without having to untangle verbiage along the way, he says. Yet, there was almost a tragic ending to the letters. Sarah tells us her late mother. Lola D. Gouge, saved the letters from being burned when the family home was being cleaned out. Her mother salvaged the letters from a pile of trash that was ready to be burned.


Last month’s letter (see Silver Threads, Vol. I, Issue XII) was written by John Gouge to his father, mother, brothers and sisters. John was born April 1, 1819. He was the son of William Gouge Sr. and Martha Thomas-Gouge. He married Mary “Polly” Wilson on June 20, 1848. He was the father of three children. John also had three brothers who fought in the Civil War. He volunteered for Palmer’s Legion, Mitchell Rangers in 1861. He died, probably from Typhoid, in November of 1861 in Huntsville, Alabama, just one month after he wrote the letter to his parents.



The first of this month’s letters was written by John Dillard (J.D.) Howell to his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Garrett and Rosannah Wilson-Gouge. John enlisted in Company E. of the North Carolina 6th Regiment on August 16, 1861. He was married to Sarah (Sally) Wilson, sister of Rosannah Wilson-Gouge . John Dillard Howell was wounded at Seven Pines on May 31, 1862 and died from complications of his wound soon after. He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.[1] John Dillard Howell’s letter follows…


Headquarters near Drumfries,

Camp Fisher, Va.

Third Brigade, Army of the Potomac

Dec. 24, 1861


Very Dear Brother and Sister:

I take my pen to acknowledge receipt of your letter which came to hand on the 22nd inst, dated 8th Dec., which found me quite well and enjoying all the comforts incident to camp life.

But I assure you that I am not enjoying all the comforts of a home and peaceful fireside as I once did.

I hope these lines will find you both well. I was truly glad to hear that you was well for I often think of you and all of my friends that I have associated with when peace and tranquility abounded in our land.

But alas that happy day is past and gone to nothing but confusion and the war prevails in our land at this time. Its an awful time in America at present.

I am here in Virginia almost 600 miles from my family, within 30 miles of the city of Washington and on the Potomac River where it is 2.5 to 3 miles wide.

We are stationed here to keep the Yankees from passing up and down the river in their schooners or other vessel or otherwise guard the batteries on the river and keep a close lookout. We keep our pickets two miles from camp day and night.

I will inform you that we have got in our winter cabins. We are snugly situated considering the times. We have got blankets enough to do us pretty well.

Dec. 26: I am well this morning and Christmas is over and such a Christmas I never witnessed before. On the evening of the 24th, the colonel gave the regiment leave to take Christmas and enjoy themselves as well as they were able. They commenced sending off after liquor and nearly all got drunk and fought like dogs and cats. About all our company got drunk and what did not fight wanted to.

But I assure you I was wide-awake, cooly sober and tried to take care of my friends for I did not taste a drop. I never wanted Christmas to end as bad in my life. But I will quit the subject.  Garrett and Rosannah, I am glad to hear that you go over and stay with Sarah and the children for I know they are lonesome. May God bless and protect them is my prayer.

I am closing for I can’t get time to write only for a night since we have been working on our cabins. Give my respects to all our neighbors. I want to see them all.  Do the best for yourselves as you can is my desire.


                                                                   Your Brother, J.D. Howell

                                                                   To Garrett Gouge and wife


Our second letter this month is written by John Silver to Martha Gouge, a fourteen or fifteen year old cousin. John Silver also has a grandmother by the name of Martha Gouge but according to the editor, the tone of the letter lends itself to a younger person. John Silver is the son of Alfred and Elizabeth Gouge-Silver and nephew of G. D. Gouge, et. al. Brother to Levi, Tilman B., Alexander, et. Al. He enlisted at age 17 in Co. I of 29th N.C. Regiment. He was captured near Atlanta, July 22nd, 1864 by Sherman’s forces. He was paroled and transferred to Camp Chase, Ohio, Aug. 2, 1864. Paroled and transferred to Bouler’s Wharf, James River, VA and exchanged from there.[2]  John Silver’s letter follows…


State of Tennessee

Grainger County

July 1, 1862


Dear friends, one and all-

It is with great pleasure that I take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines to inform you I am well, the boys are well at this time. I hope that these few lines will come to hand and find you well and enjoying the great blessings of life.

I have no news to write that is reliable except that we whipped the Yankees at Richmond.

I am at Morristown now but I don’t know how long we will stay here for we are ordered first to one place and then another, so I can’t tell when we will leave out.

I want you to save me a good dram until I get home for I haven’t tasted a drop since I left home.

Tell all the girls howdy for me and tell them not to be uneasy (in) fear they can’t marry for there are boys aplenty they keep writing to me. It was for about two months that I never saw a girl while I was at the (Cumberland) Gap. Tell them I have plenty of pretty girls here with their hoops and hats on. They are as pretty as a pink and they can squeeze me up too good to talk about.

