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The Family and Descendants of Peter and Elizabeth SPAWR

The most recent common ancestors of all the SPAWR's since approximately 1800 are Valentine J. and Anna Margaretta SPAWR; and all currently-living (1998) SPAWR's are descended from one of their children. Of these many children, Peter R. SPAWR was my great-great grandfather. This section of the SPAWR Family of America is specifically focused on the lineage from Peter SPAWR through his descendants to and including my parents and myself. Where possible, I will include information related to other of Peter and Elizabeth's children; should the volume of information warrant, a new section of this entire Website will be developed and published.

Peter SPAWR was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on March 14, 1809. He married Elizabeth Messer on December 27, 1829, in nearby Tazewell County, Illinois. Elizabeth was born in Ohio on September 4, 1813, to Isaac and Sidney Ann (maiden name: Forbes) Messer; it is therefore conceivable that the families had known each other in Ohio before moving to Illinois. Elizabeth's parents had both been born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the 1780's. Their own westward migration seems to be similar to that of the SPAWR family.

Peter and Elizabeth SPAWR were the parents of six children:
Isaac (1831-?)
Valentine Leonard (1835-1882)
John (1838-1864)
Mary (1842-?)
George W. (1850-unknown)
Peter Marion (1850-unknown).

Peter apparently farmed the rich Illinois soil as did his father and brothers; however, the siren song of westward expansion apparently appealed to him, for he moved his entire family in 1853 to north-central Iowa, near present-day Clarksville, in Butler County. Within a few years, Peter and his family had acquired several large parcels of good farmland and were successful farmers.

Of their children, little is presently known with the exception of Valentine L.. Isaac was born in 1831, but there is very little clear record currently available which sheds light on his life. There are old burial records and some sketchy marriage records for an Isaac Spawr in the area near Corvallis, OR in the 1850's, and this individual could be the same Isaac. Given the lack of current information on him from other sources, this may be the brother of my great grandfather Valentine.

Peter and Elizabeth's son John married a woman named Rebecca (maiden name unknown); he fought during the Civil War in the 32d Iowa Infantry, and was discharged in the spring of 1864. He died later in that year, and is buried in Clarksville, IA. With the exception of his son Isaac, nothing is presently known of his family's fate; Isaac married twice, and has descendants living today (for a photo of Isaac and his second family, you may visit the SPAWR Family photo album by clicking here).

Of Peter and Elizabeth's remaining children, Mary, Peter Marion, and George W., we presently know nothing; however, the search continues both for any of their history, as well as for any of their descendants living today.

Peter and Elizabeth's second son, Valentine L. SPAWR, is my paternal great grandfather (to see a lithographic sketch of him click here). Of all of Peter and Elizabeth SPAWR's children, it is only Valentine L. for whom any history is presently known. In fact, Valentine L. SPAWR fathered two separate and distinct lines of descendants which, from the early 1920's until 1998, had been virtually unknown to each other. It is here, therefore, that the next threads of SPAWR family history split. To continue tracing the history of the SPAWR Family of America with the lineage of Valentine L. SPAWR, please click here.

Peter and Elizabeth SPAWR lived out their lives in Neosho Falls, Kansas, the town their son had helped to found on the Kansas prairie in September 1870. Peter SPAWR died on December 11, 1876, and is buried in Neosho Falls; Elizabeth died there in 1895, and is buried in the same cemetery.


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