Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Aunt Dora reaches 104
Her name is
Dora Anne Hunter Allison Spiva. Today,
February 7 from to p.
m., relatives and friends gathered at
Happy Birthday, Aunt Dora! Whether you are aunt-kin to us or not, you hold this honorable title, gifted to you because God has granted you long life and a gracious spirit. We came from far and near on February 7 to say "thank you" and "you were a great influence on my life."
Just who is Dora Anne Hunter Allison Spiva?
look at her family roots. She was born on
Stepping up later like an Old Testament patriarch, James A. Hunter married his brother's widow and began to help his dear wife with his nieces and nephews who became his own children. To Martha and James were born Dora Anne (1905), Joseph D. (1906) and Daniel (1907), bringing the number of Hunter children to ten. James Hunter's parents were William Johnson Hunter (1813-1893) and Martha England Hunter (1819-1897). Martha's parents were John Combs Hayes Souther (1827-1891) and Nancy Collins Souther (1829-1888). Family ties on "all sides" stem back to early settlers in the Choestoe District with names written in the annals of that area's history: John and Elizabeth Hunter, John and Mary Combs Souther, Thompson and Celia Self Collins, and Daniel and Margaret Gwynn England, to name a few of Aunt Dora's early-settler ancestors.
James A. Hunter died in 1912 when Dora Anne was seven, Joe was not quite six, and Dan was not quite five. Her mother Martha somehow managed, with the older children helping on the farm, and the younger children, likewise, sharing their load of work as they grew up to the responsibilities of farm and family life.
Allison was educated in the country schools, Old Liberty and Choestoe,
whose excellent teachers managed to produce students that stood on
their own wherever they went for subsequent education. She went on to
Young Harris and became a teacher in the Blairsville Collegiate
Institute in 1927 when she was twenty two. Her 40-year career as a
mathematics teacher, principal and counselor was mainly in the Union
County Schools where she distinguished herself as an apt and caring
teacher and one well-beloved by all her students. She continued her own
education, earning degrees from Young Harris,
Baptist Church where she has been and still is an active member, she
was one of the founders of Woman's Missionary Union, served as a
teacher in Sunday School, known for her knowledge of the Bible, and as
Superintendent of the Sunday School even in the days before women took
active roles in the major leadership of the church. She has been active
To honor this
And the beat goes on. A great life is like a widening ripple. It touches deeply where the impact is first made, but it circles outward to reach far beyond the initial target in an ever-widening circle.
Mrs. Dora Hunter Allison Spiva, you have had great impact on so many touched by your caring nature and your dynamic personality, your ability to teach and your dedication to leadership. Saturday's party was beautiful, with her friends from the Blairsville Garden Club (which she helped to found years ago) making attractive decorations for every table and even the "throne-like" place where she sat. The food prepared by her fellow church members was exquisite and tasty, and the huge birthday cake fashioned by Judy Hood Rogers was a lovely centerpiece enjoyed by all. But Dora herself was definitely the center of attention and attraction--amazing, delightful Dora!
Thank you is too small a word to wish you a wonderful 104th birthday! But we do thank you. You did make more difference in our lives than you will ever know.
c2009 by Ethelene
Dyer Jones; published
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail