JuLY 2005


Written and Published Online by John Silver

w/contributing articles by various Silver cousins


Happy Independence Day!


Here we go into a hopefully long hot summer.  I know. I know, I talk about the weather yet I never do anything about it!  Just don’t have the time right now.  But, I do love my warm weather!  This old southern boy needs his sunshine!

[WM: Barney is a Yankee and a Buckeye … the heat is killing him!]

I hope everyone intends to go to the Silver Family Reunion at Kona on the 23rd and 24th of July 2005.  Come on out and meet those cousins you have not seen in a long time! There’ll be a lot of handshakin’ and a lot of backslappin’ going on!  Be sure to get your Kona T-Shirts while they last.




Author Maxine McCall, a native of Burke County, is a “keeper of legends” in Western North Carolina. Her interest in preserving local history was inspired by her high school principal, Harry L. Hallyburton and Dr. Cratis Williams, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of English at Appalachian State University.  Holding degrees from Appalachian, she served the Burke County Schools as a teacher and then Coordinator for Language Arts, Foreign Languages and Gifted Programs.  On occasion she teaches English Classes at Western Piedmont Community College.  An ordained Minister, she served for twenty years as Area Administrator for the Churches of God (Anderson, IN) in North Carolina.

In addition to They Won’t Hang a Woman, she has written What Mean These Stones? and Etched in Granite (centennial histories of the North Carolina towns of Valdese and Granite Falls respectively), and Guide to the Trail of Faith (a guidebook about Waldensian monuments in Valdese, NC).  She was editor and graphic designer for Silver Wings and a Gold Star (the story of Burke County native Robert Daves and the 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion in World War II).  Other books to her credit are Posthumously, Berk (a co-authored biography of world evangelist Maurice Berquist) and A Handful of Stars (a study in homiletics based on seminars led by renowned preachers Maurice Berquist and Gerald Marvel).

The first edition of They Won’t Hang a Woman, written in 1972 for use of students in the Burke County schools, has been out of print for many years.  Of that work, Wayne Silver once said to Maxine, “We loved your book.  Of all the people have written about Frankie, you are the only one who gave her a chance.”  Prior to 1972, little had been written about Frankie to suggest that Charlie’s death may not have been an act of cold-blooded murder and that her execution may have been a miscarriage of justice.

In addition to Maxine’s original story, the new edition of They Won’t Hang a Woman (called “The Heritage Edition”) contains new illustrations by Burke County artist Jackie Deaton, an expanded appendix with additional information and photographs relating to the legend, and Cheryl Oxford’s adaptation of They Won’t Hang a Woman for theater.  The Heritage Edition is dedicated to Wayne Silver.


I’ve received several e-mails from our cousins this past two weeks.  Karyl Hubbard is a cousin, a steady writer and friend.  She always has an interesting story for us.  John Silver Harris sent another article that is always very interesting.  Matter of fact, he sent three articles this time! Thanks to both Karyl and Johnny.

Cousin Rex’s computer is still, “broke.” So, we will have to wait for a continuation of Civil War stories until next month.  I talked to Rex yesterday and he says that he and Margaret had a most wonderful trip to Scotland and Ireland.  I’m sure he will let us in on what happened at a later date.

Cousin S.T. Silver wrote stating that he would be unable to attend the reunion this year.  He is completely worn out from all the traveling and visiting in the spring. A Graduation at Duke, a Shell Oil reunion that he put together in Asheville, the Silver Family Reunion at Old Fort, Tennessee and then several pop calls to renew friendships with friends that he grew up with in the 40’ across Tennessee and Georgia. And besides that, he has to finish painting his house.  Hopefully we’ll see Jean and him at next year’s reunion at Kona.

From Karyl Hubbard.  (I had told her how much I enjoyed last month’s article.)  Thanks for the kind words, cousin.  Too bad not all my relatives are Silvers!  I’m working on getting a storybook together for my kids.  Aim to finish fifty tales by Christmas.  One of the stories I’m working on I may send to you, even if it’s not strictly a “Silver” one. A line on my great aunt Elizabeth Sullivan Wickersham Rieker Polley caught my eye and I’m working at putting flesh on it: “the family came to the area in 1864 with a wagon and team consisting of one horse and one ox.”  What a picture!  And one of the family was Nancy Sullivan Silver.  Close Enough, I guess.

Tell the weather to ease up before I get there, please.  My cousin Kae in Elmira (NY), who is on my “to visit” list tells me that she’s still hiding in the cellar, and it’s getting sticky there.

