The Reece family story, as it came to me, was full of great stories, typed over and over in many different formats and basically sticking to the same tales. There had to be
    some merit in those stories. I wanted to learn more.

    Who was it that lived in the hollow tree while their cabin was being built? Turned out to be Anthony, father of John Valentine Reece, the same guy that the story is told
    about how an eagle tried to carry off his child.

    I found Last Will and Testaments for several early ancestors and learned that my great grandfather, Caswell, spoke fluent German.  My biggest brick wall became
    Caswell’s first wife, Texana  - I am still hunting more information about her.

    The family trees were stagnant and had not been updated in quite a while. Come to find out there were also quite a few cumulative errors which I have tried to fix where I
    could find verification.

    Unfortunately, Bob Jones’ mountain wizard website, that much of my papers in the beginning came from, is now none existent.  Too bad, because many lovely documents
    and stories are now lost.  I have included a memorial page I found online for Bob Jones.

    Among the lost information:  

           The 1784 Reese-Clanton Deed
           The 1788 Reese-Zachary Deed
           Valentine Sources by Peggy Fuller
           Jacob Reece, son of Valentine by Ruby Coleman
           Reece Ancestors by A. Hyatt
           Phelty Rease land grant – Watauga County, NC
           Asa Reese 1895 Memoirs

    I have found such gems as the registry of the ship – Chesterfield –  that brought our Johan Jacob Ries to America

    I have also tried to find out the location of some known family heirlooms.  I know that David Burress has Rev. John Valentine’s drum from the Civil War and have included
    photos that he emailed to me on the Reece Heirlooms Page.  I thought that Caswell G/ Reece’s son, Caswell Jr., had JV’s anvil.  Family tales say it was passed to Jr’s son,
    Tony (who has since died), and ended up with Tony’s son, Adrian Reece.  However, I have been unable to make a family connection to verify its whereabouts. At this
    writing Adrian’s mother, Geraldine, was still living but did not reply to my letter.

    My plan with the Reece side of the family was to begin, instead of with the stories and then build the tree, like I did with the McClure; by trying to document the tree
    information and the dates and places given in the story. However, I had to go about it a little differently, the end goal was still the same for both sides of my family tree:
    keep the stories, gather the pictures, and share with anyone who is interested. That’s what I wanted.

    I retyped the lineage page that I think was the one Uncle Alvin and my mother had sent me and added what corrections and (both verified and currently unverified) new
    information along with documentation if I could find it. I did the same thing with the poorly copied articles from the Heritage of Union County and Hearthstones,
    Foundations of Towns County books.  Digital is so much better!

    Uncle Alvin Reece has been of immense help by giving me email addresses and regular addresses of those family members he has kept in contact with.  I have written to
    various cousins and have connected with many more via the Internet.

    I found a great tree done by John S. Knight at

    I have tried to put most of the source links on the family trees near the information that I used from them.

    On July 7, 2012 I paid a visit to the mountains of our ancestors -- Read the story I call Roads Traveled - July 7, 2012  to see what I learned. On this trip we spent some
    time with Max Reece - Son of Arthur T and Momma Dot, Grandson of Curn.

    You will find little anecdotes sprinkled throughout the trees and if the story was bigger than just a notation, they got their own article. I ended up hunting census forms,
    etc, to verify I was chasing stories about the correct person. What a wealth of information is available on the Internet and through the North Carolina Archives!

    I have found what appear to be John Jacob Ries’ parents, grand parents and even great grandparents.  This bears some investigation. But I have added the names and
    source link to the Descendants page for those of you who might wish to explore further

    At some point in my travels I came across what I call Another Reece Story.  I have added it to this website, although not to the print version of this family history due to
    space considerations.
    I originally stopped my family history with my grandparents because they and their siblings were gone. I have since begun working on my mother’s generation since,
    unfortunately, many are also gone. I didn’t venture far into the lives of the living because they all have children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren (etc)  that
    are still here and thriving. This part of the story remains to be finished by the generations to come.  

