Caswell Gaston Reece
Tracking our Ancestor
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Column headings for all census years can be found here.
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are used to facilitate page loading.
Column headings for all census years can be found here.
Thumbnails or cutout census images are used to facilitate page loading.
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And In Closing
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My great grandfather Caswell Gaston Reece was born on 13 Nov 1870, in Clay County, NC; and died on 13 Dec
1955. He was married three times.  First to “Anna” Texana Sharpe (She was born on 28 April 1876. She died 23 Apr
1919, near Blairsville, Union County, GA, on the same day as one of their children during a flu epidemic). Both  
Caswell and Texana are buried in Pine Log Cemetery, Clay County, NC.    

More on Naomi "Anna" Texana Sharpe Reece:
    I don’t know why she had so many names. I found no less than 17 different spellings online. Variations of ‘Tex’
    were most common. I can’t find their marriage record, her birth or death record and it is said that when she
    died all known photographs of her were destroyed.  I have lots of dead end trails and I have created a page
    for her HERE in case anyone else gets curious enough to look about with me.

    I did locate her on the 1880 Census for Haywood County. A “Texan” Sharpe appears as a child, living with her
    grandparents, this is the closest I can come to documenting her early life until I find more information.  I
    cannot locate anything on her parents or siblings.
Caswell G. Reece and Rosanne M Lee-Rice got married on 29 JAN 1920. This was shortly after Texana's death
in April 1919. According to
marriage records she was born ca. 1870. It appears that the groom (Caswell) gave
the information on the form and that’s why there is no further information on Rosa given.  He didn’t know.

Other documents show that Rosa could have been born anywhere from 1868-1870.  She was previously married
to William H. Rice and had one son. Her son died in 1910 and her husband died in 1915 and she shows up on
the 1920 census as a widow only 9 days before she got married to Caswell. More information on what I learned
about Rosa can be found

    I found an odd document online that indicates Rosa may have died on May 21, 1923, it is included in the
    link found at the end of the last paragraph for your consideration.  Note that her headstone (see And In
    Closing) says she was born 29 FEB 1869 and died 28 FEB 1920 a month after she was married(?)  We
    may never know which is true.
One family story says that Caswell’s second wife, Rosa, was allergic to onions and one day she ate some and said
“Oh Cass, what have I done?” and died.
Then on 31 JAN 1933 Caswell married Pearlie Louise Carter. She was the daughter of William Carter and Julia
Range.  She was born on 18 April 1910, in Clay County, NC; and died on 23 February 1999.  She is
buried in
Belleview Community Cemetery, in Murphy, Cherokee County, NC.
The 1900 Brasstown, Clay County, NC Census shows Caswell (29) and Tex A (23) living on a farm, having been
married 7 years. They have had 3 children and all three are still living.  He is listed as a farmer and can read and
write.  With them are children Gennie May (Nov 1894) who is 5 years old when the Census was taken in June;
1910 April, East Fork Township, Haywood County NC Census lists Gaston C (39), Anna T (30), May (15), Carl
E (13), Perl (10) Vance Z (8), Hellen (4), and Louis V (1 9/12).  It says the house was on Main River
Road-Middle Section. Some of the ages are a little off, but the names and order of birth are correct. They
have been married 16 years.  Texana has now born 6 children and all are living.  He is listed as a general
farmer working on his own account.  He can read and write. Son, Carl/Edwin, is listed as a laborer on a home
farm and can read, but not write. Gennie May, Carl/Edwin, Pearl and Zeb are all in school.
On January 6, 1920 the census shows a 49 year old widowed Caswell lives in Union County, GA, in the Gum
Log District.  In the house are 17 year old Zeb, 8 year old Inez, 6 year old Montie and 3 year old Dow.  No
wife is listed.  Lewis is not shown either; he should be 10 or 11. This census was taken shortly before Cass
married Rosa in Pigeon, Haywood County, NC on 29 JAN 1920.  
1930 Clay County NC Census says that Caswell is not married at the time of the census.  The head of the
house, Caswell is 58, widowed, a General Farmer & truck, family owns the farm.  With him are his three of
his sons Caswell Jr[Dow] (13), Monte (16) and Lewis V (21)
1872 lived on US Highway 64.  They have lived there for at least 5 years and he owned the farm.  Listed
on the page is 3rd wife, Pearl (age 30), Cas Jr (4) and Ruth (1).

Caswell’s grandson, Vance Reece, says he remembers that Pearl Reece had a birth mark on side of
cheek or lip.

An old family list mentions a Dearlin L. Reece born April 18, 1910 that is not on any other documents I
have. I guess they died at birth. Dearlin would have been Caswell and Texana’s child.

