Reece Family Heirlooms
One of the final items I wanted to add to my work on the Reece family history concerned the artifacts we have left over from our ancestors.  Things we
can hold in our hand and pass down to our children.  It also got me to thinking about what I have that means something to me that I would like to pass
down to generations to come.  In this digital age and throw-away society, those items are harder to come by. Hold onto something that reminds you
where you came from.  You will treasure it in the future.

**If anyone has any items they would like included on this page, please email me at
I asked everyone I could think of what they had to remember our ancestors.  Did they have any of these items?  This is what I received back.
Rev. John Valentine was documents as enlisting in the Civil War as a Musician, right?  So what did he play?
I went looking for the answer and I found an article online that I wish I had kept, but did not, it was dated Sept 20, 2010. It mentioned John
Valentine Reece.  

Part of it said:  

    "…But long before that, Burress’ maternal grandfather was the town blacksmith in Pine Log. On his father’s side, his great-grandfather
    John V. Reece walked into the mountains of North Carolina via Cataloochee Valley after killing a man in a dispute in central Alabama after
    the Civil War. Reece ran a grist mill in Crusoe and used the drum he played during the war as a measuring bucket. Burress counts the
    drum as his prized possession."

This was definitely something I wanted to follow up on!  Was my gg grandfather’s drum still around!  Still in the family so-to-speak?  I couldn’t
wait to find out!  Thanks to technology I found a contact link for David Burress on and sent him the following email mid-April 2012:

    I feel pretty sure this John V. Reece was my gg grandfather.  He was a musician in the civil war.  This is him: taken from North Carolina
    Troops 1861-1865, Vol II, Infantry) Reece, John V., Musician Co. F. 25th Regiment N.C. Troops: Resided in Haywood County where he
    enlisted at age 17, July 13, 1861.  Mustered in as a Musician.  Present or accounted for until discharged on or about September 14,
    1861, by reason of “disability caused by an old cut on his foot.”  Later served as Corporal in Company I, 62nd Regiment N.C. Troops.

    The reason I am contacting you is that I wanted to see if you thought it was the same John V. Reece and if you still had the drum.  He was
    quite well known in the area as a minister and a blacksmith (family stories say that his ggg grandson Adrian has the anvil). There was also
    a story that he built his own hot air balloon but I haven't seen anything else about it.

    Thank you for any information you can share.  Norma Stamp   

He wrote right back!:

Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 06:35:49 -0400
Subject: Re: John Valentine Reece question

    Hi Norma.

    He is definitely the same man although the young man who interviewed me got his story mixed up with my paternal grandfather's .John V
    never killed anyone that I know of. He was my mother's Grandpa on her Dad’s, Charlie Reece side. I do have his drum and would love to
    see the anvil as I am a working blacksmith. John V was captured at the battle of Cumberland Gap and was taken to Camp Douglas prison
    camp in Chicago Ill. a notorious camp where 6000 men died of hunger disease and exposure it was known as 80 acres of hell by those
    who survived it. You don't hear much about this camp because the victors get to write the history books. Feel free to contact me if you
    have any questions or would like to see the drum. I live in Balsam and my number is 828-XXX-XXXX David Burress

    “After he returned home from the war he moved to Crusoe in Haywood County where he founded the church and started a grist mill. He
    nailed a wooden bottom on the drum and used it to scoop corn from the mill with one edge of the top rim is worn down a bit. The wooden
    bottom is gone now. I haven't heard about the hot air balloon but I will ask my mom about it. If you would like to talk to her (Eva Mae) her
    number is …. I'm sure she could tell you first hand stories about John V. Look forward to hearing from you soon.” April 2012

David’s line is:  his mother, Eva May Reece married Walter Burress; her father was - Charles Compton “Charlie” Reece6, Rev. John Valentine
5, Daniel Reece4, Anthony Reece3, Johann Valentine Reece2, Johan Jacob Ries1.

So now I knew where a piece of my family’s history was.  He very graciously sent photos too!
Sorry, I never did call his mother.

David Burress is a full time blacksmith at Calerin Forge.               Click the anvil to see a video of David Burress                       
How cool is that?!
Zeb and Vallie Reece's daughter (my mother-Alice) had
three treasures in her home that I am glad to be able to
share with you.  My brothers and sisters have possession
of them now that she has passed away.
Zeb's gun case
A Secretary that has been well loved.
Vallie's butter churn
Zeb and Vallie's son, Vance shared these photos with me:
This knife was given to Vance by his
grandfather, Caswell Reece
German straight
razor, probably
Caswell's too
The watch (above) was given to Zeb for
20 year's service at Firestone Rubber
Company in Akron OH.

The ring (below) was for 30 year's service
Zeb and Vallies grand daughter,
Wanda Graves, along with many of the
wonderful family photos that fill these
pages, sent me these too!
Vallie Reece's curling iron
A silver whistle - maybe one day
Wanda will tell me the story again -
because I have forgotten it.
Aunt Vivian Reece (Zeb and Vallie's daughter)  gave these to Marsha (their grand daughter, my sister)  when she took momma (Alice) to see
Vallie in NC before she died. The pieces were just thrown into a built-in corner shelf in the dining room.  She saw them and just asked her
could she could have them because she liked them and didn’t have anything of Grandma's. Vivian said sure take them. She also gave her
some jewelry pieces (costume) and grandpa’s wallet.
My original thought was that all I have are loads of
photos (thank goodness!)  But then I realized I did
have a piece of family history.  It might only go back
one generation to my mother (Alice).  But it is

This is a photo of a McCoy Cookie Jar - called
Mother Goose.  I believe it is from the 1950s.  And I
have fond memories of sneaking sugar cookies
from inside.