juLY 2004


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

w/contributing articles by cousin John Silver


Greetings Silver Family Cousins…This month I am going to dispense with the usual chitchat introductory to the newsletter and jump right into the heart of the news because of the amount of information and material about which I need to write with so little space in which to write. John and I limit the newsletter to ten pages because we continue to mail copies of the letter to those who do not have PCs. We can mail ten double-sided pages with one postage stamp. I write six pages and John usually writes four pages.

[Editor: I tell them to use a thinner stock of paper and send 12 pages, but they ignore me!]

July is Silver Family reunion month at KONA, North Carolina and if you have not marked your calendars yet, now is the time to do so. This year’s annual event takes place on Saturday, July 24th and Sunday, July 25th.  Activities for the two fun-filled days include:


KONA Missionary Baptist Church


Registration and getting reacquainted

9:00 - 4:00

History/Genealogy sharing in the family museum w/John Silver, Rex Redmon, David Taylor and Niel Stewart.


Opening remarks and announcements.   Rex Redmon


Newcomer Orientation by Joe Ruth in the Church Sanctuary


Speaker of The Day, Author and Playwright, Perry Dean Young

12:00 - 1:00

Last Minute News Flash

Due to circumstances beyond our control we will not be serving Bar-B-Q for lunch on Saturday at the KONA reunion. We will however provide you with a reasonably priced home-cooked lunch prepared by our Silver women who we already know can serve up a wonderful meal.


Tour of five family cemeteries in Mitchell and Yancey County.  (Silver Family Cemetery at KONA, Silver Chapel Cemetery and Gouge, Cemetery at Bandana, Greenberry Silver Cemetery at Michaville, Robinson Family Cemetery at Double Island.)


Watermelon on the grounds.


            In addition to all of the above, Blue Moon Book Store will again set up a tent and have family history material available for sale. Books by Sharon McCrumb and Perry Dean Young, Lloyd Bailey and others will be available. Also, our guest speaker, Perry Dean Young will be available after lunch to sell and autograph many of the books he has written. For those who do not wish to take the cemetery tours, John Silver will remain in the museum to assist with genealogy inquires. David Taylor and Niel Stewart will also have family history available to share.



9:00 - 10:00

Grave decoration at the KONA Silver Family Cemetery

10:00 - 10:30

Memorial Service at the grove in the KONA Silver Family Cemetery

11:00 - 12:00

Traditional Worship Service in KONA Missionary Baptist Church

12:00 - 1:00

Covered Dish dinner (for city folk--lunch) in the church basement.

1:00 - 4:00

Sharing family history, stories, fellowship and getting better acquainted.


Note: Bring a covered dish or two to share with other folks for lunch and we will provide the fixings. Silver Family “T” shirts will be available for sale all day Saturday and again on Sunday afternoon for only $10.00. Also on Saturday, we hope to again offer a Bar-B-Q lunch with all the trimmings for only $5.00. However plans are incomplete as of this writing. During last year’s reunion, over one hundred people were present for Saturday’s events and more than sixty for Sunday‘s activities. We hope for and expect our attendance will be equal to those of last year. Bring a new family member and we’ll see you early Saturday morning at registration.

I received an e-mail recently from cousin Kathy Sulc of Virginia and Kathy wrote, I’ve lived in Virginia for over 30 years. I’m excited to announce that the time is right to return to my native Asheville. (My home also.) I’ll be moving June 21st and beginning my new job on the 28th. I’m thrilled that, after all these years, I get to live my dream and come back home. Kathy, I’m sure all the extended cousins wish you well as you fulfill your dream. Thanks for writing.

Perry Dean Young, our Keynote speaker at this years reunion, announces a new play, Mountain Of Hope, based on the true story of the bitter betrayal that led to the death of UNC Prof. Elisha Mitchell on Mt  Mitchell. The play will have its premiere at the Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre at Mars Hill College July 7-18.

