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Pronunciation of Soule

Some have pronounced it in a French sort of way, as Soolay, some as Sool. I take my clues from two sources. First, from my mother and my three aunts, all of whom knew both of Silas' sisters. And of course their mother was a Soule, the daughter of William.  Emily died in 1924, at which time Martha was 19, Katharine was 15, Anne was 11 and Edith was 9. Annie died 7 years later. They all pronounced the family name as Sole. Edith died in 1999, Anne in 2004, Katharine in 2005 and as of this writing, (Dec 2011) Martha is still taking a daily 6-block walk and doing her core exercises. So I have a solid reason for saying the Soule family pronunciation was Sole. The second piece of evidence is from a poem that was written on the occasion of the anniversary of the Coal Creek Social Library Association and reported in the Western Home Journal of Lawrence, Kansas, Thursday, Jan 4, 1872.

        From vale and glen, from far and near, toward Coal creek they all would steer;
        On foot for miles and miles they'd go to catch a glimpse of calico.  
        Silas the witty and Bill the bold, brave as the bravest and double soled;
        George the chivalrous and Brache Dunn, having and making a heap of fun;
        Benedicts two, without the wife; Amos  the angler, weary of life;
        Boynton, adorer of Dora Starr; Charlie the curly, come from far; 
        Walton the senior, John surnamed; Deering ferocious, as yet untamed; 
        Smith and McQuestin, both so small, they two should never count at all,
        And if counted, just for fun, together should be counted one;
        Alfred the great, Seth Kelley too, and William Gill- and 'twould never do
        To omit that artist, old man Soule, the grayest member on the roll;

I rest my case.

Was Silas Irish?

No. Or at least, not much. The Soules had been in New England for 8 generations, since George Soule came on the Mayflower. The Lows also have a heritage in America. I suspect Silas sounded a lot like other Maine folk. The family moved to Chelsea, Massachusetts after 1848, and is listed in the Chelsea city directory in 1852. There Silas probably encountered Irish immigrants.

What color was Silas' hair?

There are accounts that say he had red hair. His military record says he was 5' 8" tall, eyes grey, hair sandy, complexion fair.  A friend informs me that "sandy" when referring to hair is a form of red hair. She says, "The Oxford English dictionary defines sandy (adj) as "having hair of a yellowish-red colour.""

Did Silas know Kit Carson?

His nephew, Charles Addison Prentice thought so, because he says in his article in the Colorado Magazine,  Nov. 1935, vol. XII number 6:

"At the commencement of the Civil War Captain Soule enlisted as private in the first contingent of enlistments in the Federal Army at Lawrence. He was very shortly after his enlistment, at the personal request of Kit Carson (who was a friend of his father and who had repeatedly stayed at his home on Coal Creek) transferred and became a member of Carson's scouts with headquarters at Raton, New Mexico, and he was successively Sergeant, then Second Lieutenant, then Lieutenant of Carson's company of Scouts. When the scout service was extended and Kit Carson became Major, and Soule was transferred to the First Colorado Cavalry he became Captain of Company D of the famous "Chivington" regiment, the First Colorado Cavalry."

The truth is at least a little different. Silas did not enter the military service until Dec 11, 1861 when he was in Colorado, and he entered as First Lieutenant of Company K, First Regiment of Colorado Infantry Volunteers. In March of 1862 the Colorado units, including Silas, fought alongside New Mexico troops against Gen. Sibley's Texans at Glorieta Pass. On April 15 they fought at Peralta near Fort Craig alongside the New Mexico Volunteers, including a unit of Kit Carson's. It is likely that Silas at least met Kit Carson during this time.  There is no hint in any of Annie's writing about their early life in Kansas that the family knew Kit Carson, or that he came to their home. In fact, it was John Brown who became known to the family and visited their home. It is true that Silas joined the local militia during the border warfare in the late 1850's, but no hint that Kit Carson was there. I think that Mr. Prentice has confused some stories he was told as a child and as he retold them 50 or 60 years later, simply remembers them wrong. If anyone has evidence to the contrary, I would like to see it.

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