Henry Spear & Henry Spear on Somerset County, MD Tax Lists

At first thought, I wasn’t going to delve into the Henry Spears that I’ve uncovered in Somerset County, Maryland through the 1723-1759 tax lists. However, even though this isn’t my husband’s direct line, it seems that researchers have turned them into one person, the son of Henry Spear, born c1686.

Since many people don’t seem to do their own research, perhaps if I share my findings, from primary records (extant county tax lists), it will help future Spear researchers to sort out the members of this family.

I believe there is one Henry Speer, one born c1715  and that he is the son of Andrew Spear Jr., brother of Henry Spear, born c1686.

First, the 1723-1727 tax lists clearly show but two Spear households – that of Andrew and of Henry. It’s possible that this Andrew is Henry’s father, but even if it is, I believe that his son Andrew Jr. married and had at least two children.

Archives of Maryland Online

Note that Andrew and Henry were in adjoining households in Nanticoke Hundred, Somerset County, Maryland.

Andrew Sr., born c1645, would have been about 78 years old in 1723, if still living. I would think that would be considered elderly enough to be exempted. The 1727-1728 Somerset County Judicial Records for 1728-1728 include an entry for an Andrew Spear, TAX FREE. This could be an elderly Andrew Spear or it could be Andrew Jr., an infirm/sickly fairly young man, who was tax exempt because of health.

Whether or not these entries refer to Andrew Sr. or Andrew Jr., it appears that both were dead by 1728, as the name Andrew Spear doesn’t reappear on the tax rolls for two decades.

I didn’t find any Spears on the tax lists in 1728, but there are many men whose entries are noted as illegible. Only Henry is noted in 1729 and 1730 and no Spears in 1731. Again, these lists have a number of men transcribed as “illegible.”

There is no tax list for 1732, but the 1733 list includes Henry, taxed as head of household with Robert, dependent, in the same home.

Dependent males first appear on these lists at the age of 16, which means Robert would have been born c1717. Henry has births of children recorded in Somerset County in 1722/23, 1724/25, 1727, 1729, 1731, 1733 and late in 1734. He also names daughter Jean/Jane in his will, but her birth is not one of these noted. Jean/Jane is unmarried so she either was the youngest child, born c1736 or so, or was one of the oldest and didn’t marry.

In any case, that leaves places open for Henry to have children born in 1719, 1721 and even between 1712 and 1718, as he was seemingly not married when he confessed to fathering a child with widow Mrs. Margaret Buckley in 1711.

Henry, his namesake, had to have been born in one of those time periods. Keeping with the odd year births for continuity, we could be looking at 1713, 1715, 1719 and 1721 as possibilities.

We can eliminate 1713 as a birth year for Henry’s son, Henry, as Henry (born c1686) has no dependents listed in 1729:

Nor does Henry have any dependents in 1730:

Look who appears in 1731:

First we have Henry Spear, aged about 16 or so, a dependent of Philip Harris. Henry would have been born c1715.

We also have Henry Spear, head of household, with NO dependents in 1731.

There is no list for 1732.

1733 brings us Henry Spear with dependent son, Robert, presumably born c1717 and now 16 years of age, but still shows Philip Harris as head of household with a dependent Henry Spear.

1734 is a repeat of 1733 with adult Henry and dependent Henry, still with Philip Harris (Philip Harris died in 1744 in Somerset County, where the inventory of his estate was recorded.):

1735 brings a small change, but perhaps significant. Philip Harris is now living in Manokin Hundred, but Henry Spear is still his dependent:

The adult Henry, born c1686, is still in Nanticoke Hundred with Robert as his dependent:

In 1736, dependent Henry Spear is still living with Philip Harris:

Henry is taxed, but has no dependents. Robert, if born c1715, would be 21 years old in 1736:

1737 – Neither Henry Sr. nor Philip Harris and dependent Henry Spear are found on this list. There are many households transcribed as Illegible. Given the neighbors, though, this might be the elder Henry Spear:

1738 – Philip Harris and Henry Spear the younger are both in Manokin Hundred, while Henry Spear the elder and son Robert are both taxed in Nanticoke Hundred.

I could continue for quite a few more years of tax lists. However, the result would be the same. Henry Spear, the elder, never – ever – has a son Henry as a dependent in his home.

Why would that be if Henry the younger was his son? There is no reason that I can figure out. If Henry Sr. had a son named Henry, then he must have died as a young child, not reaching the age of 16. Every other son attributed to Henry appears as his dependent at some point in the tax process. Given the birth dates recorded for his children, they all show up as dependents at the age of 16.

I do NOT believe that Henry Spear, the dependent of Philip Harris, was Henry Sr.’s son. I believe he was his nephew and his father, Andrew Spear, son of Andrew the immigrant, died after the 1727 tax list and before the 1728 list. I further believe that Andrew’s widow married (2) Philip Harris OR that Andrew Spear’s wife was a Harris by birth and his uncle took him in when he was orphaned.

