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This page was conceived, created, typed, formatted and published in 1998 by:

Chad Spawr

Any blame, error, mistake, faux pas or inaccuracy is totally mine. This homepage is also subject to continuous improvement based on availability of data and/or recommendations of its readers. Please contact me by e-mail with any comments, suggestions, recommendations, or ideas for improving this site. Your feedback is very much appreciated; contact me by e-mail at:

3496 Summit Ridge Drive Rochester Hills, MI 48306
United States of America

Welcome to the SPAWR Family of America

I have been researching the history of the SPAWR family for several years. Since early 1997, I have "discovered," or been discovered by, other SPAWR's or SPAWR descendants who are very interested in their origins, and who in some cases have been working at it diligently for many long years. These recent "discoveries" have created a new sense of both family and friendship between people who, though distantly related, knew little or nothing of each other until very recently.

The work here is not only is the result of serious commitment, interest and caring by many people who are my relatives, but who until a year ago were people I never knew existed. Yet, in the past several months, we have become as much a family as if we had known each other for years. It has been a wonderful and enriching experience.

Organization of this Website

This site has several different sections; taken together, the site will hopefully introduce you to a family which has identifiable roots in Germany almost five centuries ago. There has been a great deal of work done to date by many people to collect and assemble this information.

The section on which you are about to embark is a history of SPAWR family from its earliest recorded time in the early 16th century...from approximately 470 years today. There are several linked sections designed to enrich this family history....this includes an album of photographs and litho sketches from the family history.

In addition, I have divided the history of the SPAWR family into several branches, focused principally on my own ancestry. The first branch of the family history occurs with the children of Valentine J. and Anna Margaretta (Richer/Richter) SPAWR in the mid-1800's. These were my 3d great grandparents. Their son, Peter SPAWR and his wife Elizabeth (Messer) took their family to Iowa in the early 1850's. Their son, Valentine Leonard SPAWR, is my great grandfather; he represents the next branch of the family.

Valentine L. SPAWR represents a branch in the SPAWR family history because he was married twice, raised two families, and today has several living descendants from these marriages.

To supplement this website, I have created several different sections. To go directly to these places, simply click your mouse on the marked location. They are:

To leave a message in the SPAWR Family of America Guestbook , click here.

SPAWR Family Military Service:
For a listing of SPAWR family members who have served during our country's various conflicts, wars, non-wars, skirmishes, police actions, and peace-keeping efforts, no matter what they're called, please click here.

SPAWR Family Photo Album:
A "continuously-in-progress" album of photographs, lithographic sketches, and other renderings of SPAWR family members. Please click here.

SPAWR Family Death and Burial Information:
For a listing of currently known SPAWR family death and burial locations, please click here.

Related Surnames:
To review a listing of family surnames which have married members of the SPAWR family in the last 450+ years, click here.

The Evolution of the SPAWR Name

SPAWR is only one spelling of a name that has its origins in old Germany. The earliest we have successfully traced is to a family named SPARN in Germany in the mid-16th century. As you will see, the name has undergone several changes...whether these are intentional, unintentional, occurred through error, etc., is not known. The spellings which can be documented and traced include SPARN, SPAHR, SPARR, and SPAWR. Related to this are other spellings, but few documented links have been identified to date. The predominant synonym is SPAUR, which appears only infrequently as a probable misspelling for a SPAWR already linked to that spelling. There are, however, many SPAUR's in America, but they do not appear in the lineage I've been able to trace so far, except as a probable misspelling.

Another misspelling which appears in some records is SPARROW, but this probably results from difficulty in reading the cursive handwriting of the day. While there were undoubtedly people named SPARROW, the particular records in question (Civil War records for an Illinois Infantry regiment) are specifically related to an individual actually named SPAWR.

SPAWR Ancestry from Roman Times

The earliest written documentation of SPAWR ancestry occurs in approximately 1550. Before that time, the general areas from which SPAWR ancestry originated was marked by extreme political turbulence and the shifting fortunes of a succession of wars which swept across parts of Europe.

