REV. JOSEPH SILVER DIES AT HIS HOME AT 100 YEARS OLD
Reverend Joseph Silver, Sr., well known and highly respected Negro minister, died Tuesday at his home in the Delmar community, on Enfield Route 3. He celebrated his 100th birthday anniversary last July 22 at a large gathering of friends and relatives. Rev. Silver had been in poor health about four years and had been confined to his bed for the past four months.
Funeral services will be held from the Plumbline Holiness Church, Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. The body will lay in state at the church an hour before the funeral. The Rev. L.G. Young, of Henderson, will preach the funeral and burial will be in the family plot. Among those expected at the final rites are Bishop M.C. Clemmen of Richmond, Va., and Bishop H.B. Jackson of Ayden.
Rev. Silver began preaching in 1893 when he he organized and built Plumbline Church. Among other churches built by his ministry are ones at Ayden and Summitt, near Littleton. He was an organizer of the United Holiness Church of America and served on the board of Elders until his death.
Rev. Silver was married three times; first to Felicia Hawkins, who died in 1931, then to Sarah Jacobs of Wilson, who died in 1938; and last to Martha Aldridge of Goldsboro, who survives. In addition to his wife, Rev. Silver is survived by five sons N.D. and Samuel Silver, of Washington, DC; Gideon, of Pittsburg, Pa.; Joseph, Jr., of Halifax and A.M. Silver of Route 3, Enfield; three daughters, Epsi Copeland and Roberta Hewling, of Enfield, Route 3, and Emma Goines, of Pittsburg, Pa. Eighty grandchildren, 109 great-grandchildren, and 17 great great grandchildren also survive.
— Unnamed newspaper clipping, 10 January 1958.
P.O. Box 193 Nashville
N.C. c/o Brake
Feb. 2, 1958
Dear Hattie –
You heard of Rev. Silver’s death Jan. 7th although I didn’t notify you as I was sick and still is sick but not confine to bed. Sarah had some things in the home. A bed which I am sure you wouldn’t care for and a folding single bed which I am going to get but my main reason for writing you she has an oak dresser and washstand that Rev. Silver told me you wanted and said he told you you could get it if you would send for it so it is still there and it is good material if you want it. Amos has already seen a second hand furniture man about buying it. The Silver’s will “skin a flea for his hide and tallow.” The Aldridges holds a very warm place in my heart and always will. If you wish to do so you may write to Rev. Amos Silver Route 3 Box 82 Enfield and ask him if your mother Sarah’s furniture is still there. There is also a carpet on the floor in the living room you need not mention my name. I am very fond of Johnnie Aldridge of Dudly. Come to see me whenever you can I think you might get with Reka at Fremont some times, she and Luke come to Enfield to see me occasionally I am going to write Reka next week. I married your great uncle Rev Joseph Aldridge write me
Your friend and great aunt by marriage.
M.C. (Aldridge) Silver
And then this was what my grandmother had to say:
Mr. Silver, he had a bunch, he had 11 children, and his son had a whole bunch of ‘em. Joseph Silver. And I went up there one time and one of the brothers was crazy. And they had one of them there things built up where you could put a person in it, and you can just slide their food right in it. And it was a seat in there, least it was built in the thing where you could sit on. When the person would act up, and you can’t do nothing with him, you’d lock him up in that thing, and he had one of them things in the backyard. Big old thing. It was just like one of them tanks where oil come in. And I went in there, peeked through the thing, and I was scared, and I’m drawed all up and looked, but I couldn’t see in there. But they told me how it was. … When Mama got married there on Elba Street, there at the house. Yeah. He come up there … He was a little short brown-skinned man, and he was a elder and the head of the church where was down there in Halifax County. And all the children …. Epsie? Epseline? What was his first wife’s name? But him and Mama fell out ‘bout the cooking stove. She took and got the wood and got the little stove – was four caps on it. I’ll never forget it. And it was red-hot in the middle. And he said, “Don’t put too much wood in that stove! Get Epsie’s stove that hot! I know she’ll turn over in her grave!” And she told him, said, “What? Epsie ain’t here!” Said, “I’ll tear the whole stove down!” or something, and she hit the stove! He didn’t want her to – They had chinches all over the house. It was a sealed plank house, and the chinches was all in the, where the cot was up against the wall? And Mama said she went there and, I told her, I said, when she was telling me ‘bout she was scalding water, had the stove hot and had buckets of water up there on the stove so it would be hot enough to kill the eggs and everything. And he didn’t want her to pour no water on it, talking ‘bout she got the stove red-hot and Epsie’ll turn over in her grave. She had that stove that hot. “Epsie didn’t never used to have it that hot.” She said, “Well, Epsie ain’t here now, and I’ll burn it up! House and all!” She said, “To get rid of these here chinches.” Chinches all over everywhere!
“Epsie,” of course, was Rev. Silver’s daughter, not his wife. This letter addressed to “Miss Hattie Jacobs Sanatorium Wilson N.C.,” postmarked Feb 2 1958, Nashville N.C. is in my possession. Martha Silver’s previous husband had been Joseph Aldridge, younger brother of my grandmother’s grandfather John W. Aldridge. The Johnnie Aldridge referred to was my grandmother’s uncle. Reka Aldridge Morrisey Ashford was the daughter of George W. Aldridge, John W. Aldridge’s older brother. I interviewed my grandmother in her home in Philadelphia in 1994.