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

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Friday, July 30, 2010

Reece Family Afterthoughts (Part 7 in Reece Family Series)

To Bobby Josiah Queen, current citizen of Union County and a person vitally interested in family roots, thank you for the volume of information you sent me on the Reece families in Union County.

This entry, at least temporarily, will wrap up my articles on the Reece family. Enough remains, untouched, from what Bobby sent, that could make a good-sized book. I was not surprised at how, from the earliest Reece settlers to Union County through marriages, many prominent last names show the relationship of this family to subsequent generations.

And so it is, in general. We “live and move and have our being.” Each generation leaves its mark, a circle in time, some work, some monument of service, some contribution to add to the corpus of knowledge or achievement. Or, alas, if we lack motivation and desire to contribute in a worthwhile manner to the good of all, our record can mar as well as help.

We can aspire to do as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) wrote in his great poem, “A Psalm of Life”:

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.”
I was interested, for example, in seeing how Bobby Josiah Queen himself lay in the line of Reece descendants. He got his second name from his grandfather, Eli Josiah Reece (04.02.1878), son of Quiller Frank and Elizabeth Clarica Adelia Logan Reece. Eli Josiah Reece was the sixth of sixteen children born to Quiller and Eliza. And Quller Frank, as you recall, was a son of William “Billy” Reece and Mary Daniel Reece. Uncle Billy Reece mined gold from the creekbed of Helton Falls Creek and hauled it to the Dahlonega Mint for processing.

Bobby’s mother was Nora Elizabeth Reece (11.08.1907) a daughter of Eli Joseph Reece. To them were born four children, Carl Winford Queen, Durwood Norris Queen, Bobby Josiah Queen, and Frances Louella Queen. I won’t attempt to trace the marriages and descendants of these Reece kin. Bobby Josiah Queen followed in the footsteps of several of his ancestors and gave patriotic service in the U. S. Marines and the Coast Guard. He married Carmela Rinaldi. He chose to return to his beloved Union County after his service years.

And looking through the many names of Reece descendants, I noted with great interest that my high school classmate, Elbert Dennis Wilson, now of Michigan, is also a descendant of Eli Josiah Reece and Sallie Lou Ella Stephens Reece. Elbert’s mother was Mary Eliza Reece (11.20.1901), daughter of Eli Josiah. Mary Eliza married Abraham Lincoln Wilson and Elbert was their fourth of nine children. Isn’t it strange that as high school students we hardly gave a thought to our genealogy? Then we did not know, somehow, that grandparents and great grandparents were important to our history. We failed to sit at their feet, hear their stories, and record them while these noble people were alive and could enlighten us on who begat whom and what they did in the hills and valleys of Union County.

Going back to William “Billy” Reece and his wife Mary Daniel Reece, I note that their daughter, Margaret Louise Reece (08.16.1856 – 06.20.1941) married John Spiva (04.22.1851 – 11.28.1933). To this couple were born Mary Jane, Eliza, Minty Caroline, Henry W., Emma, Frank, Jewell W., Gardner C., Josiah H., and Guy Cook Spiva. This family link opened up another avenue of genealogical lines back to the original Reece settlers in Union County. These, too, would make another book, and my friend, Geraldine Spiva Elmore has done much to preserve the Spiva legacy in her research and writings. Thank you, Geraldine.

This brief overview only partially covers the links and names going back to “Billy” Reece and his children. But last, and not least, I want to pay tribute to the last-born of Quiller Frank and Elizabeth Logan Reece’s children, Alice Elizabeth Louise Reece (01.23.1893), who married Olin Hayes. Her great niece, Esther Minerva Clouse Cunningham (daughter of Nellie Caroline Reece and Zeb Clouse) wrote of her great aunt Alice Hayes:

“I remember Aunt Alice Reece Hayes. She was my grandfather’s youngest sibling. She stayed at home and took care of her parents (Quiller Frank and Elizabeth) until they died. She married late in life and never had any children. I think she felt her responsibility to keep her parents’ family united. When my grandma “Roxie” (Roxie Potts Reece, wife of William Drury Reece, firstborn son of Quiller Frank) was sick and dying, Aunt Alice and her husband, Olin Hayes, came. I brought them to my house to spend the night because my Aunt Kate was caring for her parents.” And so went this testimony of Esther Cunningham, who remembered her Great Aunt Alice as a “keeper of the family history.”

To Bobby Josiah Queen, thank you for these and other great stories of the Reece Family in Union County. I leave this family saga now, not because the story is finished by any means, but because it is too large for inclusion in sketchy columns in a weekly newspaper. For those of you, like Alice Reece Hayes, who want to be “keepers of the family history,” learn your stories and record them. You will be glad you did. Much for posterity hangs in the balance of our finding and recording the stories. “Lives of great men (and women) all remind us” even now to catch a glimpse of the sublime in the lives of others who made a difference.

c 2010 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published February 25, 2010 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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