Siler Descendants

See you at the
167th Siler Family Meeting

 4 August 2018
Franklin, NC

Weimar & Margaret (Rafferty) Siler Branch

William "Bill" Wallace Siler turns 100!

William Wallace Siler was born on 23 June 1916. He is the son of Arthur Lee Siler and Ethel Virginia Wallace.

William "Bill" W. Siler is known to most members of the family as the - usually - oldest male present at Family Meeting. This year, the 165th Family Meeting will be honoring Bill and his wonderful 100 years of life on 6 August. We hope you can join us and help celebrate!

Bill's paternal grandparents were Albert and Joanna (Chipman) Siler. Albert Siler was the oldest son of William and Althea (Swain) Siler. William was the oldest son of Weimar and Margaret (Rafferty) Siler, thus making "our" Bill a member of the William Branch of the Weimar Siler family. Weimar was the son of Plikard Dederick Siler and Elizabeth Hartsoe.

You can read more about Bill's life and his military career and service in WWII as a B-17 navigator in the two articles below, one from the Estrella WarBirds Museum in California from 2012, and the other from Mildenhall AFB in the UK from 2014. Thank you to Ross Zachary for providing the two articles.

Estrella WarBirds Museum - News July 2012.

RAF Mildenhall Air Force Base, UK - News June 2014.
Click on the photos below for more information. Many thanks to Ross Zachary for providing the wonderful pictures of Bill Siler and his family.
The Bill Siler Family 1947
The Arthur Lee Siler Family ca. 1907

Siler Family History

Arrival in America
While family tradition says that Plikard Dederick Siler arrived in America in 1741, published research on Palatine immigrants seems to indicate that Plikard actually arrived in Philadelphia in September, 1738 on board the ship Two Sisters from Rotterdam via Cowes on the Isle of Wight, England.

The book Pennsylvania German Pioneers by Ralph B. Strassburger and William J. Hinke contains passenger lists of ships that carried German immigrants to America. The book (3 vols) was published in 1934 by the Pennsylvania German Society

Vol. I contains the reconstructed passenger lists, Vol. III the index, and in Vol. II you will find the enhanced and cleaned up actual signatures of the immigrants arranged by ship. Note that not all libraries carry Vol. II with the signatures, but it can be found via inter-library loan.

The Strassburger-Hinke book also contains information on the spelling of German names, German letter combinations and their transcription, which is important in identifying the immigrants. In Plikard's case, it's useful to know that the letters B and P were often interchangeable.

You may also view a reconstructed list of passengers on the Two Sisters on the web at Progenealogist's Palatine Project. Plikard's place of origin is shown as Ittlingen, Germany.

None of the ships lists we have found so far include Elizabeth Hartsoe, making it difficult to prove the family story that Plikard and Elizabeth met on the ship. Searching the web for more information about Elizabeth will yield postings on various message boards and personal websites, some indicating that she was born in Pennsylvania, rather than Germany (no source reference).

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Jesse Weimar Siler
Youngest son of Jesse Richardson Siler & Harriet Patton

Jesse died in a skirmish near Gaines Cross Roads, Virginia, on 7 November 1862. 

At the time of his death, Jesse was serving in the 1st N.C. Cavalry, which was engaged in operations in Loudoun, Fauquier, and Rappahannock Counties in Virginia between October and November 1862:

Barbee's Cross Roads:  5 November 1862
(present-day village of Hume, VA)

Little Washington: 8 November 1862

Gaines' Cross Roads: 10 November 1862
(near Amissville, VA)

Follow the links below to see a map showing the above locations and Jesse's Confederate service record.  The photo album shows pictures of present day Hume and Gaines' Cross Roads. As you will see from the photo of the Historical Marker for Gaines' Cross Roads, Confederate troops came through the area again in 1863.

The photo album shows a landscape that still looks much like the landscape Jesse would have seen. The historical marker is located across from the Ben Venue mansion, built between 1844 and 1846 for William V. Fletcher, a prominent land owner.  The house is still standing, as are the brick slave cabins that Fletcher had built for his slaves. The cabins are a rare example of surviving slave quarters in the state of Virginia and undoubtedly only survived because of their solid construction.  Leeds Episcopal Church in Hume was established in 1769 and stood witness to much during the Civil War. The church building was occupied by both Union and Confederate soldiers, and one wall was pieced by an artillery shell from a nearby hostile engagementLee and Longstreet's troops marched past the church on their way to Antietam (Sharpsburg) and Gettysburg. Confederate General Turner Ashby was a member of the parish.

A = Barbee's Cross Roads (Hume, VA)
B = Gaines' Cross Roads
C= Little Washington, VA

Jesse Weimar Siler's Service Record
(posted with kind permission from

Barbee's Cross Roads (present-day Village of Hume)
Barbee's Cross Roads
Leed Episcopal Church, Hume, VA
Leeds Episcopal Church with cemetery in background
Road between Barbee's Cross Roads and Gaines' Cross Roads
Gaines' Cross Roads Historical Marker
Gaines' Cross Roads Historical Marker
Ben Venue Mansion
Ben Venue slave cabins

Bill Siler Interview

Veterans History Project

American Folklife Center
Library of Congress

William Wallace Siler was interviewed in    2001 for the Veterans History Project, a  cultural documentation and preservation  project of the American Folklife Center, a  division of The Library of Congress.

Click on the link below to listen to Bill talk about his military service in his own words.

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Many thanks to Ross Zachary for sending
the link to the interview and for reminding us
of the existence of the Veterans History Project.

