The Women’s History Trail project honors Siler women
The 169th Siler Family Meeting will feature a special presentation by Mary Polanski from the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County (FHAMC) on the Women’s History Trail (WHT) project in Franklin as it relates to the Siler Family. Just recently, the association placed a trail plaque at the Siler/Jones house on West Main Street in Franklin, honoring Laura Jones (1877-1972), daughter of Judge George A. Jones and his first wife, Lily Ellen Lyle (William branch).
Laura Jones helped raise her five younger brothers after their mother’s death in 1893. She earned a degree from Columbia University in New York and became a teacher, a high school principal, and a founder of Camp Nikwasi – a summer camp for girls – which she developed on land inherited from her father.
Judge Jones married a second time, and he must have loved the Siler family for this time he married Harriet Sloan, granddaughter of Jesse Siler. Thus, the descendants of Judge Jones, who sponsored the trail plaque honoring Laura, span both the William and Jesse branches of the Siler Family.
A major undertaking of the Women’s History Trail project is the planned seven-foot bronze sculpture of three matriarchal figures of early Macon County. Nationally renowned sculptor Wesley Wofford, who lives in nearby Cashiers, has been commissioned to create the sculpture entitled, “Sowing the Seeds of the Future.”
The sculpture will depict three women from different cultural backgrounds whose lives intersected and who all had a connection to the land around the Nikwasi Mound. The three women are an African woman named Salley, a Cherokee woman named Rebecca (Na-Ha), and a Pioneer woman, specifically Timoxena Siler, daughter of Jesse Richardson Siler and Harriet Dorothy Patton. The sculpture will be placed in the Mound Plaza, part of the developing River Gateway District of Franklin.
The total project cost of the sculpture is $400,000. To date $105,850 has been paid, which includes the cost of the 1/3 scale-size model of the sculpture. The remainder of the cost is scheduled to be paid between this fall and the end of December 2021.
The Siler family now has an opportunity to contribute to this important project that honors our women ancestors and our family. The sculpture will represent and celebrate not only women who lived in Macon County in the early days and contributed to the county’s history, but also the special bond that exists between women, a bond that defies cultural backgrounds and transcends and overcomes all barriers.
Be sure to tune in via Zoom to the Family Meeting and hear the presentation. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of an important project that honors our women ancestors and our family. Click here for photo gallery.
Read more about the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County at http://www.folkheritageassociation.org/ where you can also download the map and booklet for the Women’s History Trail.
Many thanks to Barbara McRae for providing the information on the Women’s History Trail and the sculpture project.