SILVER THREADS

VOLUME III

ISSUE No IX

SEPTEMBER 2005

http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~silver/south/newsletter.html

 

Written and Published Online by John Silver

w/contributing articles by various Silver cousins

 


 

Dear Readers, Cousins and Friends,

It is my sad duty to tell you that our grandson, David, died on August 4, 2005.  His battle of fourteen months with leukemia is over.  My son James, mom Robin and Sister Samantha, James’ brothers, Robert, Roger and John, Connie and I want to thank each and every one of you for the prayers you offered in his behalf.

David was bright and cheerful to the end.  He must have endured much pain and misery, but never gave up.  I’m sure that the knowledge of your caring and offered prayers consoled him in the depths of his misery.

From all our family, thank you again. 

Cousin John and Family.

 


 

This story about Allen Schauer, was lovingly written by his son, Dick Schauer, shortly after Allen’s death.  Most of our Schauer cousins settled in the Port Orchard area of Washington.

 

THE CHICKEN HOUSE STORY

 

 This is a story about my Dad and the chicken house.  If you ask Mom about it she will probably deny it but if you ask me I’ll tell you it’s true.

The thing I most remember about my father was his generosity; he was always ready to give you a nickel for an ice cream bar or two bits for a bag of penny candy.  And to me, on occasion, he was just as ready to hand out some advice.

The advice was a half step ahead of Dad’s black belt, normally reserved for the supreme punishment.  Though he wasn’t overweight, Dad’s belt was two inches wide and least eight feet long and could reach across the room to get my brother and me at the same time. Dad was a virtuoso of the belt.  My brother and I had our own skills, however, and we knew just about how far we could push our Mom before she would turn us over to Dad.  Even though we were fleet of foot when it came to dodging whatever Mom had in her hand, when we made her mad we also when to let her catch us and whale away with a stick rather than face Dad’s belt.  Mom was easier to deal with because she was immediately sorry and would comfort you with a few loving words.  Though it was long term she did get her revenge by placing Mom’s Favorite Curse on us: “Someday you’ll have kids of your own and I hope they give you this much trouble.”  She was right, of course.

Dad was pretty loving too and didn’t get after us too often, and by learning quickly what most kids learn sooner or later, that is, how far you can go, we managed not to give Dad too many opportunities to display his skills with the belt.  Nevertheless, when he came over to you, put his hand on your shoulder, and said, “Son,” it was a wise boy who listened.

“Don’t be too quick to point your finger at anyone,” he said.  “If you’re not damn sure then keep your trap shut, or you might be the one to suffer in the end.”

I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about and I didn’t think he knew exactly what he meant either.  I had no idea he was about to give me a real practical demonstration.  It happened one night in the chicken house.

Like most of our neighbors we kept a few chickens for eggs and an occasional chicken dinner.  We kept them in an old ramshackle building just down the hill from the house. Inside the building was a row of nests lined with straw where they would sit at night. At the back there was a hole cut at ground level so the chickens could go out into a small fenced-in yard to scratch in the dirt.  If the building had ever been painted the paint was long gone and the board siding bleached almost white by the sun.  In the summer I used to sit in the grass and lean against the building because I liked the way the weathered boards smelled.  I liked the building but I never cared much for the occupants.  Now chickens, in case you don’t know it, are just about the dumbest critters around.  They don’t have a whole lot more sense than a fuzzy lollipop.  Other than the eggs or the dinners, the only thing they do well is to leave little piles of chicken manure everywhere.  I guess the feeling was mutual because when it was my turn to get the eggs they always protested loudly.  One hen in particular seemed to delight in giving me a peck when I slid my hand under her to see if she had an egg. I called her Bertha. She was the ugliest and nastiest chicken you’ve ever seen, so I wasn’t too upset the day I discovered that she was missing.  But when I counted and found there were two more missing I hightailed it to the house to tell Dad.

“G…D…it!” he said.  Right away he figured it was the neighbor’s new dog.  We had had trouble with a dog once before getting into the chicken house and eating the eggs but as far as I knew none had ever taken a chicken.  Besides, the neighbor’s dog was just a pup and had seemed to be a pretty nice pup to me.  I didn’t think he had been the one to get into the chicken house to invite Bertha out for a midnight snack.

“Maybe it was a weasel?” I suggested to Dad.

