Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spivey/Spiva and Related Families

Before I launch into today's article, please accept this correction from last week's story about "Some of the Descendants of Leason Spiva." When I make a mistake, I am eager to clear it up, because many of you read this column and if it is on family history, you often add the information to your file.

I heard from Linda Spivey Bjorklund of Baker City, Oregon, regarding her father's siblings and where they were born. As you recall, last week's article was about Claude Raymond Spivey, the 92-year old whose hobby is woodworking. The first six children of Luther Adniram Spivey and Ora Ellis Spivey were born in Monroe County, Tennessee. The seventh, Clyde Spivey, was born in Graham County, NC on July 10, 1927 at the home of Ora Ellis Spiva's aunt, Renie Ellis Blevins near Yellow Creek and the town of Robbinsville. Then in September, 1929, the twelve-day trip in a 1928 Buick took the large family across country to Baker City, Oregon where the last three children were born: Della Lavelle in 1931; James Henry in 1933; and Glenn Duane in 1937. (Note: If you have Geraldine Spiva Elmore's family history book, "Descendants of Adaniram Spiva and Evaline Souther Spiva," Linda Spivey Bjorklund asks you to please make the above corrections to the family of Luther Adniram and Ora Ellis Spivey on page 15.)

For this week's story of a member of the family of Adaniram (1827- 1898) and Eveline Souther Spiva (1826- 1865) we will take a look at their first-born of nine children, John Spiva, who was born in Union County, Georgia on April 25, 1851. John Spiva was only fourteen when his mother died. In the fifteen years his mother and father had been married, she had borne nine children, seven sons and two daughters. There is no information about Nancy Jane except the listing of her name; it is assumed that she died young. John's youngest sibling, Stephen Adrian Spiva, was born November 12, 1865, and was less than a month old when his mother Eveline died on December 4, 1865. You will recall from last week's story that the Souther grandparents, John and Mary Combs Souther, took the infant Stephen and reared him. That still left John Spiva, as the eldest of the children, great responsibility in helping his father Adaniram with the other children until the father married Sarah Haseltine Corn on October 28, 1873.

John Spiva was a blacksmith and a barrel-maker (cooper). In addition to farming his acreage, he used these two trades to help bring in some money at a hard time after the Civil War was over. John Spiva began to court a young lady who lived on Wolf Creek about where Vogel State Park and Lake Trahlyta are now located. John's sweetheart was named Margaret Louise Reece (b. 08/16/1856). They were married earlier in the same year John's father married for the second time. John and Margaret's wedding date was February 13, 1873. Rev. R. M. Hughes performed the marriage ceremony at the home of Margaret's parents, William "Billy" Reece and Mary "Sarry" Daniel Reece. Her parents' wedding date was June 18, 1839 in Union County and their officiant had been Thomas M. Hughes, a Justice of the Inferior Court.

Billy Reece was the son of Jacob Reece and the grandson of William Reece. The earliest Reece settlers in America had migrated from Wales. The name had gone through several spellings: Rays, Rhy, Rys, Reys, Rees, Reese and Reece. Billy Reece's earliest known ancestor was Valentine Reece who was in Watauga County, NC as early as 1790, and came to America from Wales in 1750. Billy and his brother James migrated together from North Carolina to South Carolina, into Habersham County, and finally to Union County before 1837 (they were in the 1840 but not in the 1834 census).

"Sarry" Daniel moved to Union County from Alabama. Her father was Josiah Daniel who came to Union prior to 1837.

John Spiva no doubt learned much from his father-in-law. Billy Reece was an early teacher at Choestoe School, and John may have been one of his students. He was also a farmer and a prospector. Billy found gold deposits in Helton Creek. He would work to get enough gold to take to the mint in Dahlonega, and on Saturdays he would go by horseback to take his findings to be assayed.

John Spiva and Margaret Louise Reece Spiva had ten children, nine of whom lived to adulthood. Their children were: Mary Jane "Mollie" Spiva (12/13/1874-06/05/1962 who married James Asbury Curtis; Eliza E. Spiva (09/08/1876 - ?); Mintie Caroline "Callie" Spiva (06/04/1878-12-06/1974) who married Arlie Knox Waldroop; William Henry Spiva (02/20/1881-12/13/1922) who married Elizabeth Jones; Margaret Emma Spiva (01/28/1883-09/09/1979) who married Joseph Reuben Brown; Frank H. Spiva (01/14/1885-01/18/1880) who married Ada Gertrude Ledford; Jewell Wilburn Spiva (02/16/1887-07/25/195?) who married Grace Mae Swain; Gardner Coke Spiva (12/31/1893-08/18/1988) who married Ethel Susanna McClure; Josiah Haygood Spiva (12/15/1895- 02/08/1988) who married LaFarest McGarity; and Guy Cook Spiva (04/25/1900-03/12/1973) who married Bessie Lee Duckworth.

