MAY 2004


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

w/contributing articles by cousin John Silver


Greetings cousins! How wonderful the warm spring weather feels despite the cold Dogwood Spell we had the second week in April when the dogwood trees here in Greenville, SC began to bloom. Spring is finally upon us for sure. Yet, forget not, we still have the Blackberry Spell and the Catbird Spell to hit us. When you have another cold snap where you live, you will know which spell it is. I do wish someone would write and tell me about the first sighting of a catbird this year. When that event occurs, Spring has officially arrived nature’s way. Traditionally, as I was told by the old timers, the cat bird does not arrive from its faraway winter feeding grounds in the southern hemisphere until all traces of cold weather are gone.

I do hope the majority of you are happy and healthy despite the fact I know of some Silver family relatives who are grieving over the death of loved ones and as well, some who have health concerns of various natures. We hold all of you in our prayers and pray for comfort for those who grieve and for healing for those with health concerns.

Family Reunions are beginning here in the Southeast. I have received notices of two large events, one of which has already occurred as you read this newsletter. The annual Parker/Robinson Family Reunion was held April 24th at the Coon Hunters building in Franklin, North Carolina, and cousin Barbara Gregory wrote to tell me if you missed the reunion, you missed a wonderful time. Family members began arriving before the doors opened at 9:30. Many family members attending for the first time include David and Marilyn Padgett from Marion, North Carolina, Tammy and Bryon Parker from Mississippi, Hardy and Nancy Parker Dumas and Winnie Parker Baker from Georgia. Allen Nelson has posted pictures of the event on the website for your viewing pleasure.

In addition, the annual Silver Family Reunion at Ball Play Baptist Church in Polk County, Tennessee is announced for Sunday, May 23, 2004. The event begins at 1 p.m. and each person is encouraged to bring their favorite covered dish plus a little extra to be shared by everyone. Drinks, plates and eating utensils will be furnished. Every one is encouraged to pass the word about the event. This reunion is ordinarily attended by those who descended from John Silver*, son of George Silver Jr. John moved very early to Georgia and there are hundreds of his descendants in Georgia and Tennessee. However, all Silver and extended Silver families are encouraged to attend. Please contact Nelia Silver Rogers at 423-339-2776, John Roy Brackett at 706-328-3057 or Kenneth Day at 423-472-3209 for more information.

(* George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > John Silver > Thomas Jackson Silver > Harvey McDonald Silver > George Washington Silver > Nelia Christine Silver m. Don G. Rogers)

Speaking of reunions, please mark your calendars now for the fourth Saturday and Sunday in July for the annual KONA Silver Family Reunion. The dates are Saturday and Sunday, July 24th and 25th. The reunion planners are meeting at KONA Missionary Baptist Church in May and will again prepare a big event for everyone. If any of you desire to help with the reunion planning, please contact either Laura Cooper at [email protected] or me at [email protected]. We will be most happy to have you join us.

I want to thank all of you who wrote this past month and informed me about your e-mail address changes. I know each of you want to continue to be included in the mass mailings and I hope I never lose someone due to an incorrect e-mail address. I still have about a dozen addresses that are getting kicked back each month. Also, I want to remind you again, please help John and me protect the integrity of our mass E-mail address list by not using the list to forward unsolicited mail. Thanks for you help!

New found cousins continue to write each month and tell me about finding the Silver Family Web page and of getting to read the online family newsletter. This month I want to recognize and welcome one such newfound cousin, Sherrie Wyatt (Sherrie, I did not get your married name) whose family lived in Michaville, North Carolina. Sherry descends from Greenberry Silver and Sarah Woody through his son, Greenberry Woody. Greenberry Woody Jr. was the father to Sherrie’s grandmother, Mary Martha Woody who married Melchizidek Wyatt in 1908. Her father was Hershel Wyatt. Sherrie also plans to share a Civil War letter with Silver Threads that was written by Greenberry Woody Jr. to “My Dear Companion.” Sherrie expresses an interest in hearing from other cousins especially those descended from Greenberry and Sarah Woody. Again Sherrie, A thousand welcomes.

Cousin Barney Kaufman, the keeper of our Silver Family Website, tells me we now have over 40,000 extended Silver Family members in the surname index of the Silver Family web page. Let me remind you, if you do not have a password to use the surname index, please write to either Barney or John Silver, our family historian, and either man will issue you a user name and a password. We must register your name for security reasons to protect the integrity of the Silver Family web page.

