JULY 2009


Written and Published Online by John Silver Harris

w/contributing articles by various Silver cousins



It’s Reunion Time!!!


The 2009 Silver Family Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, July 25, and Sunday, July 26, in Kona at the Kona Missionary Baptist Church. The doors will be open from 9 am to 4 pm each day.

This year we will be gathering together for a simple, old fashioned family visiting.  We have some tough decisions that we as a family need to make in order to move forward. There will be no formal program this year so that we can spend time getting to know each other and enjoying the area.

Saturday will be dedicated to updating the information that is in our Silver family file and enjoying the many things that are housed in the archives.  Please bring your family history, copies of any documents that you would like to share, pictures, obituaries, newspaper articles, Bibles, and any other source items that would be helpful to document the information in our database. 

Saturday, the church will offer a lunch for $6, but due to conditions beyond our control it will be a deli-style lunch.  There will also be Silver family and Silver reunion T-Shirts for sale at a reasonable cost of $10.  

Sunday will be Decoration Day at the Silver family cemetery with the old fashioned covered dish lunch held at noon at the Kona Missionary Baptist Church. Please bring lunch for your family plus enough for one more or a casserole that will serve a group. The meal is always a wonderful display of family favorites when everyone spreads out what they brought to share. The church will supply drinks and paper products. The church will be open Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm. Many of the attendees in the past have had to leave the provided breakfast at their hotels, motels, etc., but this year, stay and enjoy breakfast before you head to Kona.

Clarence “Til” Tillery has worked hard since last year correcting and updating our Silver family database. We need your help to add and provide the sources for our information. Please bring us a copy of any death certificates, birth certificates, and marriage certificates so we can add them to our information. Looking forward to seeing you at the 2009 Silver Family Reunion. For additional information, call Laura Cooper (865) 659-0509. I will be heading to Kona on Wednesday, July 22, and cleaning the church on Thursday, July 23. Leave a message and I will check them often so that I can return your call when I find a spot that once again has cell phone service.  


Silver Family Reunion, 2009

By Laura Cowan Cooper
[email protected]
Kodak, TN 37764






Tillery offers data help

I just checked out the latest newsletter and read the query from Pastor William N. Silver. I then realized that I never expressed the fact that I was acting as temporary genealogist for the family. That I am going through the Silver data that John generated and doing some organizing and backing up material that we do not want to lose. So, I am willing to receive queries and/or requests for information and research our data for connections, etc. I would not be able to do basic research i.e. census, property etc. only checking out our existing data. I would also be glad to accept pedigrees, family group sheets, etc. to incorporate into our data base. Also, I would be glad to assist in how to obtain membership in the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR).  Please feel free to put up my name and address.  You have my email as, [email protected] . Clarence A. "Til" Tillery, 1618 Milan Road, Greensboro, NC 27410.Phone: 336 -288-4663. Fax: same, call to activate.


Teresa Silvers writes:

I have been in contact with Wanda Freeman about getting to know my family heritage. Wanda told me about you and the newsletter. I would really love to be a part of it. I plan on being at the family reunion in Kona on July 25th of this year. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and finding info about my daddy's side of family.


Joy Dunaway writes:

In case you would like a true story of why a family newsletter is important.  Here is mine: My grandfather Joseph Allen Wilson had four full brothers. We lost tract of the families of all four of them.  In one of the early Silver Threads, there was an inquiry regarding our Louise Wilson, daughter of Samuel Wilson.  I contacted the lady and found out that we are avid researchers and second cousins.  She has had much to share through the years and I have given her some information to add to her collection. That is my success story.  I bet that there are others. I also bet that most of you have some unlabeled photos.  If you have anyone in your family, who knows who the people are, please get them labeled.  I have at least three large albums full of photos of people well dressed and at least 95% of them are unknown to me. The website FamilySearchRecordSearch now has death certificates for North Carolina.  You might wish to share this with Silver family members.


