June 2005


Written and Published Online by John Silver

w/contributing articles by various Silver cousins


Hello Dear Family and Friends,


Summer is finally here but brings with it mixed emotions.  On one hand I enjoy the warmth, greenness and flowers but on the other hand is the lawn trimming, mowing, raking and weed eradication.  But altogether, it does make one feel alive and needed.

Cousin Rex has had a bad summer so far.  His computer turned over and died.  So, we will have to wait until July for his next installment of the history of the 58th North Carolina Troops. During this break, he and wife Margaret are visiting Europe.  They will spend several days in the “olde sod” (Scotland and Ireland).  Connie and I hope to do this in the near future.

This month we have a pair of neat stories from Johnny Harris and an excellent Silver ancestor article from Karyl Hubbard.  Karyl has done a mountain of research on the descendants of George Silver III and Johnny has spent several years putting the life history of George III’s younger brother, Reverend Jacob, on paper.  We owe both Karyl and Johnny a pat on the head for “well done.”

The “Silver Book,” for lack of a better title, is coming along slowly but surely. I have been the proverbial, “dog on a bone,” since I agreed with Archer Blevins to give it a try last July.  Don’t let anyone tell you that putting a book together is easy! It ain’t. And, I would like to ask anyone who has pictures or articles they would like to put into this book to please send me a copy of same. I will try to accommodate as many items as possible.

Until next month, Cousin John





Ira (Baba to his grandchildren) was a self-made man.  One of ten children from a Kansas farm, he came west at age 19 and became a cowhand on the huge Bixby Ranch in what is now Long Beach, California.  In the early 1900s he had saved enough money to open a harness shop in Hemet, Riverside Co., California.  It prospered, and by 1909 he had two men working for him.  But, he was smart enough to see the handwriting upon the wall, and when the first car dealership in Hemet became available, he bought it.  He loved automobiles and was apparently an excellent salesman.  In 1911 he married Gertrude Goodhart and in 1912 he opened the first Ford agency in San Diego.  By the time the depression hit, in 1929, he was very wealthy for that era.  He sold the car dealership and retired.  He spent the next thirty years astutely playing the stock market and adding very substantially to his wealth.

All his life he was an ardent Republican to the extent of growing a mustache during the years of the Harry Truman presidency, so people would quit telling him how much he looked like the president.

He taught all the grandchildren to play cards, especially cribbage and 500 rummy.  Figured that if we were good for nothing else, we were good for a game!  He also taught most of us to fish and, no weaseling about putting worms and jack-knife clams on a hook.  When left to baby-sit me, which was rare, his favorite method was to put us both on board the ferry to Coronado Island.  In those days you could ride the ferry all day for a dime.  He’d play pinochle with his old cronies, turn me loose to roam the decks and watch for dolphins.  Heaven for a five-year-old.

He told many tales of his Kansas boyhood, which wasn’t an easy life, by any means.  The house he grew up in, in Eldorado, Butler County, was a typical clapboard structure of it’s time.  Uninsulated, of course.  Cold and damp in the winter, hot and steamy in the summer. I never asked him if it had the, “summer kitchen,” common in those days—an outbuilding that the coal or wood fired cookstove was hauled to in late May, there to stay until September, keeping some of the heat out of the house.  I rather imagine it did.  The house had five rooms downstairs: a ‘parlor’ for formal entertaining, a dining room, ditto; a large family kitchen where most meals were taken.  It also served as a bathroom on Saturday night and a laundry room on Monday morning. Two bedrooms, one for the parents, one a ‘girl’s dorm.’  Upstairs there was a loft room where the boys all slept.  Baba said that wasn’t too bad.  In the winter the stovepipe ran up through the floor and the boys sleeping nearest it were fairly warm.  The boys by the wall got snow drifted in on their beds, through chinks in the in the clapboard siding.