More about famous ancestors and cousins. Cousin Joe Ruth sent me information about the late former President Harry Truman, whom I had heard was a distant Silver cousin. However, I was unaware how he connected to our family. Joe tells me all Silvers — southern Silvers that is — are related to Harry Truman through the Duvall line. Comfort Duvall (b 1701), daughter of Captain John Duvall (b @1665 Normandy, France); married William Griffith Jr., (b 1697), father of Orlando Griffith whose daughter, Nancy Ann Griffith, married our George Silver Jr. It is through Captain John Duvall that Harry Truman descends and according to Joe, we have two other famous cousins through the Duvall line and those cousins are the famous modern day movie actor, Robert Duvall and Vice President, Dick Cheney. Joe says we also have a connection to the late Duchess of Windsor, Wallis Warfield Simpson, through the Warfield/Duvall connection. If you want to see some documentation about VP Cheney, Joe suggests the following website. Thanks for the information Joe.

Before I begin this month’s “Civil War Letters to Home,” please allow me to thank each of you for your heart felt congratulations to Margaret and me on our marriage on March 20th. Margaret’s house has sold in Spartanburg and we are now living in my condominium where many of Margaret’s things have found a new, but temporary home. Our builder broke ground on our new house this past Tuesday (4/21), and it should be ready for us to occupy by the end of July. We are still excited about our lives together, and are looking forward to many years of happiness.

Go with me now, if you will, as we visit “Civil War Letters To Home.” The following two letters in this month’s Silver Threads are letters written by soldiers from the war zones of both Tennessee and Kentucky to their loved ones back home in Yancey and Mitchell Counties. Mitchell did not become a county until 16 February 1861, after the Civil War began. The area of Mitchell County, taken from the counties of Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, Watauga and Yancey, was a “hotbed” for Union Sympathizers according to many noted historians, while Yancey remained true to the cause of the Confederacy.

The first letter this month is letter number 621128 and is from William “Little Billy” Gouge to his parents, William Sr. and Martha Gouge. The last time we heard from him in a letter written on August 24, 1862 and published in Volume II, Issue No III, March 2004 edition of Silver Threads, his military unit was somewhere in the Eastern part of Tennessee, probably near the Cumberland Gap. That letter was written by Levi Silver for Little Billy and it is obvious Levi was a man of education based on the literary content of the letter. Levi Diweese Silver was a son of Alfred Silver, who was married to Elizabeth Gouge. This letter, however, is written by a literate man but not by one who favors the King’s English very much, but caters to the mountain ways of expressing himself. You will also note the writers never concern their parents or loved ones by telling them about war news. However, the writers always express a great sadness in their letters about being away from home. This first letter is written from Kentucky.


Deep Creek Gap Camp

Bell County (Kentucky)

November 28, 1862

Dear Father and Mother:

I take my pen in hand one time more to inform you that I am tolerably well at this time, and hoping these few lines will come safe to your hand and find you all well. I have no news to write at this time. (Meaning news about the war.)

I will say to you that we got that bottle of brandy that you sent to me and Levi and Tillman (Silver). (Tillman Blalock Silver is Levi’s brother.) You don’t know how glad we was to get it for it cut the cobwebs out of our throats.

Mother, I got them socks that you sent me and one of the apples that you sent. The box that Barty put them in was broke open and the socks were taken out and put in another box and one of the apples was gone. Mother, I am much obliged to you for sending them to me.

Give Garrett and Rosanah my best love and respects. Tell them that I would like to see them the best in the world. I want you all to go and see Emily and the children as often as you can. Give Hector and Patsy my best wishes and that I would have liked to of been at their wedding to of seen some fun.

I will bring my letter to a close. Write as often as you can and give me all the news. So farewell till I hear from you again.

William to his Father and Mother


(Editor, Silver Threads: I have not a clue who Barty is unless he is Bartlett Wilson. I could not find him listed in the Gouge household. Garret and Rosanah are Garrett Gouge, William’s brother and Rosanah is a Wilson, daughter of Tom Wilson and Judith Robinson. Emily is Emeline Griffin, wife of Little Billy.)

Written at the bottom of Little Billy’s letter to his parents is a letter from his brother-in-law, Bartley Wilson, who must be the above Barty. He is the son of Tom Wilson and Judith Robinson which means his sister is the above Rosanah. Hmmm! He writes to his in-laws who he calls father and mother.

Father and Mother:

I take my pen in hand one more time to let you know that I am in the land of the living and that I am well, hoping these few lines may come to your hand and find you all well.

I will say to you that I got back to the boys and found some of them well and some of them sick. I got all of the things to William that you sent. But one of his apples was taken out of my box.

I have to stop. I give Hector and Martha my best love and respects. I want you and them to write often.