Early German history is dominated by several tribes: the Suebi, the Franconians, and the Alemanni. The Suebi tribe crossed the Rhine river into southern Germany from Gaul (old Roman name for modern-day France). The Suebi's were successfully conquered by the Romans before 84 AD, and were again conquered by the Alemanni's from central Germany in the 2nd and 3rd century. Today most of the descendants of the Suebi tribe live in the southeastern part of Wurttemberg, while most of the Alemanni descendants live in the western & southwestern part of Wurttemberg. The Franconians (Franks) pushed their way into the center of the state coming from the northeast. The Alemanni blood relatives are French Alsatians and the neighboring Swiss Alemanni. The SPARN families are descended from the Alemanni tribe. The SPARN family was in the Balingen area of Swabia before 1000 AD.. Balingen was founded before 900 AD, and is now known as Wurttemberg. The family moved to the Rottemburg/Neckar river area before 1272, and sometime before 1387, moved again, this time to the Untenhausen area.

The European Generations: 1520 through 1737

Johan Ludwig SPARN and his wife Lydia (maiden name unknown) lived from approximately 1520 to approximately 1600, and lived in the area near Holzelfingen, Germany. Their dates of birth and death are not known; however, the dates of birth of their children give a rough approximation of when they could have been born. Therefore, it is assumed that they were born between 1520 and 1530, and probably died around the year 1600. While the names of Johan Ludwig’s parents are not known, it appears that he was raised with three brothers: George Michael, Josef, and Jakob Daniel.

Although their dates of birth are not clear, there is evidence that Johan Ludwig and Lydia SPARN had seven children:

Jakob Daniel (1550-1612)
Jacob Daniel.

The first of these children, Jakob Daniel, is the next in descent to today's SPAWR family. Jakob Daniel and Anna Catherine Gengerin were married on July 4, 1576. They raised nine children in the area near Holzelfingen:

Johann Jakob (1577-1640)
Martha (1579-1581)
Anna Catherine (1580-1605)
Johann Martin (1584-1649)
Johan Casper (1586-?)
Martha (1587-?)
Appolonia (1590-?)
Jakob Daniel (1592-1656)
Johann George (1596-1656).

This was a large family, but not unusual for European farm families. Catherine Gengerin SPARN died in 1612 and was buried in Holzelfingen.

Jakob and Catherine's son Jakob Daniel married Anna Catherine Ulrich in approximately 1615. Together, they had five children in Holzelfingen:

Jacob Jerg (1616-1681)
Hans Michael who died within a year of his birth in 1618
a second son named Hans Michael (1619-1690)
George (1621-?)
Anna Catherine who also died within a year of her birth in 1624.

The eldest son, Jakob Jerg SPARN, married Maria Kehrer in approximately 1640, eventually moving from Holzelfingen to the area near Altenburg, Germany. Jakob and Maria had four children, of whom apparently all but one lived:

Daniel George (1641-?)
an unnamed child who died before naming in 1642
Jakob (1645-?)
Jacob Jerg (1646-1715).

Jakob and Maria's son Jacob Jerg SPARN married Anna Barbara Shiftl in approximately 1670, and they bore seven children:

Johann Jacob Jerg SPARR (note the change in spelling)(1671-1737)
Hans Jakob (1672-?)
Hans Martin (1675-?)
Hans Michael (1675-?)
Hans Sebastian (1677-?)
Anna Barbara (1682-?)
Maria Margaretha (1683-?).

Jakob Daniel SPARN died in 1656 and is buried near Altenburg; it is not known when Maria Kehrer SPARN died.

Emigration to the New World

Although there were other SPAHR lines which emigrated to the English colonies in North America, Jacob and Anna Barbara's son, Johann Jacob Jerg SPARR, fathered the first of this line of SPAHR's to move to America. To him and his wife Maria (maiden name unknown, birth/death dates unknown) was born Johan George SPAHR on December 11, 1699 in Altenburg, Germany, apparently their only son.