I am now going to dispense with general information and pick up the story of Mary Belle Silver again. Mary Belle Silver’s memories were recorded by her grand-nephew, John Silver Harris, an enthusiastic supporter of our great Silver Family. When we left Mary Belle last month she was getting ready to talk about her father John’s accounts of the Civil War. Remember, Mary Belle Silver was born in Old Fort, McDowell County, NC in 1891. Following Mary Belle’s information about her father’s Civil War Service I will conclude this month’s newsletter with Civil War Letters to Home, written by some of our extended Silver Family cousins to their relatives back home.

Aunt Belle remembers…

       When the Civil War broke out, Uncle Lewis, who was 22, enlisted in the Confederate Army. My father wanted to go with him but he was only 17 and you had to be 18.  So Paw fibbed about his age, saying he was 18, so he could join the Army with Lewis. They both enlisted in 1861. My father was a bugler.

       When his commander got shot off his horse, father jumped on the horse, took his bugle, and gave commands. The he ran across Lewis. He’d been shot, but not too seriously wounded. So Father told him to lie still and he’d come back after dark to get him. 

       When Paw was bringing him back, they had to cross a river. They were out waist deep in the water when they heard Northern soldiers. “Lewis, it’ll be better if we let them capture us, so we can get you to a hospital,” Paw told him. “I want to get you out of here. Otherwise, we’ll both get killed here.”

       So Paw yelled to the Yankee soldiers to come get them. They did, and took Lewis right on to a hospital. And they put Paw on a boat for transfer to Kentucky where they were sending war prisoners.

       On the boat were two men the Yankees had caught and who were in chains. Father took a case knife, made it into a hack saw, and sawed the chains off their feet. Then he told them when the time come, to get up and walk off the boat with the prisoners.

       The men were John and Clapp Heep. Many years alter when I was a big girl, two men came to our house. “You‘re the man who saved our lives,” one of them told my father. They were the Heeps.

       Then one of them told my father: “I’m a rich man, but I’m dying with consumption. I’ve got a million dollars and I want to give it to you.”  But paw wouldn’t take it. “If I saved your life , knowing that is all the reward I want,” he told him.


Aunt Belle remembers School Days…

       When we lived on Curtis Creek near Old Fort, I attended the one-room Old Log School Houseit didn’t have any other nameat the foot of the Silver Cemetery hill.

       And when we moved from there when I was between 15 or 16 years, we went to the Old Academy on Mills River near Hendersonville. It was just a two-room school with two teachers.

       And we only attended school four months a yeartwo months after corn was laid by the late summer and two months after foddering was finished. We didn’t go to school in winter at all.

       There were only seven grades then you graduated. I got to the sixth grade and my mother took sick, so I quit to take care of her. I told them she was worth more to me than all the schooling I could get.

       We attended Sunday School at the Horse Shoe Baptist Church. I’m still a member there. Back in those days, a girl didn’t go out and work. We only worked at home or on the farm. They’d pay a man 50 cents a day to do farm work, but they’d only pay a woman 40 cents. I remember working many a day for my cousin Savannah (Mrs. Al) Allison, Uncle Alex’s daughter, hoeing corn for 40 cents a day.

       Aunt Clarissa (Silver Byrd) was one of the few women I know who worked outside her home or farm. She ran the commissary and cooked in the sawmill camps there on Curtis Creek. Her first husband (George William Byrd) was killed in the Civil War. Later, my father was out looking for oxen to use in moving logs to the saw mill. He ran into (John) Hicks Stroud. “I have three yoke of good oxen,” Hicks told him. “And I want to work.” So he hired Hicks. That’s how he met Aunt Clarissa, and they got married. (Feb 14, 1868).


Next month we will revisit Aunt Mary Belle Silver when she remembers “How a vision turned into a husband and also about her winters in the Florida Fruit Business.”

My wife Margaret has taken a particular interest in both Mary Belle Silver’s stories as well as our Civil War Letters to Home. Margaret too descends from Alfred Silver and Elizabeth Gouge and when Mary Belle Silver mentions Margaret’s great, grandfather, Jesse Silver, who moved to Rutherford County to work in the textile mills, Margaret took a greater interest in the stories. Also while recording Margaret’s family history on my PC, I discovered Elizabeth Gouge, wife of Alfred Silver, was a brother to William Gouge, one of our Civil War letter writers. In addition, Levi DeWeese Silver, Lewis Perry Silver and John Silver, who are mentioned in many of the letters, are sons of Alfred Silver and Elizabeth Gouge. William Gouge Sr., to whom, William Gouge Jr. writes, is the father of Elizabeth.