Bartley (Wilson) to William Gouge


(Editor, Silver Threads) As I read this letter I am of the conclusion Bartley has been home on furlough and has brought a box of goodies back to Little Billy. Some of the goodies are missing as noted in the letter. It is a long hike across the mountain from Mitchell County to the area around Cumberland Gap, so apparently the said apple must have been consumed by Bartley I’ll bet.

Our second Civil War Letter To Home is letter number 621224 and it is again written by William Gouge to his father, William, almost a month later on Christmas Eve. However, Little Billy is now in the area of Jacksboro, Tennessee. His unit has moved from Kentucky back to Tennessee.

Jacksboro, Tenn.

December 24, 1862

My dear father:

I am favored this (day) with the opportunity of dropping you a few lines to let you know that I am in tolerable good health, hoping these lines will come to hand and find you well and doing well.

I have nothing to write at present. We have moved five miles from where we were camped. We are now stationed at Jacksboro. We will stay here this winter. We have a very good house to stay in.

The boys are almost all on the (mend) except Bartley Wilson. He is very low. I don’t think he will ever get well. He has been worse yesterday and today than he has ever been yet. I have been waiting on him all the time until today. Jobe is waiting on him now.

I have no war news to write. (You) have more of that kind of news that I have.

I think I will be at home before long. I would like to see you all the best since (I have) been deprived of the privilege we once enjoyed.

Write to me soon and give me all the news. No more, but remains your.

William Gouge


(Editor, Silver Threads: Curiosity got the best of me and I looked on the Silver Family Website at the Surname Index and located Bartley Wilson to see if Bartley survived the Civil War. His death date on the Surname Index is 1861 stating he died from wounds sustained in a battle at Kecaughton, Virginia. Yet, he is alive, but not well, according to the above letter which was written on December 24, (Christmas Eve) 1862. Does anyone know if there was more than one Bartley Wilson from Toe River Valley who served in the Civil War? All records indicate this is the only Bartley Wilson from the area during the time period? Also, I am unable to identify the person whom Williams describes as Jobe. Does anyone happen to know the identity of Jobe?)

I want to write a little more about the KONA Silver Family Reunion. In particular, I want to whet your appetites about a little project which I have been thinking about for a long time. The project is two fold; first, it is about our Silver and extended family heritage, and second, it is about the young people, including children, in our family.

Those of us who descend from the pioneer settlers of Toe River Valley have a rich heritage indeed, especially we Silvers. Our heritage is one not only a heritage to be preserved by genealogy research, but a heritage that needs and must be passed on to younger generations who follow us. We, those of us who have preserved the adventures of our pioneer ancestors to date, will not be here forever, regardless of how hard we try to be. It is with this thought in mind that I want to encourage the reunion planners, when we meet in May, to begin to include in our reunion activities, not only programs that will include our young adults, but the children of our clan as well. As I observe those who attend the reunion, I see many who, like myself, are in the later stages of “middle age“. I think it appropriate that we encourage our young adults and their children to attend our reunions, however; we must prepare for them by making the reunions youth friendly as well. I have ideas that I will bounce off our KONA Silver Family Reunion planners and will report the results of the meeting to you in the June issue of Silver Threads.

Please let me remind you about Silver Family “T-Shirts” before I conclude this month’s newsletter. The “T-Shirts” are now available for ordering from cousin Laura Cooper at the previous written e-mail address. They are $15.00 each including postage and handling. We have already received some orders, one in particular from a Silver Family cousin who ordered ten shirts; enough for himself, his spouse, his grown children and all his grandchildren. Yes, that means we have all sizes. Great and small! The shirts are white with a rendering of the little church at KONA printed on the front of the shirts with the words, Silver Family, KONA, NC. Let me remind you the proceeds from the sale of the “T” shirts are to be eventually used toward a new roof for KONA Missionary Baptist Church.

Cousin John Silver’s History Corner follows along with recent obituaries. Thanks again for your loyalty in reading Silver Threads and always remember, It is impossible to lick your own elbow. So stop worrying so much about self and help someone in need.

Cousin Rex Redmon



John’s History Corner


Henry Gilbert Silver


Henry Gilbert Silver (1801-after 1880) was the ninth child born to George Silver Junior and Nancy Ann Griffith. Henry was born on October 26th, 1801, into an Evangelical Lutheran family. He would have been about five years old when the Silver family arrived in what is now Kona. Unfortunately, Henry did not leave us a lot of information on himself. It is sufficient to say that he did leave 17 offspring.

