Lost Memories

By Ann Hopkins, 1925


English by Ann Hopkins, 1925

This book is about the history and legends of Silent Hill and Toluca County.

According to the book, before settlers came from Europe, the place was sacred ground, a holy place, and thought to contain a mysterious power. The area was revered as “The Place of the Silenced Spirits.” They abandoned the area when the European settlers came.

Settlers arrived in the late 1600s and in the early 1700s, a mysterious epidemic broke out and the entirety of the small town was abandoned. The ruined town was resettled during the War of 1812 and used as a penal colony. It was at this time that the area was given the name Silent Hill. Silent Hill Prison was constructed on the south shore of the lake. In response to another epidemic, Brookhaven Hospital was constructed nearby. Silent Hill Prison closed in 1842.

In 1849, a coal field was discovered on the south side of the lake and Wiltse Coal Mine opened, leading to a revitalization of Silent Hill.

In 1853, the nearby village of Shepherd’s Glen was founded by members of a religious group in Silent Hill separate from the Sect of the Holy Way, the main church in town.

Silent Hill played an important part of the Civil War. Not only did two residents go to war (Edward Chester and his son Patrick – though only Edward returned), a prison camp was constructed in the town in 1862. In 1866, Toluca Prison Camp was converted to Toluca Prison, though it closed in 1903.

However, the economy of the town and the area began to rely more on outsiders than anything else. In 1897, Bartlett Winery was established in Shepherd’s Glen and, shortly after the closing of the prison, Silent Hill became a sightseeing community, with tourists becoming the main economy of the town. Camping, hiking, and boating became the center of the town’s activities.

Mysterious disappearances fill Silent Hill. In 1890, dozens of people mysteriously disappeared out of the town, one after another. In 1918, a sightseeing ship, the Little Baroness, went missing. The ship was filled with tourists and despite an extensive search, not a single fragment of the ship nor any of the 14 passengers or crew was ever recovered.

Excerpts from the book:

The name comes from the legend of the people whose land was stolen from them.

They called this place “The Place of the Silent Spirits.” By “Spirits,” they meant not only their dead relatives, but also the spirits that they believed inhabited the trees, rocks and water around them.

According to legend, this was where the holiest ceremonies took place.

But it was not the ancestors of those who now live in this town that first stole the land from these people. There were others who came before. In those days, this town went by another name. But that name is now hopelessly lost in the veils of time.

All we know is that there was another name, and that for some reason the town was once abandoned by its residents.

I have the strongest trust – you may even call it faith – in the miracle called “Resurrection of the Dead.”

Upon the hills where the light descended, the Beast intoned his song. With words of blood, drops of mist and the vessel of night, the grave becomes an open field.

The people wept in fear and joy at the reunion, but my faith in the salvation of Xuchilpaba did not waver.

It is also spoken of in the ancient legends. The original worshippers did not believe that death was the end but that it was simply the path by which the deceased return to nature. They also believed the process was reversible.


The book was checked out of the Pleasant River Branch of the Toluca County Library by Professor Herbert Loomis on Friday, September 28, 1928. Later, two more copies of the book were found at the Silent Hill Historical Society Alan O’Shea, Michael O’Shea, Thomas Vanderholdt, and Professor Loomis on that same date.

Lost Memories

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