Written and Published Online by John Silver

w/contributing articles by various Silver cousins



Family Historian, John Silver,

 Honored at Silver Family Reunion


Greetings Cousins,

Cousin John is taking a brief sabbatical this month and allowing me his space so I can report on our Bicentennial Celebration and Silver Family Reunion that was held July 22 and 23 in Bandana, Mitchell County, North Carolina. Of course “Me” is Rex Redmon, pinch-hitting Silver Threads contributing writer each month.

            But first, for those of you who attended the reunion, and expected either to meet or work with John on your family history, but was unable to do so because he was unable to attend the event due to a sudden respiratory ailment, let me assure everyone, John is doing fine.  I spoke to him by phone Monday morning after the reunion and he deeply regretted not being at the event.  I also informed him that we honored him with the presentation of an Achievement Award Plaque for his contribution to our family history and he was greatly touched.  A photo of the plaque follows:

Cousin John, we do thank you for your unselfish dedication and devotion for preserving our Silver Family History! 

Yet cousins, we were not without the benefit of a family historian at the event. Cousin Clarence “Til” Tillery came armed with a laptop PC, the Silver Family Genealogy program and a printer/scanner.  Many thanks to Cousin “Til” and his friend, Amy DeBruycker, who assisted Til, for filling in for John on Saturday. 



I am happy to report we had over 165 people attend the two-day event held this year in the Bandana Community Center in Mitchell County. Everyone who spoke with us before the weekend event ended, and those who have e-mailed us since the event, have nothing but positive things to say about the event and the location where the event was held.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and praised the programs we presented for them.  One person did say she missed the old church.

 We were blessed with twenty new Silver family members who attended the reunion for the first time.  They were three of my second cousins, (hello ladies) who I met for the first time, Joanne Welsman from Dexter, Michigan and her sister, Linda Rhodes Schlafman of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, plus second cousin Myra Silver Stephens & husband from Brevard, NC; Also my good friend Royce McNeill of Charlotte, NC; Lloyd T., Sarah and Thomas Crawford and Carolyn Davis of Portsmouth, Virginia; Billy J. Silver of Camden, SC; Nancy Locke of Belton, SC;  Carolyn and Joe Brooks of Hendersonville, NC; Pam and David Smith of Hickory, NC; Emma Lou Morrow and two members of her family from Fairview, NC and  Robert, Mary & Geoff Jones of Lowell, NC.  Cousins it was good to meet all of you and please, grace us with your presence again at some future event.

We were excited to learn we had descendants from seven of George Silver and Nancy Ann Griffiths children represented; Jacob Greenberry, William Griffith, Thomas, Nancy, John Jackson and Henry were all represented with Greenberry leading the way with the most descendants in attendance.  But what else could we expect from the legendary Ladies Man, Greenberry?

After everyone was registered and settled down Saturday morning, the following opening address was given by yours truly. The opening address was written by me to honor our ancestor, George Silver, who first settled in Western North Carolina in 1806. (I include this address in the newsletter, plus two other addresses given during the weekend, because of the many requests for copies of the historical event and also to have a permanent record for the Silver Family archives.)


Bi-Centennial Address

 Silver Family Reunion―July 2006

by Rex Redmon


For those of us who are direct descendants of George Silver Jr., including those who have accompanied us here as extended family members and friends, and those who are our honored guests, we have arrived at this particular place and time to celebrate the Bi-Centennial anniversary of the arrival from Maryland in 1806 of our Silver ancestors; these mountains have indeed called us home this weekend.

When we pause to consider what motivates a man to assemble his immediate family and pack his worldly possessions into a four wheeled wagon, and leave a land where he has experienced security, sanctuary, and fellowship with family and friends, and to travel hundreds of miles into an unknown and untamed wilderness, I think we must consider the tremendous amount of faith and courage that George Silver Jr. possessed when he began his journey to the mountains of Western North Carolina.

When we think of the faith of our fathers, we include the faith of all our ancestral fathers, from our birth father all the way back to our ancestral fathers to the beginning of time. When I think of George Silver Jr.’s faith, I see his faith as being four fold. 

First, I think he had Covenant Faith. Second, I feel he possessed Confident Faith. Third, I’m sure he also had Concerned Faith. And fourth, to accomplish his difficult journey he must have exhibited a tremendous amount of Courageous Faith.

