Henry and Andrew Speer, Sons of Andrew of Somerset County, MD

Today, we’ll take a look at Andrew and Henry Speer, the two known sons of Andrew Speer of Somerset County, Maryland.

I have seen undocumented information online that Andrew Speer Sr. appeared on Maryland Rent Rolls from 1686 until 1723. With no source citation and not having located those rent rolls myself, I can’t say whether that is a true statement or not.

However, Somerset County’s tax lists from 1723-1759 survive and are viewable through the Archives of Maryland Online.

Andrew Speer had two sons who lived to adulthood:

(1) Henry Speer was born before 1688, and likely no later than 1686,  as his brother Andrew’s birth is recorded in Somerset County as 10 July 1688. Henry inherited his father’s tract of land called Donnegal because Andrew Sr. died without devising the land by will or deed, so, as the eldest son, Henry automatically inherited it. Henry reportedly married Jane Calloway, after 1711, when he was fined in court for bastardy. I have not found the source for her maiden name nor that date. The date may just be an estimate, since Henry would have been at least 25 years old at that time.

NOTE: The Calloway family were neighbors of the Speers in Somerset County and it is very possible that one had a daughter Jane who married Henry Speer. She is attributed to Peter Calloway, who died in 1719 in Somerset County. However, Peter left a detailed will and named his wife and a slew of sons, including Samuel, who was apparently the youngest as he asked the older boys to gather together and purchase land for Samuel. No daughters were named and no grandkids were named either. Personally, I think it is more likely that Peter might have been a sister of Jane Calloway Spear, but their parentage is unknown.

It also isn’t known whether Henry married more than once, but wife Jane is mentioned in his will and she survived him.

Henry had a bit of a social calling out in 1711, when he was hauled into court for fornication and fathering a child with widow Margaret Buckley. Henry confessed to the charges and paid a fine of 600 pounds of tobacco. (I have not been able to find Somerset County court records and the family history site where I read this did not cite the record.)

Note that Henry’s father, Andrew, left no will. Henry inherited a tract of land called Donegal from him. This will be discussed in relation to Henry’s sons, ?Thomas (which I doubt), Jacob  and Andrew in a minute.

Henry died between 19 July 1758, the date of his will, and 17 August 1769, when it was proved in Somerset County Court. Given the probate date, Henry probably died during the summer of 1769.

Will of Henry Speer, 1758
Somerset County, Maryland WB EB 14: Folio 146
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God Amen The 19th Day of July in the year of our Lor one Thousand seven hundred and fifty Eight Henry Speer in the County of Somerset & province of Maryland planter being very sick and weak in Body yet of perfect mind & memory thanks be given unto God, therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my Body and knowing that it is appointed for all men to Die, do make & ordain this my last Will and Testament, that is to say principally and first I give & Recomend my Sole unto the hands of God that gave it & for my Body I recomend to the Earth to be buried in a Christian like & Decent manner at the Discretion of Executors Nothing Doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God & as Touching such Worldly Esteat wharewith it hath pleased God to bless me with in this Life I give devise of the Same in the following manner and form. Imprimis I give & I give & (becave?) unto my well beloved son Andrew Spear my Dwelling Plantacion being in Somerset County the said Land being none by the name of Bille Shinne all the said Land on the North side of the Branch with all the Rite members an appertanes therein to belonging to him his heirs and asines for Ever there being one hundred ackers in the said Tract Item I give to and (Becave?) to my Son Andrew Spear part of the Tract of Land called Donne Goall containing two hundred acres lying and being in Somerset County to begin at a marked Red Oak on the north side of the Tract of Land and to have his Land on the North side of the said Tract to him his ars and asines for Ever. Item I give and Beave unto my well beloved Dater jean Spear a Bed and Cow coled Dark and her Increase Item I give and Becave to Jean my Beloved Wife all my movable Estate for her seport as Long as she liveth and at here Death to my Son Andrew Spear Said one shilling a peas to all the rest–Item I Likewise apint my Son Andrew Spear my one & sole Exeter of this my Last Will and Testament and I dow hearby utterly Disalul Disalow & Revoke all and every other Former Testaments Will a and legoises Exet by me in any Ways before that time Named Willed and Bequeathed Confirmed this to be my Last will and Testament in Witness Whereof I have herunto set my hand and Seal the Day and year above Riten Sined Sealed and Poblished and Pronounced as his last will and Testament i presence of us the Subscribers Viz John Wales, Cornelius English Jacob Giles —
Henry (his H mark) Spear Seal

On the 17th Day of August one thousand seven hundred and Sixty Nine – Came John Wales and Jacob Giles Two of the Subscribing Witnesses and made Oath On the holy Evangelis of Almighty God that they did see the Testator Henry Spear Sign and Seal the within will and heard him Publish Pronounce and Declare the same to be his Last Will of their apprehensions of a sound disposing mind memory and understanding that that they also made Oath that they Beleved they did see Cornelius English sign his name as a witness to the said will in the Presonce of the said Deceased—-

At first glance, it looks like Henry favored Andrew and daughter Jane, as he left one shilling each to his other (unnamed) heirs.