The same old family list I received from Wanda Graves
(her mother was grand daughter,Vivian) does
not show Caswell and Texana's daughter, Wilma, whose birthday was April 22, 1919, Brasstown, Clay
County, NC and who died April 23, 1919 (same day as her mother, Texana).
 (Source of birth
North Carolina Birth Index). Also according to the NC Index to Delayed Birth Certificates
Willma's parents were Caswell Gaston Reece and Texaner Sharp. One source also says that Texana
died the same day as Wilma of the Flu epidemic.  
From Evelyn Goforth’s  (Curn Reece’s granddaughter) story.  

    When J.V. (Caswell’s father) settled in Clay County, all of his children except one son and one
    daughter also moved to Clay County. His son, Charlie, operated a blacksmith shop. His sons Joe,
    Theodore and son-in-law, Curn (Susan Ellen’s husband), operated a saw mill and his daughter,
    Ann, and her husband George Sharp, operated a country store. His son, Caswell, also operated a
    His daughter, Lillie, operated a grist mill he had built for her. She was a widow with five children to
    raise. (Jefferson Waldroup died in 1914) So J.V. bought an old mill from Peter Miller that didn’t
    even have cogs to operate it. He and his son, Charlie, made cogs and other workings for it in
    Charlie’s blacksmith shop. Ann, George and Joe eventually returned to Haywood County. Aunt
    Bonnie was already married and had two children when Curn and the other family members
    moved to Clay County, so she stayed in Haywood County.

    According to Mont, his father (J.V.), Caswell, Uncle Theodore and Cousin Arthur bought a horse
    drawn combine in the mid-twenties. When the depression hit that part of the country, the conveyor
    belt on it was worn out. The cost of a new one was $6.50. Between the three of them they didn’t
    have the money to buy one, so they had to cut the wheat and rye they had contracted to cut with
    a cradle. Cas said he had no idea how many acres of wheat he cut.

    Mont loaned my Uncle Cas ledgers from 1928-1929 and according to them sugar was 3 cents a
    pound, salt 2 cents, coffee 15 cents, and a pair of overalls or work shirt $1.25. People worked for
    him for a dollar a day. Eula Reece Miller had a notebook she kept in 1939 and the prices were the
    same. They had not gone up at all in ten years. People didn’t buy things, they traded eggs,
    chickens or whatever they had for what they needed

    Uncle Cas paid 8 cents for a dozen eggs, 2 cents a pound for dried apples and a hen brought
    about a quarter. Mont said they took any kind of staples to Murphy and traded them to wholesale
    houses for the things they needed. He would load up the wagon at night and leave out before
    daylight and after he had done his trading, it would be dark before he got back home.

    The story in its entirety can be found by clicking this link- The Curn Reece Story.  I have put
    portions on the relevant pages.
Written by - Jim Hayes -  Ruby “Inez” Reece-Hayes’ son)

The Mom mentioned in the email is Caswell’s and Texana’s daughter and Zeb Reece’s sister, Ruby “Inez”
Reece- Hayes, Not to be confused with her half sister, Ruby, whose mother, Pearlie, was grandfather’s
(Caswell) last wife.

    …You probably do not know how much my Mom, despised this man...he treated her and Texana
    really bad before Texana died.  

    My mom told me the story how one morning when Texana was pregnant and (Inez) was only 9 that
    he came into the kitchen and was arguing with Texana.  She was sitting in a chair in the kitchen
    and he kicked the chair over and Texana went to the floor.  My mom got the frying pan off the stove
    and whacked him in the back of the head and told him to never touch her Mother again.  Texana
    died shortly thereafter in the flu epidemic.  

    Mom stayed on with Mont and Dow (Zeb’s brothers) until she was old enough to get away from her
    father.  She hated her father until the day she died and loved her Mother equally as much.  In fact,
    the last words spoken before Inez died were "I want my Mother, I want my Mother."  When Caswell
    died, my Mother was not even going to the funeral but my Dad convinced to go and she did.
Vance is always full of stories and every time we speak, I hear a new one.  Here are just a few:
    I can only remember grandpa being very good to me when I was little and we lived in NC)

    Grandpa Cass Reece taught me how to split and make shingles that he put on the roof of the
    barn I was helping him build.  
    Vance was his grandfather’s shadow.  Cas called him “Buck”.  Once when they were harvesting
    peanuts across the road in Georgia a bear took a swipe at the mule Vance was riding causing it
    to bolt.  Vance remembers his grandfather shouting for him to hold on!

    Another time they were logging and the log Vance was sitting on (about age 8) broke free and
    went sliding down the hill.

    Vance says that Caswell spoke fluent German.

