Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reece Family in Union County, GA (part 3): Quiller Frank Reece, Second Child of William and Mary Daniel Reece

Pvt. Quiller Frank Reece (1843-1932)
Civil War - Confederacy
6th Georgia Cavalry, Company F.

Quiller Frank Reece (4.20.1843 – 10.13.1932) was the second of ten children born to William “Billy” Reece and Mary “Sarry” Daniel Reece. As the second child and first son, Quiller held a responsible position in his parents’ household, for he helped to provide leadership and example for his older sister Sarah Elizabeth and the eight other children born into that Reece family.

Union County marriage records show that Quiller Frank Reece married Eliza C. Logan on November 15, 1866. Thompson Collins (not the first settler Thompson Collins, but his son, Thompson), a justice of the peace in the Choestoe District, performed the marriage ceremony.

This marriage was after the Civil War, after Quiller had performed his duties as a soldier in the Confederacy in the 6th Georgia Cavalry, Company F, Hart’s Battalion, Smith’s Legion. When the men signed up for service for three years, they had to furnish their own horse. Commanding officers of Reece’s Company F were not Georgians, and were not listed in the roster of those who served from Union. Records show that Quiller was taken prisoner on December 18, 1862 in eastern Tennessee. Whether he remained in prison until the war ended is not indicated in the records. Many years after he and his sweetheart married, in the year 1910, he registered for a pension for his service in the Civil War. Whether he received it is not clear from available records.

Although Quiller Frank Reece’s wife’s name was listed in the Union marriage records as Eliza C. Logan, her full name was Elizabeth Clarica Adelia Logan Reece (06.04.1849 – 03.08.1936). Elizabeth (shortened to Eliza) was the youngest child of Drury Logan (1766-1855) and Mary Addington Logan (1759-1847). Eliza’s father, Drury, was a brother to Major Frank Logan who owned and operated the famous Logan Turnpike across the mountain between Blairsville and Cleveland, the route over which farmers and traders hauled loads of produce to barter for what they could not grow in Union County. Drury and Mary Addington Logan built their double-story log cabin on Land Lot 50 in the Owltown District on the south side of the Nottely River. The house, remodeled through the years, still stands today as a testament to the solid building of pioneer settlers. It was there that Eliza’s parents reared their eleven children, nine of whom were born in Union. When Drury and Mary Logan were old and incapacitated, it was their youngest child, Eliza and her husband Quiller Frank Reece who took her parents into their home and cared for them until their deaths.

Frank Quiller and Eliza Logan Reece had a very large family, sixteen children, twelve of whom lived to adulthood. Quiller Frank was primarily a farmer by occupation, but he no doubt pursued other trades to bring in extra money to rear his large family. They were Methodists by denomination and faithful members of the Shady Grove Mehodist Church. Upon their deaths, they were interred in the Shady Grove cemetery where their monuments may be viewed today.

A listing of the sixteen children of Quiller Frank and Elizabeth Clarica Adelia Logan Reece follows:

(1) William Drury Reece (02.22.1868) married Roxie Potts.
(2) Mary Rachael Rowena Reece (10.06.1869) married John S. McDonald.
(3) Martha Elizabeth Jane Reece (06.22.1871) married William J. Jackson.
(4) James Roberson Reece (07.21.1873) married Millie Henson.
(5) Thomas Joseph Hughes Reece (12.05.1875) married L. Henrietta Gardner.
(6) Eli Josiah Reece (04.02.1878) married Sallie Luella Stephens.
(7) John Henry Reece (03.27.1880) married Nellie I. Self.
(8) Francis Allen Reece (08. 25. 1881 – 11.01.1881).
(9) Simon Edward Reece (11.14.1882) married Fleta Belle Colwell.
(10) Charles Logan Reece (12.20.1883) married Louise Jane Davis.
(11) Frank Wellborn Reece (03.05.1885) married Sarah Ann Ledford.
(12) Richard Marvin Reece (04.23.1886) married Hailie C. Grendle.
(13) Mintie Della Reece (06.30.1888 – 07.? 1888)
(14) Baby Boy Reece (twin – b/d 07.18.1890)
(15) Baby Boy Reece (twin – b/d 07.18.1890).
(16) Alice Eliza Louise Reece (01.23.1893) married Olin Hayes.
In looking over the list of Frank Quiller and Elizabeth Clarica Adelia Logan Reece’s twelve adult children and who they married, it is easy to see how these descendants of the early Reece settlers married into families of other early settlers. Several of these Reece-connected families remained within Union County. Present citizens can look back with pride and claim their roots to this Reece couple who worked hard to rear dependable, hard-working children.

c 2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 28, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reece Family in Union County, GA (part 2): More on the Family of William ("Billy") and Mary Daniel Reece

William Billy Reece and his wife Mary Sarry Daniel Reece

Thanks to Mr. Billy Josiah Queen who promised and delivered on “more information than I probably ever wanted to know” about the Reece family of Union County. I have been digging through genealogical research that has thousands of names from before any Reeces came to Union County prior to 1834, as seen in last week’s introductory column.