John Spiva died at age 82 on November 3, 1933. His wife Margaret Louise Reece Spiva lived to age 84, dying June 20, 1941. Both were interred at Shady Grove Methodist Church Cemetery, Union County, Ga.

c 2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 28, 2008 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Some Descendants of Leason Spiva

When the Union County Census of 1834 was taken, the first after the county was formed in 1832, one of the families listed was that of Leason Spiva. His name was spelled by the census taker, Lecen Spivey. He had come into Union County from Habersham, and to Habersham from Rutherford County, NC where he had married Jane Jackson. Leason Spiva became clerk of the first inferior court of Union County. It seems that Leason liked to live in new counties, for by 1860 he and his family were residing in Towns County which had been formed in 1856 from a portion of Union. His property near the Hiawassee River on Mill Creek in Towns County was distributed to heirs. He died sometime before April 1, 1889.

Leason and Jane Jackson Spiva had at least eight children. I will focus on Adnirum, born in 1828 in Habersham County, who married Eveline Souther, daughter of John and Mary Combs Souther. They made their home on a farm near her father's home in Choestoe. Their children were John (1851-1933), Jesse (1852-1918), Joseph L. (1855-1940), William Washington (1857-1931), Rhoda Caroline (1859-1930), Thomas Newton (1862-1918), James Alfred (1864-1950), Nancy Jane (?), and Stephen Adrian (1865- 1960). Eveline Souther Spiva died December 4, 1865 when her baby Stephen was less than a month old. She was buried on her father's farm and her grave has been lost to the ravages of time. Her parents, John and Mary Souther, took her small child Stephen and reared him. In his will, John Souther bequeathed to Eveline's heirs $300 to be divided between them, except for "Stephen whom I raised." To him he gave $100.

Claude Spivey, age 92, stands before some of his model trains that he makes in his woodworking shop.

Adniram Spiva married, second, Sarah Haseltine Corn of Towns County and they had five children, bringing the total born to Adniram to fourteen. Adniram and Sarah's children were Evaline (1875), Sarah Rose (1876-1943), Louis J. (1880-1954), Luther F (1883-1955) and Benjamin H. (1885-1925).

James Alfred, seventh child of Adniram and Eveline, chose to use the spelling Spivey for his last name. He was the only one of the children by Eveline who ventured out of Union County and went first to Tellico Plains, Tennessee and eventually to Baker City, Oregon. He married Mary Elizabeth Rhea at Tellico Plans. They had eight children: William Finley, George Thurston, Luther Adniram, Maggie Beatrice, James Wiley, John Henry, Harvey Ethridge, and Charles. All the children were born in Monroe County, TN at Tellico Plains, so it was perhaps after their third child, Luther Adniram, left Tellico Plains in 1931 to go to Baker City, Oregon to make a living that the other family members followed him. All of James Alfred and Sarah's children lived in Oregon until their deaths.

Luther Spivey

Luther Adniram Spivey was the third child of James Alfred and Mary Elizabeth Rhea Spivey. He and his wife Ora Lee Ellis Spivey had a large family of ten children. The eldest of these was Claude Raymond Spivey, born December 2, 1915 in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. He is now 92 years old, in good health, and is eagerly awaiting spring in Baker City, Oregon, so that it will be warm enough for him to go into his shop and resume his hobby of woodworking. A feature article in the "Living Well" section of the "Baker City Herald" told of this zestful senior citizen who looks forward to each day.

He tells of his family's trip to Baker City in a 1928 Buick. He remembers it as in 1929. However, noting the birth dates of his siblings, it must have been 1931, for his sister, Della LaVelle, was the last born in Tellico Plains on June 14, 1931. With seven children and two grownups in the car, they learned to pull some subterfuge at toll gates to avoid paying twenty-five cents per head for every child. They "hid" the younger ones to save some payment in tolls.

Claude Spivey served as a cook in the US Army from 1941 to 1945. His tour of duty took him to Trinidad, Curacao, Puerto Rico and other places. After the war, he returned to Baker City, Oregon, but went to Brooklyn, New York to marry the girl whom he had met in service in Puerto Rico. He married Ernestina Gomez Quinones on July 5, 1947. Known as "Tina" because of her petite 4' 11" stature, she and Claude had four children, all born in Baker City, Oregon: Diana Lynn, Linda May, Evelyn Sue, and Ronald Steven. Tina passed away in 2005 and Claude now lives with his daughter Linda May Bjorklund.