No other scenario makes any sense.

Further, Henry’s family migrated en masse to North Carolina while this younger Henry remained in Maryland. He reportedly married Sarah Shores and removed to Worcester County, Maryland, which borders Somerset.

The Shores family lived in Monie Hundred, Somerset County, Maryland. In 1743, they are in household #1. Look who is head of household #4:

This Henry died in 1771 and left a will.

Will of Henry Speer
Worcester County, Maryland WB 4:69-70
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God Amen The day of one thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy one I Henry Speers Senr and in perfect Senses mind and memory lett Thanks be given therefore Calling unto mind the Mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die principally that is to Say and first of all I give my Soul unto the hands of God that gave it & for my body I leave it to the Earth to be Buried in a Christian like and desent manner according to the discretion of my Executors and as for all the worldly Good that it hath pleased Almighty god to bless me with I give and dispose of the Same in the following manner and form Imprimis  it is my will and I do hereby Constitute make and ordain my wife Sarah and my Son william to be my only and Sole Executors of this my last will and Testament.

Item I leave the (sic) and Services of my manner Plantation from the form the Cross fence with all fencing housing orchards He to the northernmost End with all the woodland on the same End for the use and Support of wife dureing her lifetime and widowhood and likewise for the said uses and Services of my three Daughters, Namely, Ailce Nancy & Mary during their Single life.

Item I give unto my Son John part of a tract of land Called Gillisses rich Island beginning at a Marked white oak Standing on the west side of my plantation runing from thence to a another marked white oak Standing on the Estermost Side of my Plantation and so Cross the said tract with a direct line and all to the Southward of the said division line — after my wifes decease or widowhood and my afforesaid three daughters Single life.

Item I give unto my Son Henry the remainder of my tract of land Called gillisses Rich Island from the afforesaid marked trees and to the north ward after my wifes decease or widowhood and after my three daughters afforesaid Single life to him the said Henry & his heirs for ever.

Item I give unto my Son William one tract of land Called Spearses Venture Containing fifty acres to him and his heirs forever.

Item I give unto my Daughter Jenny Walls Six pounds Current money to be paid out of my Estate.

Item I give unto my dearly beloved wife Sarah my negro wench Called Florah during her life and after my wifes decease the said Florah and her Increase to be Equally divided amongst my three Daughters Ailce Nancy & Mary and as for all the rest of my estate not yet legacied I give it to be Equally divided amongst my three Daughters or of them that is living at that time after my wifes decease or widowhood namely Ailce Nancy & Mary and I doe hereby utterly revok and disanull all other will or Wills – by me heretofore made or named and do Strengthen and Confirm this to be my last will & testament in witness whereof I have hereof Sett my hand and affixed by Seal the day and year above written.

Henry (his H mark) Spears Senr (Seal)

Signed Sealed and delivered in the presents of us
Schoolfield Parker
Jonathan Fookes
William Farlow

November 5th 1771 then came Schoolfield Parker Jonathan Fookes and William Farlow the Subscribing witnesses to the foregoing will and made oath on the holy avengalis of almighty God that they Saw Henry Spears the testator Sign Seal and heard him Publish Pronounce and declare the Same to be his last will and Testament and that at the time of his so doing he was to the best of their apprehension of a Sound disposing mind and memory and that they Subscribed their names as witnesses to the foregoing Will in the presence of the Testator and at his request.

Sworn Before Benton Harris Depty Comey of Worcester County

He would have been in his mid-50s when he died. Wife Sarah survived him along with sons John, Henry, William, married daughter Jenny Wells and three unmarried daughters, Ailce (Ailsey?), Nancy and Mary.

This Henry never lived with Henry Spear Sr. He lived in Manokin and Monie Hundreds and then removed to Worcester County, while Henry Spear Sr.’s family migrated to Surry County, North Carolina.

I absolutely believe that Henry Spear who died in 1771 in Worcester County, Maryland was the son of Andrew Spear and nephew of Henry Spear Sr.

Have I made my case?





One thought on “Henry Spear & Henry Spear on Somerset County, MD Tax Lists”

  1. In the deed for the land called “Gillis Rich Island.” Henry was referred to as “Henry Speer Jr. of Somerset County.” This land was purchased from John Callaway, son of Peter Callaway, on 13 February 1756, Worcester County, Maryland Deed Book D, page 11. I know Jr. doesn’t always mean his father was Henry Sr., but maybe he was buying land from his uncle. Hard to say.

    My line is Andrew->Henry->Aaron->Joshua->Moses->Green->Robert Andrew.

    Somerset Co., MD->Surry Co., NC->Henry/Casey Co., KY->Orange Co., IN.

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