One of this month’s Civil War letters, #630218, to the Gouge family back home is from William Willis who was married to Lucinda Wilson, a sister of Rosannah Wilson-Gouge. William is writing to his brother-in-law, Garrett Gouge. Garrett is Garrett Dawes Gouge

Garrett died on Sept 21 1892 and is buried in the Gouge Cemetery in Bandana.

Camps near Shelbyville, Tenn.

Feb. the 18, 1863


Mr. Garrett Gouge, dear brother and friend,

       I, this day, am blessed with one more opportunity of writing you a few lines in which you will find that I am well and truly hoping this will come safe to your hands and find you and Rosannah well and getting along the same.

       Garrett, I haven’t nothing good to write at this time. I, with many other poor soldiers, have seen a hard time since I saw you, though I still live in hopes of the future.

       I hope this here war will soon come to a close so we all can return home to our families and to enjoy the company of our friends one time more. As to the war news, I haven’t any worth writing at this time. Our regiment is in tolerable good health and seems to be in good spirits.

       Garrett, we have been stationed here almost two months just in our cloth tents yet. But we have got chimneys built to them so we can live. We have not had much snow but it has been wet about half the time. We get plenty to eat now such as corn bread, poor beef, and sometimes a little snack of pork or bacon or a few peas.

       Garrett, we have had two cases of small pox in our regiment. But they are both dead and they haven’t no more of them taken it yet. I think they will stop for it as been over a month since the first one took. George Young, out of our company, died with them.

       We are 25 miles from Murfreesboro where we fought the Yankees. Some think we will have another big fight before long but I can’t tell for my part. But I am in hopes they will stop this war with out any more hard fighting for it is not easy work as some might think. I don’t think the Yankees will advance on us soon for I think they will have to recruit their army before they fight us again.

       Our regiment almost armed themselves the day of the fight with the Yankees’ guns. I have got one (gun) I got in the first of the fight. And I shot their gun and cartridges at them all the time.

       Give my best wishes and respects to your father and mother. Tell your pap that if I had some of his good brandy here I could get $20.00 a quart for it as fast as I could pour it out.

       Garrett, you don’t know how glad I would be to see you and drink a good dram with you again. Rosannah, give all or your mother’s folks my best wishes and tell them that I would be glad to see them all one time more

       John is well and sends you his best respects.

       Write as soon as you get this and give me all the news. So I will have to close. Done in a hurry, I remain yours truly until death.


Wm. Willis to Garrett and Rosannah Gouge


This letter was probably written by Levi DeWeese Silver for William Willis as the second Civil War letter today will indicate. William Willis was none other than William Morgan “Uncle Bill” Willis, born 13 November 1837. He survived the Civil War and he and Lucinda Wilson had eleven children. Lucinda Wilson, born 27 January 1841 died on 22 August 1883, at the early age of forty-two. William married second, Nancy L. Redford on 14 February 1884 and had three more children by Nancy. William died in Bakersville, Mitchell County on 30 July 1907 and is buried in the Wilson Cemetery with Lucinda at Rebel’s Creek, Mitchell County. I was unable to identify George Young.

William Willis talks about a battle between Union forces and Confederate forces in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Murfreesboro is located on the railroad line to Chattanooga thirty miles southeast of Nashville. Murfreesboro was surrounded by a gently rolling countryside that was exceedingly fertile and highly cultivated during the Civil War. There were actually three major Civil War battles fought in Murfreesboro during the war. The first battle occurred in July of 1862 and was a decisive confederate victory with the loss of 890 Union soldiers and only 150 Confederate soldiers. A second major battle in the area of Murfreesboro occurred between December 31, 1862 and January 2, 1863. That battle was known as the Stones River Battle. It too was a Confederate Victory as William Willis describes. Yet, as the war lingered on, and as the South grew weaker, a third battle of Murfreesboro was fought in July of 1863 and this time the Union Army claimed victory because the Southern forces withdrew from the field. 

