with Melea Beshires
This week, I wanted to feature a long time resident of Silerton who served on Silerton’s city council for 30 years. Bobby Naylor, son of Jack and Bivian Naylor, was born in Chester County and moved to Silerton with his parents and one sister (Betty Faye Naylor) when he was five years old. The family lived on what many of you know as the “Becky Hill.” In 1961, he married Phyllis Hopper and moved across the creek to the house across from Hazel and J.L. Beshires’ home. Phyllis served as the Silerton Postmaster for 25 years and also as Silerton Mayor in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We have Bobby and Phyllis to thank for helping Silerton get natural gas and also setting up our town with Selmer water. The couple moved to Bobby’s current residence in 2016.
Bobby has a wealth of knowledge about Silerton and is also an excellent storyteller.
When I asked him about Silerton in the past, he shared several memories of his parents with me. He recalled helping his father Jack Naylor on the farm. Cotton was the cash crop sold in the market, but corn was also an important crop for feeding the cattle and hogs since his family raised their own meat. Jack was also involved with the Civilian Conservation Corps and helped build the park in Fall Creek Falls. His father would receive a payment of $25 or $30 dollars a month and was allowed to keep $5 but had to send the rest home to his parents. Bobby had always heard his father talk about the waterfall in Fall Creek Falls, and in later years, he carried Phyllis and his parents to the park to visit.
Bivian Naylor was a school teacher at Piney Grove in the 1930s. She used to ride a horse from Papa Siler’s place to the school. She would leave the horse at someone’s farm in Piney Grove when she taught. In 11th and 12th grade, Bivian rode a train called the Rebel to attend school in Middleton. Her transit to and from school ran from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Bobby also shared that his mother was a star basketball player known for shooting left handed.
Bobby and his sister Betty attended school at Silerton for a time. Bobby had to transfer to Bolivar where he graduated in 1958. After graduation he worked at Harvell-Kilgore in Bolivar. In 1963 he worked at Harwell Harman (now Harman Automotive). He retired at the age of 58 when the plant closed in 1998. Nowdays, Bobby enjoys working on his farm on his tractor and playing on his dirt pad.
There are three creeks that run on his farm, and he spends a lot time filling holes and keeping the creeks managed. Bobby recently decided to become an alderman again. When asked why, he said, “I’ve always loved Silerton and didn’t want to lose the city.” It is wonderful to see that the town is still so loved and appreciated by such a long time resident who has already made so many contributions and built a life here. I look forward to seeing what positive changes such a passionate and influential resident will bring to our town today.