Among his prizes in his woodworking collection are six trains which he has fashioned simply by "thinking about them," from his years of work on the railroad. He began woodworking in 1977, a year after his retirement from Union Pacific. One of his favorites is the steam locomotive made after #4449 "American Freedom Train." When the weather warms up in Oregon, he will put the finishing touches on this seven-foot replica.

Trains are not his only forte. In their home are gun cabinets, a secretary desk, a table, creative picture frames, stools, a stock for an old .22 caliber rifle, and knife handles. Linda says lovingly of her father: "If I don't have something and need it, Dad makes it."

It's a long distance to Choestoe in Union County where his great, great grandfather Adniram Spiva lived. And it's been a long time since that ancestor passed away. But some of the genes for a solid work ethic and a zest for life still remain with this 92-year old descendant, Claude Raymond Spivey, in Oregon.

[Thanks to Linda Spivey Bjorklund of Baker, OR for sending me the newspaper article about her father; to Geraldine Spiva Elmore of Tuscaloosa, AL for her book, "Descendants of Adaniram Spiva (1827-1898) and Evaline Souther Spiva (1826-1865)"; and for Watson B. Dyer's "Souther Family History" 1988, all of which I used as resources for this article.-EDJ]

c 2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 21, 2008 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A tribute to Dora Hunter Allison Spiva

Dora Hunter Allison Spiva

All who know her admire her beauty, graciousness, vitality and personable nature.

It is hard to believe she reached the milestone of 103 years of age on February 10, 2008. Her bearing and interest in life, her surroundings and all the people she meets are still very important to her and are characteristic of one much younger. Many people helped her celebrate her 103rd birthday to thank her for her positive influence on their lives and wish her health and happiness. What a lady is Mrs. Dora Hunter Allison Spiva, teacher extraordinary.

What a span of living occurs in 103 years of life. When she was born Theodore Roosevelt was president of the United States. She has lived through the administrations of a total of eighteen presidents: T. Roosevelt, William Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, William Clinton, and George W. Bush.

In the year of her birth, her parents, Martha Souther Hunter and James Hunter, could send out an announcement of their new daughter's birth by attaching a two-cent stamp to a letter.

In 1905, the federal spending was 57 billion dollars. Think how the national economy (and indebtedness) has grown in her 103 years of living!

The population in the United States in 1905 was 83,822,000. She has observed the population growth over the years to billions.

Not that the little baby from Choestoe could go to New York City and take a ride on a train to Chicago that would take 18 hours for the journey between the country's two major cities, but if she had been offered that privilege in 1905, she would have seen the first train equipped with electric lights. The nearest train to the Hunter farm home in 1905 was met at Culberson or Murphy, NC, at Blue Ridge or Gainesville, Georgia. Her father would take products across the Logan Turnpike on Tesnatee Gap to market in Gainesville in a covered wagon.

In scientific advancements the year she was born, Albert Einstein proposed the theory of relativity. The Nobel Prize in medicine was won by a German doctor, Robert Koch, whose work on alleviating tuberculosis earned the award.

Dora had two brothers born after her, Joseph in 1906 and Daniel in 1908. Dora was the first child of her father, James Hunter. But her mother had been married previously to James's brother Jasper F. Hunter who died in 1897. Dora's half-siblings were John Ester (1884), William Jesse (1886), Nancy (1888-1897), James Hayes (1890), Homer (1892), Hattie (1894), and Grady (1895). Jasper F. "Todd" Hunter died in 1897 with typhoid fever. The year 1987 was a sad one for Martha Souther Hunter. Her first husband died in May and her daughter Nancy died in June. Her living children in 1897 numbered six and ranged in age from thirteen to two. She had the task of working the farm and making a living for herself and the children. All had jobs to do. In 1904, she married her first husband's brother, James. Then sadness struck again on April 3, 1912, when Martha's husband James died. Dora was 7, Joe was 6, and Dan was 4 when their father died. Life was not easy on the Hunter farm on Town Creek, but somehow Martha had a will to survive and see her children grown and educated. Martha Souther Hunter died December 11, 1937. All her life, Dora has appreciated her heritage. One of the highlights of her year is the reunion that honors her legacy and pays tribute to hardy ancestors.

Teaching was the chosen career of Dora Hunter Allison Spiva. Well-beloved by her students, she taught both by precept and example. Mathematics was her field of expertise, but she also served as a principal of a country school and as a counselor in high school.