He gave me one of his scowls and I knew his mind was made up; the villain was the dog.  My Dad was a real hardhead and once he had set his mind on something you might as well shut up.  I didn’t believe it was the dog and even if it had been, any dog that snatched old Bertha couldn’t be all bad.

Dad jumped into his old truck and disappeared down the driveway leaving an agitated cloud of dust hanging in the air.  Before it had fully settled he was driving back through it and parking the truck under the cherry tree.  When he climbed out, he had a double-barreled shotgun with him.  Uh-oh, I thought, if you show up around here tonight dog, you’re a gone goose.

Over Mom’s protests he fixed a bed on the porch where he was going to sleep that night.  She didn’t protest too much because she knew that grim look of determination on Dad’s face and, as she had often told me, stubbornness was a trait that ran through the Schauer family.  I always thought it was the women they married that brought out the stubbornness.  I talked Dad into letting me sleep on the porch with him, hoping I would somehow be able to save that dog if he did show up.

As soon as it cooled down enough to be comfortable I went to bed, but I was still awake when Dad came out with the shotgun tucked under his arm.  He was wearing his old faded longjohns , the kind he liked to wear at night.  The sleeves came all the way down to his wrists and the legs all the way to the ankles.  They buttoned up the front but had a trapdoor in the back that would unbutton and swing down for those late night trips to the toilet.  With that flap in the back I thought they looked like a kid’s pajamas.  I slept in my shorts.  Dad leaned the shotgun against the wall close to his bedding where he could reach it easy and went right to sleep.  I tried to stay awake but couldn’t and eventually fell asleep too.

The next thing I knew I was waking up to the sound of Dad swearing.

“There’s that s—of a b----!” He was hurrying down the front steps with that shotgun in his hands.

I scrambled out from under the blanket and ran after him.  I caught up with him as he reached the chicken house.

The chickens were kicking up a fuss in there all right.  Dad shushed me with his hand and I knew if that pup was in there he would soon be barking in dog’s heaven.  The front door was still latched so Dad ran around back to the fenced yard with me on his heels.  We both knew that the dog had to come back out that hole into the chicken house.  But Dad wasn’t going to wait; he stepped over the chicken wire, got down on his hands and knees and stuck his head in the hole, pushing the shotgun ahead of him.  Now Dad’s old longjohns had seen a lot of wear and all this jumping hadn’t helped any, when he was half way into the chicken house the last button left holding the trap closed was scraped off on the edge of the hole.  The flap fell open.  There was Dad, half in and half out of the chicken house, with his bare behind sticking out in the moonlight.  Then the neighbor’s dog showed up to see what all the commotion was all about.

I tried to tell Dad that the dog was out here and not in there but he stuck his hand back out and waved be quiet.  I knew better than to argue with Dad so I kept my mouth shut.  But that dog was another matter; he saw this bare butt sticking out of the hole and a friendly hand waving at him. So he decided to get acquainted. Like dogs do, he zeroed in on dad and planted his sniffer square in the middle of Dad’s behind. Dad let out a holler like I’d never heard before and lunged forward in the chicken house, landing smack in the chicken manure under the roost.  Both barrels of the shotgun went off blowing a big hole in the side of the chicken house.  Chickens flew squawking in all directions and I thought I saw a long slim shape zip through the new hole made by the shotgun.  The dog wisely disappeared in the other direction.

Dad came out of that hole swearing a blue cloud that I’m sure scorched the inside of the chicken house and to this day is still hanging in the air over Port Orchard.  He didn’t stop until we had reached the house.  The sight of Mom standing on the front steps finally slowed him down.

“What was all that racket?” she asked.  “What were you doing down there?”

“Not a G---d-----d thing,”  Dad glared back at her.  “There’s nothing going on!”

Mom didn’t say any more.  She knew that Dad wasn’t going to tell her and she could get the story out of me later anyway.  She wouldn’t let him in the house though until he had stripped out of those dirty longjohns and washed at the outside faucet.  Watching my Dad washing off the chicken manure in the moonlight, I remember his words: “Don’t be too quick to point your finger.  Don’t accuse unless you are sure or you may be the one to get it in the end.”

My Dad sure knew what he was talking about.

Oh yeah, we had company for dinner that weekend.  When the shotgun went off it killed four chickens.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > Rev. Jacob Silver > Alfred Leonard Silver > John Silver > Sarah Roseanne Silver m. William Albert Schauer > William Allen Schauer > Richard Allen Schauer.)