He went to school through the eighth grade and got a fairly comprehensive education.  Then he went to work on the farm, which he had done since he was small and which he hated.  At 19, he had had enough and went out West to make his fortune.  He went to work on the Bixby Ranch, which covered most of what is now is Long Beach, California.  He was a cowboy and learned leather working.  In about 1905, he’d saved enough money to open a harness making shop in Hemet, California.  He married Laura Davis and settled into the small town.  Laura died in 1908 from tuberculosis.  In 1909, Ira saw the handwriting on the wall and bought the ‘auto-livery’ stable in Hemet.  After he married Gertrude in 1911, they lived in Riverside, near her parents and about 1914 he sold the auto dealership and went to work in San Diego selling Studebakers.  In 1915 he opened the first Ford dealership in National City, along what is now known as, “Mile of Cars,” a string of car dealerships along the National City Boulevard.  He dabbled in real estate, saved his money and by 1928 had enough money to retire on.

He was an expert woodworker, and made beautiful cribbage boards and gavels for gifts to friends and family members.  He also made small articles of furniture and loved refinishing old pieces. The sideboard that Madeline now has, for instance, he found in an apartment building he bought, covered with several coats of paint.  It took him a long time to strip the piece down and refinish it to show off its oak and curly maple construction.  It’s been in the family dining rooms ever since, in spite of the fact that it was originally a bedroom piece, with space for a pitcher and bowl and chamber pot underneath.  The marble top is original, too.

He was a tinkerer and was fascinating with any thing mechanical.  Starting with the horseless carriage, of course, though he always liked horses, too.  He and a Goodhart brother-in-law decided to learn to fly in the ‘30s.  So they did!  To the best of my knowledge he never really used the skill but “he knew how” and that satisfied him.

He bought and sold houses.  Poor Grammie! She really needed a stable home, and didn’t get for a long while.  They lived at three different addresses in National City.  Mom remembers the one on Highland Avenue.  He finally bought what had been a TB sanatorium, two buildings which he converted into eight apartments. (They may have been converted when he bought the buildings, I’m not sure.)  On the site at First and Laurel, where there is now a huge and expensive condo complex.  But he and Gram lived there for a long time, then moved to the house on Titus Street, which Gram loved, and stayed there for fifteen years.  But Baba, in his fashion, had listed the house with a broker friend at what he thought was an exorbitant price, and when the market caught up to him, he sold it.  Gram never completely recovered.  They moved into a little tract house in Mission Valley, which she hated, and then to an old Spanish style place on Spruce in San Diego. It was lovely, but a lot of house for two people.  They lived in a very small portion of it.  Gram enjoyed the yard and they stayed there until Baba’s health failed and they had to move into an ‘assisted living’ place out in El Cajon, where they stayed until Baba died.

Ira Golden Silver rests in Cypress View Mausoleum, San Diego, San Diego County, California.  Upon her death, Gertrude “Grammie,” joined him in the mausoleum.

Ira’s first wife, Laura Davis, died of tuberculosis in the second year of their marriage.  She and Baba had no children.  She is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery, Riverside, California.

Grammie (Gigi to her great-grandchildren) was a lady in every sense of the word.  Her sisters were, too. You have to wonder where, coming from an extremely poor family, and mothered by an immigrant whose English was heavily accented all her life, they learned their manners.

Gertrude was also well educated for her time.  Graduated from the Riverside Normal School in 1907 and taught school in Temecula for several years.  She boarded in Temecula and rode her horse to Hemet on week-ends to spend the week-end with her brother, George.  The Los Alamos School, where she taught, has been recently moved to Lake Skinner Recreation Area and beautifully restored.

In her later years she was very active in the Order of the Eastern Star, to compliment Ira’s Masonic activities, and was a several term president of the San Diego Women’s Club.  During World War II she worked hard for the Red Cross and one of my earliest memories is going with her to the San Diego Naval Hospital to visit newly arrived wounded.  She and Ira opened their home to any serviceman whose name was Silver or Goodhart, regardless of whether a relationship could be proven

Gertrude had several ‘nervous breakdowns’ over the years.  Severe depressions, really. Treatment in those days was (still is) difficult and she spent some time in private mental institutions having horrible and obsolete treatments like electrical shocks.  Part of her problem I’m sure were hormonal.  Another had to do the way she was raised, in extreme poverty.  When she married Ira, for the first time in her life she had “things,” and was extremely happy to have some possessions that weren’t strictly necessary.  Shortly after she and Ira married, they were moving from a rented home to one they had bought, and stored all the furniture temporarily in a barn.  The barn caught fire and they lost everything.  Poor Grammie!  She was never secure about her home after that, and most of her breakdowns followed a move.

