Silverhill 75th Anniversary
The Baldwin Times
Thursday, November 11, 1971
Pioneer Residents Will Be Recognized
A program in observance of the 75th birthday of the founding of Silverhill will be held Sunday, Nov. 14. The program will be held at the Lutheran Church beginning at 2 p.m.
Following the program, refreshments will be served in the school cafeteria which is located across the street from the church.
Opening the program will be the singing of the National Anthem led by Ed Sturma, with Mrs. Walter Gustafson as accompanist.
Mayor Ben Kucera, who has served as head of the City government since 1960, will give a welcome address. The invocation will be given by the Rev. Bill Courington, pastor of the First Baptist Church.
Next, the pioneer residents of Silverhill will be recognized. They are Mrs. Vera (Johnson) Armstrong, Mrs. Agnes (Johnson) Utter, Mrs. Mabel (Johnson) Eckman, and Mrs. Louise (Johnson) Lundberg.
Officers of the Pioneer Club will then be recognized. They are President, Mrs. George Lundberg; Secretary, Mrs. Stan Robinson; and Treasurer, Walter Gustafson.
Special music will then be presented by William Jones, who will sing a solo.
The program will close with a singing of "America".
Master of ceremonies for the anniversary program will be Carl Pearson.
At Lutheran Church at 2 p.m.
Program Sunday to Celebrate
75 Years of Silverhill History
Silverhill, founded in 1896, is located in the fertile farmland region of Central Baldwin County. Today it has a population of 549 according to the 1970 census.
Residents are celebrating 75 years of history as a community and town this year. Silverhill was incorporated Aug. 13, 1926. Following is a history of the founding, and development of Silverhill and the people who made up this history.
The Svea Land Company was established in 1890 with the first meeting held at 1153 Western Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Later the headquarters were moved to 112 South Clark Street in Room 512 of the Chicago Opera House Building.
Original members of the land company were: Oscar Johnson, Olaf Johnson, John Linden, Nels Nelson, A. A. Norden, Charles Smith and F. A. Swanson. Later they were joined by (among others) C. O. Carlson, and J. O. Vallentin.
"After much research, lasting several years, it was finally decided that our colony
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be located in Baldwin County....because its natural resources and the adaptability of the soil, together with the high altitude, and the climate conditions beneficial to health, make it so desirable for colonization purposes....that we establish our colony on the high pine belt of this fertile county...," thus read one of the first brochures on the Silverhill Swedish Colony.
Oscar Johnson came south, first to Thorsby, Alabama, with the intention of opening a small machine shop there. But afterthoughts led him to Silverhill.
During the economic depression following the Panic of 1893, the Illinois Central Railroad advertised free transportation as far south as Nashville, Tennessee.
Oscar Johnson, John Linden, C. Swanson, C. O. Carlson and J. O. Vallentin took advantage of the railroad's offer to Nashville. There they bought tickets to Montgomery where a realtor named Scott gave them maps and literature on good Alabama agricultural lands.
After a look at lands In Theodore and St. Elmo of south Mobile County, the Svea Land group headed across Mobile Bay to Battles Wharf on the Eastern Shore.
In their search of the right place for their colony in Baldwin County, the men were driven around by a man named Smith who had come to the county all the way from Ohio by horse and wagon.
The prospective buyers even considered Aaron Hartford's land near Fish River. But since there were no roads, the lands there were practically impassable.
After another trip to thoroughly investigate lands in south Mobile County, the group returned to Baldwin County and purchased land at Silverhill. The Svea Land men then returned to Chicago to report to other interested parties and to make preparations for colonizing the new land.
By June of 1896, deeds and abstracts were completed and recorded, and all transactions were wholly finished.
During the summer of 1896, a treacherous epidemic of yellow fever broke out. Mobile, Pensacola and all neighboring areas along the Gulf Coast were quarantined. In order to escape the quarantine, Oscar Johnson, Dr. E. C. Slosson, and John Linden hurried to Bay Minette, but found the train there with all doors and windows sealed tightly. The quarantine was not lifted until late fall of 1896.
As soon as the quarantine was lifted, Oscar Johnson, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Axel T. Westerlund, and their small daughter, Ester Louisa, (now Mrs. Louise Lundberg) returned to Silverhill, from Chicago.
By this time, Oscar Johnson's house had been almost completed except for windows and doors. Boards were nailed over the openings to keep out cold winds. Since furniture had not arrived, beds, tables and chairs were crudely fashioned from boards. Mattresses were improvised from pine straw and dry grass, and covered over with quilts and blankets.
One of the first meals cooked in Silverhill was prepared over a pine stump fire. But the outdoor cooking facilities presented problems, among which were long-snouted razorback hogs that roamed the woods for anything to eat. On one occasion one of the creatures made away with a huge stack of pancakes labeled instead
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for the hungry pioneers.
This was a truly pioneering year. In order to get the necessities for life, the settlers had to go by horse and wagon over winding roads through the woods to Marlow or Daphne to buy such staples as flour, corn meal, coffee, sugar, salt and salt pork.
In January, Mrs. Oscar Johnson, and the Johnson's two daughters, Elvera (now Mrs. Phil Armstrong) and Agnes (Mrs. G. W. Utter), with Grandpa, John Peter Johnson, arrived from Chicago to brighten the colony.
Otto Solberg was the first to set his plow to the ground in Silverhill. Solberg, incidentally, was a descendant of one of the guards of King Charles XV's court.
It was during this year that the first Czechoslovakian settler, James Vlasak, came to Silverhill. Others followed from 10 to 15 years later.
Since there was no cow, and naturally no milk in the colony, Otto Solberg, and a companion, Dahlberg, set out to buy a cow. Little did they realize that it would take them three days to find one. On the third night, Mrs. Solberg, filled with anxiety, lighted a lantern, went into the woods, climbed upon a half fallen tree, and sat there to guide home her husband, friend, and the all-important cow, on the third night after they had left home.
Christmas of this year was celebrated with traditional Swedish "Lute Fish" and rice porridge, and New Year's Eve with coffee and "Dop" to welcome in a promising new year.
As the century turned a good influx of land seekers and settlers came to the budding Swedish colony. Most came during the fall and winter months, prompted no doubt by snows, ice and bitterly cold winds in Yankeeland.
Those who decided to stay, pitched in with a desire and determination to turn a forest wilderness into cultivated fields and comfortable homes. But most important, these hardy pioneers lived honestly, helped one another and won for themselves good names, which have continued to live throughout the years of Silverhill.
During these two years most of the time was spent building homes and necessary farm buildings, clearing and plowing the ground, and raising vegetables, potatoes, corn and rice for the families' own needs.
It was at this time, too, that the Olanders built the first hotel in Silverhill which housed the first store and the post office.
Other arrivals to make their homes in the Swedish colony at this time were the Johnsons, Ahlbergs, Linds, Ankarbergs, and Colanders.
