Category Archives: Silver City

History, Descriptions of the city, nearby towns, local myths and legends.

History of Silver City-Timeline

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Gatlinsburg-Richard Gatlin and his new wife Maria moved from Detroit in the early 1850’s.  They 11 children but 2 were born still and a 3rd passed of Diptheria at the age of 4.  Gatlin’s parents,brothers and sisters soon moved to the area, as well as many in law families.  The area became incorporated as a town in 1860, Richard Gatlin immediately elected as Mayor.  Richard was a man with simple values and simple faith. Having grown up in a Catholic family, but encouraged to ask questions, he became disillusioned with Christianity.  He believed in God, but was uncomfortable with the rigid standards that it set.  Not being a wealthy man, he couldn’t afford to go to college, nor could his family afford it, so he learned to be an accountant, which is how he met the love of his life, Maria Kershaw. Her father owned the accounting firm that Gatlin worked at.  Unfortunately before the couple were wed, Her father, Sam passed away of a heartattack, and the family elected to sell the business then let Richard (who admittedly had no business sense/experience at the time.) take it over. Maria as the only daughter got a portion of the sale (4,000) and moved to an unincorporated area of the state.  They built a nice sized farmstyle house, and painted it white.

1860’s  A few cousins joined the Michigan/Ohio regiments for the Civil War.  2 came home with a missing arm or leg, 1 came home in a box, and another didn’t come home at all. Maria Gatlin passed away of a stroke in early 1870. Richard 2 years later.

1870’s

SILVER RUSH! Proclaimed the headlines in the local newspapers. The Silver rush moved a bustling little town into a major metropolis pretty quickly. (roughly about the size of Grand Rapids.)  Richard’s son Michael Gatlin quickly set up the Gatlin Mining Company.

1900-Silver City became the new name for the area, but the residents of Gatlinsburg lobbied to keep the name of Gatlinsburg for their area. 

1930s-Like most of the country, the depression affected the citizens of Silver City greatly. Only picking up slightly with the lifting of prohibition and then WW2.  George Gatlin, after coming home from his plane being shot down in Germany, without his left leg and right arm (due to the wounds going septic.) He broke off the engagement he made before the war to Emily Kershaw (a decendent of Maria’s brother.)and shipped his german wife, Helga and their 3 yrs old son, Hans to Michigan. 

Emily Kershaw seem to take it well because she soon met,fell in love with and  married the son of a english duke. 

George faced heartbreak when his son Hans, was killed in Vietnam.