Annie’s paragraph came from the insert in her memorial program.  There is more official obit on line, from the Henderson, Kansas, newspaper, if it would be easier for you to work with.  I’m so glad I had a chance to get to know her last fall.

Anyhow.  Here’s my grandfather.




My grandfather, Ira G. Silver, (Isaac > Rev. Edward > George III) known as “Baba” to all the grandchildren, was a great lover of the outdoors.  He liked to camp, hike and fish, and took every available opportunity to go up to the mountains or out to the beach. These outings usually included at least some of the other members of the family.

One summer, shortly after World War Two ended and gas rationing with it, Baba and Gigi and my parents, plus their kids, took the two little house trailers  up to Idlewild for a week.  Idlewild is a resort area on the south side of San Jacinto Mountain in Southern California.  It was still pretty rustic in 1947.  I remember clearly getting taken to my first play in an outdoor amphitheater there.  Also building ‘forests’ of pinecones and lying awake listening to owls and coyotes and other things that went bump in the night.

But most of all, I remember Baba’s determination to tame a squirrel.  He had a pocketful of peanuts and endless patience.  He started out lying in a hammock and placing a peanut on the ground near his feet.  The blue jays caught on quickly and in two days and would hop up and grab a peanut from his fingers and fly up into the trees to eat their treasures and sit and wait for the opportunity to get more.  But the squirrels were more elusive.  They would pick up the peanuts on the ground and moved closer to Baba’s head as he moved the peanuts, a little at a time.  They learned to beat the jays to most of them.  But try as he might, he couldn’t get the little creatures to climb up on the hammock.  They were not about to trust even a human who could lie as still as a stone and not make a move to chase them.  Baba was about to give up but he still enjoyed feeding the jays and watching the squirrels.

One lazy afternoon he got a little tired.  So, pocketful of peanuts and waiting jays and all, he dropped off to sleep.  Mom and I were sitting on the other side of the camp reading.  Grammie was taking a nap in their trailer and Dad and my brothers were off on an all day hike.  Baba lay in his hammock snoring gently.

Mom glanced up and quietly alerted me.   There, poised over the hammock, looking at the bonanza of peanuts in Baba’s pocket was a squirrel.  We watched with bated breath as the little creature crept closer and closer to his desired treasure.  Baba continued to snore.  The squirrel came a little bit closer.  Baba snored louder, the squirrel jumped back.  Baba quieted down, the squirrel came back.  Soon he was on the hammock.  But, oh, those peanuts, still just out of his reach in that shirt pocket.  Would he or wouldn’t he?  Finally, very bravely, he stepped on Baba’s chest.  And apparently tickled the sleeper.  Baba jumped up, swished his arm and came awake swearing, “those *!%# flies.” And then woke up fully and realized what he’d done!

Needless to say, he never got another squirrel that close to him again.  And we all laughed until our sides ached.  And made sure that an ample supply of peanuts was left on the ground for the poor squirrel, who was probably scared to death and went back to his friends in the pines with a horrible story to tell about the monster in the hammock.


Dear John,

I just got word from my cousin Dale that Annie Sidener Baker Honshu died on the 27th of May.  She was 97 and was one of Emma Silver Sidener’s eleven (Emma > Isaac > Rev. Edward > George III ). I’m attaching the note from her memorial service.

Annie was one of the remaining Sidener children.  I had the pleasure of meeting her last fall, along with her sisters, Dorothy and Elfie.  Elfie is 104 and her mind is almost gone, but she still gets around.  Dorothy is the baby, only 89.  Their brother, Lon, whom I knew quite well, died at 93 two years ago.  Annie said, when we met, that “none of the boys had any staying power!”

I hope all is well in Delaware.

Yours, Karyl





Anna E. “Baker” Hanschu was born February 21, 1908 in Chase County, Kansas.  She was the eighth of eleven children of Charles and Emma (Silver) Sidener.  She grew up in the Wonsevu area where she attended grade school and later went to Burns High School.

In 1932 she married Marshall W. Baker and joined him in farming and ranching in Wonsevu.  Nephews and friends often stayed with them for the summer months to help with the farming.  Their home was always open to friends and was a regular meeting place on weekends for their many relatives.

Anna was active in the Wonsevu Ladies Aid and in the Chase County 4-H,  where she enjoyed helping kids with their projects.  She was often called upon to care for new mothers with their babies and was known for her perms and haircuts to area neighbors.

After Marshall’s death in 1963 she moved to the Marion County Lake to work for her nephew, Dale Snelling, and to be closer to her mother, Emma Sidener and her two sisters, Elfie Switzer and Dorothy Snelling Wilson.

In 1974, she married David Hanschu Sr. and they made their home at the Marion County Lake.  He died in 1976.  She continued to live at the lake and enjoyed fishing on the lake and in the heated dock.  She was an avid bingo player.

In 1987 she moved into the September Apartments and lived there for 18 years until her health started failing, at which time she moved to the Marion Manor, where she died on May 27, 2005.

She is survived by two sisters, Elfie Switzer of Marion and Dorothy Wilson and husband Woody of Potwin.  She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and long time friends.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > George Silver III > Rev. Edward Silver > Isaac Silver > Emma Jane Silver m. Charles M. Sidener.


Another cousin and friend passed away in May 2005.


Wilma Silver Rhew


Citizen Times of Asheville, NC
June 1, 2005
Cherryville, NC

Wilma Silver Rhew, 65, of 133 Suncrest Road, Cherryville, formerly of Asheville, died Tuesday, May 31, 2005 in the Gaston Memorial Hospital.

She was born September 30, 1939 in Asheville, a daughter of the late William Arlon and Thelma Wyatt Silver.  Mrs. Rhew was a twenty year member of the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and partner with her husband in DFF Inc., (Diversified Fiberglass Fabricators of Cherryville).

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by a brother, Jamie Silver.

Survivors include her husband of forty-nine years, William “Bill” Rhew;  daughter, Belinda Martin of Cherryville;  son, William “Bill” Rhew II and wife Leslie of Yadkinville;  grandchildren, Ashley Martin and Natasha Alexander, both of Cherryville, Lauren, Alex and William Rhew III, all of Yadkinville; Mick Silver of Cherryville; great-grandchildren, Sierra Alexander of Cherryville, and Michael Lamar  Silver III of Cherryville;  three brothers, Frank Silver of Clemont, GA, Bud Silver of Crouse and Mike Silver of Cherryville.

The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church with the Reverend Leroy Trexler officiating.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Carpenter’s Funeral Home, Cherryville and at other times at the home.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of Lincoln County, 107 Cedar Street, Lincolnton Co., North Carolina.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Reverend Jacob Silver > Alfred Leonard Silver > Tilman Blalock Silver > Edward Johnson Silver > George Dewey Silver > Wilma Sarah Ann Silver m. William Lamar “Bill” Rhew.


The following four articles were sent by John Silver Harris:


Coffey’s General Store Featured


Voice of the Foothills Weekly Journal,
Morganton, NC.
April 13, 2005.

Another Caldwell Landmark will be featured in Our State of North Carolina for March.

An article titled “Painted Places of NC” features a painting of Coffey’s General Store by Mel Steele entitled “General Mercantile.”

Coffey’s General Store has long been a centerpiece of the Edgemont community in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest.  The general store once served as a post office, tax listing station, Army recruitment point, and the store had the only telephone up until the 1970s.  The store has gone through many hands, but Archie Coffey, one of the fondest postmasters, took over the store prior to 1936 and operated it until his death in 1986.

In a 1978 article from the Hickory Daily Record, Archie stated that the store “brought the whole community together” and the post office served as a venue for people to gather.  “The main point is the people would gather for the mail on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  It was like the Army, like mail call,” Coffey remarked in 1978.

The store contains a collection of antiques, original store features and photographs of Mortimer and Edgemont from the early 1900s.  Visitors enjoy the galvanized metal roof, the relaxing benches and an ice-cold cola with a pack of “nickel candy.”

Since before 1895, Coffey’s General Store has survived several floods and economic downturns, but it remains a reminder of simpler times.  The store is open on weekends during the spring, summer and fall months from Friday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm, and on Sundays from 1 – 5 pm.

Directions:  From Brown Mountain Beach Road (past the Wilson Creek Visitor Center), take a left onto Highway 90.  Coffey’s General Store is 2.5 miles on the left.

(Note from John Silver Harris: Archie Coffey and his wife, Bunea Adaline Silver Coffey, operated this store, until she died in 1985.  Archie remarried and died the following year, 1986.)

Beuna Silver’s line: George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Alfred Leonard Silver > John Silver > David Alonzo Silver > Beuna Adeline Silver m. Archie Roosevelt Coffey.


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.” (see page 53 in my book).