 I want to see you all and be at home again with my friends. I want you to write to me and give me all the news. I reckon you think I ought to have written to you before. I have written two letters to you and I have never got a letter from you yet.

Tell Uncle Garrett that I want to see him and ask him to write to me without fail. I want you to write to, often if you can. I want to see you the worst that I ever did in my life. Grandma and granddaddy, write to me and let me know who is working with him.

I don’t know if you can read this or not for it is the first of my…

So I must bring my letter to a close by saying I remain yours truly until death.

                                                                   John Silver to Martha Gouge


My dear cousins, that brings to a close my portion of Silver Threads this first month of the new year. Please stay tuned for cousin John Silver’s History Corner and read some more exciting Silver Family History. Also remember to send John and I all your family news such as births, deaths, christenings, graduations, marriages and personal achievements. Once the information is published in Silver Threads the information becomes part of our family history as the newsletters will be part of the archives at the KONA museum. Talk with you again next month!


Cousin Rex Redmon



John’s History Corner


Before I present the third and fourth children of George and Nancy Ann Silver, I must apologize for my mistake in last month’s Silver Threads. I inadvertently named George Silver III’s wife as Martha White. Her correct name was Martha Moore. As much time as I have spent reading and writing about our ancestors, I am really embarrassed by this error.


The third child of George Junior and Nancy Ann Silver was Elizabeth Silver, born in 1790. She married a Mr. Cook and died about 1820. As you will remember that in George III’s letter to his parents, he mentioned that he had heard that Sister Elizabeth had died. This is all the information we have on this child as this date. I hope to be able to do some research on her as soon as I can get caught up with my projects.


The fourth child of George and Nancy was Jacob Silver, born February 22, 1791 in Frederick County, Maryland. Jacob was about 15 when the Silver family moved to North Carolina. He would have participated in the building of the Silver home at what is now Kona.


Jacob was married to Elizabeth Wilson in 1811. He would have been about 20 years old. We do not have any information on Elizabeth as to where she was born or her age at the time of their marriage. Their first and only child, Charles, was born in 1812. Elizabeth died just after Charles was born. As to her burial place, there is no information at this time. I tend to believe that she is probably buried in the Silver Cemetery at Kona in one of the graves marked by a simple stone. Charles, their son, was to have his own place in the Silver family history.


Jacob was a veteran of the War of 1812. He had enlisted at Crabtree on October 20, 1813 for two years. He was called to active duty with the Second Regiment, Buncombe County Militia on February 17, 1815. He and his fellow soldiers traveled 360 miles to Wadesboro and then returned. He had served a 24-day active duty period from February 17 to March 12, 1815. When Jacob applied for his land grant and pension due him for his service, they were both signed by “his mark” indicating that he could neither read nor write.


Jacob was married to Nancy Reed on October 6, 1814. They would be the parents of 12 children. Jacob and Nancy were to experience a lot of sadness and happiness with their children. They bore this happiness and sadness as was their lot as pioneer settlers.


(1) Charles Silver (1812-1831) married Frances “Frankie” Stewart. They were the parents of one daughter, Nancy, born on November 3, 1830. On December 22, 1831, Frankie murdered Charlie and attempted to burn his body. She was caught and suffered hanging on July 12, 1833.


(2) Margaret “Peggy” Silver (1815-1909) married Mitchell A. Robinson.


(3) Alfred Leonard Silver (1816-1905) married (1) Elizabeth Gouge (2) Sarah Eliza Chandler.


(4) John Silver (1818-1836) Tradition has it that John died for his younger brother, Marvel. Marvel had contracted typhoid and had developed pleurisy. As he was near death, John was sent for. He dropped his tools in the field and started homeward. At short intervals he would drop to his knees and pray for Marvel’s life offering his own in return. John had been baptized as a Christian but Marvel had not. Reaching home, his face shone with a soft glow and he told everyone that his prayers had been answered. Coming out of his coma on the third day, Marvel arose as a well man, but John was dying. He died magnificently that day bidding farewell to his wonder-stricken family, the sun, the moon and the hills for a season.


(5) Milton Silver (1820-1839) died of typhoid.


(6) Rachel Silver (1821-1885) married William Robertson


(7) Lucinda “Cindy” Silver (1826-1927) married Wilburn Norman.


(8) Marvel Alexander (1827-1838) died of typhoid but as a baptized Christian.


(9) William Jacob “Billy” Silver (1829-1828) married Sarah Anna Patton. It is said of William, “that alone and unaided in a cabin that he had built on the river, got himself an education and became a great teacher.”


(10) David Ralph Silver (1832-1911) married (1) Elizabeth J. Baker (2) Sarah C. Ledford (3) Rosannah Wilson. David was a teacher and master carpenter. He served as a Captain in the 58th North Carolina Regiment under the command of his younger brother, Lt. Col. Samuel Marion Silver.


