Select Spears Miscellany

Here are some Spears stories and accounts over the years:

Spiers, Speirs, Spear and Spears Today

Numbers (000's)


Spiers as Spy-ers

A Spiers family of Evesham in Worcestershire pronounced their name as spy-ers and often spelt it as Spires.  This pronunciation seems to have extended across the West Midlands. 

Richard Spiers was Mayor of Oxford in the 1850s.  His father was a hairdresser and perfumer whose shop was on the High Street in the town.  The family joke was that when Wordsworth wrote his poem Oh Ye Spires of Oxford, it was in fact in praise of this shop.

Lady Anne Speirs and Her Curse

The Speirs family was once a very wealthy family at Linwood in Renfrewshire.  They lived in Bumbrae House and owned much of the surrounding land.  Five members of the Speirs family were buried in the family vault under the old parish church hall.  It was said that if the vault were ever disturbed then Lady Anne Speirs would haunt the villagers of Linwood. 

The origin of the curse is shrouded in mystery
.  But the "wrath" of Lady Anne was first said to have been incurred in the early 1980s with the closure of the nearby Rootes car plant, Linwood's main employer.  The plant ceased operations in 1981, five years after the parish church was pulled down.  More recently, superstitious locals have warned that the plans by Tesco to move the remains of the five Speirs from their crypt and reunite them with their descendants in North Berwick will bring tragedy to the town. 

However, local historians have asserted that Lady Anne Speirs was not among those Speirs being moved (in fact she was unrelated) and that the curse has no foundation

Edward Spiers Who Became Edward Spears

Edward Louis Spiers changed his name from Spiers to Spears in 1918.  He claimed that the reason was his irritation at the mispronunciation of Spiers.  Yet it is possible that he wanted a more English-looking name, something more in keeping with his rank as a Brigadier General and head of the British Military Mission to the French War Office. 

He denied that he was of Jewish stock.  But his great grandfather had been an Isaac Spiers of Gosport who had married Hannah Moses, a shopkeeper in the same town.  His ancestry was known.

Old John Spiers, Mississippi Pioneer

John Spiers was a hunter, woodsman and trapper and a legendary character in the early history of what is now Pearl River county, Mississippi.  He was born in the state of Georgia in 1799.  He grew up in the great forest section of western Georgia where few people except Indians lived.  He learned well the way of wild things and Indians as he grew up. 

John came to Hancock county (now Pearl River county) about 1816 or 1817.  One story has it that he was having problems with a teacher in Georgia.  On one day it came to a head and John pulled out his pocket knife and cut across the front of the teacher's suit.  After the incident he was afraid to go home to his father and face the consequences, so he ran away.  Another story has him joining General Andrew Jackson's army and coming to Mississippi that way. 

John settled in the Henleyfield area on the old river.  He killed hundreds of bears over a period of years and was almost solely responsible for ridding the area of wolves.  He was the forefather of the many Spiers living in this area.  Eight of John's nine sons fought in the Confederate army during the Civil War and two died in the war.  John lived a long life and died in 1889.

Reader Feedback - Christian Spears in Kentucky

Christian Spears, a young German immigrant, arrived in Kentucky in 1778 shortly after Daniel Boone had been captured by the Indians.  Two years later Christian and his friend John Burger registered their land claims right behind Daniel in January 1780 after he had escaped.

When 1,200 Indians and British soldiers came to Ruddell's Settlement in Bourbon county and took these two friends along with almost 350 others, everyone's life changed.  Murder, slavery, captivity, and families were torn apart and kept by the Indians while those who were marched to Detroit experienced great suffering along the way.

Some joined the British army in Detroit; some were imprisoned in Detroit or Montreal; some were captives there for several years, yet allowed to roam the area working for others, and some settled in Canada and lived their lives there.

LaRoux Gillespie's 2015 book Christian Spears in Kentucky is the story of Christian and the people he interfaced with over the period from 1778 to 1811. 

LaRoux Gillespie

Noah and John E. Spears

Noah and John E. Spears were both descendants of the Virginia-born Christian Spears who had moved to Kentucky at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Noah was born in Kentucky in 1828, John in Missouri in 1836. 

Laroux Gillespie, a descendant, has written an account of their times in his History and Descendants of John E. And Noah Spears.  The book describes the life, travels and descendants of these pioneers. 

Their story starts out in Missouri.  It was the Union soldiers that destroyed their peace in Cass county, Missouri.  They made the journey to Vernon, Texas and then, when opportunity presented itself, to Grady county in Oklahoma.

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