 

The 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Company “K”

& Civil War Letters to Folks Back Home

by Rex H. Redmon

 

Hello Cousins,

Three months have come and gone since I last wrote about the North Carolina 58th Infantry Regiment of Mitchell County and I think it’s time we rejoined our Gouge and Silver Cousins to see what is taking place on the battlefields of East Tennessee.

My last publication about the 58th North Carolina in May left the men of Company K in bivouac at Big Gap Creek in Eastern Tennessee. Big Gap Creek is known today as LaFollette, which is located near the town of Jacksboro.

To refresh your memory, “K” Company was relieved from defending the Cumberland Gap area by the 60th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. The 58th was ordered to return to Big Gap Creek and stand-down while waiting further orders. In an ensuing battle at Cumberland Gap, many members of the North Carolina 60th, that was made up of men from Yancey and surrounding counties, were either killed or taken prisoner by Northern Aggressors. As a result of the reassignment of the 58th North Carolina again to Big Gap Creek, many lives of Mitchell County men were spared.

While in bivouac at Big Creek Gap, Garrett Dawes Gouge wrote the following letter to his wife, Rosanah Wilson-Gouge.

 

Direct your letters to Knoxville, Campbell County
Aug. 15, 1863

Dear Wife:

I will drop you a few lines to let you know I am well and hearty.

I hope this letter will come to hand and find you and the children well and enjoying good health. I received a letter from you last Saturday and was glad to hear you were well.

Rosanah, I want to see you and the children and hope the time will come when I can come home and stay with you and weigh two pounds more than I ever did.   

Rosanah, if anyone comes around with the thresher; I want you to get them to thrash your wheat.

Rosanah, we have got so far from the railroad, I think you had better stay home. I am in hope I will get to come home this fall.

Write to me how much you weigh. Tell Anderson to be a good boy until I come home and be good to his grandfather and grandmother.

Rosanah, I have got a book here that I will send Anderson when I have the opportunity.

I will close my letter for this time. Farewell.  

G.D. Gouge to Rosanah Gouge

 

            As you will probably note, Garrett talks very little about his military duties and the battles in which he and Company K have engaged. Censorship by officers, who read the majority of the letters, played a major roll in restricting soldiers as to what they could and could not write. However, Garrett’s next letter to Rosanah on September 29 does go into some detail about past activities of the 58th. But first, lets again look to see what is going on in the ranks of the 58th.

The date is August 22, 1863 and the North Carolina 58th is leaving Big Creek Gap where they have been standing down for two weeks. They are again in route to Jacksborough where they arrived that evening. Early the next morning, about four o’clock, Colonel Palmer moved the 58th to Campbell’s Station which was reached at ten o’clock P.M. after a long days march. According to Jeffery Weaver in his manuscript, 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Company K, mess cooks were busy all night preparing rations for, anticipated movements over the next few days.[1]

That anticipated movement of the Army of Tennessee was actually a retreat movement in the direction of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The retreat eventually led to Chickamauga where one of the most famous and bloodiest battles of the War of Northern Aggression and of Southern Independence occurred. According to Weaver, the diary of J.W. Duggan of Watauga County, North Carolina, noted the 58th Took up their line of march for Lenoir’s Station arriving that same day. Duggan continues with the following statement:

Stayed at Lenoir’s four days lay in line of battle two days. Retired from Lenoir’s Station the 29th of August at four o’clock in the afternoon and arrived Loudon that night at eleven o’clock. Started next morning at five o’clock and marched twelve miles and took up camp near Sweet Water, Tennessee. About eight o’clock were ordered to fall in line in ten minutes. Marched four miles to Riceville, Tennessee and camped until about five o’clock. Before day next morning started and marched past Charlestown six miles and camped at a large spring about two o’clock. Remained there and went on picket line that night. Next day, Sept. the 3rd, started at twelve and marched until one that night and camped at Georgetown, Tennessee[2].

 

Captain Isaac H. Bailey, commander of Company B, 58th North Carolina, records he had been ordered to Richmond, Virginia for supplies for the 58th North Carolina. He says he left the main army upon their arrival at Chattanooga and headed north toward Richmond by the quickest and most convenient route. Upon his return to East Tennessee he was cut off from joining the 58th North Carolina because Tennessee had fallen to the Union Army. Knoxville, at least was in the hands of the Union Army by September of 1863. Bailey however did return to his unit by way of North and South Carolina and was in garrison at Lafollette, Tennessee, on September 18, 1863.[3]


 

(The Fall of Tennessee)

(What then did lead to the eventual fall of Tennessee?)