Webmaster Barney writes:

I had the distinct pleasure to meet Til and his lovely newlywed, Amy this week.  They drove up to this former Yankee’s home off Bull Run in Manassas, Virginia to pick up the 30+ boxes of genealogical materials that our friend and cousin James “John” Silver had acquired over the years.  I’m sorry that I didn’t have the time or energy to further John’s work, but I’m glad to see the materials getting into the right hands, to continue his study and his legacy.  And the Johnson’s Peaches Til and Amy brought from North Carolina -- Wonderful!  May you all have a fun and fruitful reunion.



My Army Career
Robert David Silver


I was born in Spruce Pine, NC, in a house that Cling Ledford built. I began school at Harris Elementary with Mrs. Washington as my first grade teacher. We moved to Cranberry around 1949, and I then attended Elk Park Elementary. After elementary school, I attended Cranberry High School for the ninth and part of the 10th grade. We then moved back to Spruce Pine, again to the Cling Ledford house. By then I was 17 years old, and joined the Army on 8 March 1954. I took basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C. After completing basic, I was sent to Camp Gordon, Ga., for six months of field radio repair training at the Southeastern Signal School. After graduating I was assigned to my first overseas duty station at Darmstadt Germany, Cambra Fritsh Kerserne.

I traveled to Germany via troop ship, the General Langfurt. We spent Christmas of 1954 on the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived in Bremenhaven three or four days later. There we did a lot of field training with the 32nd Signal Bn of 5th, Corps, 7th Army. I was then assigned to a radio relay station at Brietsol, Germany. There, I met Maria, who was to become my wife, now of 52 years. I spent the next two years and two months in Darmstadt and the surrounding area. After almost three years with the 32nd, I decided to leave the army and came back to North Carolina. I once again crossed the Atlantic on a troop ship to New York amid terrible weather. I went to work with my Dad in a feldspar mine at Plumtree, N.C. That didn’t pan out, so I re-entered the Army in 1958, and after another eight weeks of training, again at Fort Jackson, I found myself on my way to Korea, “The Frozen Choson,” we called it. It took us 30 days to get there. First we went to Alaska, and stayed there a few days, before crossing the Pacific to Japan, where we stayed another few days, and then on to Inchon, Korea. It was sort of a cruise--not too crowded, as we had no dependents on board. At the port of Inchon we unloaded on LSTs (landing craft) and moved to shore, glad to be on solid ground after a month at sea. Inchon, as you may recall, was the port that Gen. Douglas McArthur used when he trapped the North Korean forces south of Seoul in the early 1950s.

While landing at Inchon, I was reminded of a sad time not too long ago, that one of our cousins Billy Pendley, an infantryman with the 24th Division, was killed while fighting the enemy just a few miles from there. Billy was the son of Gladys Pendley, daughter of John Pendley, brother of my Grandmother Mamie Silver Pendley. Another Mitchell County native, Lawson Pearson, was also killed in that war. And another small world incident: One morning in Korea, in late 1959, I picked up a copy of Stars and Stripes, our military newspaper, and was surprised to see a picture of Will (1861-1962) and Laura Ledford (1860-1963), my kin and friends from Mitchell County. The family was gathering to celebrate the Ledfords’ 100th birthdays.

I was assigned to the 4th Missile Command (Honest John), stationed at Chounchon, about 30 miles north of Seoul. We had nuclear capabilities and were ready to kick some serious communist butt if they ever crossed the 38th parallel, which was about five miles down the road. I did radio relay work there for 13 months, and then returned to Fort Bragg, N.C. This time I flew back to the U.S. via Kimpo Air Base, Tokyo, Japan, Hawaii, and California — all on prop-driven aircraft. At Fort Bragg I was assigned to the 3rd Missile Command (Honest John), sister unit to the one I had just left in Korea. This command was air transportable, which meant that occasionally we would load all our equipment on huge planes and fly to wherever we were needed. I remember sitting in this airplane beside two 2 ½-ton trucks with a generator, trailers, and a jeep, while flying to Fort Stewart, Ga. Fun! I did radio repair and radio relay work there for a couple of years, and then received orders for a second tour of duty in Germany.

