Moving Midway - A Documentary by Godfrey Cheshire

The Cast

"Sis" Cheshire, Charlie Silver, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln
Hinton at Midway plantation

Charles Hinton (“Charlie,” “Pooh”) Silver, Jr., first cousin to filmmaker Godfrey
Cheshire, grew up at Midway Plantation and inherited it upon the death of his father in 1979. He and his wife Dena operate a consulting firm that serves the design, engineering and construction industries.

Dena Williams Silver grew up in northern California and married Charlie in 2000. They moved back to Midway in 2001. Dena and Charlie renovated the Beaver Dam plantation, another Hinton family home, while moving Midway.

Elizabeth Silver (“Sis”) Cheshire, mother of Godfrey and aunt of Charlie, grew up at Midway Plantation with her older brothers Charles and Sprague and their mother, Bessie Hinton Silver. Sis and her husband, Buddy Cheshire, live in Raleigh.

Winston Sprague (“Winkie”) Silver, Charlie’s younger brother, lives and operates a marine salvage and construction business in Wanchese, on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island.

John Wales (“Possum”) Silver, younger brother of Charlie and Winkie, is a successful artist and gallery owner in Manteo, on Roanoke Island.

Betty Wales Silver Howison, mother of Charlie, Winkie and Possum, lived at Midway with her husband Charles until his death in 1979. She now lives in Raleigh.

Margret Silver, aunt to Godfrey and Charlie and mother of Mary, lived briefly at Midway after World War II with her husband Sprague. Maggie died in 2006.

Mary Hilliard Hinton Silver, first cousin to Godfrey and Charlie, is the daughter of Sprague and Maggie Silver. Mary, who used to climb Midway’s trees, lives in Raleigh.

Jonas Johnston Carr Silver is the youngest of Charlie’s three children. Jonas, a banker, lives with his wife Maiya and daughter Tilly in Raleigh.

Abraham Lincoln Hinton, grandson of Ruffin Hinton, was born in Raleigh in 1909. He moved to New York during the Great Depression and served in World War II. Abraham has lived in the same Harlem apartment for over 50 years.

Al Hinton, son of Abraham, was born and raised in New York and now teaches middle high school in Brooklyn. Al’s research into his family history led to the reconnection of the black and the white sides of the extended Hinton family.

Joel Jean Parker, great-granddaughter of Ruffin Hinton, helps organize annual reunions of Ruffin’s descendents. She lives in Raleigh.

Sylvia Wiggins, wife of the late Lawrence Wiggins Jr., who told Charlie Silver about Ruffin Hinton, operates the Helping Hand Mission, one of Raleigh’s most celebrated charitable institutions.

Significant Ancestors

John Hinton (1715-1784) came to central North Carolina with a royal land grant he secured in 1739. He served as a colonel of N.C. Militia in the American Revolution.

Mingo (171?-18??), a slave probably born in the Senegambia region of west Africa, is thought to have accompanied John Hinton on his first settlement in central N.C. He lived to a great age and was a legendary figure to subsequent generations of Hintons.

Charles Lewis Hinton (1783-1861) was twice treasurer of North Carolina in the 1840s. Family lore says that he built Midway as a wedding gift for his son David. After the death of his wife, he fathered a son, Ruffin, by a slave named Selanie, a plantation cook.

David (1826-1876) and Mary Boddie Carr Hinton (1833-1917) lived at Midway Plantation during the Civil War. Her portrait was stolen by Yankee troops, but recovered by slaves. After David’s death, Mary ran the plantation for four decades.

Ruffin Hinton (1848-1936) was the mixed-race son of Charles Lewis Hinton and Selanie Toby, plantation cook, and the half-brother of David Hinton. After the Civil War, he owned a farm where some of his kin still live. He fathered 22 children by two wives, Easter and Mollie.

Mary Hilliard (“Mimi”) Hinton (1869-1961), Godfrey and Charlie’s great-great aunt, lived at Midway her entire life, inheriting it from her mother, Mary Boddie Carr Hinton. A prolific writer, historian, genealogist, artist and anti-suffragist, she bequeathed Midway to her great-nephew Charles Hinton Silver, Charlie’s father.

Movers & Shakers

Mike Blake, a third-generation house mover, supervised the moving of Midway Plantation. His firm Blake Moving Co. is based in Greensboro, N.C.

Rick Lambeth, restoration contractor and expert on historic structures, prepared Midway’s buildings for the move. He is based in Louisburg, N.C.

Joel T. C. Williams, of Raleigh’s Williams Realty and Building Co., Inc., is the general contractor who oversaw the moving and restoration of Midway.

Richard Hall, who runs Richard Hall Designs in Raleigh, designed the new kitchen and other additions to the “new” Midway.

Doug Boyd was Mayor of Knightdale, N.C., during the moving of Midway and the construction of The Shoppes at Midway Plantation, a shopping center. Both locations of Midway are within the town limits of Knightdale, which abuts Raleigh to the east.

Mike Chalk was Mayor Pro Tem of Knightdale during the moving of Midway.

Big Ed Watkins sold Charlie Silver the land for the new Midway. An entrepreneur, Big Ed no longer owns the popular downtown Raleigh restaurant that bears his name.

Tammy Arnold and her daughter Brandy Hughes, of Tammy’s Touch Cleaning Service, did not believe in ghosts before becoming intimately acquainted with several while cleaning Midway. Tammy lost a number of employees who couldn’t handle the ghosts.

The Experts

John Hope Franklin, the renowned dean of African-American historians, is the James B. Duke Emeritus Professor of History at Duke University in Durham, N.C. His many books include From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, The Free Negro in North Carolina and The Militant South. He is the recipient of numerous honors including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Lucinda H. MacKethan is the alumni distinguished professor of English at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Her books include The Dream of Arcady: Place and Time in Southern Literature and Daughters of Time: Creating Woman’s Voice in Southern Story.

Bruce Chadwick lectures on American History at Rutgers University and teaches writing at New Jersey City University. Among his several books, The Reel Civil War traces the evolution of the Plantation Myth from the beginning of American movies through Roots and subsequent films and TV shows.

Harry L. Watson is professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South. An expert in antebellum and North Carolina history, he is the co-editor of the journal Southern Cultures.