At approximately the same time as his father Jacob died in 1737 (in Oferdingen, Germany), Johan George departed for America with his wife, Maria Catherine (nee: Kaufman), whom he had married on June 23, 1723, in Wurtemburg, Germany. There is no available record of his mother’s death or place of burial.

The young couple was certainly successful in raising a new family; by the time they departed for America, Maria had given birth to ten SPARN children:

Johann Casper
Johan George (1724-?)
Johann Friederich (1725-1789)
Johann Wilhelm (1725-1787)
Anna Maria (1727-?)
Eva Margaretha (1730-1750)
Sophia Margaretha (1730-?)
Johann Peter (1732-?)
Maria Barbara (1736-?)

Whether in celebration of their newfound homeland, or simply not content with "just" ten children, Johan George and Maria SPAHR then had seven MORE children

Johann Casper (1739-1799) who appears to be the first SPAHR in my ancestry to be born in America
John George (1742-?)
Philip Adam (1745-1806)
Johann (1747-?)
Maria Catherine (1750-?)
Maria Christina (1751-?)
Johann (1752)

Maria SPAHR was apparently a very robust woman. Not only had she borne ten children before emigrating to America, withstood the rigors of a dangerous ocean voyage, traveled into the wild and dangerous interior of a relatively pristine and hostile frontier, she also bore another seven children after arrival, and lived until just after America declared its independence from Great Britain....July 16, 1776. Johan George SPAHR died on October 9, 1777; both he and Maria Catherine SPAHR are buried in Dover Township, York County, Pennsylvania.

Following the Sun: Westward Migration

Whereas Johan George and Maria Catherine SPAHR were the first emigrants to America in the SPAWR history, braving the perils of a transAtlantic ocean voyage and the harsh environment of the early-American frontier, their son John George SPAHR was among the first of America's settler families to continue the westward migration. Born in America (Earl Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania), in 1768, he married Anna Margaretta Valentine, who had also been born in America (although her dates of birth and death are not presently known, it is known that she was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania). It is not clear if they married before leaving the Lancaster, PA, area; however, as their families were in the Lancaster area and do not appear to have moved westward, it seems safe to conclude that the marriage occurred before the westward migration.

At this point in the SPAWR descent, and to provide an historical and genealogical context, please note that John George and Anna Margaretta SPAWR were my 4th (great-great-great-great) great-grandparents. I am the 11th great grandson of Johan Ludwig SPARN, who is the original SPAWR ancestor identifiable to date in our research....that means there are 14 generations of SPAWR's in the 475+ years beginning in approximately 1520 and extending through the early 1990's.

John George and Anna Margaretta were prolific parents. Beginning with the birth of their first child, Valentine J. SPAWR (note that this spelling change hereafter becomes permanent) on September 17, 1769, they bore and raised eleven children, including seven boys and four girls. Unfortunately, with the exception of Valentine J., little is known of their other children. However, they were:

Valentine J. (1769-1855)
Anna Margaretta
John William
John Casper
John Frederick
John Robert
John Henry
John George (1776-?)

Valentine J. SPAWR appears to have been named in honor of his mother's maiden name. The naming of young Valentine, however, began a tradition through several different lines or "threads" of the SPAWR descendants, a trend which continued until the mid-20th century. Most of the generations of SPAWR's in my ancestry, since Valentine and Anna Margaretta, have had at least one child with Valentine as part of the name. This family tradition continued through several generations of SPAWR descendants for nearly 200 years. As you continue reading, note the number of times "Valentine" appears as part of a SPAWR family name.

Valentine J. was the first of the SPAWR ancestors born in Cumberland County, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, in the area near Pittsburgh. This area was still in the midst of hostilities with local Indian tribes who were exceedingly unhappy with white encroachment on their lands; therefore, it was a relatively dangerous area, and history is replete with stories of many settler families being killed on this wild frontier. The danger, however, didn't seem to affect the young family.

Between 1790 and 1792, Valentine J. met and married Anna Margaretta Richer (also spelled as "Richter"). Anna, born in 1770 in Germany, had emigrated with her parents to America in approximately 1772, but her mother died during the crossing and was buried at sea. Other than her father’s name of Samuel, virtually nothing else is currently known about the family.