Let’s talk for a moment about George Silver’s Covenant Faith.  He proudly served as a Patriot with honor and diligence in the Continental Army, from 1776 to 1782.  His pension application states he first entered into a six month covenant agreement with the Continental Army when he first enlisted in 1776.  After serving six months he entered into another covenant agreement and reenlisted for eighteen months. He fought in the Battle of Germantown under General George Washington in Oct of 1777 and received a bullet wound to his neck for his efforts. (Today that bullet wound would earn him a purple heart.)  When his eighteen- month reenlistment covenant was completed, George again entered into a new covenant agreement with the Continental Army and reenlisted for three years.

His war record includes skirmishes against the Indian tribes in Pennsylvania and skirmishes against British Dragoons at West Point 1779. He was a witness at the execution of British spy, Major John Andre’, in 1780. He marched and skirmished at Philadelphia, Baltimore, Annapolis and finally at Yorktown where he fought in the Battle of Yorktown under Washington and witnessed the surrender of the British Army at Yorktown.

After Yorktown, he marched south to Charlestown, SC with General Nathan Greene and was involved in a skirmish with a Negro unit the British had armed.  He remained in South Carolina until 1782 when he returned to Maryland, mustered out of the army, and married Nancy Ann Griffith on April 12, 1782.

As a result of his Covenant of Faith with the Continental army, the new United States Government entered into a new covenant agreement with George Silver and promised him land on the Carolina frontier that had been opened for settlement after the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1782.  After the turn of the century, and with that new covenant agreement in hand, the Silver Family, including George Jr. who was fifty-five years old at the time, and his wife Nancy, who was forty, plus their eleven children ranging in age from 21 to 2 set out for the high mountains of Western North Carolina to claim his piece of land fulfilling the covenants of faith which both he and the United States government had set into motion twenty five years earlier.

I am also sure George Silver had Confident Faith about his journey because confident faith shows itself in the whole personality of a person I think.  However, confident faith is only as good as its object.  I have confidence a drink machine will give me a drink if I put money into it, and I can expect no more if I do not put money in it.  So it was Confident Faith that stirred George Silver’s mind, and as well, stirred his emotions, and being a godly man, which we know from documented sources found in the Augusta Evangelical Lutheran Church in Montgomery. County, Maryland where George Silver and Nancy Ann Griffith worshiped, George Silver, acting as a result of his Confident Faith in God, felt it was the will of God that he move his family to the land the Lord had given him.  Yet he could not undertake such a journey without great concern. 

Imagine for a moment if you will, the concerned prayer of a Godly man in the early part of the nineteenth century; the concerned prayer of a man who begins a journey with Concerned Faith and also a journey of good will.  Is not his prayer one where he talks with God of his concern for the safety of his family? Is not his prayer one that he shares with the other families who make up the wagon train who are as equally concerned about their journey?  There were many rivers to cross and many mountains to climb. There were also many long winter nights for the families to sleep out in the open weather.  There was much concern I’m sure.

So, in the summer of 1806, armed with Covenant Faith, Confident Faith, Concerned Faith and finally, Courageous Faith, George Silver Jr. packed his belongings and set out from his home and the home of his parents, and left behind the life he had known in Frederick County, Maryland, to begin a new journey of Courageous Faith many hundreds of miles away in an unbroken wilderness where before, only the Cherokee Indians had lived. His Courageous Faithful journey eventually brought him and his family here into the high mountains of the new frontier, where his covenant acres awaited him.  It must have taken a lot of Courage for George Silver to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.  With both his parents dead, perhaps George felt no real security in what was no longer meaningful.  Perhaps he felt security in the adventure and excitment of moving to a new place where change brings power. Bernadette Devlin, said this about courage, Yesterday, I dared to struggle. Today, I dare to win. 

Today I say this; as did George Silver, we must be prepared to sacrifice what we are, for what we can become.  Courage it would seem is nothing less than the power to overcome fear, danger, misfortune, injustice, while continuing to affirm within you, that life, with all its sorrows, is a good place to live.  Life is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding. It is only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.  And so it was with our ancestor George Silver.  His great faith which was exemplified by a Covenant of Faith, a Confident Faith, a Concerned Faith and finally a Courageous Faith which enabled him to complete his journey that we might have life as we know it today. (end)

We then sang Faith of Our Fathers led by Jere Howell

 For the remainder of the morning we gave away some very nice door prizes, which included four framed 8x10 Silver Family Crests, plus half a dozen books, “The Ballad of Frankie Silver” by Sharon McCrumb and other nice prizes.  Before the noon hour arrived many of us, especially the first timers, toured the family cemetery, the little church and the Silver log cabin where I told more family stories. Most of those in the tour concluded the trip with a visit to the family museum at the big church before heading for lunch.