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Genealogical Standards

Today's genealogical research standards require that we do not simply rely on family lore and legend to build our family histories, but provide actual proof of events such as births, deaths, etc. 

We have made every effort to show where we have found the information posted on the Siler Descendants site.  Should you have contrary information, additional information or new information, we would love to hear from you. 

If you are new to Siler family research, we recommend that you use the Siler family books and the sourced information on this site as a starting point and work from there. 

Always independently verify the information found in family genealogies and given to you.

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Plikard's Arrival on the Two Sisters

Plikard Siler is believed to have arrived in America in 1738 on board the ship Two Sisters. The ship is referred to as a "Snow," which is a relatively large, two-masted sailing vessel similar to a brig. You can see examples of a snow and a brig on the website Age of Sail, a site that sells ship models. The site has a list of ship types with illustrations

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Two Sisters Immigrants

Below the signatures of the immigrants who arrived on the Two Sisters as they appear in the Strassburger/Hinke book Pennsylvania German Pioneers.
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Click here for a PDF version of the signatures page.  You will be able to zoom in on individual signatures.
Plikard's Signature

The signature entry below is believed to belong to Plikard Siler. It is a close-up from the page above, which was taken from the second volume of the Strassburger-
Hinke three volume book set, Pennsylvania German Pioneers. For the publication of this volume, the actual signatures of the German immigrants from the ships' passenger lists in vol. I were enhanced and cleaned up.

The signatures of the immigrants indicate that upon arrival in America, they took the oath of allegiance to the English King and the so-called oath of abjuration, giving up their previous citizenship.

When you see a
+ next to a signature, it generally indicates that the person could not write, but simply made his mark next to his name as signed by an official. This is, however, not always the case, and as of now we cannot say with certainty whether the signature was made by Plikard or an official.

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Thank you to the
Pennsylvania German Society
for their kind permission to post the scan of the Plikard signature entry and the scan of the Two Sisters signatures page as it appears in the Strassburger & Hinke book.

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Siler-Rafferty-Gleaves Connection
Letter from Jesse Richardson Siler to Major James Turk Gleaves

Siler family historians have no doubt come across the surname Gleaves in their research.  You will recall that Weimar and Margaret's youngest daughter was named Mary Gleaves Siler, and you may also have come across documents that seemed to indicate a connection between the families, and yet, that one document that proved the connection without doubt may have eluded you.

Thanks to the Gleaves family, we are able to post a scan of a letter from Jesse Richardson Siler to Major James Turk Gleaves of Cripple Creek, Wythe County, Virginia.  The letter was written in 1832 at the request of Jesse's mother, Margaret Rafferty Siler.  In the letter, Jesse states that his mother was the daughter of Thomas Rafferty, and reveals that Margaret's mother, Esther, was married three times: first to a [Matthew] Gleaves , then to Thomas Rafferty, and finally to an [Elias] Woolman.

Use the links below to see the scan and to read a transcription of the letter.

We thank the Gleaves Family for their kind permission to post the original scan of the Jesse R. Siler letter. 

On the links page, you will find a link that takes you to the Gleaves Family website.  It's a great site with lots of information of use to Siler family researchers.  We hope you'll take a few moments to visit with the Gleaves Family.

The Gleaves Family holds an annual reunion. You can find more information about their family reunion on the Gleaves Family home page.

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 Jesse R. Siler Letter

 to Major James Turk Gleaves.

Click here to read the transcription.
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A Blast From The Past!

Thank you to Patricia Smith Levasseur of Louisiana (Jesse Branch), who provided us with a great deal of material last fall, including some old newspaper clippings. Enjoy a little blast from the past!

1951:  Six Siler Family women in their 80s attended the 100th Family Reunion.  Click on the year to see the newspaper photo and caption.

Ca. 1955:  Article by Weimar Jones talking about losing his temper and relating a story on patience written for a school assignment by William Steele Smith Jr. who had been recovering from a broken leg and longed to go back to playing football. Click on the year to read.

1959:  Franklin Press photo showing Carrie Sloan Crawford, age 95, with great-grandson, Darry Crawford, age 3.  Click on the year to see.

1994: Franklin Press news story about Harold Thomas Sloan (born 1893) who worked for the U.S. Postal Service from 1916 to 1948, with a "break" while serving in WWII.  Harold was the son of Jesse Siler Sloan and Georgia Neville Sloan.  He was married to Nanalyn Kinnebrew. Click on the year to read the story.

2001:  Macon County news shows a photo from the 150th Siler Family Meeting in 2001. Over 400 family members attended that year.  Click on the year to see the photo and read the caption.

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Any posted items that have been removed from the Family History page can be found on the Archive page.
Books on the Siler Family

The Family of Weimar Siler: 1755-1831
by Leona Bryson Porter
was published to coincide with the 100th Siler Family Meeting in 1951. 

If you do not have a copy of the book and need a look-up, please send us an e-mail at and tell us what you're looking for.  We'll be glad to help. But you can also find the book online at the Hathi Trust, a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to preserve the cultural record  and accessible long into the future. Go to and search for the book by Porter. You will have full access to the digitized book.

Some years ago, an updated version of the Weimar Siler book was in the planning stages.  We are not sure, at this point, if this project is still underway.  If you have any information about the update, please let us know. 

The Siler Family by Arvid Ouchterlony Siler (1922) is available for download as a PDF-file on Google Books.  Go to and search for The Siler Family by A. O. Siler.

The Siler Family: Roots and Shoots by Theodore E. Siler & A. O. Siler (1982) is out of print and we do not have a copy of the book.  It is, however, available at several libraries.  Contact your local library to see if they have a copy or can find one for you via inter-library loan.