Much has been written of teachers and their influence. I close this tribute by quoting some that fit Mrs. Dora and her memorable style of teaching. And all we who had the privilege of sitting under her tutelage stand up and call her blessed.

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." - Henry Adams, 1907.

"Teachers provide a social and intellectual environment in which students can learn." - James MacGregor Burns, 1978.

"A teacher's major contribution may pop out anonymously in the life of some ex-student's grandchild." - Wendell Berry, 1990.

"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge." - Albert Einstein (1879- 1955).

"Teachers open the door, but you must enter it by yourself." - Chinese saying.

At Truett McConnell College, Mrs. Dora is honored in the naming of the Dora Hunter Allison Spiva School of Education. There the Bachelor of Science in Education degree will be offered for the first time in May, 2008 with the first graduates from the school. In future, many will study there and go forth to teach, a living tribute to a masterful teacher. That school of education is new and struggling. Why not honor Mrs. Dora's birthday by sending your contribution designated for the School of Education? The address is Truett McConnell College 100 Alumni Drive, Cleveland, GA 30528.

Thank you, Mrs. Dora, for your teaching and your far reaching influence. Happy Birthday!

c 2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 14, 2008 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Right to Vote -- Do We Appreciate It?

In Georgia and several other states, Tuesday, February 5 is known as "Super Tuesday," the day people go to the polls to cast their vote for their choice of presidential candidate.

We need to ask ourselves, "How much do we appreciate our right to vote?" Is it a right we cherish and take seriously, or is it something we can let pass without too much thought of the struggles our country has endured to assure our right to vote?

The right of each individual adult eighteen years of age and above to vote in America lies at the very foundation of democracy in this country. The right did not come easily. Our Constitution did not spell out who could vote. It remained for states to set their own laws about voting and for Amendments to be added to the Constitution that would assure voting rights to specific groups. Let's review a few of them.

In Colonial America only white men with property were routinely allowed to vote. By the time of the Civil War, almost all white men were allowed to vote whether they were property owners or not. In some cases, immigrants had to wait fourteen years for the right to vote. As the frontiers were settled, the citizens who opened new lands were given the right to vote. But there were limitations such as literacy tests, poll taxes had to be paid, and in some places, religious tests applied. Native Americans, most white women (except in some states, property owners) and most free black Americans still could not vote.

After the Civil War, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was passed. In this Amendment, former slaves were made citizens and their status changed from being counted as 3/5 of a person to a whole person. In 1869, the 15th Amendment guaranteed the right to vote to black men. But most women of white and black races were still denied the right to vote. It would not be until the Civil Rights movements of the 1950's through the 1970's that voting rights were assured to blacks- men and women.

Go back in time to 1848. When women were barred from abolitionist meetings, the suffragettes became active. The first Women's Civil Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls, N.Y. The two leaders who stood out in that meeting were Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Coming out of that meeting was a strong written document, adopted by the delegates, entitled "The Declaration of Sentiments." It was worded much like Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence. In "Sentiments," women demanded the right to vote. It was a battle gaining momentum from 1848 through 1920 when finally the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was passed. Some of the annexed western states were first to grant women the right to vote, with Wyoming leading the way.

Civil Rights marches in the 1960's were accelerated, with violence and bloodshed. After many demonstrations, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the "Voting Rights Act" on August 6, 1965. It affirmed the right of African-Americans nationwide to vote. Although the right had been granted with the 15th Amendment, most of this group's right to vote had been restricted by poll taxes and literacy tests. Unfortunately, many were denied the right by arbitrary minor technicalities and intimidation to stay away from the polls.

The Voting Rights Act of 1970 called for assistance with language for those who were not fluent in English. This legislation helped many Latino- Americans and Asian Pacific Americans to be able to cast their votes.

The Vietnam War indirectly brought voting rights to eighteen year olds. The argument was that if they were old enough to be drafted to fight in the war, they should be franchised. Prior to the passage of the 26th Amendment, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1971, the voting age had been 21 and above. It was lowered to 18.

Of course, to be able to vote, each individual must be properly registered in his local area and on the precinct roll as an authentic voter.

One of the latest voting assistance acts came to disabled Americans. "The Americans with Disabilities Act" was passed in 1990. Among access to public buildings and other amenities, the act also provided handicapped access to polling places and ballots.

When we hear the results of Tuesday's primary, view the Democratic and Republican Conventions, and hear the battle for the nation's chief administrator from now through the General Election in November, let us not take our vote for granted. To be sure, there are still some pitfalls in our democratic way. But of all the countries in the civilized world, we have the opportunity to be the voice of the people. It came with much struggle.

c 2008 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Feb. 7, 2008 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.