    ...When we lived in NC when I was young boy Grandpa Cass Reece taught me how to split and
    make shingles that he put on the roof of the barn I was helping him build.  I was his shadow as
    everywhere he went I went.
    I am one of the great great granddaughters of Caswell G Reece and Texana Sharpe.  Their son
    Carl Edward Reece was my great grandfather.  I started working on my family tree several years
    ago, but got too busy trying to make a living so I put it all in a cabinet until now.  I'm back at it
    and I found you when I was searching information about Rev. John V. Reece.  I would love to
    share information with you about the Reece family.  I am from Haywood County and have lived
    here my whole life.  My e-mail


    I am so excited to find out about all your adventures.   I kept running into a wall every time I
    looked for information on Texana. One of my great aunts told me that Texana had had an
    illegitimate child. I believe it's more like you're thinking and that she is the illegitimate child. I am
    just a "Babe" at my research compared to you, but I find it so interesting.  I love visiting old grave
    yards and looking through census records.  It makes you feel so good to discover little tidbits of

    I remember a story about Caswell. They say he was a wonderful buck and square dancer. The
    Farmers’ Federation would send him a train ticket to come to one of their feed stores in Canton
    to dance.  My grandmother was a great dancer too.  I suppose it was passed down.  I can
    remember going to street dances with her when I was real small.  

    Another story I heard about Caswell's second wife eating onions and it killed her.  My great aunt
    said she knew if she ate them it would kill her and she ate them anyway.  I have a bunch of
    stories but very little facts, that's my next step.  There is a little church in Cruso that John V.
    Reece founded that has a picture of him in the basement.  I am hoping to get up there real soon
    to verify this. .

Caswell and Children 1924

Inez, Cas, Mont, Dow
       04  DEC 1915 (Little story abut their son, Mack)

    2.  “Jennie” Mae Reece – b: 24 NOV 1894; d: 28 DEC 1928 (from childbirth and influenza)
        m: Brown Lowe Haynes

    3.  Carl E. “Edwin” Reece – b: 18 OCT 1896 (per family list); d: 13 MAR 1955 (mute via Scarlet     
        Fever- Vance Reece)

    4. Zeb Vance Reeceb: 07 APR 1902; d: 26 MAR 1983 Mansfield, OH; m: Vallie Jane McClure

    5. Helen L. Reece – b: 10 JUN 1905; d: 25 JUN 1967 (per Cheryl Haney) (mute via Scarlet Fever per
    Vance Reece). I have a photo of her.

    6. Lewis Valentine Reece – b: 27 JUL 1908; d: 24 OCT 1976; m: Zola Adams (b: 23 FEB 1920; d:      
      19 DEC 1996; daughter of Jesse V and Ola Adams) (some information provided on

    7. Dearlin L. Reece – b: 18 APR 1910 (per family lists but not anywhere else)

    8. Ruby “Inez” Reeceb: 21 JAN 1911; d: 10 MAR 2002; m: m: Cecil Hayes 1933 (d: San Antonio TX)

    9. Mont Haynes Reece b: 26 JUN 1913; d: 15 AUG 1996; m: Molly Ledford (b: 1914; d: 1997)

    10.Caswell McDowell “Dow” Reece – b: 20 AUG 1916; d: 24 AUG 1994; m: Mable Henson
        (b: 15 JUN 1915; d: 07 MAY 2001); buried New Cruso Cemetery, Haywood County, NC

    11.Wilma Reece – b: 22 APR 1919, Clay County, NC; d: 23 APR 1919 (She died same day as Texana)

Children of Caswell Reece and Pearl Carter are:
  1. Caswell Reece, Jr. – b: 05 APR 1936, Clay County, NC; d: 17 MAR 1995, Hall County, GA; m:
    Geraldine __ on 04 APR 1959 (b: 05 APR 1936; d: 17 MAR 1995)
  2. Ruth Reece – b: 07 OCT 1938; m: Harley Beavers
  3. Ruby Reece – b: 31 OCT 1940; m: Bob Medlin
  4. Estella Reece – b: AUG 1945
  5. Cecil Allen Reece – b: 23 JAN 1932; d: 16 MAR 1932; Buried in Pine Log Cemetery, Clay County, NC
  6. Melvin Reece – b: 08 FEB 1934; d: 08 FEB 1934; Buried in Pine Log Cemetery
  7. Betty Sue Reece – b:  21 APR 1942; d: 31 AUG 1942; Buried in Pine Log Cemetery
  8. William "Willie" Reece – b: 02 FEB 1935; (source: NC Birth Index) Brasstown, Clay County, NC; d: 08
    FEB 1935, Clay County, NC
Click on picture for larger/clearer view
Family Photos
Cas and son, Zeb.
June 1955 Cas, Pearl, & Ruth or Ruby?
Cas Jr, Pearlie, Cas, and Ruby in car
Cas, ?, Zeb, Helen, Lewis & Inez
Cas and sons- Lewis, Carl, Baby Mary
Cas' children as Seniors - Pre-1983
Inez, Lewis, Pearl, Dow, Zeb, Mont.
NOTE:  Regarding the last three children born on the above list (all buried in Pine Log, Clay County) that
are attributed to Caswell and Pearlie Reece:

