An Article Pertaining To The Family Of Thomas Silk In
From An Interview With Margaret (Silk) Wright By Deane Mc
Thomas Silk was born in Cornwall, England and came to
America at a young age with his mother Anna. They lived
in Leeds, South Dakota before moving to the Bay Area of
California where Anna was a cook on at a farm on Lake
Merritt in Oakland. Anna married Henry Silk and they
moved to Sonoma County sometime before the 1880 census.
They lived near Windsor. Henry and Anna had 2 more
children, George and Lillian.
(Silk home on Covy Road)
Despite having only a third grade education, Tom did very
well in the business world. Part of that being during the
years of the Great Depression. As a young boy he worked
for Mr Clark (Will's father) in his store. The
Clarks lived upstairs over the store. Tom bought out Mr.
Clark in 1898 and sometime after that moved the store
across the street.
In 1900 Thomas Silk married Ida Jewett who was born in
Petaluma and whose brother Egbert Jewett (Bert) owned
Jewetts Pharmacy and Ice Cream Parlor; & "the best ice
cream in the county" according to Margaret.
(Margaret Silk age 12, inside Silk&Son's)
Thomas and Ida Silk had 2 children. Margaret was born it
1901 and Thomas Jr. in about 1904 or 05 according to the
1920 census. Tom called his store Silk-Son and Co.
thinking that someday his son Thomas Jr. would come into
the business but young Thomas went into education and
became a professor at Cornell University.
Margaret graduated from Analy High School in 1920 and
from the University of California at Berkley in 1924. In
1927 she met her Mr. Right and became Mrs. Howard Wright.
Mr. Wright spent his working years in the furniture
business and passed away in 1997. At the time of this
writing (April 2003) Margaret is a very active and sharp
101 year old lady still living in Claremont, California in
her own home.
Margaret remembers that although her dad couldn't
drive he bought a model T Ford truck for deliveries.
After some time he did learn to drive but in Margarets
words "he was a terrible driver" and left the
driving to Clyde Fouts who worked for him in the store.
Margaret remembers riding out to the Hop Fields with Mr.
Fouts and getting orders for groceries which they would
later deliver. Clyde even drove the Silk family on their
The Silks lived on Covey road in a house on the right
hand side of the road about ¼ mile north of the main
street. That house is still there.
Margaret also remembers the Winery burning down and the
wine running down past the school and into the creek where
it mixed with the water the cows drunk and she says
"got a little tipsy"
Thomas Silk died in 1948 and Ida in 1962. They are
interred in the Santa Rosa Mausoleum.
The Silk family played a very large part in the history
and growth of Forestville.
I was very honored to meet and talk to this great lady.
by Ken Silk
My name is Ken Silk. My Grandfather, Henry Silk, was a
half-brother to "Silk & Son." My Great-Grandfather apparently
stowed away from Frankfurt, Germany sometime in the 1800's. He came to Oakland where
(according to my father) he was a stone mason. Our family name was originally Shelk,
or Selk, or something like that. The name was "americanized" out of fear
that my Great-Grandfather would be sent back to Germany if he was found. My
Great-Grandfather moved to Sonoma county in 1883 when he bought 90 acres on what was to
become Silk Road in Windsor. You can find the parcel on the 1897 Sonoma County
Atlas. Stone masonry aparrently paid quite well as he paid $4,500 for the 90 acres.
Yes, Sonoma County was just as expensive 120 years ago.
My Grandfather was 3 when they moved to the ranch. It's not clear where his half brother was at the time they moved to Sonoma County. It's also not clear if my Grandfather was from a first or a second marrage. It's also not clear what happened to the first marrage. But, at some point (perhaps turn of the century) my Great-Grandfather gave my Grandfather the ranch.
Silk & Son was a combination merchantile and a bank. It's not clear if "Silk & Son" was a joint venture between my Great-Grandfather and the half-brother, or the Half Brother and his son. My dad seems to think it was the latter case. My dad said that my Great-grandfather established "Silk & Son" because he gave my Grandfather the ranch. My dad also said the "& son" prefered city life and in later years moved to San Francisco. He managed one of the big hotels the San Francisco, and later moved to New York City where he managed hotels there. I hear he was quite successful. My dad said he had no children.
The Silk family has the family plot at the Shiloh cemetary in Windsor. I believe my Great-Grandfather is buried there, as is my Grandfather. My Dad is still alive and kicking at 94 years old. The plot is located on the north-west corner of the cemetary. You can't miss the big "Silk" headstone.