During these two years the farmers began to plant crops for marketing: sweet and Irish potatoes, string beans and some strawberries. These had to be hauled by horse and wagon to Daphne, thence by bay boats to Mobile. Often the prices were so low that the farmers received practically nothing for their labors.
Silverhill's first sawmill was built in 1902.
In December of 1903, the Silverhill settlers decided to plant peaches as a money crop. Planting was begun the following spring. By early 1905, 11,550 peach trees had been planted throughout the colony, and the farmers eagerly anticipated a good income from their efforts.
However, it turned out to be a costly experience instead. Insects and disease attacked the peach orchards, and it was not long before all trees died and had to be dug up.
Hoping to produce a money crop, cotton was planted in 1904. Although prices were poor, a little cash was obtained from this new venture.
A sugar cane mill, a brickyard, and the Hotel Norden came into being during these years.
By this time Silverhill had grown into quite a town with more homes, another hotel, churches, stores, a school and a post office being built. Transportation from the colony to Mobile had improved. Freight could be hauled from the Silverhill Landing, down Fish River to Fairhope, and then across the bay to Mobile.
But even more important the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was being built and new towns were springing up along it! Loxley, Robertsdale, Summerdale and Foley. Originally the branch line railroad was to have been constructed in a direct line from Bay Minette to Fort Morgan. But due to a controversy, the right of way passed east of Silverhill and this town had to use the station at Robertsdale.
1906 was the year of the horrendous hurricane. Although most damage was done along the coastal towns, Silverhill, too, suffered property damage including the loss of cattle, and severe damage to timber. Luckily no lives were lost in the community. But the September storm tended to discourage and dishearten some families
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and they returned from whence they came.
The town library was organized in 1906.
The Spring of 1907 brought a man by the name of Stall, a representative of Newhall and Son of Chicago, to Silverhill. He offered farmers a proposition whereby his firm would supply seed, fertilizer and baskets for raising cucumbers, if the farmers would do all the work. At a call meeting, the farmers agreed to the proposition and planted cucumbers. When the bountiful crop of "cukes" was harvested, shipped, and time came for the remuneration of their labors, it was found that instead of being on the credit side of the ledger, the farmers were in debt to Newhall and Son!
Complaint, sorrow and regret were rampant throughout the colony. But living up the reputation and determination of their Nordic heritage, Silverhillians spat onto the palms of their hands, made an about face, and planted "cukes" again!
This time they planted both cucumbers and Irish potatoes under contract with a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania firm. Although their profits were small, they did not go into debt on their second undertaking,
As one pioneer expressed their farming venture, "We never made much money, but we always ate off the best of the land."
This year saw the introduction of a new industry that heartened the farmers of Silverhill-the raising of dairy cattle. This was prompted by Carl Frisk, who came to the community from Dagget, Michigan, and established a creamery, not only the first one in Baldwin County, but also the first one in Alabama. (Had it been only 10 years since the handful of intrepid pioneers owned their first cow which it took them three whole days to find!)
Czech settlers who migrated to Silverhill during these years were: Anton Kulicka, and his mother; Joseph and John Heidelberg; Frank Foukal; Albert Marik, and mother; Mrs. Sedlacek: Anton Swoboda, Sr.; Paul Kus, and family; John and Carl Kotas; a Mr. Bacilek; and Jim Jelinek.
The Czechoslovakians built the first public hall—known as the C S P S Hall. Located southwest of the town of Silverhill, it was a meeting place for the Czech people.
Anton Kulicka donated the land. All the Czechs pitched in and cut timbers which they hauled to Heidelberg's sawmill to have cut for building materials.
This building also first served as a school for the farm children in that area.
Later, as more Czechs began to settle in Silverhill, the hall was enlarged. This building still stands and is now owned by the "Farmers' Club."
John Hanak was the first real estate man in Silverhill and also the first mail carrier. Mail was brought from Mobile to Fairhope by bay boat where Hanak brought it on horseback to Silverhill.
During the next half decade many tourists came to Silverhill. Hotel Norden had become famous throughout the North, especially among the Swedes, as a home for winter visitors. So many came, in fact, that an annex had to be built on to the hotel.
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The Nordens were known-not only at home but far and wide -for their hospitable hostelry.
Many of the tourists and first-time visitors to Baldwin County, bought land, built homes, became farmers and helped the community grow.
Markets became increasingly better so larger crops of Irish and sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries were planted. Rice, sugar cane, and cotton, too, were realized as money crops. It was found necessary to improve the breeding of both beef and dairy cattle. In turn corn, hay and other fodder crops were being raised. This called for the improvements of soils.
In order to record all their achievements, a photo studio was established for Silverhill townspeople.
These could well be called the "better" years - The years when more and more families moved to Silverhill. More land was cultivated. Better homes were built. Better farm equipment was available. Better breeds of horses, mules, cattle, hogs and poultry were raised.
Better markets and prices brought a better livelihood to Silverhillians. It was during these years that the Silverhill Farmers Association - which sold farm produce on the consignment plan — was organized. This was to be a real boon to the farmers for many years.
The "not-so-good" event in 1916 was another treacherous hurricane on July 4-5 which hit Silverhill with a glancing blow.
Even though on the eve of the Great Depression, these were still prosperous years for the farmers. Produce prices were bringing in a steady income. Cattle prices were on a steady upward swing. By the end of this decade prices of dairy cattle and dairy products had begun to fall off. As a result many of the dairy breeds were being sold for slaughtering, and not commanding too good prices. Timber and forest products also entered into the economy of the area.
The 20's brought to Silverhill an ice cream parlor, a news and magazine stand, a new grocery and a gift shop, a restaurant, and a row of
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In 1923, Peter Forsman built the fine shipping platform, a feed store, and an egg and poultry business.
The following year, The Bank of Silverhill opened its doors to the Olander Hotel building. A few years later a new brick building housed the bank with Phil Armstrong as cashier, and Mrs. Armstrong and Mr. Pelecky as assistant cashiers. As did many across the nation, the bank's doors were closed during the Depression days in the early 1930's.
Post Office businesses were conducted in the rear of the Wilkes Home for a number of years, with Henry Wilkes serving as postmaster. During this time it was moved to the bank building and Peter Forsman became the new postmaster. Today Silverhill boasts a fine new post office, with George Pulliam as the most recent postmaster. Albert Philips served as postmaster from the mid-30's until last summer.
Late in 1929, the Silverhill Cemetery Association was organized with the following trustees: Charles Norman, Arthur Forsman, Peter Forsman, Emery Johnson, and Hans Erickson.
From 1924 to 1926, Mr. Hein and son, Harry, operated a blacksmith shop in the Anderson Garage on the main street.
Theodore Johnson sold his business, Peoples' Supply Company, in 1928 to George Merinos of Loxley. Leslie Chandler was manager. This business has been in continuous operation since.
