APRIL 2006


Written and Published Online by John Silver

w/contributing articles by various Silver cousins



Greetings to our many kinsmen and friends.


Spring is just around the corner so we can all look forward to the yard work. The aching backs, sore muscles and ragged tempers let us know that we are alive and happy!

I've selected some of our Silver Family history for this month. John Silver Harris wrote this article and I admire his style. Johnny is a regular contributor. So, read and enjoy.

Rex is here again with his great articles and Barney will try to get all this into a readable condition. These guys are terrific and I think they all need a pay raise.

Cousin John



Mary Belle Silver Ray  1891-1994


By John Silver Harris


Mary Belle Silver Rogers Cabe Ray (affectionately known as “Aunt Belle”) died May 10, 1994, in Bell Arbor Nursing Home, Macon, Georgia, at age 103.

She was born February 18, 1891 in Old Fort, McDowell Co., NC, a daughter of John and Mary Virginia Hicks Silver.

She attended Curtis Creek and Mills River Academies and was a member of the Horseshoe Baptist Church near Hendersonville, NC, where she lived for 84 years.

Survivors include an adopted son, John L. Rogers, of Hendersonville, nine grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; 16 great-great-grandchildren; two great-great-great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews.

Her funeral was held May 14 at Shepherd’s Church Street Chapel, Hendersonville, with the Reverend Paul Elder officiating.

Burial was in the Campground Cemetery.

Donations in her memory were given to Gideon’s International.

Among those attending her funeral were:

·         Grandson James J. “Jim” Williams and his wife Norma, of Macon, Georgia, with whom she had made her home in later years before entering the nursing home.

·         Adopted son, John L. Rogers.

·         Children of her late sister, Maggie Silver Bradley: Bertha Heatherly, Bessie Fisher, Georgia and Gordon Bradley and Gladys Gibbs.

·         Children of her late brother Jim Silver: Roy Silver and Iris Oliver.

·         Daughter of her late brother Listenbury: Mary Margaret Silver.

·         Daughter of her late brother John Young Silver: Bonnie Proffitt.

·         Son of her late brother David Alonzo Silver: H. Lee Silver (accompanied by grandson Jonathan Saulman).

·         Daughters of her late sister, Rosie Silver Schauer: Lois Mueller and Vivian Buffington.



Memories of Belle Silver Ray


(Mary Belle Silver Ray, known to most of us as “Aunt Belle,” passed her 100 year mark on February 18, 1991.

(She is the sole survivor of her generation and the oldest living Silver that we know of as this is written.

(Aunt Belle was the 13th of the 15 children of John (1844–1934) and Mary Virginia Hicks Silver (1852–1931)

(The following are her memories told to grand-nephew John Silver Harris and his wife Merlin when they visited with her in September, 1989, in Macon, Georgia, where she lived with grandson Jim Williams and his wife Norma in their lovely lakeside home.  At this time she was one of the very few remaining children of Confederate veterans.  And as an eyewitness to a century, her memories permit us to peer farther into the past than we otherwise could do to gain insight into our family history and heritage.

–- John Silver Harris, April 1991.)


Early Life Near Old Fort


I was born February 18, 1891 when my parents and their children were living in the old log house behind the new house built the following year, 1892, on Curtis Creek near Old Fort, NC.

When my father, John, Colonel Sam and another man finished the new house; we kept the old log house and used it as a kitchen. A breeze-way connected with the new house.

We cooked and ate in the old log house as long as we were there.

When we sold the house and 180 plus acres to the A.L. Beech family of Charlotte in 1905, father sold them the lumber to build a kitchen.  But they didn’t do it.  They took our family room and made a dining room out of it and made a kitchen out of the old fruit house at the end of the house.

Mr. Beech had over 400 stands of bees and he was looking for a place in the mountains where he could raise them and produce honey.

When we lived there my father had a big apple orchard up on Curtis Creek.

Uncles Jake, Jim, Alex, William and Jesse all lived around us. William and Jesse were small men. Jesse later went to the cotton mills at Caroleen, NC.

The old people would bring horses from Mitchell County and stay overnight with us and then go on into Marion.

At the end of the field near our house on Curtis Creek was the old log school.  It sat at the foot of a hill down from our old Silver family cemetery.  It never had a name, we just called it, “The Old Log Schoolhouse.”  It was used for every purpose; church, Sunday School and classes.