Thomas has been identified as a son of Henry Speer because on 20 June 1764, he sold 70 acres of the tract of land called Donnegal to Levin Fletcher, stating that Andrew Speer had died without devising the land, so it passed by inheritance to Henry Speer, the eldest son of Andrew. However, I haven’t located this land deed and read it myself. Henry Speer NEVER had a dependent named Thomas on the Somerset County tax lists. Right now, I’m inclined to believe that Thomas was a grandson of Henry and, since he would have had to have been at least 21 to sell land in 1764, only Robert Spear could be his father. The timing fits perfectly, as Robert was born c1719 and easily could have married in the early 1740s and had a child aged 21 by 1764. Also,

On 16 March 1753, Henry conveyed part of Donnegal to his son, Jacob. There also may be other records which I haven’t yet found.

Thus, it appears that he gave legacies to other children during his lifetime. Perhaps Andrew and his sister, Jane, were the only two not to receive a full share from their father and received their legacies through his will.

Children:

1. Robert, born c1717, as he first appears as a dependent of Henry on the 1733 tax list of Somerset County, Maryland; last appears on the 1743 tax list of Somerset County, when he would have been about 26 years old. His name appears in the Somerset County Judicial Records, also in 1737/38. No further record has been located about the reason for his indictment, but he would have only been about 18 or 19 years old. :
2. John, born 15 February 1722/23, Somerset County, Maryland; died c1802, Surry County, North Carolina; married Elizabeth
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.
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)
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.
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.
9. Jean/Jane, died after 19 July 1758, when she is mentioned in her father’s will

Andrew’s namesake son, Andrew, was the younger son. Living side by side in Nanticoke Hundred of Somerset County, we have Andrew Spear and Henry Spear in Households #161 and 162. They continue to appear in 1724, 1725, (no extant list for 1726) and 1727.

The big question here is: Which Andrew Speer is the man on the tax list? Andrew Sr., born c1645, would have been around 80 years old in the early 1720s. Certainly not impossible, but supposedly the elderly/infirm were not subject to being taxed.

Andrew Jr., born in 1688, would be of the right age to be on the 1723 tax roll. Did Andrew Jr. died in childhood or as a young adult? The answer to that question might be found in the 1733 tax rolls.

Henry Spear, a dependent of Philip Harris, pops up in 1733 in Nanticoke Hundred. Who is this Henry? Not the son of Henry because while Henry has many dependent sons who appear in the tax rolls from age 16 onward, he NEVER has a dependent named Henry. The final year Andrew appears on those tax rolls is 1727.

Interestingly, this item was found in the Somerset County Judicial Records for 1727-1730 at Archives of Maryland Online:

Is this an aged Andrew Spear in the final years of his life and exempt from tax because of age? Or is this Andrew Jr., in the last year of his life, infirm and exempt from tax? I don’t know, but after 1727, Andrew’s name is gone. Either scenario fits the facts, but even if this is Andrew Sr., I believe Andrew Jr. married and had at least two children and died young.

Evidence points to Andrew Spear Jr. having at least two children. The first is Henry, born c1715, who “everyone” attributes to Henry, born c1686. The second is a daughter, Elizabeth, who is charged with bastardy in Somerset County Court in 1742. More on these children coming up!

My conclusion from this is that (1) Andrew Jr. died c1728 OR before  1723, if the Andrew on the tax list is his father, and (2) that Andrew Jr. had married and had a son, Henry, born c1715, whose mother may have then married to Philip Harris. (Philip Harris died in 1744 when the inventory of his estate was recorded.) My reasoning is based on tax lists and proving my point will require a post of its own, which will be published in the near future.

To summarize, Andrew Speer was born 10 July 1688, Somerset county, Maryland; died no later than 1728 and possibly before 1723; married (1) Unknown, before c1715. She likely married (2) Philip Harris or else she was a Harris by birth and her orphaned son Henry was then raised by Philip.

Children:

1. Henry, born c1715; died 1771, Worcester County, Maryland; married Sarah (reportedly Shores) and left a 1771 will identifying his children.
2. Elizabeth, born no later than 1721; charged in Somerset County Court with bastardy in 1742. She named the father as Dominick Jackson, who is likely this man:

No further records have been found about Elizabeth Speer or Dominick Jackson.

Next up is an in-depth look at Henry Speer and Henry Speer.

 

 

 

 

 

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