Cecil Reece –
b: 23 JAN 1932; d: 16 MAR 1932 (source: NC Birth Index - says 1934)
Melvin Reece – b: 08 FEB 1934; d: 08 FEB 1934
Betty Sue Reece –
b: 21 AUG 1942; d: 31 Aug 1942,(source: NC Birth Index - says 1944)

Note:  Cecil (findagrave #40521543) would have been born before Pearl and Cas were married if the date
is correct. But I found evidence that the dates on the stone may be incorrect. Same discrepancy with Betty
Sue Reece (findagrave #40521394). She and Melvin Reece (findagrave #40521459) are not mentioned
anywhere else but these memorials online.  I note them so they are not forgotten.
Pine Log Cemetery, Clay County, NC
Rosa M. Rice/Reece, Bethel Community
Cemetery, Haywood County, NC
Murphy, Cherokee County, NC.
Caswell’s death certificate lists him as married when he died in 1955 of arteriosclerosis, cerebral
hemorrhage.  But does not list his wife (which must have been Pearlie).  He died in Brasstown, Clay County,
If I ever make it back to NC, I need to pay a visit to the Clay County NC courthouse and see what interesting
things are here.  Caswell is listed on this document with a date of 1958 (3 years after his death). If anyone
has the has the time and lives close, perhaps you could check it out for me?
About Cass from his grandson Alvin:
transcription done 2017

Hope You can read this:

It was about 3 miles from Warne NC to Grandfather Caswell Reece’s home on Pine Log Road. Uncle
Mont and Uncle Dow, dad’s brothers, were at home when we were during the strike.  We lived up the
road into Georgia just over the state line and went to school in Warne.  I rode a mile 2 miles at least to
pine log mill for grandfather to get corn ground for cooking.  He lived there with a store in the front
room.  He married again and had 5 children before his wife and he died.  (3 wives over 20 children -
I count 19
) Uncle Mont got the farm and lived there until he dies.  I have had letters from his three
daughters. I know JV Reece was my great grandfather but no one ever talked about him to us
children.  I did not hear of his preaching thru family.  Uncle Mont was in WWII and did good job with
Patton’s Army to the Rhine.  He was elected Registrar of Clay County and was at Hayesville about 11
years. He got a state certified birth certificate for me at age 65 so I could get social security.  We made
a garden in the woods by clearing land and cut up our wood for stove and fireplaces in and around
the house in Georgia.  Grandfather’s farm was in NC and GA.  I helped with hay making, bean picking
for his crop sale, shucked corn and cleared out stalk.  He had an apple storage place dug into side of
hill above the house Mother used to home make lye soap and washed in a big pot over a fire.
Cas children paying respects.
1970 Murt's Husband, Murt (Lewis'
daughter), Zola (Lewis' wife), Lewis
Reece, Mont Reece
Caswell Reece and mule team
One more story:
This one from Mont’s daughter –

…On another note, you mentioned in your "
roads traveled" that you found it interesting that Sonny
Bettis who owned Caswell's old farm knew
Max Reece.  That's no surprise as he is daddy's grandson
and lived next door on the farm in his growing up years.  Daddy owned Papa Reece's (Caswell) farm
after he (Caswell) passed away.  All the other brothers and sisters sold their shares to him as he
already owned the property next to it (and the other brother, Lewis owned property on the other side)
and when mother and daddy died Sonny wanted to keep the farm intact so he bought all our shares.
Sonny passed away in 2016 and his wife Mary Jane now owns the property. Sonny's mom and day
(my sister and her husband) still live on part of the property daddy first owned.
Click HERE to see a page from the 1906-07 tax rolls, C.G. Reece and TJ Reece are listed at the top.
Pretty sure this is son Dow on the
right, next to Zeb, probably his family.
Standing in front of the house in
Candler, NC
Just a few random 1970s photos
accident                from Selina Reece Keener - daughter via Facebook
up she married Elgin Ledford (Molly’s brother, wife of Mont) They had 3 girls, and one son who is a
minister.  The oldest girl is an international financial consultant in Chicago.