Notes for Jacob Silver, Rev

!US Census 1850 (18 September) North Carolina, Yancey Co., Roll M432_649, page 428, lines 24-32: Jacob Silver (b. 1791 - 59 - in MD - Occ: Baptist Clergyman - Personal Property $500) married to Nancy (b. 1795 - 55 - in NC). Children listed (born in NC) are: William (son b. 1830 - 20 - Occ: Laborer); David (son b. 1832 - 18 - Occ: Laborer); Samuel (son b. 1833 - 17 - Occ: Laborer); Reuben (son b. 1836 - 14); Edmond (son b. 1838 - 12); Lucinda (dau b. 1826 - 24); Lucinda (dau b. 1835 - 15)

!US Census 1880 (22 June) Snow Creek, Mitchell, North Carolina, FHL Film 1254973; National Archives Film T9-0973, SD 4 ED 143, Sheet 13/14, Page 33A/33B, House No. 114, Lines 41-50/1: David SILVER (b. 1831 - 49 - in NC - Occ: Farmer - Fa: NC and Mo: NC) married to Sarah E. SILVER (b. 1845 - 35 - in NC - Fa: NC and Mo: NC). Children listed (born in NC) are: Mary M. SILVER (dau b. 1861 - 19 - Occ: Farm Labor); Robert E. L. SILVER (Son b. 1864 - 16 - Occ: Farm Labor); Elbert S. SILVER (Son b. 1872 - 8); Margaret L. SILVER (Dau b. 1864 - 6); Reubin F. SILVER (Son b. 1875 - 5); William A. C. SILVER (Son b. 1877 - 3); and Sarah E. SILVER (Dau b. 1879 - 1). ALSO LISTED is: Jacob Silver (father b. 1791 - 89 - in MD - Occ: Minister - Fa: Russia and Mo: Russia); and Nancy Silver (mother b. 1793 - 87 - in NC - Fa: NC and Mo: NC)

!Baptismal record from Evangelical Lutheran Church, Frederick County Maryland: Indicates baptism on May 8, 1791 and lists George Silber and his wife Nancy as parents with Jacob Mayer as a witness. Also this baptismal record seems to indicate date of birth as Mar 8, 1791 or this could be the application date for his baptism.
He died on 23 Apr 1887 in Kona (Mitchell) NC. He was buried on 23 Apr 1887 in Kona (Mitchell) NC.

He served in the military and fought in War of 1812. Wife Nancy applied for a War of 1812 widows pension on 8 Jun 1887. George enlisted in Capt James Lowry's Company of NC Militia, 3rd Regiment at Crabtree in Buncombe County on Oct 20 1813 and was discharged nov 15 1815. He is described on his pension claim as being six feet tall with dark hair, black eyes, fair complexion, very stout. At the time of the application for a pension, he was eighty-seven years old, living in Mitchell Co., NC six miles south of Bakersville. He was a Baptist minister and primarily a farmer. He served several churches in the North Toe River area, among them were Green Mountain, Double Island and Big Ivy Baptist Churches.

The following is but another rendition of the Silver family history. The first is appended as a note to the George Silver Sr entry. Most entries in parentheses are notes from copies of legal documents or other surviving histories.

The Kona cemetery crowns the top of a gentle hill overlooking a quiet valley. It is beautifully located, with the Baptist Church (a recent addition) standing close by. In the near view rise the Roan and Celo mountains, with many smaller mountains and valleys in between, and in the far view lies Mt. Mitchell low against the horizon. It is a small cemetery but very old. Yet we don't know just how old it is. The first graves have unmarked stones at their heads and we don't know when they were erected or who lies beneath them. The ashes and unburned bones of Charles Silver were buried here, and he was slain in the 1820's (1831). So we know it is that old, but we don't know how much older than that it is.

But it is not its age, or its size or the beauty of its location, that gives this cemetery its main attraction; it is the fact that, in addition to being a community cemetery, it is also the ancestral burying ground of the Silver generations. Here among their neighbors and descendents lie George Silver the younger, latest common and second earliest recorded ancestor of the Silver family; George's son Jacob, builder of the first permanent and oldest existing ancestral home; and Jacob's son David to whom the home and family traditions fell. Here also lie Jacob's wife Nancy, David's wife Sally, and David's daughter Nancy Anne Who married Lace Woody. And down in the valley live David's son Will, present owner and occupier of the home; Will's three sons, Melvin, Gordon, and Homer; two of his grandsons, Edd and Jimmy; and his two great-grandsons Paul and Harold Dean; making in all seven successive generations of this family, living and dead, who keep watch on this hill and in the valley below.

