Society Board Meeting Scheduled

The Byron Herbert Reece Society Board of Directors will meet at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 9, in the Community Room of the Union County Public Library in Blairsville.

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Society Honored With DAR Preservation Award

The Daughters of the American Revolution Old Unicoi Trail Chapter presented its first National Historic Preservation Award to the Byron Herbert Reece Society during a picnic at the Farm and Heritage Center Saturday, Oct. 14.

The certificate was received by current Chairman Sanford Freeman and by president emeritus Dr. John Kay, who was also presented with a lapel pin representing his 12 years of leadership.

Representing Union County and its recreation department were Commissioner Lamar Paris and County Manager Larry Garrett. They received a native plant and marker in memory of Reece. The plant and marker were presented by Marty Woods, of Blairsville, who is chairman of the conservation committee.

Many thanks to DAR Regent Annette Hopgood for hosting this ceremony. A framed plaque will be displayed at the Farm and Heritage Center to commemorate this ceremony.

— Sanford Freeman

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Festival of Remembrance a Day to Remember

The Festival of Remembrance celebrating the 100th birthday of Byron Herbert Reece attracted over 100 participants on a beautiful Fall Saturday on Sept. 23rd.  Attendees enjoyed speakers, music, and barbeque as the life of “Hub” Reece was celebrated.  Highlights included music by Jackie Elsner, Terry Reece, Jim Clark and Friends, and the North Georgia Chamber Orchestra Quartet. Featured speakers included Dr. John Kay, Terry Reece, Ethelene Dyer Jones, Ruth Looper, and Jim Mitchell. The new memorial plaque at the Reece Trailhead on Blood Mountain was dedicated with prayer and flowers. A radio show from the 50s gave listeners a chance to hear Reece recite his own poetry. The pavilion was decorated with beautiful flowers donated by John and Patty Kay.  Many thanks to the Union County Recreation Department for the use of the Reece Farm and pavilion.

Overall, it could hardly have been a better day for celebrating the life of one of Georgia’s greatest literary figures.

— Sanford Freeman

— Photos by Debra March

Sanford and John

Sanford Freeman and John Kay

Ruth Looper

Ruth Looper

Reece audience

Audience and Bob (Terry) Reece

North GA Chamber Orchestra Quartet

North Georgia Chamber Orchestra Quartet

Jim Clark and Friends

Jim Clark and Friends

Bob (Terry) Reece

Bob (Terry) Reece

Audience

Audience and Chamber Quartet

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Oconee County Library to Host Reece Centennial Celebration

Mountain Singer: Byron Herbert Reece: Georgia’s Appalachian Poet and Novelist, a Centennial Celebration with a Mountain Berry Dessert Potluck Picnic
Friday, September 29, 2017, 03:00 p.m.

Jackie Elsner will sing Byron Herbert Reece’s poems in the traditional way of the Old Country ballads that Reece heard in North Georgia at the beginning of the twentieth century.  Born 100 years ago, we celebrate award-winning poet Byron Herbert Reece (1917 – 1958) who lived the life of a hill-and-bottomland farmer in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. He called himself  “a farmer first, a writer second.” Plus bring your favorite fruit filled, covered, or smothered cobbler, pie, shortcake or other dessert to join our Mountain Berry Dessert Potluck Picnic. It will be a “sweet” experience for all the senses! All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, please visit www.athenslibrary.org/Oconee

Posted with permission from the Athens Regional Library System website

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Byron Herbert Reece Centennial Festival of Remembrance – September 23, 2017

Join us as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Byron Herbert Reece with special speakers, events, and music on Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Reece Farm and Heritage Center

Highlights will include:

  • Barbeque and fixings from Evie’s Trolley
  • The North Georgia Chamber Symphony Quartet performing Reece favorites …
  • Readers Theatre dramatic reading from a 1979 project at Young Harris College …
  • Remarks by Pastor Jan Devereaux, who knew Reece’s brother …
  • Remarks by John Kay, founding Chairman of the Reece Society …
  • Information on the dedication of the Reece commemorative granite marker at the Reece Park on Blood Mountain

More coming soon!  Mark your calendars and plan to spend the day enjoying the mountains and honoring the life and talent of this native son.

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Join the Reece Society at the AJC Decatur Book Festival

The Reece Society will be represented at the AJC Decatur Book Festival for the first time.  Members of the Society will be available to sell Reece books and other items and to provide information on becoming a Society member and participating in their activities.

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country and this year will be held September 1-3.  The event is held in downtown Decatur and the festival and its many events are free and open to the public. For more information on the Festival, please visit their website at https://www.decaturbookfestival.com/.

We appreciate the assistance of Ken Boyd from Cherokee Publishing Company in making our participation in the festival possible.

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Reece Memorial Restored

A granite plaque has been installed at the Reece Park on Blood Mountain, on the boulder where the original bronze plaque was placed and later stolen in 1959.  Reece Society Chairman, Sanford Freeman, is shown with the newly installed memorial.

sanford and placque

The plaque contains the text of Reece’s poem, I Go By Ways of Rust and Flame, and will be dedicated at a future date, since weekend access during the hiking season is extremely limited. Thanks to the US Forest Service for their permission to replace this long-neglected memorial to Reece.

I Go by Ways of Rust and Flame
By Byron Herbert Reece

I go by ways of rust and flame
Beneath the bent and lonely sky;
Behind me on the ways I came
I see the hedges lying bare,
But neither question nor reply.

A solitary thing am I
Upon the roads of rust and flame
That thin at sunset to the air.
I call upon no word nor name,
And neither question nor reply
But walk alone as all men must
Upon the roads of flame and rust.

 

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