Our second Civil War Letter this month is letter #630224 and is also written to Garrett Gouge and it is a combination letter written by Levi DeWeese Silver for William Willis and as well, the letter has a note attached to Garrett from Levi. This letter was written six days after the first letter of Feb. 18th. 

Headquarters, Shelbyville, Tenn.

Feb the 24th, 1863


Dear Brother and Sister:

       I, this one time more, seat myself to inform you that I am well at this time and I truly hope these few lines will come to hand and find you both well.

       Garrett, I would like to see you and Rosannah.

       We are faring very well here. Now we get plenty to eat (such) as corn bread, bacon, and pork and sugar. Times are still hard now.

       Garret, I received a letter from you by the hand of L.D. Silver (Levi Deweese Silver). I was glad to hear that you were both well. You wrote that you had not seen me in so long you did not know how I looked. I was afraid that you had all forgot me. I started you a letter a few days before I got yours. But when Levi came and I got your letter it shook me up. I hadn’t got any letter from any of your or the rest of the folks since 27 of Jan.

       You wrote that you thought you would have to leave before long and you said you didn’t know what the women would do in the settlement. I can’t see how they are to get along. I would love for you to stay in that settlement if you could. But if you have to leave, you can’t tell how glad I would be to see you come to Company G, the old 29th. But being you have a brother in Palmer’s regiment, I can’t insist.

So I want you to write soon and often. So I will close. Farwell.


Wm. Willis to G.D. Gouge.


Written by L.D. Silver. You have his love and respects. Also I would like for you to come to our company.


Dear Uncle and Aunt:


       I can say to you that I got here safe and sound. Uncle, I want you to write to me and let me know how you are getting along. Write before you go off. 

       So I haven’t more to write at present other than what you have heard. So I won’t write now, and give you the news in a week for now.



L.D. Silver to G.D. Gouge


Garrett Dawes Gouge is Levi Silver’s uncle as Levi’s mother, Elizabeth, is Garrett’s sister.

Folks, there you have this month’s Silver Threads by yours truly, Rex Redmon. I do like to hear from you and welcome your e-mails and phone calls. I hope you have marked your calendar and plan to attend the big Silver Family reunion at KONA later this month. I, along with all the other Silver Family reunion planners, Laura, Jere, Kay, Margaret and John will arrive earlier in the week to get everything ready for you. See you in KONA!


                                                          Cousin Rex Redmon


Let us grow together and enrich our lives with the friendships we share…

Let us grow together and enrich the world with the love we share.


                                                Susan Polis Schultz



John’s History Corner


This month we cover Reverend Thomas “Tommy” Silver, the youngest and last child of George Jr. and Nancy Griffith Silver.

Thomas was born in Frederick, Frederick County, Maryland on December 15, 1803, the youngest of eleven Silver Family children. At the age of three, he, his brothers and sisters along with their parents made the long wagon trek to North Carolina. They left Frederick in September 1806 and arrived at what is now Little Crabapple, Yancey County, North Carolina. They arrived on Christmas Eve is a blinding snowstorm. After spending the night, on the following morning, they moved on to what is now Kona, in the Toe River Valley, Mitchell County, North Carolina.

Upon their arrival, they pitched camp and began to plan their new home. Game was plentiful so they had no worries as to the food supplies. The surrounding forests held plenty of building materials. Manpower was not plentiful but adequate for the house they planned. It was to take them three years to complete the house that stands to this day. Needless to say, they did not have a parson or preacher in their midst but Sunday services were always observed. Once in a great while they would be visited by a circuit riding Preacher. The Silver family was a humble family that believed deeply in God and practiced their religion accordingly.