Granddaughter, Karyl Louise Feeney Hubbard.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > George III Silver > Rev. Edward Silver > Isaac Silver > Ira Golden Silver > Louise Madeline Silver m. Dan Keeney > Karyl Louise Keeney m. Gerald Eugene “Jerry” Hubbard.)


From: John Harris
Date: 4/29/2005
Subject: Column: My encounter with the CIA

I once had an encounter with the CIA.  It was nothing spooky at all –in fact, it was very pleasant.

It was in 1973, and I had landed in the Seychelles in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  The islands were one of my many stops in an around-the-world search for Utopia while on assignment for The National Inquirer.

The Seychelles were chosen for exploration because they were largely unspoiled, remote and have scenery perhaps unexcelled anywhere in the world.

Victoria, a generally scruffy and overcrowded little town of 15,000, is the only municipality in the far flung string of islands and serves as their administrative, legal, religious and commercial center.

On the main island, Mahe (pronounced Ma-hay), the U.S. had a satellite tracking station atop La Misere Mountain.  The locals referred to the station as “Le Golf Ball,” because the gleaming white spherical radome looks just like a giant golf ball.

I was soon to learn that the U.S. also had a CIA presence on the island.

The central gathering place in Victoria was the open air restaurant at the Pirates Arms Hotel.  There you sit, with a fresh limeade or “Sey Brew,” the local beer, at what must be the crossroads of the world.  People of all nationalities drift there for refreshments and mingling.

I pulled up a chair.  Soon, some newly met-friends, crewmen on the yacht, Stormy, joined me.  Later, a tall, heavy blond-haired man, whom they knew, also joined us.

The newcomer to our group turned out to be a fellow American –C.J. “Chuck” Smith, who lives on Mahe.  Chuck, 46, said he is a vice president of Grolier International, the encyclopedia company.  He was in charge of sales in Africa, south of the Sahara.

 “How do you happen to live way out here,” I asked.  “We’re at least a thousand miles from Africa.”

We were in Johannesburg before coming here,” he replied, but found we could live here, enjoy the quietness of the island, and I could conduct my business.  I make trips out and back.”

Yeah, right!

(I later learned from the locals that they believed Smith was with the CIA, using the Grolier connection as his cover.  Why this belief?  “Because he never seems to do any work,” they told me.)

Chuck invited me to have lunch with him and his wife, Lari, next day.  I accepted, fully aware that the real reason behind the invitation might be to obtain fodder for a CIA dossier, since here I was, having rolled on this island with the unlikely story of being on a search for Utopia.  But, what the hell!  I had nothing to hide.  And here was an opportunity to get the views of an American family that my readers could relate to.

So Chuck picked me up at the restaurant next day and drove me up a winding mountain road, then onto a dirt road leading to his picturesque mountain home appropriately called, “La Cachette”—the hiding place.

There I met his wife, Lari, an attractive blonde 35-year-0ld mother of four, who writes as a hobby and had an upcoming article in Reader’s Digest about a couple who were adrift at sea for many days off the Seychelles.

And there were sons, Michael, 5; Mark, 6; Charles, 10; and Joe, 11; making a lively household.

I questioned the family about life on the island.

“We like the remoteness of the island—the simplicity of it all,” says Chuck.  “Here, there’s no pollution.  We wanted isolation-or at least get a degree of it.  Maybe we are copping out, but it’s really good to get away from television and, no offense, please understand, but newspapers too.

“I was back in Washington a few months ago, and the TV was full of murders and scandals (these were the days of Watergate).

“But here, we’re completely out of touch with it.  And yet, we meet many interesting people who are traveling around the world.”