In 1922, the Czechs organized the "Hub Truckers' Organization" - an outlet to sell and ship their farm products to the north. The organization flourished well for many years under the expert management of Joseph Novotny. Cucumbers, sweet and Irish potatoes, sweet corn and greens, were the featured crops.
Czechoslovakians in the Silverhill - Robertsdale area built another public hall on Highway No. 104, near Robertsdale. It is known as the PZK Hall - a meeting place for many educational and recreational functions in the community.
In the early 30's, Joseph Kulicka bought and operated Silverhill Ice and Creamery Company. After operating the thriving business for many years, his health failed him and he sold out to Berglin in Fairhope.
Anton Vesely (Wesley), one of the later settlers in Silverhill, started selling land. It was through his efforts, his ability, and advertising in Czech and English newspapers in the northern tier of states that he was responsible for the settlement of some 290 families in Silverhill, Robertsdale, Summerdale and Fairhope.
Vesely was an integral part in the development of South Baldwin County. Many of his compatriots had large families. They all worked very hard, and they carried on the good names of their families. Czechoslovakians have always been noted to have an inborn, intense love for liberty. They displayed the same fine characteristics after they became American citizens. And they contributed much to the wealth and progress of their community, and to Baldwin County. Time has brought many changes in Silverhill. Today it is a good example of the blending of a number of ethnic groups into loyal Silverhillians, Baldwin Countians, Alabamians and Americans!
Silverhill Folks Widely Known
Among the people from Silverhill who have made names for themselves nationally and internationally:
Nels and Victor Anderson: nationwide metal window and door manufacturers.
Donald Armstrong: business executive with Scott Paper Company.
Patsy Dearborn: exchange student to Umea, Sweden, where she studied for one year.
Dr. David Gustafson: Obstetrician and Gynecologist in Detroit.
Donald and Harry Linden: commercial construction.
Mildred and Marie Maier: the Original Doublement Twins - stage, radio and TV Personalities.
Donald Smart: Colonel, U.S. Army.
Neil Smart: General, U. S. Army.
Dr. George D. Lundberg: Pathologist - California and Hawaii.
Silverhill Incorporated in 1926
With 288 Residents Signing Papers
The incorporation of Silverhill required an enumeration of citizens. The document declaring the enumeration and containing 288 names was filed with W. D. Stapleton, serving then as Probate Judge of Baldwin County, on Aug. 13, 1926. This was the incorporation date for Silverhill.
Listed as enumerators were Oscar Johnson, O. F. E. Winberg, and Nils J. Mohe.
Following is the list of residents living within the limits of the municipality of Silverhill:
Paul Anderson, Mrs. Gudren Anderson, Alice Anderson, Doris Anderson, Hans G. Erickson.
Mrs. Anna Erickson, Charles Riech, Miss Christina Matson, Elmer Lindell, Mrs. Signe Lindell, Clarence Anderson.
Mrs. Phoebe Anderson, Jeanette Anderson, Clarence Anderson Jr., Harold Fosberg, Ruth Fosberg, Marion Fosberg.
Mrs. Elizabeth Edfedt, Mrs. H. J. Eriandson, Mrs. Emma Erlandson, Ethel Erlandson, Evelyn Erlandson, Dorothy Erlandson, Joseph Erlandson.
Rev. Charles Palm, Mrs. Anna Palm, Agnes Palm, J. Vlasak, Mrs. Ida Hultman, John Isaackson.
Charles Norman, Grace Norman, Joseph Vorel, Mrs. Amelia Voret, Ebelyn Vorel, Frank Vorel.
Stanley Krga, Mrs. Minnie Krga, Frank Pearson, Anna Pearson, Mrs. Johanna Pearson.
James Rada, Mary Rada, James Rada Jr., Gusta Rada, Albert Rada.
Frank Kosina, Martha Kosina, Helen Kosina, Mrs. Emily Kosina.
Joseph Spacek, Mary Spacek, Ferdinand Papleham, Elizabeth Papleham.
Ole Liztrom, Anna Liztrom, Emily Liztrom, Lena Liztrom, Elmer Ekman, Mabel Ekman, Bernice Ekman.
Anton Kirmaier, Louise Kirmaier, Otto Kirmaier, Wilhelmina Kirmaier, Curt Kirmaier.
S. Edhegard, Mrs. Grace Edhegard, Grace Esther Edhegard, Conway Edhegard, Agnes Edhegard, Ruth Edhegard, Hazeltine Edhegard.
C. L. Trawick, Mrs. Cora Trawick, Sarah Trawick, Cora Leigh Trawick, Clarence Trawick, Unice May Trawick, Lois Trawick, Charles Trawick Jr.
James Celar, Mrs. Josephine Celar, Julia Celar, John Peterson, Mrs. Josephine Peterson, Alvin Peterson.
Fred Lovall, Mrs. Christine Lovall, Mrs. Francis Wantz, John Wantz, Katherine Wantz.
Nils J. Mohe, Mrs. Olga Mohe, Mildred Mohe, Evelyn Mohe.
Vaclav Vitous, Mrs. Josephine Vitous, Jin Vitous, Albert Vitous, Frank Vitous, Mary Vitous, Rosie Vitous.
Jens Egeberg, Mrs. Borghild Egeberg, Alfred Karlson, Mrs. Annie Karlson, Ivan Karlson, Carlton Karlson.
Gust Sundeen, Alfred Skooglund, Caroline Skooglund, Oscar Skooglund, Carl Skooglund.
Ervin Anderson, Mrs. Violet Anderson, Orville Anderson, Viles Anderson, Norman Anderson, Sidney Anderson, Morris Anderson.
Louis J. Divina, Mrs. Barbara Divina, Yarmilla Divina, Milton Divina.
Charles Gustafson, Mrs. Esther Gustafson, Francis Anderson, John Mikulecky, Mrs. Maria Mikulecky, Blanche Mikulecky.
Charles Stradle, Josephine Stradle, Frank Cervenka,
Louis Ryznar, Mrs. Anna Ryznar, John Ryznar, Rosie Ryznar, Mary Ryznar, Annie Ryznar, Louis Ryznar.
Frank Linder, Mrs, Anna Linder, W. L. Forstyhe, Mrs. Nellie Forstyhe, Isidor Ondrovich.
Jack Wilson, Mrs. Helene Wilson, Dorothy Wilson, Arnold Wilson.
Mrs. Annie Wilson, John Wilson, B. B. Wilson, Katherine Wilson, Etheline Wilson.
F. Rezek, Mrs. Anna Rezek, Mildred Rezek, John Rezek, Emma Rezek, Jerry Rezek.
Mrs. Bengta Olson, Pete Olson, Nels Olson, Olaf Olson.
Clarence Ostrand, Mrs. Elsie Ostrand, Harriet Ostrand, G. A. Ostrand.