My father first worked in the mica mines at Bakersville until that went out.  Then saw milling came in and he learned to be a sawyer. That was the most skilled job at the mill and paid the best money.  He also taught others and all my brothers.  They all did well in the lumbering business.  In those days it was the best money to be made.

Brother Jim was crippled from a rattlesnake bite, so he learned how to scale a log and tell how much lumber would come out of it.

We had fifteen kids in our family, but we always had even more because maw and paw were always taking in others.

Brother Stokes was just across the creek from us. After he and his wife died, we took in their kids.

When my mother’s sister, Aunt Dora Hollifield, and family decided to move from Marion to Georgia, their son, Lida, who was about fourteen or fifteen, didn’t want to go with them.  So, he came over and asked: “Aunt Mary, can I stay with you?” So, he stayed with us.

And I remember another boy, about 14, showed up at our door one day, all wet, and hadn’t eaten for two days.  He had run away and laid out for two weeks. So we took him in.  That was Scott Wright.  He stayed with us until he joined the Army.  Then he married and moved on.  When he was 24, he came back to visit us, with his wife and two children.  He said he was doing well and had a nice home.

Alfred L. Silver (1816-1905), Grandpa Silver as we called him, was old when I first remember him.  He was a tall slender man with a long beard.

He and Aunt Sally (Alfred’s second wife, Sarah Eliza Chandler, whom he married in 1861) lived and farmed on the head of Curtis Creek for years then they went to Crooked Creek. 

In later years, they got feeble and couldn’t care for themselves.  Father said that if they’d come and live with us, he’d give them the best room in the house and fix it up for them.  So they did and lived with us for several years.

Grandpa Silver would lay in the bed all God-blessed day and every little bit he would call Ma and tell her that he was going to die.  I remember once that he told mama that he’d be dead before 10 o’clock that day. Later she came to the door of his room and said, “Well, its past 10 o’clock and you aren’t dead yet.  And there’ll be a lot more 10 o’clocks before you die.” With that, granddaddy got up, got his gun and made Aunt Sally go with him, even though she was hardly able to go, and he went squirrel hunting all day.

Later in the day, Grandpa came out of the woods on legs of lead.  As he was struggling to walk, Aunt Sally came behind him carrying his rifle.

Aunt Sally was a good old soul.  She liked to chew tobacco but Grandpa wouldn’t let her have it.  So, we’d slip tobacco to her.

While they were living with us, Uncle Alex came over and he got grandpa dissatisfied staying with us.  So, he and Aunt Sallie moved into Brother Stokes’ vacant house just across the creek.  Stokes and his wife had died.  So they went over there, fixed it up and moved in.

But then Uncle Alex took them down to the log house he’d built on his farm down at the Catawba River.  Uncle Alex promised them he and Aunt Betty would come and live with them.  But, they never did.  So Grandpa and Aunt Sally had to get someone to stay there and help them, but they lived there until they died.

We had just moved to Hendersonville—I remember the date we moved because it was sister Rose’s birthday, September 5, 1905—When Grandpa died five days later.  That was on September 10, 1905 and Aunt Sally died exactly a month later on October 5, 1905.



An Outbreak of Typhoid


When I was four years old (1895) and we were living on Curtis Creek, I has a serious case of typhoid fever. 

They told me that there were 38 people in our community sick with it and only 8 lived through it.

Back then you didn’t buy caskets, someone in the community made them.  My father was the only one that had a planing mill, so he made caskets for everyone in the area.

That outbreak of typhoid kept him busy.

Old Mister Carver who lived near us, put his wife away and in three weeks all five of his daughters died in one night. Father made caskets for all of them.

Then Lewis Allison who lived below us, said they wanted a casket made for their little seven-year-old boy who had died.  Then they came back in an hour and said they needed another one.  That night six of the Allisons died, and the next day his wife and two others also died.  All the children died except Marilla and Todd, the two oldest.

And I thought I was going to die too.  It left me crippled.  They told me that they turned me on the sheets for 13 weeks and every day the doctor came.  He said I was going to die too.

In fact, I’ve been laid out for dead by four different doctors during my life.  But what they didn’t know was that I kept my Bible with me.  That’s the way I’ve always guided my boat and I’ve never let it turn around with me.

With all those people dying so young, I don’t know why God has kept me around for so long.

But, when He calls, I’m ready.  When I pass on, my body will be taken back and laid to rest in Campground Cemetery (at Shaw’s Creek Church near Horseshoe in Henderson County, NC) where John Rogers and his mother and father are also buried. 

A few years back, Jim (Williams) and I went back there and got the resting place for my earthly remains all fixed up and I’m glad that’s done.



Father John’s Account of His Civil War Service.


When the Civil War broke out, Uncle Lewis, who was 22, enlisted in the Confederate Army.  And 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.  And they both enlisted in 1861.

My father was a bugler. 

When his commander was shot off his horse, father jumped on the horse, took his bugle and gave commands.   Then 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 there waist deep in the water 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 be killed here.”  So Paw yelled to the Yankee soldiers to come get them. They did and took Lewis to a hospital.  And they put Paw on a boat for transfer to Kentucky where they were sending war prisoners.

On the same boat were two men the Yankees had caught and had them chained.  Father took a case knife, made it into a hacksaw, and sawed the locks off their feet.  Then he told them when the time came, just get up and walk off the boat with the prisoners.

The men were John and Clapp Heep.  Many years later, when I was a big girl, the two men came to our house.  “You’re the man that saved our lives,” one of them told 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.



School Days


When we lived on Curtis Creek near Old Fort, I attended the one-room Old Log School House—it didn’t have another name—at the foot of the Silver cemetery hill. 

And when we moved from there, I was between 15 and 16 years old, 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 year—two months after corn was laid by in late summer and two months after foddering was finished.  We didn’t go to school during the 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 ever get.

We attended Sunday school at the Horseshoe 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 remember 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 Will Byrd, was killed in the Civil War.  Later, my father was out looking for oxen to use in moving logs to the sawmill.  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 on February 14, 1868.



How a Vision Turned Into a Husband


You asked how I met John Rogers (1881-1945), my first husband.

Well I saw him in a vision three years before I laid eyes on him.  I saw him, the house, the yard, everything.

Then one Saturday in 1909 when I was eighteen years old and we were living at Horseshoe, near Hendersonville, ma sent me to Mr. Davenport’s general department store about a mile down the road to get some things she needed for Sunday.

I bought the items and had walked down the hill when I remembered I had forgotten to buy matches.  So I walked back up the hill to the store.  “Mr. Davenport, I forgot to buy matches,” I told him and he got them for me.

Then this boy there said, “Why didn’t you call me and I would have brought them to you.” As soon as I saw him, I knew he was the one I had seen in the vision.  This was John Rogers.

Three months later he came to the Horseshoe Baptist Church where I attended.  I was with another young man at the time.  But John attracted me and asked if he could walk me home.  I said, “No, not tonight.  I’m already engaged.”

Then he said, “If I come to church tomorrow can I speak to you?”  I told him yes.  Well, that was the beginning and three weeks later we were married. (November 14, 1909)

We were married for almost 36 years until John died July 3, 1945 at age 64.

Don’t tell me that God doesn’t bring people together.

John was a second cousin to Will Rogers and was a lot like him.  And it was John who wrote Will Rogers’ newspaper columns for him.

John did all kinds of work.  He was in the lumber business, kept bees and in the winters, we’d go to Florida and were in the fruit business there.


Unfortunately, we don’t have enough room for all of Aunt Belle’s memories in this edition.  We’ll finish up in May.

Cousin John


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

& Civil War Letters to Folks Back Home

by Rex Redmon


The 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, and in particular Company “K” are bivouacked in a field near Palmetto Station, Georgia, on September 24, 1864. Sherman has laid waste to Atlanta, and what the Union Army did not destroy in Atlanta, local citizens did. Anarchy and mayhem were most prevalent in the days following Sherman’s siege and destruction of one of the South’s largest cities.  Many local citizens and business owners destroyed their own homes and businesses to prevent Yankee occupation or to prevent Yankee theft of their personal property.  Fear, chaos, and disorder were the results of Marshall Law which the Federals declared after they seized the city.