(11) Samuel Marion Silver (1833-1922) married (1) Mary Ann Wilson (2) Martha Ann “Patty” Young (3) Amanda Emeline Ray. Samuel was an excellent teacher and taught for several years. He served in the Civil War as a Lt. Colonel, the last commander of the 58th North Carolina Regiment. He led his regiment in the last battle of the war in North Carolina. They soundly whipped troops of Sherman’s army that was north bound from their destructive campaign through the southern states. After the war, Samuel moved his family to Grouse, Oregon.


(12) Reuben Silver (1836-1859) married Sarah Ann Elizabeth Sparks. Reuben was killed by lightning as he was searching for a bee tree.


(13) Edmund Drury Silver (1838-1910) married Arzilla Emaline Payne. Edmund was a veteran of the Mexican War and Civil War. He was wounded twice in the Civil War while serving with the 58th N.C. Regiment as a First Sergeant under his brother Samuel. He became a teacher, preacher and a farmer. He moved to Grouse, Oregon and remained for several years. Arzilla refused to move there and eventually he sold out and returned to North Carolina.






olympia, wa


Jo Rogers, 59, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Olympia, July 10, 2003. She was born September 17, 1943, in Olympia, the second child of Linton B. Smith and Ida Isabella (Weaver) Smith. A lifelong resident of Thurston County and a HUGE Elvis Presley fan, she dedicated her life to her family and friends, always giving her love and support. “Mama Jo” was a devoted foster mother who loved her foster kids so much she always considered them all as her children. In addition to her love for Elvis, Jo’s passions included, 50’s Rock and Roll, fast cars, racing in South Sound Speedway’s Powder Puff Division, the Seahawks and the Mariners. She was also a member of the Women of the Moose.

Jo is survived by her mother, Ida Isabella Weaver of Olympia; a daughter Sherry Rogers of Olympia; son Cayce (Lynne) Rogers of Tacoma; daughter Kristi Oxfurth of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, daughter Jaime (Paul) Noonan of Tenino, daughter T.J. (Todd) LaCroix of Rochester; 18 grandchildren; and 2 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Leah Wilson of Olympia; brother, Linton “Bob” (Julie) smith of Fairfax, Virginia. Brother, Lyall (Laura) Smith of Tumwater, brother Glynn (Sue) Smith of Eldorado Springs, Arkansas; 11 nieces and nephews. Jo was preceded in death by her father, Linton B. Smith.


A memorial service will be held at First Christian Church on 7th and Franklin in Olympia, beginning at 1 p.m. on Monday, July 14, 2003. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Bread and Roses of Olympia, First Christian Church, or the Jo Rogers Memorial Fund at Twin City Credit Union in Lacy.


(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Samuel Marion Silver > John M. Silver > Pearl M. Silver m. Henry Weaver > Ida Isabelle Weaver m. Linton B. Smith > Jo Smith m. Mr. Rogers)



ida isabelle weaver
olympia, wa


Ida Isabelle Weaver, an 85 year resident of Olympia, Washington, died Monday, November 24, 2003, at Mother Joseph Care Center. Ida was born March 24, 1917, in Spokane to Pearl M. (Silver) and Henry A. Weaver. The following winter the family moved to Olympia. Ida attended McKinley Grade School and graduated from Olympia High School in 1935. Following high school she completed the three-year training program of St. Peter Hospital School of Nursing and obtained her licence as a Registered Nurse.


In 1939 she married Linton B. Smith. Ida and Linton were members of the Olympic Motorcycle Club. They rode in Gypsy Tours and Death Head Derbies, and made cross-country trips. Later, while she worked as a nurse and he as a mechanic, they raised their family on a small farm on Boulevard Road. Their ventures included owning and operating the Olympia ¾ Midget Speedway. They were divorced in 1965.


Following her retirement from active duty nursing in 1982, Ida continued to dedicate her life to helping others, whether family, friends or strangers. As Mom, Auntie Ida and Grammie, she was a strong and loving presence in countless lives.


Ida was preceded in death by her brother, Cody B. Weaver and her daughter, Jo Rogers. She is survived by her daughter, Leah L. Wilson, of Lacey; sons, Linton “Bob” (Julia)  Smith of Virginia, Lyall H. (Laura) Smith of Olympia and Glenn P. (Sue) Smith of Missouri; brother, Kit C. Weaver of Olympia; 17 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; 2 great-great-grandchildren; 3 nieces and 1 nephew.


A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, November 29, 2003, at 2 p.m. at First Christian Church, 7th and Franklin Streets, Olympia, WA. The family suggests memorial donations to the charitable organization of their choice. Arrangements are by Funeral Alternatives of Washington.


(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Samuel Marion Silver > John M. Silver > Pearl M. Silver m. Henry Weaver > Ida Isabelle Weaver m. Linton B. Smith > Jo Smith m. Mr. Rogers)



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] HTRV Vol 1, NCTR. Vol. XIV.

[2] NCTR Vol. VIII. Gouge Family Bible.