Our honored guest and afternoon speaker, Dr. Lloyd Bailey, former professor of Duke University, and author of at least five volumes of Toe River Valley Heritage Books (He says if he lives long enough there will be ten volumes.) arrived at 1:00 and entertained everyone for the afternoon with a much enlightened history of Old Yancey County. He concluded his talk by telling some of the tall tales he has recorded over the years about citizens of Old Toe River Valley.


Another address, read in the afternoon by Cousin Jere Howell, honored our ancestral mothers.

Remembering Our Ancestral Mothers

Silver Family Reunion and Be-Centennial Celebration

July 22-23, 2006

Written by Rex Redmon & read by Jere Howell


Today, as we gather here in these ancient and sacred hills of solitude and beauty, we remember and pay tribute to those who have passed on before us to their greater rewards beyond this earth. We remember our ancestral mothers and fathers and praise their great names and give thanks for their lives.

However, I think it is appropriate for us to recognize and pay tribute to our ancestral mothers and grandmothers and remember the role each played in the settlement of, the development of, and the maintaining of a frontier household and community.            

For the most part, our ancestral mothers and grandmothers were an uneducated lot of women. Many began their lives on this continent as immigrants, who arrived following the dreams of their husbands who in turn were seeking new and rewarding opportunities. Those opportunities were the right to worship as they so desired, and the right to own and work their own land.

 Many of our ancestral mothers and grandmothers were born in one-room frontier cabins that dotted the landscapes from Maine to Georgia. Regardless of whether they arrived from the mother land or were born into families already settled on the frontier, these early mothers of ours were hardy women, who, against all odds walked a tight rope of servitude and survival in a hostile environment filled with the deadly perils of life such as the threatening diseases of small pox, or a fatal strain of influenza.  And yes, many died during childbirth as well, such as Nancy Reed, first wife of Reverend Jacob Silver, when she gave birth to Charlie Silver. In addition, lurking Indians, whose attempts to push the white man back into the sea from whence he came, were predatory threats to the lives of our ancestral mothers who constantly lived in fear of their lives and the lives of their children as well.

Yet, in the face of all these difficult life-threatening situations, the ever determined frontier mothers bore a brood of children whose numbers ranged from ten to twenty. They married early, usually at sixteen, or seventeen years, but Lord help, never past eighteen years because they were considered spinsters after age eighteen.  From marriage age to menopause our ancestral mothers bore children who all too soon would take up the plow handle or tend the wash pot on Monday mornings. The phrase, neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor dead of night, nor freezing weather will keep us from our appointed rounds, must have been stolen by the post office from the pioneer woman in the manner in which she went about doing her daily chores.

Family members had two sets of homespun cloths. While one suite of cloths was worn, the other suite was washed, ironed and mended if necessary. Every Monday morning, regardless of the weather conditions, the wash pot was kindled, the lye soap poured into the boiling water and then the cloths were boiled and scrubbed clean on the scrub board out in the yard or on the side porch if it was raining.

During the cold winter months, ancestral mothers scrubbed the heavy homespun clothes on a scrub board and then squeezed the water from the clothes by hand before hanging the freezing cloths on a cloths line hoping they will dry and not freeze before nightfall that arrives early in the hollows of the mountain coves. Her hands and fingers were numb beyond feeling from the freezing cold.  Yet, she must continue her work, because the family is depending on her. In later years, her hands and fingers will be bent and twisted out of shape by advancing arthritis brought on by the inclement weather.

These ancestral mothers were healers of sorts as well. Homemade healing remedies of bitter tasting herbs that were handed down from generation to generation, filled the stomachs of many sick and dying children sometimes with miraculous effects, but quiet often the grim reaper gained the upper hand and called home the ill person despite the efforts of the healing woman. Elizabeth Wilson, second wife of Reverend Jacob Silver, lost three of her own children to influenza outbreaks between the years of 1836 and 1839. Young John, Milton and Marvel Silver, rest side by side in the family cemetery on the hilltop above their childhood home.  Also, their grandfather, George Silver Jr. died in 1838 during one of the lethal influenza outbreaks.

Yet, death was a harsh part of life while living on the frontier. And the living included nurturing not only the physical needs of her large family but the spiritual needs as well. As in most frontier homes, a large family Bible had its place of prominence in the one-room cabins. Whether our ancestral mothers could read did not seem to matter, because with the Bible in hand, they could easily recite the Bible stories of Moses parting the Red Sea and of Daniel in the Lions den ― all stories their mothers and their mothers before them had recited to them over the ages. The ancestral mothers saw to it too that on his next appearance, the circuit riding preachers baptized many of her brood who had come of age, and as well, she made sure too that their oldest son or daughter, who had taken up with the son or daughter of their nearest neighbor, were appropriately married at the same time.            