This time, I was stationed with the 32nd AAA Command (Hawk Missile), in Kaiserslautern Germany. From there I was sent to Wurzburg, then transferred to Schweinfurt, and to Sgt. Willie Wheeler’s field radio repair shop. Wheeler was a great guy, who was married to the daughter of the man who operated the railroad station restaurant (Bahnhof). I worked with Willie for a couple of years, and was then assigned to Sabelstein, Germany, as chief of the radio relay station there. This was a remote site between Bamburg and Schweinfurt. I worked there for about a year before returning to the U.S. This time, I left Germany on my first jet flight — a 707.

After a leave, I moved to Fort Jackson, S.C., once again, where I maintained the reserve’s signal equipment during the months they didn’t use it. I deserved a break, and this was it. During my off duty hours, I worked at a TV repair shop in Columbia. After being told repeatedly that it was against regulations to return to your same overseas destination for duty, I was sent back to Germany — this time to the beautiful Bavarian Alps. Bad Tolz is the home of the NCO Academy and the Special Forces of the U.S. Army, Europe. Lengresse is a small town about eight miles away that had a school for field radio maintenance for units throughout the command. There, I began my new role as an instructor. I completed a lot of instructor training courses at Murnau and taught radio repair for the remainder of my tour.

When my time was up, I reluctantly left Bad Tolz for my next duty station, Fort Knox, Kentucky. Fort Knox turned out to be a great place, and had some of the most dedicated and professional people that I’ve ever worked with. There, I worked for two years in the armor school’s communications department. There, also, I met Gen. George Patton Jr., the WWII hero’s son, who was the commandant. Then on short notice, I received orders for my second tour of duty in Korea. Instructors were needed for the signal school in Seoul.

When my jetliner arrived at Osan Air Base, I was diverted to the 51st Signal Bn, I Corps at Uijonbu. So much for the instructor shortage at Seoul. Uijonbu was the setting for the TV show MASH that you may recall, and there really was as a MASH unit there. I did radio repair and S4 operations at Camp Red Cloud, which was named for a Navaho Indian chief. After this tour of 13 months, I returned to Fort Bragg, N.C. There I worked with the 18th Airborne Corp, doing computer readiness reports and more radio repair until the end of my Army career.

After almost 22 years of service, I retired, and moved back to Spruce Pine, in the mountains of western N.C. I now live in Fayetteville, N.C., near Fort Bragg, where I last served. My wife, Maria, and I are the proud parents of five children, two sons and three daughters: Alfred Christian Silver, adopted son, born 17 Oct 1951 in Oberndorf, Germany. Elaine Inge Silver, daughter, born 8 Sep 1956 in Oberndorf, Germany. Anginita Maria Silver, daughter, born 30 Dec 1958, in Spruce Pine, N.C. Alan David Silver, son born 26 Nov 1960 in Spruce Pine, N.C. Caroline Ann Silver, daughter, born 9 Jun 1964 in Wurzburg, Germany. Each of my children has a story of their own. My son Alan, for example, is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis; my daughter Angie is a retired Army first sergeant. Our youngest, Caroline, is a graduate of the University of N.C., and works for the U.S. Government Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga.

Silver ancestral line: Robert David Silver < Charley Patton Silver < Samuel Washington Silver < Elisha Silver < David Ralph Silver < Jacob Silver < George Silver Jr. < George Silver Sr.





Anna Jane Woody Silver



Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times
June 24, 2009


Marion, NC - Anna Jane Woody Silver, 72, of Marion, the Greenlee Community, passed away Monday, June 22, 2009, in the Brian Center in Spruce Pine.

A native of Mitchell County she was a daughter of the late Rader Dav and Ruby Mae Gardner Woody and was a member of the Brushy Creek Baptist Church. In addition to her parents she was preceded in death by her husband, William Silver and a son, Robert Anthony Silver. Survivors include a son, Stephen Keith Silver of Marion; and a sister, Glenda Lovelace, also of Marion. She is also survived by four nephews, Mike Woody of Spruce Pine, Houston Woody of Marion, David Woody of Marion and Jamie Lovelace also of Marion.

The funeral service for Mrs. Silver will be conducted at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 25, 2009, in the Grindstaff Memorial Chapel of Webb Funeral Home, with the Rev. Danny Soles officiating. Interment will follow in the Liberty Hill Baptist Church Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday evening at the funeral home. Condolences may be emailed by going to our website; selecting obituaries, and clicking on the name you wish to view and sign the guestbook. Webb Funeral Home in Spruce Pine, is assisting the Silver family. (Silver ancestral line undetermined. Your help will be appreciated.)

