Descendants of Henry Spear, born c1686, Somerset County, Maryland

The Spears have captured my full attention for the past few weeks. I hadn’t planned to delve this deeply into the family, but I also can’t seem to let them go without seeing this project through to completion.

I’ve shared what I know about Andrew Spear Jr., born 1688, and know nothing about any possible grandchildren, so I’ve completed that branch of the Spear family tree.

Henry’s branch is much fuller, as I’ve identified his children and have bee able to add a fair amount to his grandchildren.

Yesterday, I discussed Henry’s wife, Jean/Jane, and listed his children, so I don’t want to repeat much of that. However, to document grandchildren, it’s helpful to be reminded of his children:

1. Robert, born c1717; likely died by 1744, when he disappears from the Somerset County, Maryland tax lists; married (1) Unknown (online info says she was Rebecca Estep, daughter of Richard Estep who died in Charles County, Maryland in 1766. I haven’t been able to prove this.)

My evidence for Robert marrying and having at least one child is that Robert was taxed as head of household by 1738 and last appeared in 1743, by which time he would have been 26 years old. Most colonial era men had married by their mid-20s. Next, one Thomas Spear sells part of the tract of land called Donnegal in 1764. Andrew Spear, the immigrant, died without a will, nor did he record a land deed passing ownership of the land on to an heir. His son Henry (born c1686), born 1686, automatically inherited it as the oldest son. Henry, in turn, devised part of the acreage to son Jacob on 16 March 1753. He may also have given part of it to Robert, his oldest son, which would explain how it came to be owned by Thomas if Thomas was Robert’s son. I have no proof that this Thomas ever migrated to North Carolina. The only Thomas I’ve documented there is a younger man, son of Henry (born c1750) and who died by 6 November 1797. Thomas’s father was his executor.

Further, while Robert disappears from the Maryland tax rolls after 1743, in 1745, John Spear is taxed as head of household with one dependent, Robert Spear, living with him. The dependent Robert Spear isn’t found on future tax rolls so I have no idea what happened to him. A dependent appearing in 1745 would have been born c1726, so Robert born c1717 is way too young to be the father of this Robert. So who is he? I have no idea.

2. John, born 15 February 1722/23, Somerset County, Maryland; died after 1745 tax list. John first appears in the Somerset County, Maryland tax rolls in 1739, as a dependent of Henry. He is again Henry’s dependent in 1739 and 1740. John is head of his own household in 1743 (1741 and 1742 lists are missing) and 1744. By 1745, he has one dependent, Robert Spear, who I can’t identify. However, John is not found on future Somerset County tax rolls and no probate has been found for him. He may be the John Speer taxed in 1782 in Surry County, North Carolina for 500 acres on Looney’s Branch. This John reportedly married Elizabeth (MNU).

John and Elizabeth Speer in Surry County, North Carolina were reportedly the parents of Levi and Levin Spear, both of whom appear on the 1782 tax list there. Levin Speer married Sarah (MNU), who survived him. On 8 August 1801, Sarah Speer, along with William W. Chandler, John Speer, James Gracey, George Speer, James Kelly and Sally Speer, heirs of Levin, sold land to Levin Jr. in Surry County.

3. Jacob, born 3 Mary 1724/25, Somerset County, Maryland; died before May 1802, when his will was proved in Surry County, North Carolina; married Elizabeth (MNU), but which I suspect might be Gwinn. Jacob and Elizabeth are my husband’s direct line and I’ve discussed their children in full.

4. Mary, born 27 May 1727, Somerset County, Maryland; no further information

5. Sarah, born 20 May 1729, Somerset County, Maryland; no further information

6. Andrew, born 3 December 1731, Somerset County, Maryland; died before May 1817, Shelby County, Kentucky; married Elizabeth (MNU, but said to be Gentry, unproven by me). He is on the 1782 list of Surry County, North Carolina, taxed on 440 acres on Forbush’s Creek. Andrew is listed in the DAR Patriot Index.

Andrew’s children include Robert Spear, born c1753; died 1781, Surry County, North Carolina; married Elizabeth (MNU) and Andrew, born c1769; died c1835, Kentucky; married Elizabeth Murphy, 29 July 1788, Surry County, North Carolina. Richard Speer is likely a son, as he and Andrew (Jr.?) sold land which they had been jointly granted by the State of North Carolina to Frederick Long in May 1795.

7. Moses, born 1 June 1733, Somerset County, Maryland; died after 1759, when he was head of house on the Somerset County tax list. No Moses Spear appears on the 1790 or 1800 census living in the South, nor has he been found in Surry County tax lists or land records. No further information.

8. Aaron, born 23 November 1734, Somerset County, Maryland; perhaps died between 1800, when Aaron and Aaron Jr. appear in the Surry County census and 1810, when only one Aaron is enumerated there; said to have married Sarah Kennerly, but I haven’t been able to document that and researchers may have attributed Sarah, the wife of Aaron Spear who died in 1816 to Aaron born 1734..

An Aaron Spear, who appears to be a younger man than Aaron born 1734, left a will written on 21 March 1816 and proved in November 1816. He named wife Elizabeth, and children: Sarah Dobbins, Elizabeth Patterson, Joshua K. Speer, Nancy Speer, James J. Speer, William H. Speer and Aquilla Speer.

The elder Aaron Speer, born 1734, appears on the 1790 census of Surry County, North Carolina and appears to have died before 1800.

9. Jean/Jane, died after 19 July 1758, when she is mentioned in her father’s will

There is still work to be done on the Spear family, but this concludes my work on the various family branches. A thorough study of the hundreds of Speer/Spear land deed in Somerset County, Maryland and Surry County, North Carolina will undoubtedly shed more light on some of the sparser branches of the this tree.


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