The 58th was still an organized fighting unit however, despite losing hundreds of men who were wounded, killed or taken prisoner by the Yankee conquerors during the battle for Atlanta.[1]  As Sherman’s 100,000-man army marched south to the Atlantic Ocean laying waste to the Georgia countryside, thirty thousand Federal troops remained behind in Northern Georgia and Southeastern Tennessee. Those troops were left behind to enforce Marshall Law and to also occupy the captured territory.

Nevertheless, the Southern Boys had not given up the cause yet. The forty thousand men of the Army of Tennessee regrouped and despite being out-generalled by Sherman during the Georgia campaign, General Hood retreated into Alabama where his troops were rested and re-supplied.

A Richmond, Virginia newspaper, The Richmond Whig, critical of General Hood and the loss of Atlanta to the confederate cause, ran the following article on September 19, 1864 according to Jeffrey Craig Weaver in his book, 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment, Company K.[2]

During the battle for Atlanta, there had certainly been negligence displayed, and gross negligence at that, by someone. Who the scapegoat is to be, remains to be seen.


The retreat from Atlanta (by the Confederates) was conducted successfully, although in rather a straggling manner, and in a short time the army will be as in as good condition as ever.


There is less discontent manifested in the army than one would apt to imagine. A large number of the troops were inclined to believe at first that Hood had been out-generalled; but a better feeling, I learn, prevails upon sober, sound thought, and most of them are willing to admit that he did all that could be done with the force at his command. (Undermanned and outnumbered) All argue, however, that Johnston would have been the absolute necessity of falling back without the sacrifice of so many good and true men as fell in the battle upon the right and left wings of the army around Atlanta. (Johnston was sent to Western North Carolina to command the Yancey County Militia while he recuperated from his wounds).


The Army of Tennessee, with Hood in Command, and with the blessings of Jefferson Davis devised new tactics.  The decision to “go behind Sherman” and retake Atlanta, Dalton, Chattanooga, and all of North Georgia and East Tennessee was put into action.

Refreshed and re-supplied, the Army of Tennessee found itself at Lovejoy Station, northeast of Atlanta on September 12, 1864 where it engaged in a small skirmish with federal troops.  September 24th saw the 58th and Company K at Palmetto Station where Garrett pens another letter to his wife Rosanna. (See the March edition of Silver Threads for those two letters).

An article detailing the battle summary at Lovejoy’s Station follows.

Description: While Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler was absent raiding Union supply lines from North Georgia to East Tennessee, Major General William Sherman, unconcerned, sent Judson Kilpatrick to raid Rebel supply lines.  Leaving on August 18, Kilpatrick hit the Atlanta & West Point Railway that evening, tearing up a small area of tracks. Next, Kilpatrick headed for Lovejoy’s Station on the Macon and Western Railroad. In transit on the 19th, Kilpatrick’s men hit the Jonesborough supply depot on the Macon and Western Railroad, burning great amounts of supplies.  On the 20th, they reached Lovejoy’s station and began their destruction. Rebel infantry (Cleburne’s Division) appeared and the raiders were forced to fight into the night, finally fleeing to prevent encirclement. Although Kilpatrick had destroyed supplies and track at Lovejoy’s Station, the railroad line was back in operation in two days.


Results: A Confederate Victory.[3]


By September 27, 1864, the Army of the Tennessee is moving toward the Chattahoochee River and on October 1, 1864 The Confederate Army crossed the River.

Previously, on September 26, 1864, near Palmetto, Georgia, Garrett Gouge pens another letter to his wife Rosanah.

Near Palmetto, Georgia
September 26, 1864


Mrs. Rosanah Gouge, My Dear Wife:


I received your kind note today bearing the date August 23 which found me well and your letter was gladly received for I had not got a letter from you for sometime.

I also received on letter from Hector (McNeil) and Patty (Rosanah’s sister) and one from father and mother and Alfred (Alfred Silver-his uncle and brother to Captain Sam Silver, commander of the 58th at the time and father to Levi, Tilman and Alexander Silver). I was proud to get your letters and to hear that all of you are well. 

Rosanah, you seem to fault me because you get no letters from me. You say you have not got a letter from me in three months. I know I have not written less than 10 or 12 letters and mailed them to you. If you have not gotten them, it’s not my fault. But by the way you write I fear you blame me, but it is the fault of the mail.