Harry Norden, Mrs. Anna Norden, Harry Norden Jr., Grace Norden, Harriet Norden, Veda Norden.
Mrs. Annie Veeder, O. P. Forsman, Erika Forsman, Charles Wallendorf, Ruth Wallendrof.
E. M. Nick, Francis Nick, D. S. Bagwell, Adele Bagwell, Carlos Bagwell, Mary Lucile Bagwell, Arlie B. Bagwell.
N. A. Krenek, Veronicka Krenek, Mary Neuman, Theodore A. Johnson, Mrs. Hannah Johnson, Alida Johnson.
Bert Menary, Charles A. Hoff, Mrs. Mathilda Hoff, Gustaf Hoff.
Emil Sandell, Emil Sandell Jr., Hannah Sandell, Bert Sandell, Lillie Sandell.
Oscar Johnson, Mrs. Josephine Johnson, Phil G. Armstrong, Mrs. Vera Armstrong, Elvera Armstrong, Donald Armstrong.
F. K. Eastman, Mathew Eastman, Luella Eastman, Mrs. Mae Eastman Harrell.
Joseph Dvorak, Mrs. Gertrude Dvorak, Joseph Dvorak Jr., Anton Dvorak, Mrs. Frances Dvorak, Anton Javorek, Anna Javorek.
Rev. E. Oscar Johnson, Mrs. Johannah Johnson, Reuben Oscar.
Arthur Peters, Mrs. Grace Peters, Arthur Peters Jr., Elizabeth Peters, Rosella Peters.
Mrs. Anna Anderson, Beatrice Anderson, Mrs. Erika Norden, Pearl Norden.
Otto Johnson, Amanda Johnson, Lina Heni, Mrs. Siguurd Heni.
Frank Johnson, Ida Wettergren, Adolph Ekman, Mrs. Christine Ekman, Edith Ekman.
Emery Johnson, Mrs. Alice Johnson, Mildred Johnson.
W. P. Collier, Mrs. M. P. Collier, Charlsie Collier, William Collier, Otist Collier, Grady Collier.
Ed Havel, Mrs. Sylvia Havel, Leonard Havel, Trene Havel, Violet Havel, Raymond Havel, Ivan Havel.
Mrs. Christine Chelmo, Iver Chelmo, John Kozel, Mrs. Marketa Kozek.
Frank Sturma, O. F. E. Winberg, Mrs. Martha Winberg, Ivar Rundquist, Mrs. Amanda Rundquist, Axel Rundquist.
H. A. Wilkes, Henrietta Wilks, Mrs. Charles Overberg, Charles Rickman, Mrs. Louise Rickman.
Frans Berg, Joel Kristof-ferson, Mrs. Britta Kristofferson, Ralph Kristofferson, Rev. E. O. Osterberg.
George Lundberg, Mrs. Louise Lundberg, Miss Betty Peterson, Claus Ekman, Mrs. Enuna Ekman, Ethel Ekman, Theodore Ekman.
Mrs. Mary Anderson, Charles Anderson, H. Nitteberg, Mrs. Annie Nitteberg, Peter Forsman.
How Silverhill Got Its Name
There are a number of versions of how and why Silverhill was so named. Perhaps the most authentic is as follows.
A number of years before the Swedish Colony (originally to have been called "Svea" -the poetic name for Sweden) was founded. Lowell's Turpentine Still was doing a thriving business. It was also the junction for a logging train running north and south. This still was located on the hill on which today is "Oscar Johnson Memorial Park."
It seems that Lowell always bought and sold for cash, and all transactions were made in silver money,
"Pay Day" meant that everyone went "up the hill" to get his "silver."
Hence the Swedish town, originally to have been called "Svea" was instead named "Silver Hill."
Six Mayors Have Served Silverhill
Silverhill has had six men serve as mayors since its incorporation in 1926.
Currently serving is Ben F. Kucera, who is in his third term of office, having been elected in September, 1960.
Others who have served the town as mayor are, in order, Oscar Johnson, two terms; Charles Norman, two terms; Paul C. Anderson, one term; G. L. Chandler, one term; and Emery Johnson, five terms.
Following is a list of mayors, city councilmen, and clerks:
Incorporated Aug. 13, 1926 - Mayor, Oscar Johnson; Councilmen, O. F. E. Winberg, John Mikulecky, Charles Norman, Charles Hoff, N. J. Mohe; Clerk, Mrs. Elvera (Phil) Armstrong.
Election Oct. 15, 1928 - Mayor, Oscar Johnson; Councilmen, Charles Norman, Emery Johnson, Harold Fosberg, Albert M. Philips, Hans Erickson; Clerk, Mrs. Elvera (Phil) Armstrong.
Oct. 1, 1929, Charles Norman appointed Mayor.
Election Sept. 15, 1930 — Mayor, Charles Norman; Councilmen, Emery Johnson, Paul C. Anderson, Hans G. Erickson, Albert M. Philips, Elmer Lindell; Clerk, F. N. From.
Election September, 1932 — Mayor, Charles Norman; Councilmen, Emery Johnson, Albert M. Philips, Paul C. Anderson, Phil G. Armstrong, Robert Krejci; Clerk, F. N. From.
Election September, 1934 — Mayor, Paul C. Anderson; Councilmen, Emery Johnson, Albert M. Philips, Axel Rundquist, George D. Lundberg, Elmer Lindell; Clerk, F. N. From.
Election September, 1936 — Mayor, G. L. Chandler; Councilmen, Emery Johnson, Harold C. Fosberg, Charles Norman, E. A. Sandell, A. M. Philips; Clerk, F. N. From.
Mayor Chandler resigned May 3, 1937. Emery Johnson was appointed to serve the remaining time of his term.
Election September, 1940 — Mayor, Emery Johnson; Councilmen, Charles Norman, Albert M. Philips (resigned June 27, 1941), E. A. Sandell, G. L. Chandler, Elmer Lindell, George D. Lundberg; Clerk, F. N. From.
Election September, 1944 — Mayor, Emery Johnson; Councilmen, G. L. Chandler, Elmer Lindell, George D. Lundberg, Axel Rundquist, Elmer Lindell; Clerk, F. N. From.
Election September, 1948 — Mayor, Emery Johnson; Councilmen, E. J. Havel, G. L. Chandler, George D. Lundberg, Elmer Lindell, Axel Rundquist; Clerk, F. N. From.
Election September, 1952 — Mayor, Emery Johnson; Councilmen, G. L. Chandler, Ed Havel, Elmer Lindell, George D. Lundberg, Axel Rundquist; Clerk, F. N. From.
Election September, 1956 — Mayor, Emery Johnson; Councilmen, G. L. Chandler, Ed Havel Elmer Lindell, R. T. Linden, George D. Lundberg; Clerk, F. N. From. Eloise Chandler was appointed clerk Nov. 5, 1956.