Thomas married Ellender “Nellie” McMahan on December 28, 1828. Ellender was a daughter of James Sr. and Ellender McMahan. She was born on March 15, 1814 in the Cane River section of Yancey County, North Carolina. They were to have a long and fruitful marriage. There would be fourteen children; 8 sons and 6 daughters. They were, Henry G. A. Silver (1829–1862), Jacob William Silver (1832–1916), William Alexander Silver (1833-1915), Nancy Magdalene Silver (1836-1917), Lovada S. Silver (1838-?), Thomas D.B. Silver (1844-1903), Wilburn J. Silver (1845-1862), Rosea “Roxie” Silver (1845-1924), Hannah T. Silver (1846-1924), James F. Silver (1847-?), John Milton Penland Silver (1850-1934), Malinda E. Silver (1852-1928), George Washington Silver (1856-1940) and Greenberry Ellis Silver (1860-1948). Sadly to say Reverend Thomas and Nellie were to lose 2 of their sons to the horrible conflict of the Civil War. Henry G.A. was severely wounded near Richmond, Virginia, and was taken to the Richmond hospital where he died on June 28, 1862. He is buried in the Military Burial Ground at Richmond. Wilburn J. was wounded at the battle of Second Manassas. He was taken prisoner and taken to the hospital at Frederick, Virginia. From there he was transferred to Point Lookout POW Prison, Virginia, where he died of his wounds on August 29, 1862. He is buried at Point Lookout, Virginia.

At an early age, Thomas had expressed a love for religion. In due course, he became a preacher, as had his older brother Reverend Jacob before him,. He moved to what is Windom today and ministered several churches from there. His flock had a deep love and appreciation of him. Thomas was always at hand in time of their need. There is no doubt that Reverend “Tommy” saved many a soul during his sixty-six years in the pulpit. He left behind a large pair of shoes for his fellow ministers when he died on March 24, 1896 at the age of 83. His neighbors, his flock and his home at Windom would forever miss the gentle, reverent Tommy. His beloved Ellender had passed away before him on December 30, 1886. They are buried at the Silver Cemetery on Bear Wallow Road, near Burnsville, Yancey County, North Carolina.

Georg Wendel Silber (George Silver Sr.)


Having had several questions arise on our family tree lately, I have decided to run an article from September 1998’s Silver Notes. This is the letter we received from Cousin Gary Silver of Las Vegas, Nevada, by way of Idaho. Gary and Cousin Jim Proffitt of Pacifica, California, had both been working in the Silber Genealogy for several months.

I am sure that many of our cousins have researched the IGI files at their local LDS Family History Centers. These files contain helpful information but they do not trace out family trees for you. After many days of going over these files as related to the Silber family in Denkendorf, then coming home and trying to put them into a family tree form continually sent me back to try and find more information. After much consternation and ruling out many possibilities, I have come up with a family tree that is logical and as correct as I can make it. I make no claim that it is entirely correct but given my resources, the pieces seem to fit together this way. I neither speak nor read German but I did order in the Microfilm files and must admit that the people who interpreted them into the IGI files had a monumental task before them, The microfilm contains additional information on some but not all the people and families in the IGI files. After receiving the microfilm and looking at them, I realized that it would take too much time for my friend, who had taught German for thirty years, to look for this additional information. When I say it would take too much time, I am not speaking of days but of weeks and possibly months to cross-reference all the microfilm files with the information I have gathered. Hopefully we have members of the family who speak and read German that have the time necessary and can study the microfilm and make corrections to the family tree that I have proposed.


After making the tree I then went over it to see if I could come up with any possible connections to our George the Elder. Keep in mind that I first made the family tree of the Silber family in the Denkendorf area and then looked for connections. I found that there were several possibilities and that all of them raised enough questions that I am not sure that any of them could actually be called probable.