These baptisms and marriage events were times of festivities and the kitchen tables were piled high on Sundays when the circuit-riding preacher was staying in the house. The frontier mothers and daughters lovingly prepared bowls full of vegetables from her garden or from multicolored canned goods she had put up in the fall of the year. She sat her table with three generous helpings of meats including pork, beef and foul. Colorful jars of jellies and jams lined the tables like soldiers standing smartly at attention. In addition to the bounty prepared by the frontier mother, delicious homemade puddings, cakes and pies from the pie safe sat waiting for the male horde who would soon fill their plates to overflowing, and after eating their fill, would leave only remnants of the wonderful meal for the women of the house who waited until the men had their fill. Then all too soon they busied themselves cleaning and washing the dirty dishes the men had left behind while the men retired to the front porch where they sat telling tall tales.

Reminding her daughters it was a man’s world; the women hung the kitchen chairs back on the ceiling hooks and continued their motherly duties while thinking about tomorrow’s washday when the cycle would begin all over again. Such was the life of our ancestral mothers. Let us remember and honor them this day.


We concluded the day’s ceremonies by electing four new family members to serve on the new Silver Family Reunion Planning Committee.  Thanks to cousins, Myra Silver Stephens of Brevard, NC; Daina Silvers of Dalton, Georgia; Kathy Sulc of Fairview, NC and Cheryl Birchfield of Clyde, NC.  Ladies we appreciate your service to the extended Silver Family.






Sunday Morning, more that twenty people gathered in the family cemetery to honor those “Flowers of The Forest” who passed away during the past year.  The following devotion was read followed by the names of the departed loved ones.


Memorial Service Devotion


Our Memorial Devotion today is devoted to all our loved ones who have come this way but once and who have completed the living part of their eternal journey.

Yet, while our loved ones were here, each in his/her own unique way touched and blessed our lives, and hopefully made this world a better place in which to live.

Each, I’m sure, gave of themselves freely so the rest of us could carry on.  They may have been a housewife, a salesperson, a truck driver, a nurse or even a student.  Some perhaps were soldiers who fought for our rights and freedom.  Yet, it makes no difference, because each of them left their mark on all of us who knew them.

On a particular day they were born and were sent to us by God to love, to nurture, to share, to care, and to prosper.  When it came time for each to take flight and spread his/her wings, they took individual journeys into destiny’s paths to seek and open the doors of life that they might find their own particular place in which to dwell and become part of God’s eternal plan.

Their struggles were perhaps many, some struggling more than others.  Many of life’s challenges they faced were won, and perhaps too, some were lost as well.  However, from each struggle that challenged them there were lessons to be learned.  And as a result, our loved ones became strengthened and also became a stronger person, ready to face and accept the next challenge life offered.

All may not have been heroes in our eyes, but still, we shall remember them.  We shall remember them because regardless of how meek, how humble, how boastful and how successful each became, as a person of free will, each of them had the right to choose his/her destiny.

We honor their memory.  Sometimes in a solemn moment we might speak of them in quiet, hushed tones.  We may light a candle or say an unspoken prayer in our hones, while at other times we might laugh because of some outlandish deed and then rejoice for having known them.  We place their pictures on our mantels along side those who still live because they too were part of our family and our lives.  Out of respect and admiration, we place flowers on their final resting place.  Some of us will even write stories about them while others will fly flags for them.  Nevertheless, in our hearts their memory will last forever and we shall celebrate their lives by living our lives to an even greater extent.

Let us now pause for a few moments to remember each of them in a special way.


               Those in the audience also spoke the names of departed loved one and special prayers were offered in their honor followed by the singing of Amazing Grace again led by Jere Howell.

Many of the cousins attended worship services at the Silver Chapel Baptist Church while the rest of us prepared for Sunday’s dinner and the afternoon programs.

For our afternoon program, Maxine McCall of Drexel, North Carolina again went above and beyond the call of duty with presentations from her revised book, They Won’t Hang a Woman. Accompanying Maxine this year was a pretty, blond-haired, blue-eyed, Frankie Stewart Silver look-alike, Connie Casey, of Morganton, North Carolina.  To a captive and mesmerized audience, Connie played the part of Frankie Stewart Silver exquisitely as Frankie woefully told her story of the tragedy that occurred on a cold snowy winter night on Dec 22, 1831. Connie received standing applause.  If you were not there, you missed a treat.