To recapitulate my listing of William “Billy” Reece and Mary (called “Sarry”) Daniel Reece, I will review:

They were married in Union County on June 18, 1837, with Mr. Thomas M. Hughes, a justice of the inferior court, performing their ceremony.

This Reece family set up their homestead near Wolf Creek in Choestoe District, probably about where Vogel State Park and Lake Trahlyta are presently located. The family farmed the narrow patches along Wolf Creek, but as we shall see, William Reece also had other means of making a living.

William Reece was a teacher, and records of Choestoe School and Church indicate that he taught at least one term of school there. Schools then were in session at slack times on the farm, since students had to help with planting, cultivating and harvesting when needed for this work. William Reece would have taught in two, three or four months’ increments of school and pupils from first through seventh grades would have his tutelage.

Another interesting sideline of work William Reece pursued was that of gold prospector. If you recall from last week’s column, he and his brother James settled in Habersham County before coming into Union, and although there is no record uncovered yet of their having “prospected” in the gold fields along Duke’s Creek there when gold was discovered in 1828, he may well have learned this trade in that location.

William Reece got “gold fever.” It is said that he searched for deposits along Helton Creek and near the falls. Today, Helton Creek Falls Road can lead the inquisitive person to drive out to the falls area, walk along the creek, see the tumbling falls, and imagine what life was like for a lonely prospector in the mid-1800’s.

How much gold William Reece found is a matter left to the imagination, but he is known to have searched all week, week after week, and then to take his finds to the mint operating at Dahlonega, Georgia on Saturdays.

William and Mary Daniel Reece had these children, all born in Union County:

(1) Sarah Elizabeth Reece (1.11.1841 – 12.31.1934) who married Logan Davis.
(2) Quiller Frank Reece (4.20.1843 - 10.13.1932) who married Eliza Clarica Adelia Logan.
(3) William Hughes Reece (10.31.1844 - ?) who married Martha Adamson and Mary J. Evans.
(4) Josiah M. Reece (11.15.1847 – 10.18.1836) who married Margaret Kennedy and Mary Ann Kelley.
(5) Nancy Jane Reece (02.25.1849 – 05.14.1935) who married William Henry Smith and moved to White County, Georgia.
(6) John Nuel Reece (09.02.1852 – 05.07.1878) who married Adalige Rich.
(7) Mary Caroline Reece (02.18.1855 – 03.23.1930) who married Wellborn Jackson.
(8) Margaret Louise Reece (08.16.1856 – 06.20.1941) who married John Spiva.
(9) Joseph Brown Reece (06.01.1860 – 02.24.1930) who married Laura J. Nix and Fannie Ash.
(10) Mintie L. Reece (02.12.1863 – 08.06.1933) who married John W. Nix and Richard H. Majors.
William and Mary Reece’s large family of ten children, with their marriages to other citizens in Union County, spread the Reece relationship to a large spectrum of people. The children, born within a twenty-two year period from 1841 through 1863 saw the parents rearing children during the tough years of the Civil War. As a matter of fact, three of the sons served in the 6th Georgia Calvary, “The Blood Mountain Tigers,” during the Civil War. These were Quiller Frank, William Hughes and Josiah M. Fortunately, none of these Reece young men lost their lives in that conflict and were able to return and resume their lives after the war.

c 2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 21, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Surname Reece and Early Reece Families in Union

Recently a person I met who descends from a Reece family that settled in Union County when the county was new asked me to write about this pioneer family. He said he had much research already done on the family, and promised to share a disk filled with information with me for research purposes.

That important information has not yet arrived for my perusal, but having whetted my appetite on finding out about the Reece/Reese surname, and those who were early settlers in Union County, I did a bit of probing on my own.

Reece/Reese, the surname, is derived from the Welch, Rhys. Various members of the ruling class in Wales bore the name Rhys. The name goes back to the ancient Celts, also known as the Britons, that once lived in the moors and hills of Wales. The name Rhys in its later versions was spelled not only Rhys, but Rice, Rees, Reese and Reece. The meaning of Rhys and its subsequent renderings meant one filled with ardor, zeal or enthusiasm.