    Norma Stamp (Alice Reece Canada’s daughter)  2011-2019
    Belleview, FL  34420    
East Fork of the Pigeon River

    1.             Johan Jacob Ries (1729-1772)

                   m: Anna Seiburren

    2.             Johann Valentine Reece (1748-1814)

                   m: Anna Christina Harmon

    3.             Anthony Reece (1774-1870)

                   m: Sarah “Sallie” Chambers

    4.             Daniel Reece (1799-1880)

                   m: Seila-Suzannah Green

    5.             Rev. John Valentine Reece (1843-1921)

                   m: Lucretia Nancy Wells

    6.             Caswell Reece (1870-1955)

                   m: Texana Sharpe
                   m: Rosa Rice
                   m: Pearlie Carter

    7.             Zeb Vance Reece (1902-1983)

                   m: Vallie McClure

    NOTE:  You must have a pdf viewer installed on your computer to open any .pdf files throughout the web site. Another option would be to Save the PDF to your hard
    drive, then go to and Browse to find the saved file.  Click View Document button. The document will open and you can see or print it.
Family Crest
Meaning of the Name Reece
    The original spelling was actually Ries or Reis.  It probably didn’t matter how the name was spelled to those early pioneers.  The records show Reis, Ries, Reece, Reese
    and even Rease as possible spellings.  It is my opinion that folks who could read and write back then usually wrote names as they sounded to them.  Imagine trying to
    record a German name spoken by someone with an accent.  It is no wonder the spelling changed with the wind.  The name itself means 'descendant of Riso (giant); the
    large man'. It is South German in origin from a Germanic personal name and mainly a nickname for an exceptionally tall or big man.  In Middle-High German Rise or Riese
    means ‘giant’. In some cases the name may have been used to refer ironically to a particularly short man.

    Read more at:

    Another thing that changed was the county and even State borders.  The country was growing and adapting and it made locating documentation a real puzzle.  For
    instance part of Wilkes County, NC became Carter County, Tennessee in 1802.  Watauga County, NC was made up of parts of former Ashe, Caldwell, Wilkes and Yancy
    Counties in 1849.  Deep Creek Township was in Rowan County and today is in Yadkin County, NC as far as I know. See notes taken from the 1850 North Carolina
    Census Index for more detailed changes.
In the Beginning:
    As an American, that is not always an easy question to answer.

    As a child I dutifully recited the litany I had been told by the adults whenever I asked what nationality we were.  I had been told “Irish, Dutch, German and English,” Later ‘a
    little bit of Indian’ was added.  

    In the old photos I saw of America Daniel McClure and her family – didn’t they have high chiseled cheekbones?  Sure looked Indian to me.  Back then, everyone wanted
    to be part Indian.  I looked through many places online and could not find hide nor hair of any names/matching ages, wives, or children that would indicate our family
    (Reece or McClure) has any connection to the Cherokee Nation.  Sorry. But I haven’t given up.

    I looked up the meaning of the surnames that made up my direct family line and I determined that what I was told as a child was mostly true.  On the Reece side we have
    German, English, Scotch, and Irish.  On the McClure side we have Scotch, Irish, and English.  So the litany should have been “Scotch, Irish, German and English".
Helpful Links
More Family Information
Link to my page of Unknowns - can you help?
My Direct Reece Lineage
What Nationality Are We?
Order your print copy of this work here:
Living in a Hollow Tree
Much of the narration I have included in these pages was taken from print-out that came to me of a now defunct website at  I have reason to believe it
was written by Bob Jones, who passed away in 2005.  I have updated it as much as I could document. If anyone has any documentation for anything mentioned, please
contact me using the email address below.
If any of you have any of these you can share, I will gladly make them part of this History.
in print form!
GG Grandson of Rev. JV
Reece is a Blacksmith.  
Link to
You Tube  channel.
To get your very own printed
copy of most of the information
found on this website go to
Random things I found that
may be of interest.  No
direct relations to me but
tons of familiar names:
button above to get the whole
Direct Lineage tree.