“And while we wanted a degree of isolation, we also wanted some modern conveniences since we have four young boys.  But we could do without the air-conditioned sterility you find in so many places.”

Lari agreed.

“Here, you don’t have to plan a menu,” she said.  “you visit a shop and buy what’s available.  If they have tomatoes, you buy tomatoes.  If there’s no beef, you buy fish.  If there are no potatoes, you buy breadfruit.

“And the kids need practically no clothing.  There are no toy stores, so they learn to make their own toys.  They’ve already learned how to make a slingshot.  They play marbles and find all sorts of things to do.

Truly, the Smiths seem to have found their Utopia here in the Seychelles.  Their small, open house had all the modern conveniences, albeit in a somewhat modified manner.  For example, there is no electrical line into the mountains, so their power comes from a generator they had installed.

Their view from the mountainside, looking out through the trees onto the beach and lagoon thousands of feet below was truly magnificent.

We sat on a second-story porch, sipping gin-and-tonic, and I enjoyed the view while interviewing them.

If my visit with the Smiths was a typical CIA encounter, then I invite the agency to feel free to investigate me again any old time.


From: John Harris
Subject: Sergeant Crump’s Obituary
Date 5/11/2005

Death of Confederate Sgt. Elijah H. Crump


The Journal of the Burke County Genealogical Society published a reprint of Confederate veteran Elijah H. Crump’s obituary in its May 2005 issue.

Crump was a Sergeant in Company H, 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment.  He is pictured with Lt. Colonel Samuel Marion Silver and other officers in a composite photo in our book, “SILVER—Our Pioneer Ancestors.” (Page 53 in my book).

The obituary was written by G.W.F. Harper in the Lenoir, N.C. News, of December 31, 1909.  Harper had been his Captain (later, Colonel) in 1863.  Crump’s obituary was reprinted in the Morganton News Herald on January 6, 1910. It was located, transcribed and submitted to the Journal by Betsy Dodd Pittman.  The article follows:

This “veteran who wore the Gray” died at his home near Gamewell, Caldwell County, on Tuesday night, December 28th, 1909.

 He seemed through the day to be in his usual health and the call came to him almost without warning.  He was in his 73rd year of his age.

 He leaves his affectionate help-meet widow, and a son, Dr. R. P. Crump, a prominent citizen of Mississippi, also Roy Crump and brother, grandsons, living near Gamewell, to mourn his loss.

In his death, our county loses a good citizen and the Confederate Veterans a brave and faithful comrade.

Sergeant Crump volunteered for the war in 1862 and joined Company H, 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment.  The company was raised in Caldwell County.

His first service was in Tennessee and Kentucky.  In August 1863, the regiment, with other troops of General Buckner’s corps, then occupying East Tennessee, reinforced Bragg’s army near Chattanooga.

On the 19th and 20th of September, following was the great Battle of Chickamauga, in which over thirty thousand men were killed, wounded or captured.

Sergeant Crump’s name was reported on the official list of the casualties as mortally wounded.  He was struck down by three balls, near the enemy’s fortified line, in a charge made by his brigade on their stronghold.  The brigade, being temporarily repulsed, he lay for some time between the contending lines exposed to the fire from both sides.

He had for weeks a hard struggle for life but eventually was restored to health and strength, though was more or less a cripple for life from his wounds.

He was an enthusiastic Confederate Veteran to the day of his death.  These veteran organizations receive no recruits and the ranks are rapidly thinning out.  Soon they will be known in history and it may be said of them:

“On fame’s eternal camping ground

Their silent tents are spread,

And glory guards with solemn round

The bivouac of the dead.”


Sergeant Crump’s death comes very near to the writer, his Captain in 1863, and he feels deeply his personal loss of a brave and trusted comrade and good friend in all these years of war and peace.