Silver ancestral line: Anna Jane Woody + William Lewis Silver < Erastus Lafayette “Ras” Silver < William Milton “Big Will” Silver < William Jacob “Billy” Silver < Rev. Jacob Silver < George Silver Jr. < George Silver Sr.



Rev. Thomas “Fred” Silver



The News Bulletin (McDowell Co., NC)
June 10, 2009


Rev. Thomas “Fred” Silver, 80, of Old Fort, went to be with the Lord Sunday, June 7, 2009 at his residence.  He was born February 12, 1929, in Yancey County, NC, to the late Thomas Jeff Silver and Bessie Allen Silver. Rev. Silver was pastor of Trinity Independent Church of God for over 20 years.   In addition to his parents, he is also preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lois Bartlett Silver; one son, Andy Lee Silver; and one granddaughter, Tammy Lavaughn Koonce.

Surviving are one son, Rev. Gerald Fred Silver and wife, Dana of Coffee County, GA; five daughters, Tina Butler and husband, Jim of Old Ford, NC, Joan Silver of Old Fort, NC, Julia Stevens and husband, Bill of Old Fort NC, Teresa Peters and husband, Robert of Hillsborough County, FL and Julie Silver of Marion, NC; one brother, Jack Silver and wife, Lola of Pensacola, FL; three sisters, Jamie Thomas of MD, Doris Faubert of Boston, MA and Helen Bartlett of Old Fort, NC; 175 + grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren and more on the way.

Services were held at 2 pm on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at Trinity Independent Church of God with Rev. Randy Gregg, Rev. Gerald Silver and Rev Randy Stevens officiating. Burial followed at Trinity Independent Church of God Cemetery. The family received friends 6-8 pm on Monday, June 8, 2009 at Kirksey Chapel in Old Fort, NC

In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made to Hospice of McDowell County, 575 Airport Road, Marion, NC 28752. Kirksey Chapel in Old Fort is assisting the family

Words of comfort may be shared with the Silver family at


Silver ancestral line: Rev. Thomas “Fred” Silver < Thomas Jefferson Silver < James Henry Silver < Thomas D. B. Silver < Thomas Silver < George Silver Jr. < George Silver Sr.






The News Bulletin (McDowell Co., NC)
February 22, 2006


Mary Lois Bartlett Silver, age 77 of Old Fort died Sunday, February 19, 2006 at McDowell Hospital. Born in Buncombe County to the late Thomas Andy Bartlett and Elsie Maude Morrow Bartlett, she served the Lord as full time mother. She was a founding member of the Trinity Independent Church of God.  In addition to her parents, Mrs. Silver was preceded in death by one son Andy Lee Silver; one granddaughter Tammy LaVaughn; six brothers and one sister.

Surviving are her husband Reverend Thomas “Fred” Silver of the home; one son Gerald Silver and wife Dana of Douglas, GA; five daughters, Tina Elaine Butler and husband Jim of Old Fort, Joan Lavonne Silver-Holder and husband Charles of Tampa, FL, Julia Stevens and husband Bill of Old Fort, Teresa Lynn Peters and husband Robert of Old Fort and Julie Silver Webb and husband Daniel of Old Fort; one brother Bud Bartlett and wife Betty of Black Mountain, NC; two sisters, Hazel Wright and husband James of Fairview, NC and Allie Black and husband Ervin of Gwen, MI; 23 grandchildren; 57 great grandchildren; and 20 great-great grandchildren.

Services were held 11:00 o’clock Tuesday, February 21, 2006 at Trinity Independent Church of God with the Revs. Randy Gregg, Randy Stevens and Tommy Hall officiating. Burial followed at Trinity Independent Church of God Cemetery. The family received friends Monday February 20, 2006 from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM at Kirksey Chapel in Old Fort. Words of comfort may be shared with the family at


Silver ancestral line: Mary Lois Bartlett + Rev. Thomas “Fred” Silver < Thomas Jefferson Silver < James Henry Silver < Thomas D. B. Silver < Thomas Silver < George Silver Jr. < George Silver Sr.






