Frankie Silver resources

a webliography compiled by Lana A. Whited, Ph.D.
Professor of English and Journalism,
Ferrum College (Va.)

Books about Frankie Silver


Fifth of  Sharyn McCrumb's "Ballad" series novels.   Sheriff Spencer Arrowood, reconsidering the conviction of a death row inmate, recalls the story of Frankie Silver.  McCrumb constructs a narrative of the Silver case framed by the present-day story.  Based on extensive research. Link goes to a description of the novel from the author's official web site. Contains a plot synopsis and photos of relevant sites as well as an interview with the author. Limited to McCrumb's novel; no links to historical materials.

  2000 Book by Daniel Patterson, UNC Kenan Professor Emeritus of English and Folklore, published 2000. Patterson explores how and why the Frankie Silver legend cycle has persisted in Western North Carolina, as well as the legend's life in the imagination of award-winning storyteller and ballad collector Bobby McMillon, a Caldwell County, NC, native. Chapters on how McMillon became interested in oral tradition, as well as the Frankie Silver legend, ballad, and trial (including a lengthy meditation on why N. C. Governor David Swain refused a pardon). Extensive appendices include transcripts of the story told by descendants of Charlie Silver and relatives of Bobby McMillon. Link goes to the University of North Carolina Press page featuring Patterson's book. Winner of the 2001 Chicago Folklore Prize.
Sheppard, Muriel Earley
Cabins in the Laurel
  1935 book reissued in 1991 by the University of North Carolina Press.   Sheppard moved to the Toe River Valley of North Carolina in 1928 from New York City and heard stories of the region from neighbors. Her book is responsible for preserving interest in the Frankie Silver story but also for much of the folkloric distortion associated with the case.  Includes 128 photographs by Bayard Wootten and a forward by North Carolina novelist John Ehle.

Young, Perry Deane
The Untold Story of Frankie Silver

  1998 book by Perry Deane Young, who focuses on the differences between the facts and the folklore of the Frankie Silver case. Contains transcripts of original documents and an extensive bibliography of print sources. Link goes to the author's official web site.


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Resources for Readers and Teachers of
Appalachian Literature

site created May 16, 2000

last updated June 17, 2008