The marriage of Valentine J. SPAWR and Anna Margaretta resulted in the births of eight children between 1793 and 1809. These included:

Anna Margaret (1793-?)
Eva Catherine (1795-1855)
Susanna (1797-?)
Elizabeth (1800-?)
Jacob J. (1802-1902)
Mary (1804-?)
George W. (1806-1892)
Peter R. (1809-1876)

There is no specific record of any of the early SPAWR ancestors serving in the American army during American Revolution, although there were many local and regional militias in which they may have participated. However, during the Indian wars in the 1790's, Valentine J. did serve with a Pennsylvania militia unit. In August 1794, while serving under General "Mad Anthony" Wayne, he was wounded severely by a musket ball through the torso during the Battle of Fallen Timbers, near present-day Maumee, Ohio. This was a decisive American victory, paving the way for the cession of more Indian land to the growing flood of white settlers moving westward. Valentine and his family were part of the flood.

Moving with the Western Frontier

In 1810, Valentine and Anna moved their family from Pennsylvania to Pickaway County, Ohio, (south of present-day Columbus) again following the westward American migration. This area of Ohio was being settled following conclusion of several small wars and treaties by which the area's Indian tribes ceded their lands to the white settlers. The warfare between the white settlers and the several Indian tribes was brutal, with horrendous losses and atrocities committed by both sides. Indian tribes included the Shawnee, Wea, Delaware, Miami, and Tuscarawas. The area of Ohio north of the Ohio River had been promised forever by the United States Government to the tribes in a 1790's treaty, but continued encroachment by settlers and the conflicts between white and Indian led to more war, with the Indians eventually losing their lands in Ohio. Although the warfare had subsided by the time the young SPAWR family arrived in Ohio, it was still a very wild, unsettled, and dangerous place for a young family.

To date, very little record has been found of the family's time in Ohio. They were present in Ohio until 1827, when Valentine and Anna moved again, this time settling in the rich farmland around Money Creek in McLean County, Illinois. They did, however, manage to bear two more children before leaving Ohio:

John M. (1812-1891)
Sarah (1815-1890)

The cross-country trip to Illinois was rigouous, normally taking oxen-drawn wagons up to a month to make the journey. Here the family put down genuine roots, became part of the community, and spread outward across the length and width of the American continent.

Valentine and Anna SPAWR lived long and generally healthy lives. Anna died on March 1, 1852; Valentine followed her on February 5, 1855. Both are buried in the Indian Field Cemetery in Lexington, Illinois. There are other SPAWR's buried with them, including Thomas J. SPAWR, who was killed in 1863 in the Civil War. Several cemeteries in the area include burials of SPAWR family as well as the descendants of their children who married into other families. The name SPAWR was well-respected in Central Illinois for many decades through the 19th century.

The Outward Migration: The Years After 1850

The modern SPAWR era really begins with Valentine and Anna's family in Illinois. From this location, their children moved on to find their own fortunes, generally following the continuing westward expansion of the young United States of America. From Illinois, the SPAWR descendants moved outward to Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, Colorado, Arkansas, Texas, South Carolina, Arizona, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, New Jersey, and California. Present-day SPAWR's are found in most of these states today, as well as Illinois.

This point in the SPAWR history represents a separation point for many the existing "threads" of family history. Each of the children of Valentine J. and Anna Margaretta moved away from the parents, some only a few miles, others across the expanding frontier. Peter SPAWR, my great-great grandfather, took his young family and moved to Iowa. Sarah SPAWR married Harrison Flesher and moved away to raise her family, eventually dying in Missouri. Still others remained in the local McLean County area, including Jacob and John who were prominent local citizens throughout their lives. While some of these children remained in the central Illinois area, many of their children spread out across America…..Kansas, Missouri, the Carolina’s, Tennessee, Colorado, and beyond.