The obituary was written by Colonel G.W.F. Harper in the Lenoir, N.C. News of December 31, 1909.  Harper had been Crump’s captain 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 Pitman.  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 during the day to be in his usual health and the call came to him almost without warning.  He was in the 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 Co. H, 58th N.C. Reg’t.  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 fought 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 his life but eventually 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 then it will 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 this 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.





By Brianne E. Boykin
The News Herald
Wednesday, June 8, 2005

MORGANTON – Howard Williams spent almost 40 years searching for Frankie Silver. For the first 20, he researched her life and the lives she touched.

He scoured documents and newspaper articles about the young Burke County woman, tried and executed in 1832 for the murder of her husband.  He conducted numerous interviews in and around Kona, where Frankie lived with husband Charlie.  He read books and pamphlets, visited cemeteries and graves.  He took pictures of broken rock fireplaces, supposedly the remains of Frankie and Charlie’s home.

In 1988, his work came to fruition.  He wrote a play – his version of the legend deduced from two decades of research.

Williams spent part of this year still searching for Frankie as he held numerous auditions to cast her role in the Morganton Production of his play.

Monday night, Williams found his Frankie, a 17-year-old Kelsey Sewell from Marion.

Williams said part of the reason Frankie was so hard to cast is because he can picture her in his mind.

It is rare to find a description of someone who lived 173 years ago. But Williams said Charlie’s brother Alfred gave descriptions of Frankie and Charlie in a 1909 interview. “Alfred described Frankie as ‘ a mighty likely little woman,’” Williams said. “ ’ She had fair skin, bright eyes and was counted very pretty.  She had charms.  I never saw a smarter little woman.  She could card and spin her three yards of cotton a day on a big wheel.’”

Williams took the description literally and pictured Frankie as a petite woman. He had the stage version of Charlie making fun of Frankie for being small and pregnant.

In 1993, Williams faced the same problems finding actors for the leads when he directed the play at Brewster-Parker College, where he taught theater. In the past, people in their thirties and forties played Frankie and Charlie.  This time Williams wanted to do things differently, casting the roles with as much historical accuracy as possible.  The role of Charlie has yet to be filled.

“Alfred described Charlie as strong, healthy, good-looking and agreeable,” Williams said.  “He was a popular man, a man’s man, an outdoorsman.”

Through his research, Williams discovered that Charlie played five musical instruments.  He wants to cast a Charlie who can play a traditional song on the guitar or fiddle.

Williams knew that he wanted Charlie to be tall, but after casting Frankie he knows that Charlie must be 5 feet, 10 inches or taller.

“Part of the problem comes from not having enough men willing to try out for the role,” Williams said.  “We had three times as many women as men audition.”

The Legend of Frankie Silver” will be presented at CoMMA October 7, 8 and 9.

After 40 years, Williams has his Frankie Silver.  He is still searching for Charlie.




The drama THE LEGEND OF FRANKIE SILVER had its world premiere production at Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Georgia in 1993.  There it played to standing room only for three performances.  Now The Frankie Foundation is bringing it to Morganton and Burke County where most of the events of the story took place.  Here are some of the comments about the first production:

Claude Williams of Morganton affirmed that it was the best play he has ever seen.  Hazel Goode of Winston-Salem, NC, said that this play should be my legacy to the world.  A mother from Vidalia, Georgia stated that the play kept her son’s attention for the entire performance.  Another parent said her boys talked about the performance all the next day.

Playwright’s Comments:

The Frankie Silver play that I have written is closer to the facts than some of the other dramatic versions of the story.  I have used the actual names who are part of the oral tradition and history.  For example, the witnesses I use in the trial scene are among the witnesses listed in the Court records.  I have added a few wives for the historical men to give some balance to the play.  This version of the dramatic story includes a love scene between Frankie and Charlie, a fight scene between them, a love scene between Charlie and one of his girl friends, a Conjure man scene, a search scene, an escape scene and a hanging scene.  I features a disappearance of husband who was never found and the mystery of what happened to him.  Did he drown?  Did he freeze to death in the snow?  Did he go off into the wilderness of Kentucky and never return?  Was he killed by his wife?  If so, was it an accident?  Or was it premeditated murder?  Did he beat her?  Was she bent on revenge? Perhaps we will never know.  As a dramatist, I have the privilege of telling the story the way I think it happened.  Come to the show and see what you think.


Howard Williams, Playwright.

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 August.  Rex’s computer grew jealous of the vacation that he and his wife took last month and decided to take one of its own.



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

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