Election September, 1960 — Mayor, B. F. Kucera; Councilmen, Leonard Havel, R. T. Linden, Donald C. Linden, Ernest A. Clark, Ralph Utter; Clerk, Eloise Chandler and Violet Linden.
Election September, 1964 — Mayor, B. F. Kucera; Councilmen, Ernest A. Clark, Ed Sturma, Floyd Racine, R. T. Linden, Clarence N. Anderson; Clerk, Violet Linden. C. Eleanor Byrd was appointed Clerk April 8, 1963.
Election September, 1968 — Mayor, B. F. Kucera; Councilmembers, Ernest A. Clark, Lorraine Huggins (Mrs.), Ed Sturma, Clarence Anderson, R. T. Linden; Clerk, C. Eleanor Byrd; Assistant clerk, Shirley L. Ard.
Silverhill Gets First Electricity
In 1921, Clarence N. Anderson and Harold C. Fosberg, with the help of Paul C. Andersen, built a gasoline-driven generator for use in producing electricity for the Town of Silverhill.
Plans had been completed and construction had begun on a Dam on the Fish River when the Silverhill Power Company granted to Riveria Utilities the Franchise for supplying electricity to Silverhill. This transaction took place on August 11, 1931.
Mrs. C. Winston Byrd, daughter of Clarence Anderson, still has one Christmas Tree light bulb which came from the first string of Christmas tree lights used in Silverhill. The light bulb still bums and is used at the top of the tree every year.
Silverhill Has Keen Interest In Schools
By Mrs. George Lundberg
The second house built in Silverhill was the Land Company Building (the present Library Building). As more families came south, a school building was necessary, so a partition was put up in this building, so that the Land Company business would not be disturbed, and school was held in the other part undisturbed.
The first families in Silverhill were anxiously discussing the teacher for their children. A family coming south was a Mr. and Mrs. (Painter) Carlson and daughter, Sarah. She consented to teach a one-room school with "colony to pay" along with Mr. Oscar Johnson.
The first "County-State" paid teacher in 1902 was Miss Millie Anderson, with about 25 pupils. One brochure states in English "Silverhill has the finest equipped school in the county. The desks are made by the Andrews Manufacturing Co. in Chicago. Silverhill can well be proud of her school.” This was in 1902.
Mr. Axel Theodore Westerlund passed away in 1900, but Mrs. Westerlund and Ester Louisa continued living and working for the Land Company in cooking and lodging.
In 1902, she married one of the land-seekers, Mr. Theodore Axel Johnson, a widower from Chicago with three daughters, Edith, Mildred, Esther. Now the other little girl's name became Louise Esther Johnson. People's Supply Co. (still in business 1971) was where the children bought their books, papers, pencils.
Silverhill was becoming quite a farming community. Many people were building lovely modern homes, and it was very important that Silverhill build a new school building. It was to be a two room-two story building. School was held in the Baptist Church (first church organized, but second church built) until the completion of the school. The Land Company house was too small.
There was still just one teacher, a man: "Professor Owens". There being no "Robertsdale," no other towns and no railroad, children either walked, rode bicycles, rode horses, or drove horse and buggy from areas far around.
Mr. Walter Gustafson (a Silverhill Pioneer) relates how Professor Owens was quite an astrologist in his own way. They lived up where Jim Swoboda, Sr. lives, and the Owens’ and Gustafsons walked right along where the "Lowell Turpentine Still" stood from which Silverhill got its name. They crossed the creek on the foot bridge. But here is a secret. Prof. Owens always stopped along the creek and cut switches for those bad boys and girls, and he used them, too.
There were so many pupils and Grades Primer, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, just too many to handle at one time so he divided the grades teaching 5th - 8th in the morning and Primer - 4th in the afternoon. Those were the days when neither parents nor teachers spared the rod (switch). Lunches were carried in buckets, water was carried by bucket, drank by dipper.
In 1907-08, Silverhill became a two-teacher school: two young ladies, cousins, Miss Mary Feminere (Killebrew) and Miss Pearl Campbell (Noonan) from Bay Minette. They lived at "Hotel Norden” a hotel for Northern Tourists which continued so until both the hotel and the annex were destroyed by fire in the late 1930's.
It was in 1907 that "Miss Mary" and "Miss Pearl" were instrumental in organizing one of the first School Improvement Associations in Baldwin County (the now Parent-Teacher Association): Mrs. T. A. Johnson, president; Mrs. Oscar Johnson, vice-president; Mrs. O. F. E. Winberg, secretary; Mrs. Eric Brown, treasurer.
Although this was a community built school, the teachers were paid by the county. It was through the influence of Miss Pearl Campbell that Louise Johnson (now Mrs. Lundberg) got to go to the Daphne State Normal School for her education, after which she taught in timing, almost 41 years. In 1915-16, her first school was a one-roomed school Seminole.
This two-story building was used by Zion Lutheran Church (Augustana Synod) in those early days. Through them an organ was placed in the school, which could also be used by the school, A large ringing bell was also placed in the building, which necessitated a bell-tower, which was built to be used both on Sundays and school days.
A Mr. W. P. Paulson started a Singing School, which was delightful to boys, girls, and parents. The tower room housed the N. P. C. Library, also.
When Silverhill became "Fair-minded", the first Fair was held as a "one-day, out door Fair" up on "the hill" (the Silverhill O. J. M. Park). The following year it was held in the school house, up stairs and down. The building proved too small and too dangerous for such large crowds, so the community decided to add two more rooms to the building and that brought two more teachers to the school.
The daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Johnson, Elvera (Mrs. Armstrong) studied at a business college in Mobile and later did secretarial work in the Colony Community Office, now Mr. Oscar Johnson's since Carlson and Valentine withdrew to live in Chicago. Agnes (Mrs. Utter) graduated from Barton Academy (Mobile), also studied at the Daphne State Normal School, and became a teacher and principal at the Silverhill School. She taught several years.
In 1928, the State and County decided to build, in Silverhill, a new State owned brick building, which would be south across from the old school (now for many years the home of Mr. and Mrs, S. Edhegard and family, across west from Zion Lutheran Church. The teachers in the school then were Principal, Mrs. George Lundberg, teachers, Miss Genie Ora Tharp (Mrs. Ivan Carlson), Miss Irene Young and Miss Eileen Pepper. Mrs. Lundberg coached the first basketball teams in Silverhill school and town.
Zion Lutheran Church had built a new beautiful building, which still stands (1971) as beautiful as ever. They had sold the organ to the Miss Evelyn and Florence Wilkes (Evelyn a teacher in the county for many years, and also an assistant in the county superintendent, Mr. S. M. Tharp's office) in Bay Minette.
The bell was given to the school and erected to the rear of the new beautiful six room brick building with a principal's office and kitchen facilities, and a most beautiful auditorium. Mr. Oscar Johnson had been the all-time school trustee and had served most capably for the benefit of pupils, teachers, parents, and community. Mrs. Peter Forsman was president of the P. T. A.