Rosanah, I have nothing of interest to write you at present. We have had a peaceable time ever since the 31st of August and all is quiet in front at this time but it is uncertain how long it will remain so.

The health of the regiment is tolerable good at present. Jobe and Wm. Willis are well and doing fine. Levi, Tilman and Alexander are well. All your acquaintances are generally well.  We were reviewed by Jefferson Davis, our president, today.  I got to see him for the first time. I will quit writing tonight. It is getting dark. I will finish my letter in the morning.




Sept 27, 1864


Nothing strange or important this morning. I am well and I have just got back from the 29th Regiment. William Willis came back with me. He is well and doing fine. Jobe is well.

I will send you a paper of needles in this letter. Please write and let me know whether you ever got them or not.

You wanted to know where to sow your small grain. Just sow it where it suits you and all will be right with me.

Give William Silver and wife my respects. Also give father and mother, Hector and Patty my respects. Tell them I would like to hear from them at any time.  If you see Zilpha tell her I have not forgotten her. Give her my respects. Please give your mother and family and Sarah Howell and Linda and Susannah all my respects.

As I have nothing of interest to write, I will close. I will write a few lines to Anderson on the other page.


Yours as ever a friend.
G.D. Gouge to his wife, Rosanah Gouge.


(Folks, don’t you just wish one time he would tell her how much he loves her?)


September 27, 1864
Mr. Anderson Gouge, Dear Son:


As I have been writing to all the balance, I will now drop you a few lines which I hope may find you and little John (Richmond) well and doing well.  Anderson, I want you and John to be weighed and write and let me know what you weigh so I can know whether you grow any or not.

I want to get home.  I think you are big aplenty to go with me squirrel hunting and take it crack about with me.  I would like to be at home.  We would try who could beat shooting.

I want you to be a good boy and do the best you can. I will come home as soon as I can get off. You must write to me every chance. Goodbye Brother.


G.D. Gouge to Anderson


After crossing the Chattahoochee River on the 1st of October, Hoods Army of Tennessee recaptured Dalton Georgia. For the remainder of October the 58th continued to engage the federal troops who remained behind in Northern Georgia. They cut Sherman’s supply lines and played the devil with his communication lines.

As a result, Sherman abandoned his supply and communication lines and rampaged through Georgia living off the Georgia Countryside.

By November 1864, with the 58th standing down in Florence, Alabama, Captain Samuel Silver became commander of the North Carolina 58th and his brother, David, was commander of “K” Company.

The Army of Tennessee reinvaded Tennessee and was involved in heavy skirmishing in Columbia on November 24-27th according to Weaver.  He writes, The 58th led an advance on Mount Pleasant Pike, where they pushed a dozen regiments and six batteries of retreating Federal Troops out of the town of Columbia on the Duck River.[4]

With the North Carolina 58th guarding 1,700 Yankee prisoners in Columbia, Tennessee, I am going to close my portion of this month’s newsletter.  I will not stop writing about the Civil War and the North Carolina 58th this month after all. The war is not over until April of 1865 and we must learn the fate of our kith and kin of K Company, the 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment.  Also, I still have one last letter that Garret Gouge will write home. That letter is dated February 8, 1865 and it is written from Branchville, SC.  We will continue to the follow the 58th perhaps for a couple more months.


Cousin Rex



Attention!!! Attention!!! Attention!!!


This year, we will celebrate our 200th year Silver family anniversary. The Silver Family arrived in the mountains of North Carolina from Maryland in the year 1806!  To celebrate this extraordinary event, we are changing the location of our KONA Silver Family Reunion held the fourth weekend in July.  We are moving the event from the Church at KONA to the Bandana Community Center.  Make your plans now to attend! We will publish more information as our plans unfold. You may contact me at [email protected] for more information.   Rex Redmon



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

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





[1] NOTE: My Great, great grandfather, Leander H. Redmon, was taken prisoner by the Federals on July 22, 1864 at Kolb’s Farm near Marietta Georgia. He eventually was shipped to the notorious Yankee prison, Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois, where died of “general debility”  (camp diseases) on January 20, 1865. 

[2] Jeffery Craig Weaver. 58th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Arlington, Virginia. 1997-1999.


[4] Jeffery Craig Weaver. 58th North Carolina and Company K. Arlington, Virginia. 1997-1999.