 

According to Weaver, The 58th North Carolina reached General Bragg’s Army of Tennessee at Ringgold Gap, Georgia, just across the Tennessee-Georgia state line, on September 9, 1863 as reinforcements. In retreat, they had burned the bridge across the Tennessee River at Loudon, plus all other strategic bridges they crossed as they retreated to Chattanooga from Knoxville. Colonel John Frazier was surrounded at Cumberland Gap; Major General Sam Jones at Abingdon was attempting to gather enough men to relieve Cumberland Gap, but was unsuccessful. It was too late; the Gap under Frazier unconditionally surrendered on the 9th of September as Bragg was retreating south to Chattanooga. Confederates, busy blaming each other for the disaster, overlooked the key problem for Cumberland Gap and the Army of the Tennessee. The problem was the fall of Vicksburg which freed thousands of Union soldiers for other campaigns in Tennessee and eventually other points deeper in Dixie.

General Bragg, the Brigade’s commander, rallied his army to his side and told them he had lost Tennessee for the Confederacy. He talked of his retreat from Knoxville and how he had offered battle to the enemy on every front and saying, they (the enemy) had always failed to make the attack and now retired before him at all points. We shall now turn on the enemy in the direction of Chattanooga, where in the providence of God, we will lead this army to victory, and some to death. However, to do so, he must rally his command through reorganization.

A new brigade was immediately formed consisting of the 58th North Carolina, the 5th Kentucky, the 65th Georgia and the 63rd Virginia. The 58th North Carolina welcomed the reorganization and were happy to serve the rest of the war with the 63rd Virginia; men who were relatives, neighbors and friends with only a state line separating them. 

Bailey continues his story at this point by saying he vividly remembers the long dusty columns that were drawn up, ready to march. The clothes of men were in rags, and their feet bare; but their faces were bright and their bayonets glittering. Orders were issued for the men not to cheer as they passed before their officers for fear of attracting the enemy’s attention. They took off their ragged old hats and waved them around their heads states Bailey. He says, the silent greeting seemed to touch the great generals greatly. I shall never forget the long shadows made by the declining sun against the marching men that evening, he concludes.

Some forty years later in 1901 from his home in Bakersville, North Carolina, Captain Bailey wrote of the events leading up to the Battle of Chickamauga.  

Approaching Chickamauga, the brigade, including the 58th, discovered Union soldiers in a large corn field. Bailey remembers the 58th disbursed rapidly along a battle line in front and to the left of the Union soldiers. A brisk skirmish followed and continued well until after the sun set. After dark, both armies bivouacked for the remainder of the night without the benefit of fires. Bailey says on the morning of the 19th of September, at a very early hour, just as soon as you could distinguish the blue from the gray, the whole army was put into position as far as you could see.       

 

Bailey next describes the temperament of the approaching battle.

Our Brigade was formed at the upper side of a wheat field, forty yards below the fence and woods that ran parallel with our division. After remaining in the line for about forty-five minutes the command was given: `Unfurl Your Banners.’ At this moment the sun broke forth, dispelling the fog, and as our banners floated out on the breeze, the Federals commenced playing `Yankee Doodle’ and moved eastward on an almost parallel line as ours. Almost immediately we were ordered to march in a parallel direction, the enemy inclining to the right and to the left.

 

The field of battle extended from Chickamauga Creek to Missionary Ridge. General Bragg had moved his men to that line on the morning of the 18th of September, 1863 to meet the Union army. Chickamauga, an Indian name meaning, a dwelling place for the war chief, later became known as, The River of Death by Civil War historians.

A letter postmarked September 29, 1863 by Garrett Dawes Gouge to his wife Rosanah records Garrett’s memories of events in and around Chickamauga. That letter follows.

Camp near Chattanooga
Sept. 29, 1863

Mrs. Rosanah Gouge, my dear companion:

I am glad that I am permitted to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am not well. I have been unwell for two weeks but I have not been past doing duty until the last day or two.  I am going to the hospital this morning until I get better.  I don’t think the water agrees with me in this country.  I have the diarrhea all the time.  I have got very weak.