By now, Silverhill had organized the "Silverhill Community and Fair Association". The town had bought land and built a fine Hall with a stage, a balcony, fine benches, a good floor for basket ball, also kitchen facilities.
The community now sponsored the County Fair, which the local Chamber of Commerce worked toward throughout the County. This building had been used by the school for programs, basketball, Christmas festivals, operettas, play nights, etc. until the new school and auditorium were built.
It was during the principalship of Mrs. Will Wingard, 1945, that the Silverhill P. T. A. began sponsoring the P. T. A. Founders Day Dinners. Mrs. Albert Philips was president of the P. T. A. The first dinners were served in the school auditorium, beautifully decorated like a fairyland. Each table represented a month of the year. P. T. A. ladies served as hostesses, and high school and junior high girls were serving girls. This has continued throughout the years, except that now the tables represent
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"Nationalities of the World" instead of the months of the year.
In 1955, when Mr. Gerald Robinson was principal, Mr. Emery Johnson, school trustee, Mr. Peter Forsman, P. T. A. president, Mr. S. Tharp, county school superintendent, Silverhill had the misfortune of losing the entire school, auditorium, school library, and two pianos, and contents by fire. This was a sad experience. It happened on a holiday, Veterans Day. Many towns’ fire departments couldn't save it.
Navy Barin Field, south of Foley, Fire Dept. came up and took control. No one was allowed to enter the building to save anything as smoke was pouring out from under the eaves all around, showing that the attic must all be burning, and a door or a window open for entrance could cause the ceiling to cave in, so all a person could do was to see our beautiful school and auditorium go up in fire and smoke.
Not a school day was lost. Principal Robinson, Mayor and Trustee Emery Johnson, County Supt. Thays and parents called a meeting and places for grades were arranged, 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade with teachers, Mrs. Lundberg and Mrs. Carlson at the Mission Covenant Sunday School rooms; 4th, 5th, 6th grade with teachers Mrs. Pearl Boyce, and Mrs, Lena Vick in the Baptist Church Sunday School rooms; Junior I and Junior II (7th and 8th) with Mrs. Taylor and Mr. Robinson in the Town Hall building.
In the meantime, Mr. Tharp retired as Supt. and Mr. W. Candler McGowin became County Superintendent. Desks, books, chalk (black) boards were sent in to Silverhill from almost every school in the county and from the County Department, and so the school year went along very well.
P. T. A. Chairman Mrs. John Harden and a committee of parents arranged an Easter Egg Hunt that spring on the school campus. It was amazing to see that all the debris had been cleared away and the campus looked just like a beautiful park. Games were played, refreshments served, and eggs hunted. It was beautiful and yet very sad.
That summer the County built six modern class rooms, a principal's office, a maintenance room, and rest rooms, but no cafeteria and no auditorium. A temporary cafeteria in a building about three blocks away was used for almost two years, when a cafeteria was built under the leadership of P. T. A. president, Mr. Jamie Beard and his committee. The whole community banded together to get this cafeteria built. The late Mr. John Fugard (the first) of Woodhaven Dairy and Farm drew the plans. The P. T. A. financed it by a subscription list and giving fish fries and chicken fries, festivals, bazaars, and such. The County did an occasional contribution.
The town was growing, more people, more homes, more children. We needed a larger school. Being promised two more rooms, Silverhill waited patiently. A letter to the County Department by an anxious citizen, soon got them to announce "two rooms at the Silverhill School". So Silverhill is happy now with a principal, eight teachers, eight rooms, a principal's office, a secretary's office, a maintenance room, rest rooms, a cafeteria, a snack bar, a storage room, covered walkways, two hallways, but no auditorium for basketball, programs, rainy days, Founders Day dinners, Christmas, Spring Festivals, and so many other things.
The 1971-72 teachers are: Principal, John Stewart; Junior High, B. H. Curtis; Junior High, Mrs. Grady Undine Taylor; Sixth grade, Mrs. Doretha Hall; Fifth grade, Mrs. James Sue Cooper: Fourth grade, Mrs. Frank Mildred Engstrom; Third Grade, Mrs, Ernest Dorothy Clark; Second Grade, Mrs, Ivan Genie Ora Carlson; First Grade, Mrs. Edith Wagoner; secretary, Mrs. Bill Louise Passmore; cafeteria, Mrs. W. Sarah Stephens; and Mrs. Duke Gladys Phildius; bus drivers, Joseph Krob Sr., Mr. Leslie Hammond, Robert King, Mrs. Mary McDonald, janitor, Raymond Houlsen.
When consolidation of schools began in Baldwin County, a school out in the south of Silverhill in the Czech community, a one-roomed school, was consolidated with the Silverhill School and that called for school buses. Dave Forsman built the first Forsman built the first Silverhill School bus from an old truck in about 1926-28. He was the first Silverhill bus driver. He then carried high school students up to the Robertsdale High School also. Although Silverhill has really just gone through eighth grade, Principal Mrs. Lundberg in 1927-28 did teach some ninth grade subjects in her room.
The officers of the Silverhill P. T. A. 1971-73 are President, Frankie Kucera; Vice-president, Charles Douglas; Secretary, Mrs. Walter Rosie Pope; Treasurer, Mrs. Elton Keating.
Among other principals and teachers throughout these years were: Miss Mildred Hall, Miss Xeripha Bryars, Miss Ella Robinson, Miss Lilla Simmons, Miss Lucy Thompson, Miss Irby, Mr. John Dailey, Miss Bernice Miller, Miss Alice Mannich, Mr. Moore, Mrs. Moore, Miss Earline Moore, Mrs. Aiken, Mrs. William Wingard, Mrs. Curtis Vick, Miss Theresa Guarisco, Miss Lena Furgeson, Miss Julia Mathers, Mr. David Petty, Mrs. Petty, Rev. Donald Eckerholm, Miss Evelyn Correll, Miss Marjorie Jewell, Mrs. Gerald Robinson, Miss Helen Nimms, Mrs. T. O. Redding, (nee Edna Earle Saye), Mr. Felix Bigby, Mr. Dan Ross Mason, Mr. Bekurs, Miss Lillie Belle Emmons, Miss Fannie Lane Emmons, Mrs. Harry Linden (nee Essie Garrett), Mr. Dupre Mason, Mrs. D. Mason, Miss Florence Cherry, Mrs. Priscilla Blackburn, Miss Evelyn Nelson (Garrett), Mrs. S. Robinson.
The P. T. A. President, Floyd Racine, in about 1957-58, had the original school bell mounted on the front campus.
Infant Jesus Of Praque Catholic Church
Catholics Form Silverhill Church
In October, 1947, Rev. Philip Lambert of the Mobile Catholic Diocese visited the home of Vaclou Vitous to discuss the possibility of organizing the Catholic families of Silverhill, having Sunday Mass for them and the possibility of building a Church.