The ancestral home still stands at the head of the valley. It is a large, two-story log structure, and stands just as it was built except for normal repairs and the addition of modern conveniences. Yet it does not look old, nor is it a museum piece; it is just what it always has been - a home. Built before the Monroe Doctrine was enunciated, it is the oldest existing ancestral home of the Silver generations, and is also the oldest inhabited house in this area and perhaps in Toe River valley. It has a most enviable record. It has never been bought, sold, mortgaged, rented, or insured, and has never been vacant but been lived in continuously by successive generations of the same family - seven in all, counting minors. Here lived and died its builder, Jacob Silver, preacher and veteran of the War of 1812; its builder's father, George Silver the younger, patriot and Revolutionary War veteran; and its builder's son David Silver, schoolteacher and Confederate veteran. And here lives its builder's grandson, Will Silver, carpenter and head of the fifth generation - and here, he says, he hopes to die and be gathered to his fathers. Only George Silver the elder, founder and first head of the family, did not live and die here and does not lie on the hill; he lived and died in Pennsylvania (Frederick County Maryland) and lies in an unknown grave in that state. And that takes us back to the beginning.

George Silver the elder came to America from the Old World in the 1750's (circa 1749 - 1751 aboard the ship Speedwell from Germany via Scotland) as an oldish young man. His nationality is not remembered (German), but it is thought that he was of Dutch origin and came from Germany or Holland. On the ship coming over he met and fell in love with a fellow emigrant, an Englishwoman by the name of Ellis (probably Syssy Market Ellis), and on landing they married and settled in Pennsylvania (Frederick County Maryland). In 1760 there was born to them their first and only child (a daughter Elizabeth is mentioned in his will), a son, whom they named George after his father. It is this George who lies buried in Kona.

When the Revolution broke out the elder George enlisted on the side of freedom and served under Washington for three years (1776-1779), when he returned, old and broken in health, and his son, the younger George, a youth of eighteen, volunteered in his stead and served under Washington till the war's end four years later (1783) - military records that entitled their descendents today to full membership in those very select brother-and-sister organizations known as the Sons
and Daughters of the American Revolution.

The war over, young George did not go home (George Sr's will indicates George Jr was in Frederick County Maryland in 1785 so he obviously went home after the war); his father and mother having died during his absence, he came south from the place of his discharge, and we find him next in Morganton, North Carolina, where he is married and has a family. Whether he married before or after he arrived we don't know; all we know is that his wife was a Griffeth (Griffin) and that he had six children - Jacob, Henry, Rachel, Tom, Nancy, and Greene (Greenberry). (A Marriage License was issued to George Silver and Nancy Ann Griffin in Frederick County Maryland on 12 Apr 1782.)

In process of time Jacob (George Jr's son) married, became a widower, and married again. No one remembers who his first wife was (Elizabeth Wilson), but his second wife was Nancy Reid (Reed or Reede), a great woman if ever there was one - refined, gentle, and courageous. Soon after their marriage (they were both very young) they gathered together their belongings and, with Jacob's small son Charles by his first wife, took their journey over the mountains and down Toe River to what is now Kona, in Mitchell Co., where in a pleasant little hill-rimmed valley they halted, pitched their tent, and began clearing fields and hewing logs for a house.

We don't know the exact time of their arrival (24 December 1806), but according to family tradition Jacob did not enter formal claim to his land until about ten years later - not until neighbors began crowding in - and his grant bears date of 1819. So we fix the time at about 1809 (see above). But we do know this, that the region was a wilderness and they were its first entrants. As far as the eye and ear could reach there was no sign of human habitation other than their own - no tinkling of cowbells or slashing of axes and mauls, no baying of hounds or echoing of horns, no opening of clearing or spiraling of friendly curling smoke. They did not then know it, but their closest neighbors were on Bear Creek and in the Deyton Bend section of what is now Yancey Co., and in between the silence of the wilderness was broken only by the roar of the river and of the weather and by the noise of the birds and wild animals in the vast unexplored ....

