Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Silas Chambers holding their first child and his wife, Laura Hood
Chambers, about 1899. Standing,
Laura's younger sister, Jessie Mae Hood (1886-1902), who died at age 16
with a fever.
Seated: Teacher Silas Chambers holding their first child and his wife, Laura Hood Chambers, about 1899.
Standing, Laura's younger sister, Jessie Mae Hood (1886-1902), who died at age 16 with a fever.
We read this account about early
schools in Edward Leander Shuler’s book,
“ ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child,’
had long been the rule both parents and teachers had followed in
Choestoe. The rule was used, they said, by
Cherokees in bringing up their children throughout the
That ‘new age of learning’ came when
young Silas Chambers from “the other end” of Union County went to
School to be the teacher. Edward Leander
Shuler’s father, William Jackson Shuler, had a voice in hiring the
aspiring teacher. So did Mr. Theodore
Saxon, another prominent man in the community.
The Reverend John Twiggs, who had been the teacher at Hood’s
moved on to
Silas Chambers was minus a right hand
and a portion of that arm. In inquiry,
he told Mr. Shuler that he had lost his arm in an accident while he
the railroad in
The parents of Hood’s Chapel Community welcomed the young teacher who got a place to board in the community and began the summer school term as soon as crops were “laid” by. He was a brilliant conversationalist, and even before school began, the people knew that he had worked not only on the railroad, but that he had experience in the mines at Copperhill, Tennessee and on the log trains that loaded at the Culberson, NC railroad depot. Even though he had lost an arm, he compensated with strength and power in his body, and the dexterous use of his left hand and arm.
In baseball and town ball, he taught
the students coordination and good sportsmanship. After
school hours, he took the boys hunting
on the mountains. He taught many to swim
in the mill pond or in the deep hole of the
Then Silas Chambers met a young lady,
already out of school, but who would pass by the school building going
care-giving job at Tom Alexander’s house, where she helped LeEtta
with her new baby and the other children.
This young lady’s name was Laura Hood, daughter of Mary Reid
Richard Jarrett Hood. She lived up near
The young couple began to see each other at church meetings. Later, as no surprise and to the delight of the Hood’s Chapel people, the couple announced a date for their wedding. Then, on a Sunday in the early springtime, while dogwood trees were in full bloom, Silas Chambers and Laura Hood were married in a beautiful ceremony at the home of her mother, Mary Reid Hood, with the Rev. John Twiggs performing the ceremony. This was in 1896. The festivity was complete with a reception with good food for all guests and a serenade to the new couple. It was a typical mountain wedding celebration in the late nineteenth century.
How long Silas Chambers continued to
teach at Hood’s
The couple settled near
Laura Hood Chambers died
Edward Leander Shuler writes of this teacher extraordinary, “Silas Chambers was the chief actor in the drama of life that unfolded at Hood school house” (p. 57).
Edward Leander Shuler,
Jones; published Oct. 1, 2009 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.