12 July 1833 – Frankie Stewart Silver

‘So I married an axe murderer’ could have been modelled on our next gruesome crime. Child-bride Frances Stewart Silver was sent to the gallows in the 19th century for killing her teenage husband Charles.

‘Twas a few days before Christmas when tragedy hit Burke County in North Carolina, after Silver took an axe to her other half and hacked him to bits.

Charles in chunks

A mere teenager herself, she carried out her crime in the house where they live with their 13-month-old daughter. She then set about chopping him up and stashing his 19-year-old bits about the place. She even went for a walk in his boots, so people would think he’d gone out and had never come back.

Despite her attempts to cover her crimes, it wasn’t long before she was dragged in for question and sure enough Silver was charged.

Precious mettle

Her loyal family rallied around her, even managing to smuggle her out of jail, but she was caught, hauled back and placed firmly under lock and key.

But she didn’t stay in the clink forever, instead, Silver was strung up on this day in 1833, aged roughly 20.

According to anecdotes collated from Bobby McMillon on www.folkstreams.net the ghost of Charles Silver may live on. One Grady Thomas was up near the fateful house was. He’d been hunting when he heard an eerie sound.

‘They was screams and groans commenced to peeling out in the dark that’d freeze your soul. We lit out a thair (sic) a burning the wind as we went and never would hunt around in there no more.’

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7 Responses to “12 July 1833 – Frankie Stewart Silver”

  1. Lester Gregory Says:

    Frances Silver was born Frances STUART. She was my great great grandmother. Thank you

  2. Lester Gregory Says:

    The book by Sharyn McCrumb contauned several mistakes.Frankie had long black hair.My grandmother buried a lock of that black hair on the grave of Nancy Parker in the Mtn.Grove cemetery.We think Frankie was a melungeon from Anson County, NC

  3. L. Stewart - Lewis Says:

    She was innocent ! ! ! and she did take it to her grave!

  4. Jennie Porter Says:

    Have done some family research recently and found that Charlie Silver is a relative.. So that makes Frankie an in law relative. My husband and myself visited the Silver family cabin and cemetery where Charlie is buried. We looked for Frankie’s grave but didnt see it. I am told it is down the road from the Silver family cemetery. Anyway.. The family museum is a thing to see and is a very interesting part of geneaology. Loved it! Saw a pic of my great grandmother on the wall there. That surprised me.

  5. I know its too little too late. My public and heartfelt apology to the Stuart family and their descendants. I offer this as both as an abuse survivor and as a Silver descendant. Right is right and wrong is wrong. The time to right this wrong is long overdue. If someone could send me the most recent petition of Pardon, I would be glad to sign it and ask my family members to follow suit.

  6. Frankie is outside of Lake James at the Devault Farm Burial Ground. Weather permitting, I plan to bring her flowers this wknd…real ones.

  7. Kathy Jo Bryant Says:

    I wish I could work with some interested individuals on a fairly new angle to this story. I uncovered it while working on my mother’s Parker family. I had never heard this story until I discovered it through a series of letters sent by a cousin to a historian in Anson Co., NC. Since they were only one side of the story, it does leave a lot of blanks. However, there is plenty to think about. It involves my great great grandfather’s older sister. She died on the same day as Frankie. Her son helped Frankie escape, and then took on his mother’s maiden name…supposedly to avoid detection. There
    was mention of a little black boy telling someone about it at a cotton mill. All very mysterious. Just wishing I had someone to help find more on this.

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