Webb Funeral Home Webpage


Betty Jo Ammons Gouge, age 51, of Conley Road in Morganton went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at her home following a period of declining health.

A native of Burke County, she was the daughter of the late William and Madolyn Fields Ammons. She was member of the McDowell Independent Presbyterian Church. She loved and will be missed by her dogs; Binky and Booty.

The funeral services for Mrs. Betty Jo Gouge will be conducted on Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. in the Grindstaff Memorial Chapel of Webb Funeral Home. Pastor Dennis Carswell will officiate the services. Interment will be in the White’s Memorial Baptist Church cemetery. The family will receive friends in Spruce Pine Saturday afternoon from 1 p.m. until the service hour in the funeral home chapel. The family will have a gathering of friends and memorial service at the home on Friday evening from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Mrs. Betty Jo Ammons Gouge is survived by her husband; Charles W. Gouge of the home; a son; Anthony Tomlinson of Connelly Springs; a daughter; Angela Huffman of Connelly Springs; two brothers; Rick Ammons and Steve Ammons both of Connelly Springs; and two sisters; Patty Killian and Kathy Ammons both of Connelly Springs.  

Condolences may be e-mailed by going to our website;, selecting obituaries, and clicking on the name you wish to view and sign the guestbook. Webb Funeral Home in Spruce Pine, NC is assisting the Gouge family.


Silver ancestral line: TBD  Help anyone?






Halcombe Brothers Funeral Home Webpage


God called another precious saint to his eternal home in heaven on Wednesday, July 8, 2009.  Carl Grindstaff, 91, answered this call after a short period of declining health.  Born June 27, 1918, he was a native and lifelong resident of the Halls Chapel community of Yancey County.  He was the son of the late Zeb and Minnie Young Grindstaff.  He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Lena Williams Grindstaff; an infant daughter; six sisters:  Hattie Lanning, Bertha Whetstine, Cordie Grindstaff, Julia Wilson, Nellie McKinney and Pearl Robinson; and ten brothers:  George, John, Arnold, Henry, Merval and infant twin, Bud, Fred, Troy and Paul. 

 He was a retired construction supervisor, farmer and nurseryman most of his life.  He loved his farm and worked on it each day, which he was blessed to be able to do until a short time before he passed.  He was eternally thankful unto God for his good health and ability to do the things he loved for 91 years.

 He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.  His smiling face, gentle voice, kindness and great wisdom will be greatly missed by each member of his family.  He will also be missed for his true Christian and moral leadership, and for the example that was shown to even the youngest of family members, which his family believes is the highest honor that could be bestowed on a father.  A lot of people have been helped by his kindness and generosity, which he preferred not to talk about or be praised for.  

 He is survived by a daughter:  Ruby Lee Gouge and husband, Bob, one grandson:  Robert Gouge and wife, Lori, three granddaughters:  Carlyn Pelton and husband, Michael, Sharon McIntosh and husband, Danny, Rebecca Autrey and husband, Charlie; one great-granddaughter:  Abigail Gouge; six great-grandsons:  Zeb Gouge, Benjamin Pelton, Nicholas Pelton, Ethan and Patrick Stafford and Evan Hall; and three step-great granddaughters all of Burnsville.

 Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday in Halls Chapel Baptist Church of which he was a member and served as Chairman of the Deacon Board for many years.  The Revs. Ronnie Gouge, Paul Robinson and Holt Whitson, Jr. will officiate.  Burial will be in the Grindstaff Family Cemetery on Halls Chapel Road.

The family will receive friends from 6 until 8:00 PM Friday at Holcombe Brothers Funeral Home where the body will remain until taken to the church to lie in state 30 minutes prior to the service.


Silver ancestral line: Carl GRINDSTAFF < Zebulon GRINDSTAFF < Cintha GRINDSTAFF < Joseph GRINDSTAFF < Henry GRINDSTAFF < Isaac GRINDSTAFF < ???



John Silver Harris
Genealogist & Editor
105 Burning Tree Lane
Boca Raton, FL  33431-3924
[email protected]

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