As told by Virginia Christmas Silver, wife of Harvey William Silver,
to her daughter, Linda Madge Silver Watford (28 Sep 1947 – 2 Aug 2000)


Hunting season was over.  Here in our neck of the woods, deer season begins the first week of October through the 1st of January.  The menfolk gathered up their gear, all their dirty clothes, said their goodbyes, left the hunting lodge and headed for home.  It had been a good season that winter of 1970 for most of the fellows had bagged at least one deer each.

One of the hunters, Kenneth Moore, had given Harvey a large bag of chestnuts, which he dearly loves.  Harvey was raised in the mountains where plenty of chestnuts could always be found.  However he had never roasted any himself and was totally unaware of  the preparations needed before placing them in the oven.

Upon arriving home, Harvey greeted me with a load of dirty clothes to be washed.  Have you ever smelled a hunter’s dirty clothes?  Wheew, pweh!  Do they smell to high heaven, not from just being dirty but when they get that buck scent on them, the smell can absolutely take away your breath as if they were rolled in something rotten.

I had worked hard all day and was very tired.  So after washing all those smelly clothes, I went to bed.  Harvey took his bath, came to bed and before his head had hit the pillow good he was sawing logs like you never heard before, rumbling the whole bed.

I lay there trying to go to sleep while listening to the hard, steady snores coming from the other side of the bed, when all of a sudden a loud blast was heard that set me on my feet without realizing I had left the bed.  There had been news earlier on the television of an escaped prisoner and for all the people in this area to be on the lookout for the masked shotgun slayer.

I tried to waken Harvey but the snores never stopped.  This man was dead to the world!  Hunting does menfolk that way.  BOOM-BOOM!!!  There went another blast!  I thought, “My Lord, that masked shotgun slayer must be outside my kitchen window!”  All my punchin’,  screamin’, pushin’, pokin’, shoutin’ at Harvey to wake up never disturbed the steady drone of his snoring!

I had an intercom system that ran to both my daughter’s houses so I opened both speakers at once and asked them if they had heard those loud blasts.  Nelleen and Linda both answered, “No Momma” when about that time, BOOM-BOOM-BOOM, there it goes again!  I said, “Did ya’ll hear that”? and they said, “Yes, we’re on our way over, Momma!”

With my fruitful imagination, standing there in the shadows, I thought, “Oh dear God help me, he’s in this house!”  I stumbled to the door and unlocked it for I knew my girls and their husbands were coming to the rescue. They all come in with weapons drawn ready to defend me and Harvey from that killer on the loose.  Harvey snored on oblivious to EVERYTHING in this world except dreaming maybe just of getting one more deer.

At this point I reached for the overhead light switch and at that exact second there was another blast.  We all took cover as the oven door on my cookstove blew open and fell partially, hanging there sideways.  At this point we were all attacked by hard shells and hot meat, not from anyone, rather than those dang chestnuts Harvey had put in the oven, forgot to tell me about it, in fact, he himself forgot about them too.  Now by this time the rest of the chestnuts began exploding, meat going everywhere including the ceiling, walls and floors while we were all throwing up our hands up over our faces and heads trying to dodge all that hot meat and shells.

Finally, silence hit us.  It was deafening.  We looked up and there was Harvey, half asleep in those baggy jommers inquiring, “What is all the fuss about?”  I told him it was those dad-burned chestnuts exploding in the oven and asked him why he didn’t tell me he had put them in there to roast.  He gave me this sheepish grin and then said, “Hoooney, I was so give out from the hunt til I clean forgot about those chestnuts.”

If I had only known, I would have told him that each one of those chestnuts had to be slit before roasting.  The next day Harvey went out and bought us a new stove.  It’s a good thing though that we didn’t have a microwave then or he would have popped them into it.

Can you just imagine THAT big blast.

The 58th North Carolina Regiment, Company K,
and Letters to Folks Back Home

Compiled, Edited and Re-created
By Rex Redmon


These letters will return in July.  Rex and his new bride are taking a well-deserved vacation in the “Old Country”.



John Silver
Genealogist & Editor
64S Fairfield Drive
Dover, DE 19901
[email protected]

Barney Kaufman
7408 Lake Drive
Manassas, VA 20111-1960
[email protected]