Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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.

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