The Vitous' offered their home as a temporary meeting place where Mass was held for about 18 months until the Church was completed. About 12 people attended the first Mass and attendance gradually increased.
The Church was built on property obtained from Mrs. Phil Armstrong.
As most of the Charter Members of the Church were of Czech origin, it was dedicated as The Infant Jesus of Prague Church in April of 1949, with Father Lambert as their pastor.
Others who have served as pastor are Father Kissel, Zaghby, Henkin, Kerwin.
First Thoughts About Baldwin
(The following quotes were some of the recorded first recollections of Baldwin County by Vera Johnson Armstrong.)
"In January of 1897, my mother, my grandpa, my sister, Agnes, and I arrived in Mobile by train from Chicago. We went by bay boat to Daphne where we stopped over at the O'Neal's home until we could get transportation to Silverhill."
"A rig driver was hired and we started out, anxious to be on our way to our new home and to be reunited with our father."
"Not far out of Daphne, another rig driver appeared and they began shooting at one another. We ducked down on the floor of the rig until their bullets were spent. The only thing we could make of the fracas was that it must have been a "rig-war."
"Later we came to woods that were ablaze. When night fell upon us it was a horrible sight - even the tall timbers were burning."
"It was here that my poor mother bemoaned, 'I don't know where we are going - but it sure looks like it's to hell!'"
"We were met at Perone Creek by a man with a lantern to help us make a safe crossing, and to show us a short cut to what was to be our new home."
Mission Covenant Church Formed in 1902
On Nov. 20, 1902, a small group of people gathered at the Land Company Office building, (now known as the Silverhill Library) and organized the Mission Covenant Church of Silverhill.
Those present at this historical meeting were Mr. and Mrs. J. N. Jacobson, Peter Thorson, Mr. and Mrs. N. G. Monson and daughter Signe, J. A. Isaakson, Otto Anderson, Mr. and Mrs. P. A. Swenson, and Peter Larson.
In January 1903, property was donated to the congregation by the Silverhill Land Company. Plans were drawn, and a new building erected, with dedication ceremonies being held April 6, 1903.
This sanctuary stands today at the original site on Fourth Street. Mr. Jacobson was called to be the first Pastor of what was then named the "Svenska Evangeliska Missions Forsamling'' (Swedish Evangelistic Mission Congregation).
In 1905 Pastor Jacobson received his first set salary of $10 per month. This was increased to $15 in 1906, and in 1911 to $18.
In 1912 Pastor Jacobson resigned after serving the congregation for 10 years - his salary at this time was $20 per month.
A shelter was constructed for horses and mules in 1916, which were the modern means of transportation of the day. Electric lighting was installed in the Church in 1924, furnished from the Robertsdale Electric Station. In this year the Swedish language was still being used in all services. In 1927, Sunday School was conducted for the first time in English. The last Swedish services were held in 1937.
In 1957 ground breaking ceremonies were held for a new sanctuary, and early the following year the new Church was dedicated with Rev. T. W. Anderson, President of the Covenant, as guest speaker. An Educational Building was added to the complex in 1968.
One tradition that has lasted from the beginning of the Church until the present time is the early morning Christmas "Julotta" service.
Pastors of the Church over the years have been: 1902-1912, J. N. Jacobson; 1914, Rev. Hagstrom; 1917, Rev. Wenstrand; 1921, Albert Lundgram; 1923, A. G. Lind; 1927-1935, O. E. Osterberg; 1935-1936, Eric Danielson; 1937, K. Berlin; 1943, Joel Nordlund; 1945, Stanley Hunt; 1946-1950, O. R. Swanson; 1951-1954, G. H. Nelson; 1954-1959, J. E. Peterson; 1960-1964, Paul Swanson; 1965, Gunnar Forsberg (Interim); and 1965 present, Curtis A. Simmons.
Resident Tells About Great Storm Of 1906
By Milton Gustafson
I was very young at the time of the famous hurricane of Sept. 27, 1906. The word hurricane was unknown to the general public. They called it the storm.
Most of the details are forgotten to me. I remember waking up in the night as the house was shaking violently. Our house, like most of the houses at that time, was a shell with the kitchen completed, walls consisting of exterior wood siding only. They all had wood shingles and the driving rain blew under the shingles and came into the houses.
I got up and there was a light in the kitchen, a kerosene lamp, the only lights we used in Silverhill at that time. My mother and father were up. There was about an inch of water on the floor and more seeping in. Father was wearing an undershirt and had his trousers on with his suspenders (belts were apparently unknown in those days) hanging at his sides instead of over his shoulders.
As morning came we children, my sisters and I clamored for breakfast. It was impossible to make a fire in the wood stove as the wind blew down the chimney very hard.
The only food was bread and milk, which had soured. Food in those days was cooked for each meal as there was no refrigeration. Our fresh milk supply was at the barn in care of the cow and it was too stormy to leave the house.
Dad put on his coat and hat and opened the door and his hat blew out. He found it about a year later in a tree about a mile from the house.
We had so much rain and the water was so abundant outside that I, having attended Sunday School regularly, wondered if we were having a repeat of the great flood of Noah's day. I hoped that our house would float and that it would float near the store so we could get some food.
However, the winds and rain ceased and we went about life as usual, patching up damages and straightening things out. There were uprooted pines, great virgin timbers, and broken pines on the landscape for years after. Many people became so discouraged that they boarded up their places and abandoned them.
Silverhill Forms Lutheran Church
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Zion Church was organized Dec. 18, 1905 by Rev. H. F. H. Hartelius of the Augustan Synod of the Lutheran Church.
The organization was filed for record in the Office of Probate in Baldwin County on May 21, 1906.
The first members of the congregation were Sam Jacobson, Hugo Valin, Herbert Jacobson, Jonas Hammarstrom, Lina Hammarstrom, Gilbert Jacobson, Bengt Johnson, P. M. Johanson, Carl Johan Swenson, Emma Kristina Swenson, P. W. Paulson and wife, Lars Peterson, Tilda Peterson, Erik Ulrickson and Mrs. Otto Anderson.
The first organist was P. W. Paulson. The organ was donated by C. A. Vallentin of Chicago, Ill. All services were held in the Swedish language as most of the people were born in Sweden.
There is no regular written record of Lutheran Church services from 1906 to 1914 when the Ladies Aid was organized at the home of Carl J. Swenson.
In 1915, the work was reorganized by Rev. Swanlund and the present building built. Land for the new building and future parsonage was given to the Church by Oscar Johnson. Miss Elvera Johnson was the first bride married in the church. For many years, the Church was served by various theological students. Swedish services were discontinued in 1919.
In August, 1919, when Rev. John Benson, Jr. was serving the church here and churches in St. Elmo and Sonora, a meeting was held and plans were completed to construct a parsonage. The parsonage was completed the following year. Rev. Benson and his wife and young daughter left Silverhill in 1923 to prepare for missionary work in China. Once again, the church was served by theological students.