Henry married first Sarah Martha “Sally” Wilson, daughter of Edward Wilson. She was born about 1800 and died about 1842. This marriage produced seven children: (1) Nancy N. Silver who married George Silver “Big George” Wilson. (2) Rachel Silver married Thomas “Tommy” Thomas. (3) Elizabeth Silver married Thomas A. Wilson. (4) Eliza Jane Silver married Ervin Ray. (5) Lucinda Silver married Isaiah Henson. (6) Martha Silver (Martha must have died very early in that we have no information on her whatsoever.) (7) Sarah A. Silver married H.L. Hensley and moved to Georgia.

After Sarah Martha passed away, Henry married Nancy Ann Howell, born about 1824 and died after 1880. She was a daughter of Thomas Howell and Piety Wilson. This marriage produced 10 children. (1) Piety Louella Silver married Thomas S. Willis. (2) Frances “Frankie” Silver married Joseph Honeycutt (3) Cynthia Silver of whom we know nothing. (4) Thomas C. Silver married Rachel E. Allen and Amanda Jane Honeycutt. (5) John Britt Silver married Elizabeth Nancy Jarrett. (6) William Jasper Silver married Sarah C. Ball and Lula Mildred Gill. (7) Rev. Henry Gilbert Silver married Judith Lavette Grindstaff and Ruie Catherine Dills. (8) Margaret M. Silver, again we have no information on Margaret. (9) Malinda “Linda” Silver married Albert Laws. (10) Levi D. Silver m. Mandy L.

Henry is buried in the Rose Branch Cemetery in an unmarked grave. Most of Henry’s children moved east into McDowell, Rutherford, Gaston and Cleveland Counties.

Letter to Barbara Gregory from Charlie Parker Jr. before the Parker reunion in April.

April 5, 2004



Wade Haskett & I traveled to Texas on March 19th to visit the town of Morgan where Charlie Parker, (David & Nancy’s son) lived after he left Ellijay, NC in 1899. Charlie is my Grandfather & Wade’s G-Grandfather. We went to the Morgan Cemetery where Charlie & his second wife, Mittie are buried. This is the first time any of Charlie’s NC family has visited his Texas home.


In Morgan we were able to talk to Peggy Riddle who is a cousin on my grandmother’s side of the family. We had a very interesting talk with her about the early days in Morgan. We stayed at a motel in Meridian & Saturday morning we met with another one of my cousins, Cleo Cravner, for breakfast. Cleo is 83 & she was kind enough to show us around the area. At breakfast she talked about the very last time she had seen Charlie Parker. She was traveling on the same train with him from Meridian to Morgan on Charley’s return from seeing a Doctor. This was in 1943, six years before he died. She asked him, “How are you Mr. Parker?” He replied, “I am not Mr. Parker, I am Uncle Charley.” This was a surprise because many of the people in my area called my dad Uncle Charley.


Cleo directed us to Dyersville, a small community in the early 1900’s, just outside of Morgan, where Charlie lived until sometime in the 1930’s. My dad was born in a log cabin in Dyersville and attended the Dyersville School. The directions to Dyersville are: Take 22 East out of Meridian 2.7 miles and turn left on County Road 1105. Go .3 miles & you have entered what was the Dyersville Community. Many of the younger people in this area have never heard of Dyersville. At 2 miles on County Road 1105 you cross over Branch Creek & Cleo said Dyersville School was on the left after the creek. I have read that a concrete slab is all that is left of the school, but the brush was so thick that we couldn’t find it. Cleo said that the school once had 98 kids attending.


There is only one abandoned house left in what used to be Dyersville & she said, “Bill Raines lived in that house and he came from NC.” My dad had told me that his dad Charlie came to Texas with a Willie Raines & Charley was a boarder for a few years. I now wonder if Bill & Willie are the same person. Riley Henry & I will have to research that question.


We left Cleo at her apartment in Meridian and traveled to San Angelo to spend some time with our cousins Anita Fuentes and her daughters Theresa & Becky. We had a great dinner at Becky’s house Saturday evening and on Sunday her friend Mike drove us around San Angelo. We had a good time and in the evening Wade was able to look over Anita’s family picture albums. Anita also showed us a small red bench that belonged to our Grandfather Charlie Parker. She said that in his last few years he was blind and he would sit on the edge of his bed & eat his meals from this bench. Anita remembers helping him eat his meals & she has saved this bench to remember him. The trip was a success & Wade and I enjoyed everyone’s company. Here are a few pictures and I have sent you enough copies to include it with your newsletter. If you need more copies, I will bring them to the reunion.                  

                                                                                                                     Charley Parker


George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Charles Silver m. Frankie Stewart > Nancy Silver m. David William Parker > Charles Wesley Parker > Charlie Allen Parker Sr. > Charlie Allen Parker Jr.