Other people who made valuable contributions to the event this year was ever faithful and loyal family friend, David Taylor, of Hudson North Carolina who brought his collection of framed Silver Family photographs for everyone to see.  We also auctioned off three of David’s larger pictures for the benefit of the new reunion fund.  Also, Niel Stewart, a descendant of Frankie’s brother, Blackston, brought his Stewart Family genealogy to share and Sunday.  Special thanks goes to Laura Cooper and Kay Silver for manning the church museum both Saturday and Sunday. And thanks to all of you who attended the reunion and helped make it a success. 


            Following are excerpts from some of the e-mails I have received since the reunion.

“I especially liked the piece you shared with our group on Saturday morning. Could you send me a copy of it in an email?  I did miss meeting at the Kona church building. I have been online to check on Dr. Bailey's books. I was sorry to miss his program. Thank you, thank you, Rex, for all you do for the Silver family. You are indeed a treasure. Blessings, Drama”


“Many thanks for allowing me to be with the "Silver Family" Reunion this Saturday at Bandana. I had a real wonderful time and you have done a great job in organizing and pushing things along with your hard work and dedication. Again, my deep appreciation. Royce”


“It was so good to see you this weekend at the reunion, your knowledge of the Silver family is remarkable.  Thanks for all your help and for being such a great family historian. I spoke with my Uncle and Aunt ( the oldest living from our family) and both were interested in possible attending the reunion next year.  Hopefully we can have some “locals” from across the mountain (Tennessee) to join in and contribute their extensive knowledge. Thanks, Shirley”.


Cousins, I’m going to wrap things up for this month.  John sends his best and he will be back next month with his usual interesting articles.  I too, hopefully will begin the Who’s Who in the Civil War Letters to Folks Back Home.  By the way, the Bandana Community Center where we held the reunion sits on the property owned by the Gouge Family where Garrett Gouge, writer of many of the Civil War letters lived.  So, it is interesting to have a change once in a while. 

We appreciate your reading Silver Threads.  Until next month …

Cousin Rex
[email protected]




Samuel W. Silver III


Spruce Pine-- Samuel W. "Buddy" Silver, 56, of Upper Hanging Rock Road, died Wednesday, July 12, 2006, at his home.

 He was a son of the late Sam and Vivian Silver. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Bill Silver; a sister, Barbara Buchanan.  He was a  Viet Nam War veteran and a member of the Berry Chapel Baptist Church, where he had served as a deacon for 14 years.

 Survivors include his wife, Patricia Silver of the home; a daughter, Angie Silver; sons, Rev. Nathan Silver and Ricky Cox and four grandchildren.

 Funeral services were held at 4 p.m. Friday at Berry Chapel Baptist Church. Reverends Greg Hollifield, David Troutman and George Gouge officiated.

Burial followed in the Berry Chapel Cemetery.  The family received friends from 3 p.m. until the service hour Friday at the church.  Memorial donations may be made to Mitchell County Relay for Life. 

[Source: Mitchell News-Journal 7/26/06]

(George Silver Sr. > George Silver Jr. > John Jackson Silver > Marvel Alexander Silver > William Erwin Silver > Joseph Erwin Silvers > Horace Silver)


Jack Silver


Milton, FL -- Jack Silver, 84, of Milton, Florida, died Thursday, December 15, 2005 in Milton after a long illness.

 The funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home.  Burial will be in the Proffitt Cemetery.

 The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the funeral home.

(Not sure how Jack fits into the family tree – any information would be appreciated.)


Robena Silver


Burnsville -- Robena Silver, 77, of Westside Road, died Tuesday, February 7, 2006, in Mission Hospital.

The funeral service will be at 2 p.m. in the Chapel of Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home. 

The family will receive friends one hour prior to service at the funeral home.

(Similarily, not sure how Robena fits into the family tree – please help!)


A Short Note from John …


At this year's reunion, which I was unable to attend, I was presented with a beautiful plaque.  It states that I have been a valuable tool in the research of the Silver Family in the years past. I am very proud of that fact.  I have enjoyed the task and I will endeavor to earn this honor. 

To every one of my family, I appreciate this recognition and those who made it possible, I offer my most sincere thanks. Words cannot express my feelings, but to all I say, "thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Without your help, this would never have happened!                                                                  

James D. “John” Silver

[email protected]

Silver Family Historian



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

Barney Kaufman
7408 Lake Drive
Manassas, VA 20111-1960
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