In April, 1953, the church affiliated with N. L. C. A., at the Synodical Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Mrs. P. G. Armstrong and Mrs. Trygve Andersen, as delegates, had the honor of representing Zion at this ceremony. Pastors serving the church were; Rev. Counts, 1956-1958; Rev. Eubanks, 1958; Mr. Robert Tutas (Lay pastor) U. S. Navy, 1959-1961: Rev. Richard Achgill, Aug. 1961-1962; Rev. A. G. Seuchting, 1963; Rev. Martin.
From 1963 to 1971 the church was served by the following pastors, who served on a rotation basis: Rev. Torgensen, Mr. Smyth, Mr. Zimmerman, Rev. Daniels.
First Swedish Baptist Church Organized In 1899
First Swedish Baptist Church of Silverhill was organized Nov. 5, 1899. Rev. E. Wingren was chairman for the organization meeting. Selected scripture was Acts 2:22-47, after which J. A. Edfelt offered a prayer. It was also the occasion for the first Lord's Supper.
There were 12 members at this time, eight with letters and four awaiting letters from former churches in the North. The Church was sponsored by the Swedish General Conference. Charles J. Olander acted as secretary for this meeting. Officers elected were: J. A. Edfelt, chairman; C. J. Johnson, assistant chairman; C. J. Olander, treasurer; Carl Ostrom, secretary; C. J. Johnson and J. A. Edfelt, Deacons.
The meeting was held in the home of C. J. Olander.
Sunday School was started Dec. 3, 1899, with five children and three adults.
Rev. A. P. Sword was called as Pastor in 1901 and served until his death, March 25, 1902.
Rev. Karl Arry was the next pastor called.
In 1903, it was decided to build the sanctuary. Rev. E. Wingren had donated three lots to be used for the church and parsonage. Joseph Johnson was in charge of construction. Total cost of the church was $911.63. Rev. Charles Palm, from Chicago, came to the dedication services on Dec. 6, 1903.
N. P. Linden was elected treasurer on Oct. 1, 1906.
In 1907, it was decided to build a parsonage, N. P. Linden to have charge of construction, together with John Gustafson.
At the end of the first 10 years, the records show that 75 had belonged but the present membership was 35. Total income was $5,626.04, with property valued at $3,000.
In 1912, lots were purchased to build a barn in which to park the horses and buggies.
The Pastor's salary was supplemented partially by the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board during the early 1920's. Since 1928, the local Church has furnished the Pastor's salary in full.
In 1930, the church building was moved east 18 feet, by N. P. Linden and Edward Johnson.
Swedish services were conducted on Sunday mornings until 1930 and changed to English during Rev. G. A. Dahlquist's term as Pastor from 1929 to 1936. Sunday evening services and evangelistic meetings were in English many years prior to 1930.
The Church has been working with the Southern Baptists since the early 1920's.
The Fiftieth Anniversary was celebrated Nov. 5, 1949, at which time R. T. Linden read a history of the Church.
In 1970, it was decided to build a new sanctuary on the lot where the parsonage had been since 1907. It was torn down to make room.
The new sanctuary was completed in Nov. 1970 and the first service was held Nov. 29, 1970. The Dedication Service was held Dec. 13, 1970.
The present Pastor, Rev. Bill Courington, is the 16th pastor to serve our Church. There have been four interim pastors who served at different occasions.
Locating Highway 104 Through Silverhill
In Late ‘20’s Was Important To Future
The history of Silverhill includes the routing of State Highway 104 through the center of town in the late twenties. This might not have been as the route was planned on the section line straight east of Fairhope to the railroad near Robertsdale. This would have caused the improved highway to go one mile south of Silverhill.
John F. Smart, an early migrant to the Caney Brook area west of Fish River, was a prime mover for the present location of this highway of such importance to Silverhill. The Smart family moved to this area from Brainerd, Minnesota, in 1915 to a farm just west of Fish River now on Route 104.
Until the new highway was completed in the late twenties, the Smart family and other farmers in that area had to travel nine miles to get to the railroad station in Robertsdale, which was only six miles with a direct highway. This caused the residents of the Caney Brook area to do most of their marketing and business in Fairhope instead of Silverhill and Robertsdale.
To get to the nearest school, Mr. Smart and his sons, with the help of C. M. Lyrene and his sons, built foot bridges over Fish River and Perone Creek, making only a three-mile walk for children to the Silverhill school. With children from this area going to school in Silverhill, they began to consider this as their hometown. The post office did not change, however, until Route 104 was complete and Caney Brook area became a rural route from the Silverhill post office.
When news of plans for an improved road from Fairhope east to the railroad began to circulate, John Smart had the dream of having it built along the straight line route from Fly Creek on the shore of Mobile Bay through Silverhill to Robertsdale. At that time, several miles of this route did not include even a wagon trail. With this vision pushing him, Mr. Smart walked, rode horseback, and went by horse and buggy to secure signatures on a petition to promote the present location of Highway 104.
An amusing incident in one of his horseback trips was a dunking in Fish River. This was caused by a stubborn horse and a determined man. Old Prince, the mount, balked occasionally and he refused to cross the pine log and plank bridge across Fish River. Mr. Smart, being determined to make the trip, turned Prince around to back him across the bridge. This worked fine except Prince didn’t back straight and both of them ended up in the river-no harm done except a good soaking.
All of these efforts were successful as decision was made to build this new highway which to this day is probably one of the longest stretches of straight highway in Alabama—about 12 miles from the Gulf Coast Experiment Station near Fairhope to junction with State Highway 59 on the south edge of Robertsdale.
This location of Route 104 was one of the many contributions made by John F. Smart. He was a leader for good education, improved roads, farmers’ cooperatives, and wholesome social activities. He was a key figure in organizing the Caney Brook Farmers Club, a social and farmers cooperative, and served for many years as an officer in this organization. He served two or more terms as president of the Parent - Teachers Association in Silverhill.
Mr. Smart, farmer, writer, and community leader, died at the age of 88 in July 1960.
Many People Contributed To This Issue
A number of people have contributed to this special anniversary section for Silverhill.
The Baldwin Times acknowledges contributions in pictures, stories, and historical information which have been invaluable in compiling this section from the following persons and sources: Mrs. Charles Norman Sr., Ben Kucera, Mrs. Phil Armstrong (Vera), Mrs. Agnes Utter, Mrs. George Lundberg (Louise), Mrs. I. Carlson, Mrs. F. Engstrom, Walter Gustafson, Milton Gustafson, R. T. Linden, Gen. Neil R. Smart, Mrs. C. Eleanor Byrd, members of the Town Council, First Baptist Church, Mission Covenant Church, The Infant Jesus of Prague Catholic Church, the Zion Lutheran Church, The Pioneer Club, and Mrs. Kay Nuzum.