Eula Edna Henry, 89, of Kings Road, Franklin, NC, passed away Wednesday, April 14, 2004 at her residence.

She was a native of Macon County, NC, and a daughter of the late Calvin and Lydia Keener Houston. She was married to the late Grady Henry who passed away October 17, 2000. She was a homemaker and a charter member of Ellijay Bible Baptist Church, where she served as church treasurer, Sunday school teacher and choir member.

She is survived by three daughters, Lydia Conley and her husband, Adolph, Carrie Lee Cook and her husband Richard, and Stella Young all of Franklin; three sons, Conrad Henry, Riley Henry and his wife, Wanda and Warren Henry and his wife Sue, all of Franklin; nine grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. In addition to her parents and husband she was preceded in death two grandchildren and a son-in-law, Clifton Young.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in the chapel of Bryant Funeral Home with the Reverend Earl Hughes ant the Reverend Roy Hogan officiating. Burial will be in the Ellijay Baptist Church cemetery. Pallbearers will be Dennis Conley, Calvin Conley, Mike Henry, Craig Holland, Robert Marcie, Jason Whitley, Joe Keener and Mike Cope.

The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday evening at the funeral home.

Memorials may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 2250 N. Druid Hills Road, Suite 275, Atlanta, Georgia 30329.

Mrs. Henry was a descendant of the sister of Melissa Arzalia Moses who was Charlie Parker’s first wife.

Riley Henry has been so generous with his time and material concerning the family of Nancy Silver Parker. Much family history has been added due to Riley. The Silver family owes him a debt of gratitude.

I found this article in the Delaware News and I thought it would be a fitting story for Silver Threads. (JDS)

Confederate sub crew gets tribute


By Bruce Smith

Associated Press

Delaware State News April 18, 2004




Thousands of men in Confederate gray and Union blue and women in black hoop skirts and veils escorted the crew of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship, to their final resting place Saturday.

In what has been called the last Confederate funeral, the coffins of the crew members, draped in Confederate flags, were first taken to Charleston’s Battery and placed in a semicircle, a wreath set in front of each.

Then, a column of the uniformed re-enactors stretching a mile and half  took the crew of the Hunley, which sank outside Charleston Harbor, to their final resting place in Magnolia Cemetery. It took the column more than an hour to file into the cemetery.

Randy Burbage, a member of the South Carolina Hunley Commission, said it was a testimony to the crew that so many people had come to pay tribute to “eight Americans who died for a cause they believed in so long ago.”

 “There are some who have scoffed at our efforts to pay tribute to these men saying that because they were Confederates, they don’t deserve so high an honor,” said Ronald Wilson, the Commander in Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. It is our duty to respect and remember these individuals.”

The coffins were to be taken by horse drawn caissons from the Battery about five miles to Magnolia Cemetery, where the remains will be buried.

Fourteen Southern Governors were invited to the ceremony but declined to attend. Most cited scheduling conflicts, but some observers speculated they may be wary of the political implications of attending an event with thousands of the Confederate re-enactors.

The hand-cranked Hunley made history on February 17, 1864, when it rammed a spar with a black powder charge into the Union blockade ship, Housatonic.

But the sub never returned from the mission. It was found off the South Carolina coast nine years ago and was raised in 2000 and brought to a conservation laboratory at the old Charleston Naval Base.

About forty relatives of the Hunley crew were in Charleston Saturday.

Emma Busbey Ditman of Silver Springs, MD., said she learned about twelve years ago that she had a relative aboard the Hunley. She is the great -grandniece of crewman Joseph Ridgaway, who was born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

 “It’s been very emotional. My father died when I was a little girl and I knew almost nothing about father’s family when I was a child,” she said. “For me, it’s finding my family.”

A recent letter from Randy and Jan Stewart says:

“Randy and I are extremely busy getting ready for the Hunley funeral which will be held April 17, 2004, here in Charleston at Magnolia Cemetery. This is going to be an historic but somber event for everyone. I am serving on the Hunley Funeral Committee and have been for the past year. I must say that it has been one hectic ride but at least we will see the light at the end of the tunnel, just as the Hunley crew saw the light that was to lead them home. I hope that some of you can come join us.”

Randy is a descendant of Jackson Stewart, brother of Frances “Frankie” Stewart Silver. He and Jan were the sponsors of David Ralph Silver’s admission to the ranks of Confederate Veterans Hall of Honor.

Both of them have been absorbed by the raising of the Hunley and they have worked diligently toward the identification of these men and  this funeral honoring the six crewmen of the Hunley.


Rex Redmon
Editor, Silver Threads
40 Wood Pointe Drive #68
Greenville, SC 29615
[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]