2018-02-21 / Features

Remembering Grandpa Silas

excerpts from interviews with Cora Throckmorton, Lural Yancey and Gordon Throckmorton

Cora Amos Throckmorton was the daughter of Dolly Gooch Amos Cooper, granddaughter of Silas and Lucinda, mother of Lural and Gordon and wife of George Throckmorton. Cora, Lural and Gordon told the most fascinating stories about Grandpa Silas Gooch, which reveal more about his personality and lifestyle. Before his death in 1927, Silas often visited Cora, her husband George and their family, and would insist on helping to tend the garden. Grandpa Silas was 110 plus years old at this point in time and unable to stand very long. George would say “you can’t work the garden and stand up.” Grandpa Silas would say “I ‘ma work that garden for y’all. Bring me a chair” He would sit in the chair and work the whole garden with a hoe by himself. He (Silas) enjoyed singing “its goanna be all right in the morning.” Grandpa Silas also enjoyed telling how he was born during slavery but refused to work, escaped and remained in the area to care for his family. The patterollers (or patrollers) tried many times to catch him, but failed. Silas would kill dogs sent after him by snapping their jaw bones. Grandpa Silas told two particular stories about being chased by two blood hounds. After growing tired he stopped and sat on a fence to rest. The patrollers would hoop to the dogs and they would bark. And he (Silas) said “if you don’t be quiet “I ‘ma kill you” and the dogs would bark again. He would reach down and catch’em by the mouth and rip their jawbone open. He would get away. He had a cave, often times when being chased by Patrollers; he would escape, he’d get in his little cave and go back to his family at nightfall, Cora, Lural and Gordon recalled.

Silas Gooch Silas Gooch On this occasion he (Silas) was oversleeping in the morning, the patterollers came to capture Silas. He escaped the patterollers (who) put the bloodhound on him, chasing him to the river. He’d get in the river (and) swim to the other side. The dogs would swim through too. And when they (dogs) would get over there to the other side where he was they (patrollers) would hoop to the dogs and he (Silas) would tell them to be quiet. And he said “if you don’t be quiet I’ma kill you” and the dogs would bark again. He would reach down, catch ’em by the mouth and ripped the jaw bones open, Cora, Lural and Gordan said.

He (Silas) was a short, chunky man, but he was a strong man. He was nice. He was loved by people. He liked to come out here and stay around (at George and Cora’s) with them. And he was an amusement you know, talking about how things were, how he lived, how he made a living, raising his family and everything, Gordon said.

Now the idea of Silas escaping and hiding out in the same area is believable. Fleeing the slavery system in the 1800s, one can imagine Silas doing so. George and Cora resided in the Kinton Forks area of Granville County, near Oxford. Census records from 1870 and 1910 show Silas and his family lived in that area.

Silas and Lucinda were grandparents to Cora Amos Throckmorton, who married George Throckmorton. Originally from Granville County, Cora and George relocated to Wendell, N.C. to farm, returning to Oxford in 1923 to purchase a farm and build their home. Cora and George built their home themselves and raised a family in Oxford, providing Silas Gooch eight great-grandchildren: Viola, Ruth, Lural, Tam, Mary, George, Jr., Gordon and Leslie Throckmorton.

Their daughter Mary currently resides in the home that her parents built. Silas Gooch’s great-granddaughter, Lural Throckmorton, later married Esco Yancey Sr., who was from Roxboro in Person County, which is where Esco and Lural raised their family on their own farm, and from this union Silas Gooch had 4 great, greatgrandchildren: Esco, Jr., George, Blonnie and Richard Yancey. Silas Gooch’s great, great-grandson, George Yancey, currently resides in Roxboro.

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