I can inform you that we have had a very hard time since you have heard from me.  We have been on a march most of the time until the 18th to this instant.  We were formed into a line of battle and we lay in a line all night near the Chickamauga River in Georgia.  On the morning of the 19th, we crossed the river and formed a line of battle and heavy skirmishing began early in the morning and by half past eight o’clock, they were in a close fight and fought until after dark.

Sunday, the 20th, the fight began to rage by 9 o’clock and we were held as a reserve until half past three o’clock.  We were then marched into the heaviest of the fight and fought until after dark.  The enemy then fled before us and three regiments of the enemy surrendered to us and the fight ended.  We lay all night on the battle field.

“On” Monday morning all was calm only the terrible groans of the wounded which were heard in every direction.  I don’t know the loss on either side but it was terrible.  I think the enemy lost two to our one in killed and wounded and prisoners.  I don’t think they took but a few of our men prisoners.

I am sorry to tell you of losing so many of our good friends.  Benjamin Willis and Wyatt Wood were killed dead on the field. There were 37 of our regiment killed and 132 wounded. 

I will have to close.  I am so unwell I cannot write all I wish to. 

We are in sight of the Yankees.  They are at Chattanooga and we are within a mile and a half of town, but all is quiet now. 

You wrote to know what to do with your cow.  You can kill her, sell her, or keep her.  Do just as you please and what you think is best and I will be satisfied.

L. D. Silver (Levi Deweese) is well and came through the fight safe and sends you and his grandfather’s folks his love and respect. Tilman Silver is well also.  Rosanah, give your mother’s folks and father’s folks my respects.  I will close.  When you write, direct your letter to Dalton, Georgia, Company K, 58 North Carolina Regiment.  Write soon – fail not.  Do the best you can.  Yours only,

G. D. Gouge to Rosanah Gouge

 

We see now the tide in the War of Northern Aggression and Southern Independence has turned in favor of the Union forces. Tennessee has been lost to the Union Army. With their backs to the wall, the Confederate forces, and our many cousins from Western North Carolina including Mitchell County, of the former Army of Tennessee lay along the Chickamauga River in battle formation with high hopes of keeping the Federals from invading further into the Deep South.

October’s Silver Threads newsletter will continue to play out this exciting drama to its conclusion as I also continue to bring you exciting letters to home from cousins located in the battlefields of the Confederacy.

 

Aye Yours … Cousin Rex Redmon

 


 

OBITUARIES:

 

Helen Silver laws

 

Gaston Gazette
Gastonia, Gaston Co., NC
July 26, 2005

KINGS MOUNTAIN – Helen Silver Laws, 70, of 2035 Sparrow Springs Road, died July 24, 2005, at White Oak Manor, Kings Mountain.  She was born October 28, 1934, in Caroleen, NC, daughter of the late Rufus and Zennie Haynes Hollifield Silver.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Lloyd L. Laws and her brother, Lawrence Silver.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Ann Laws of Blacksburg; daughters and sons-in-law, Janet and Jack Postell of Kings Mountain, Joan and Ken Kirby of Gastonia; sister and brother-in-law, Gloria and Bobby Bryant of Rutherford County; grandchildren, Niki Sadler, Travis Gray, Amanda Jackson, Emily Postell and Christopher Postell;  great-grandchildren, Noah Sadler, Hannah Patton, Trinity Gray and Jack Jackson.

She was a member of Crowders Mountain Baptist Church where she was the pianist for several years.  She retired from the Western Auto Distribution Center in 1994. She was devoted to God, her family and her church.

Visitation will be tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Green Funeral Service, West Chapel in Belmont.

The funeral will be held on Wednesday, 2 p.m. at Crowder’s Mountain Baptist Church. Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Belmont, Gaston Co., North Carolina. Reverend Larry Laws will officiate.

Pallbearers will be Travis Gray, Christopher Postell, Jay Jackson, Jack Postell, Steve Braswell and Dennis Martin.

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > John Jackson Silver > Levi B. Silver > Francis M. “Francie” Silver > Rufus Silver > Helen Silver m. Lloyd L. Laws.)

 


 

John Silver
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[1] (Manuscript) 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Jeffery Weaver. 1995. 1997. Arlington, Virginia

[2] ibid

[3] Diary of Isaac H. Bailey. Courtesy of Watauga Genealogical Society.  (58th North Carolina Infantry Regimen. Jeffery Weaver. 1995. 1997. Arlington, Virginia. .