Possibility No. 1 would be Hanss Georg Silber, born February 14, 1731, in Denkendorf, Wuerttemburg, Germany, the son of Hanss Wendel Silber, born October 2, 1675 and Anna Marie Lebansff, born about 1705 and married July 6, 1728. I pick him as the most probable of my choices but have doubts because I also found a Johann Georg Silber married in Esslingen, which is not too far from Denkendorf, February 9. 1762. He, if he is the same Hans Georg, would have been 31 years old when he married, which is older than most others in my study. Also, the names given to the descendants of this Johann Georg include many not introduced in the pedigree line of Hanss Georg born February 14, 1731. If these two men are indeed separate and apart, I would have to think that the probability that Hanss Georg Silber, born February 14, 1731, increases greatly, because then I find no other descendants of this man in Germany. Possibly this can be checked out by one of our cousins that reads German. The LDS Microfilm that lists the marriage of Johann Georg and Maria Barbara Falch supposedly lists additional relatives. That Microfilm will be Batch M941366 and Source 1056637.

Another possibility would be a son of Hanss Georg Silber born June 3, 1667, and Agnes Eplin, born April 25, 1677, and married May 2, 1702, in Denkendorf. My problem here is that I show no descendants or any of his brothers and sisters. With the turmoil that existed in Germany at the time, we can speculate as to many possibilities. This Hanss Georg was the son of Jerg Silber and Barbara Weingarter. He quite likely have had a son by the same name and they all moved from the Denkendorf. BUT, KEEP IN MIND THAT THIS IS PURELY SPECULATION!

Even the documentation we have is sometimes not clear. Some records indicate that Georg Silver the Second was born in 1751 but we have other records that show both he and Elizabeth were christened on October 28, 1753. I have yet to find a documented birth date for Elizabeth so I am not sure that she and George Jr. were twins. If their baptism records indicate that they were twins, then I would say they were born in 1751. One record shows the father of George Jr. as George Silver and the other shows that Johann Jurg Silber and Elizabeth and father and mother at the christening of both Jurg (George Jr.) and Elizabeth.

We know that there were two other Silver lines that came to America before our George but none of them that we know of moved to North Carolina. The Archibald Silver descendants and those of Thomas Silver came from England. These lines seem to stay in either New Jersey or Massachusetts respectively.

To add further to the paradox, we have records that indicate a Silver born in approximately 1732 married a Jane Brandon born about 1736. This source indicates that the Silver gentleman’s only known area was Rowan County, North Carolina.  Jane Brandon was either born or raised in Rowan County, and was the daughter of George Brandon and Mary Ann -------? George Brandon came from Pennsylvania as did his father John Brandon Sr. This would lead me to believe that our George the Elder was preceeded to this country by one of his earlier relatives. Perhaps this is the reason that the biggest share of them migrated to North Carolina. Another possibility that this was actually our George and that he went back to Pennsylvania after the death of Jane Brandon. I have no record of them having any offspring. I do, however, find a John Silver born in 1755 that married Elizabeth McCrary born in 1757. Both John and Elizabeth were from the Rowan area. No father or mother is listed for John but Elizabeth’s parents were Hugh McCrary and Susan or Susannah Whitaker. They had a son Hugh, born in 1778, another child, sex not mentioned, born about 1781, and a daughter Elizabeth, born about 1783. Since John was from Rowan County, I would tend to think that he was the son of the Silver and Jane Brandon mentioned above.

With the work of Jim Proffitt and what I have submitted , I hope that one of our cousins with more knowledge of the German language will pick up where we left off and come up with a more definite conclusion. I feel that we have found the correct Silber clan in Germany and as you will notice that Jim and I have selected different men but with closer scrutiny please realize they are first cousins and even born the same year. I am sure Jim has his reason for going with Georg Wendel Silber and I will stick with Hanss Georg Silber simply because if records that show the father of Jurg (George Jr.) was Johann Jurg (or in my opinion Hanss Georg) Silber. I am sure that Jim will join me in challenging the rest of the Silver clan to prove one or both of us wrong or correct and if wrong to come up with a better conclusion.

(A final conclusion: After much further research, it was found that Cousin Jim’s Georg Wendel (George Silver Sr.) was the father of Johann Jurg Silber (George Jr.). Both Jim and Gary agreed on the finality. The Silver Family owes these two gentlemen, Jim Proffitt and Gary Silver, a load of thanks for all their hard work in this subject. )



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

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Barney Kaufman
Keeper of The Web
7408 Lake Drive
Manassas, VA 20111-1960
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