Their first near neighbors were a family of ..... the French Broad and settled opposite the mouth of Roses Branch, five miles down the river, and their next were a family of Robinsons (George Robertson) who came from (Franklin County) Virginia and settled just over the river in what is now Double Island. But before either of these came they were joined by Jacob's father George, now a widower, and George's remaining (unmarried or young) children, all of whom moved in with Jacob. Thus, more than half a century after the founding of the family, there was still but one household of them. But they now had a permanent home in an unspoiled land, and from then on they multiplied and spread rapidly. Continuing as a widower, George lived with Jacob till he died, but his other children married and moved out to build homes and found families of their own; and each became the head of a mighty clan.

The accompanying (not posted here) family-tree chart on the opposite page helps to indicate their growth and spread. Some branches of the family are today as much as ten and even twelve generations removed from the beginning, but only the first seven generations are listed on the chart. The first three generations are listed in full, but because of the rapid increase in numbers only a few representative members are listed for each of the four succeeding generations. All members of the first three generations are dead; only one member of the fourth generation is still alive, Mrs Linda Laws, of Yancey Co., at this writing (1952) a very eldery woman; and most members of the fifth generation are either dead or very old. Members of the sixth generation range in age from very old (Alice Thomas is 94) to oldish young, and members of the seventh from great-grand-parents to babes-in-arms. The central part of the chart is given more fully than the outer parts, both because it is the part through which the ancestral home passes (it came from Jacob to David to Will) and because it is the part with which the author is most familiar. But it is hoped that enough members of all parts are listed to enable any descendent to locate his place and generation on the chart, to see his relation and kinship to all other members, and to trace his ancestry back to the beginning.

To illustrate the use of the chart let us consider the case of Ruth Ward. Ruth doesn't know that she is even remotely related to the Silvers, but she knows that Wilborn Thomas is her greatuncle, her grandfather's brother, and when she sees his name listed in the column of the seventh generation she deduces that she also is a descendent. She is thus able to see a
a glance her place on the chart (in the ninth generation), to establish her kinship with the other members of the family, and to trace her ancestry back to its source. If she inquires deeply enough she will find much along the way to entertain and interest her. She will .........

The Silver family is rich in history and tradition. Many members of the early generations were men of great spiritual and intellectual stature, and they lived life to the full and left a rich heritage. The lost family treasure, The place of leadership achieved by the Silver home, The beheading of Charles by his wife Frankie, The dying of John in his brother Marvel Alexander's stead, The withdrawal of Billy to study alone and without teachers - These are all great stories and should be known by everyone who loves our early mountain folklore. But as much as it is regretted, lack of space forbids their retelling here.

The family has gown until it is today a very great family, with offshoots in many and far places. But no matter how far it has spread, if you are a Silver or have Silver blood in your veins, your ancestry traces back through this valley and comes to rest on the hill. If all who are thus descended were to regather here to pay their respects to his house through which they passed and to do homage at the gravesides of their common ancestors, the hill and valley would hardly hold them, they would be so vast a multitude. They would come from almost every section of Toe River valley and from beyond, and many would be Silvers but by far the largest number would be collateral descendents with other family names - Buchanans, Burlesons, Chandlers, Conleys, Davises, Duncans, Edwardses, Ellises, Freemans, Gurleys, Halls, Howells, McClellans, Phillipses, Pittmans, Robertses, Sparkses, Tiptons, Turbyfills, Willises, Wilsons, Woodys, Youngs, and many others, including a very great crowd of Robinsons and Thomases. They would also be a very diverse multitude. They would be of all ages and both sexes and of every stage of health, fat, lean, and in-between; they would be Christian and non-Christian, Democrats and Republicans, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, in style and out of style; and they would be of many trades and professions. They would be farmers, housewives, students, businessmen, wage-earners, mechanics, merchants, miners, dairyists, horticulturists, carpenters, railroaders, craftsmen, teachers, preachers, registered nurses, typists, bookkeepers, loafers, lawyers, cow-doctors, and of many other trades and professions, skilled and unskilled. But with all their diversity they would be bound and knit together by a great common tie - that of blood brotherhood, of a single ancestry. For some of them the lines would come together in David; for more of them they would join in Jacob; and for all of them they would close in George, their latest common and second-earliest recorded ancestor.

- From the Recollections of Maggie Thomas, Daughter of David Silver as gleaned by son Monroe Thomas - Kona NC April 17 1952

Jacob Silver was married to Elizabeth WILSON in Frederick County Maryland.

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