The Reece family crest bears the motto, “The hope of a better age.” And, to bring in that better age, those bearing the Reece family name worked zealously and with ardor to bring about that hope. Like other families coming to America, the earliest Rhys/Reese/Reece/Rice families looked for land, work and freedom. They seemed to have a tendency to establish factories and/or businesses of one form or another in the new land, and certainly many of them were agriculturalists. Henry and Jane Reece settled in America in 1663, Richard Reece settled in New England in 1668, and Barbara, Jacob, Matthew, Thomas and William Reece settled in Philadelphia between 1840 to 1870.

In Union County, Georgia in 1834 when the first census of the new county was ordered, there was only one Reece family. We know little about this family from the census except that the head of household was named John and his family consisted of two males and one female. Ages were not given in that census.

By 1840, three Reece households were in Union. These were John Reece, probably the same John who was in the 1834 census. In his household were two male children, one under five and one between five and ten, and John himself who was between thirty and forty. Two female children, one under five and one between five and ten, and John’s wife, who was between twenty and thirty.

In the second Reece household were the head of household, James, age between 20 and 30, and his wife, also between the age of 20 and 30.

In the third Reece household in 1840 were William, head of household, age 20 to 30, and his wife between the ages of 15 and 20. A search of the Union County Marriage Records reveals that the first Reece marriage in Union County was of this couple which occurred June 18, 1839 [Note: In family records, the marriage date is listed as 06.18.1837]. William Reece married Mary Daniel. They had gone to Justice of the Inferior Court Thomas M. Hughes to have their marriage ceremony performed.

By the time of the 1850 census, the family of James Reece was not listed in the Union records, but we find the households of John Reece and William Reece. Since more information is given in the 1850 census, we learn more about John’s family who appears to be the one who had been in Union since 1834 or prior to that, maybe even in 1832 when the county was formed. In addition, the other Reece family was the couple, William and Mary, who married in 1839 [or 1837?].

In the John Reece family was this farmer as head-of-household, age 41, and born in South Carolina. His wife, Mary, was 37, also born in South Carolina. Their children still at home, all born in Georgia, were listed as Jefferson, 19; Martha, 16; Elizabeth, 14; John, 12: Carroll, 10; Willborn, 6: James, 5; Burton, 3; and an infant, age two months, not named when the census taker visited the John Reece family.

William Reece was 30 in 1850 and listed his birthplace as South Carolina. His wife, Mary Daniel Reece was 25, and was born in Alabama. They had five children: Sarah, 11; Quiller, 7; William, 5: Josiah, 3, and Nancy, 1. Living in the household of William and Mary was her mother, Sarah Daniel, age 70, who was born in North Carolina. Looking again at the Union Census, we find the household of Josiah Daniel was in Union County in 1840, with 5 male children under age 15, and 2 female children under age 10. This was the family of Mary Daniel Reece.

It has been reported that William Reece and his brother James settled first in Habersham County before moving on to Union County. Did they go there to mine gold when the gold rush began soon after the discovery of that precious metal at Duke’s Creek around 1828? Whether that was the case or not, it is known that William Reece searched for and mined some gold after he came to Union County. That story will be in the next column.

c 2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 14, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Brother, My Hero, Francis Eugene Dyer

When death comes near a holiday, such as Christmas, it seems to hold an extra measure of sadness. My brother, my hero, Francis Eugene Dyer, drew his last breath on December 21, 2009 and was released from suffering and earthly restrictions. In reviewing his life, I was extremely proud to call him my brother, my hero. He will live in my heart and memory as long as I myself have breath—and, even beyond this life; I hope to rejoin him in Paradise.

He was born on February 25, 1921 in the farmhouse of his parents, Azie Collins Dyer (1895-1945) and Jewel Marion Dyer (1890-1974). In his ancestry on both sides of the family he descended from pioneer settlers who were in Union County in the early 1830s when the county was formed. Azie’s parents were Francis Jasper Collins (1855-1941) and Georgianne Hunter Collins (1855-1924). Azie’s grandparents on her father’s side were Frank Collins (1816-1864) and Rutha Nix Collins (1822-1893) and on her mother’s side were William Jonathan Hunter (1813-1893) and Margaret Elizabeth “Peggy” England Hunter (1819-1894). And Azie’s great grandparents were Thompson Collins (abt. 1785-abt. 1858) and Celia Self Collins (abt. 1787-1880) and John Hunter (1775-1848) and Elizabeth (last name unknown).

