SILVER, MARY (baptized Adélaïde), nun, Religious Hospitaller of St Joseph; b. 10 March 1694 at Haverhill in New England, daughter of Thomas Silver and Mary Williams; d. and buried 22 April 1740 at Montreal.
Mary Silver lived in the village of Haverhill, in New England, with her mother, Mary Williams, who after the death of her husband Thomas Silver had remarried, her second husband being Simon Wainwright. Mary was 14 when at the end of the summer of 1708 a detachment of soldiers from New France, under the command of Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville, attacked Haverhill. Simon Wainwright, who was commandant of the fort, was killed, and Mrs. Wainwright managed to flee, but Mary was captured and taken off as a prisoner to Montreal. Father Charlevoix*, an eye-witness of the prisoners’ arrival at Montreal around the middle of September, related that the captives praised the kindness of their conquerors, particularly that of Simon Dupuy, “who had been humane to the point of carrying for a good part of the way the daughter of the king’s lieutenant of Hewreuil [Haverhill], who could scarcely walk at all.”
The young girl had to be entrusted, as was usually the case, to the sisters of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame. She was baptized on Sunday, 2 Feb. 1710, by Abbé Henri-Antoine Meriel, and had as her illustrious godfather and godmother the Marquis Rigaud de Vaudreuil, governor of New France, and Marie-Charlotte Denys de La Ronde, wife of Claude de Ramezay, governor of Montreal Island.
At the age of 17 Adélaide Silver entered the order of the Religious Hospitallers of St Joseph, at the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal, where she took her vows in 1712. The correspondence between Vaudreuil and Dudley, governor of Massachusetts, informs us of the urgent steps taken to secure Mary Silver’s return to New England. Furthermore, in a letter of 22 Oct. 1713 addressed to the superior of the Hôtel-Dieu of La Flèche, Sister Gallard wrote: “During the negotiations over the peace treaty [Utrecht] the governor carne and offered to send her [Mary Silver] back to her mother, who had requested him to do this, having sent him the money to cover the cost of the journey. She answered him with generous courage. . . .”
Sister Silver was for a long time “catechist of the English persons” who, being sick, came to the Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal, where she died on 22 April 1740.
AHDM, Déclaration de nos anciennes Mères pour constater la profession religieuse et le décès des Soeurs. Charlevoix, Histoire (1744), II, 324–27. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1947–48, 252f. Coleman, New England captives, I. Abbé E.-L. Couanier de Launay, Histoire des religieuses hospitalières de Saint-Joseph (France et Canada) (2v., Paris, 1887), II, 114. Garneau, Histoire du Canada, II, 212. Mondoux, L’Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, 262, 266.