On his father’s side, Eugene’s ancestors were grandparents, Bluford Elisha (“Bud”) Dyer (1855-1926) and Sarah Eveline Souther Dyer (1857-1959). His great grandparents were James Marion Dyer (1823-1904) and Louisa Ingram Dyer (1827-1907); Little Ingram (1788-1866) and Mary “Polly” Cagle Ingram (abt. 1793-abt. 1830); John Combs Hayes Souther (1827-1891) and Nancy Collins Souther (1829-1888). His great, great grandparents were Bluford Elisha Dyer, Jr. (abt. 1785–1847) and Elizabeth Clark Dyer (abt. 1788-1861); John Souther (1803-1889) and Mary “Polly” Combs Souther (1807-1894); John Little Ingram (abt 1755-1828) and Ruth White Ingram (abt 1758-abt 1849). John Ingram was a Revolutionary War Soldier.

With this list of ancestors, all of whom pioneered and settled land and became landowners, solid citizens, farmers, and some businessmen and teachers, we should not wonder that Eugene himself became a World War II soldier with a heroic and distinguished career, a businessman, a farmer and for 36 years a member of the Union County Board of Education. Family matters. Family helps to make us who and what we are. And he was, indeed, from “solid” stock.

Eugene Dyer served in the Army Air Force during World War II from September, 1942 through the end of the war. He was a bombardier in the famed Flying Fortress, B-24, serving in the Liberation Group of the 15th Army Air Force. He saw action in the European, African and Italian Theaters of War, participating in more than 400 combat missions. He was awarded the Soldier’s Medal of Heroism when he saved the life of a fellow flyer. He and the one he saved were the only survivors of the plane’s crew when its oxygen system was bombed out. Other decorations included the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with oak leaf clusters, the Good Conduct Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater War Ribbon with five campaign stars, and the Distinguished Unit Badge with two oak leaf clusters. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. He spent fifteen months in Italy, much of which was in an army hospital recovering from severe injuries, the results of which were present with him the remainder of his life in the form of shrapnel in his legs. He can truly be termed a “hero,” a member of “The Greatest Generation.”

As a merchant, he operated a grocery, gasoline, feed, seed and fertilizer store from 1947 through 1989. He was known for his credit to farmers that badly needed his help to get their crops planted. In this respect, he followed the practice he had observed from his grandfather, Francis Jasper “Bud” Collins, who also had extended credit to hurting families during the Great Depression, and before and after.

As a school board member in Union County for 36 years, an elected office, he helped to make decisions that brought the school system from scattered country schools to strong consolidated schools, adequate and state-of-the-art buildings and equipment, and well-qualified teachers and administrators. Education was high on his list of priorities.

He was a family man. His wife Dorothy, his children Connie, Ivan and Tim, his grandchildren Jason, Alexandra and Emily, and his brothers and sisters and a host of cousins can all attest to his love, respect and reverence for family ideals and priorities.

And as a church man, he was quiet and often did not say much, but when he spoke on matters of building decisions, church finances, and expansion, he was heard and heeded. His devotion to Choestoe Baptist Church where he was a faithful member extended from boyhood through all of his adult life.

I wrote the following poem for my hero, my brother, in December, 2008, for Christmas. I am glad he was able to read it and know how I felt about him. I read it as a tribute to him at his funeral on December 23, 2009.

Going Out a Boy, Returning a Man
(For my hero, my brother, Eugene)

The call to arms came when he was but a lad,
A farm boy following the plow.
Defending one’s country couldn’t be bad;
That duty in patriotism called him now.

Hardly had he been beyond the hills
That tied him closely to his home;
Dearly he loved the farm, its rocks and rills,
And the seeds planted in the fertile loam.

Out beyond the mountains duty lay,
To boot camp, training, assignments read;
A gunner in a B-24 was to be his way,
And into European combat his path led.

Soon he learned what courage meant
Through sleepless nights and anxious days;
The enemy like a blast of locusts sent
Volleys into the blue untrammeled ways.

Came then the day when the plane crashed
And many were the casualties of war;
A boy no longer, a brave man lashed
Onto life and fought another kind of war—

A war to readjust when peace was signed,
Seeking to reestablish a solid way of life,
A way to make a difference, be refined
Amidst whatever came of peace or strife.

-Ethelene Dyer Jones
c 2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Jan. 7, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.