Each of the SPAWR children moving to Illinois in the 1820's is the starting point for a new thread of historical research. For some, the historical record is relatively clear; for others, there is very little record and the rest of their lives generally unclear to those who search today. In the unlikely event that every SPARN/SPAHR/SPAWR birth could be followed through its own history to the present day, including intermarriages and all the threads generated thereby, it would yield a tremendous and rich tapestry of vast width and breadth, probably encompassing elements of virtually every key event of American history.

The following are links to other pages in this and other sites which continue the story of the history of the SPAWR family of America as the children of Valentine J. and Anna Margaretta SPAWR spread across the face of the American continent. These links will be "active" as soon as sufficient information is acquired and written to place on this site; some are being developed by present-day descendants of the SPAWR ancestors; still others await attention. For now, you are invited to continue reading the history of the SPAWR family with the following links and those yet to be developed.

To read further about Valentine J. and Anna Margaretta's son Peter R. SPAWR, his wife Elizabeth Messer, and their descendants, click here.

Valentine and Anna Margaretta SPAWR's other children's families yet to be developed include:

Anna Margaret SPAWR and husband Francis Lucas

Eva Catherine SPAWR and husband Robert Guthrie

Susannah SPAWR and husband Zachariah McLean

Elizabeth SPAWR and husband William Robins

Jacob SPAWR and wife Elizabeth Trimmer

Mary SPAWR and husband Charles Beers

George SPAWR and wife Rhoda Walden

John M. SPAWR and wife (1) Rachel Higgs, and wife (2) Mary Pickering

Sarah SPAWR and husband Harrison Flesher

Coming From.....and Going Forward

The SPAWR family history and lineage, beginning with Johan Ludwig and Lydia SPARN over 450 years ago, continue today. As one of their many living heirs, I am proud to know of and share the solid German heritage, the pioneering spirit, the willingness to take risk and live on the edge of a frontier, to raise a family and face adversity. I am proud to be descended from a family which helped to settle the American continent, helped to build a nation, pushed back its frontiers, fought its wars.

While we do not count presidents, statesmen, industrialists, world-renowned intellectuals, or "high-class" glitterati among our numbers, we do count solid family values, a strong ethnic heritage, brave military service to our country, and commitment to our families among those things which make us a noble line. SPAWR men have fought the Indians in the 18th century, the Confederate rebels in the Civil War, the Germans, Italians and Japanese in World Wars I and II on the seas and on the African and European continents, and in the jungles of Viet-Nam. We have given lives and shed blood for our country, and we are proud of that sacrifice.

As for myself, my wife, Linda Sue (maiden name Cox) (1953-) and I are raising two sons: Alexander Thomas Cox (1982-) and Ryan Christopher Cox (1984-). I hope that one day their own ancestral history will be valuable and interesting to them, and help them to see themselves, as I now see myself, in a very special historical context. I am, and they are, the inheritors of a proud family history, and have the opportunity to carry it forward into the next century.


The Home Page of Laurel Spencer Busch
A descendant of Valentine L. Spawr's first marriage to Irena M. Neighbarger, Laurel is a special cousin who has become a wonderful friend. Laurel has done a huge amount of work researching her roots which includes the Spawr descendants from Valentine L's first and second marriages. She is a genuine inspiration and tireless in pursuing her (our) heritage and it's roots.

The Civil War Diary of Valentine L. Spawr, Columbus, Kentucky, 1863
Valentine L. Spawr served in the 14th Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. When exploring this site, you will find his Civil War diary and a litho sketch of him. He was my great-grandfather.

Iowa Civil War HomePage
This is an OUTSTANDING website for those interested in Iowa's major contribution to the Union victory in the Civil War. Iowa troops fought in virtually every campaign in the war. Superior contributions from John Duquette, Steve Kiner, Denny Deeds, and Chad Spawr. A genuine FIRST-CLASS website!

Kansas Interactive Genealogy
This is an excellent site for those seeking information on SPAWR and other early settlers of Kansas.

Genealogy Family History Research in Illinois
This is a good place to look; lots of information for SPAWR and other researchers, including Civil War searchers.

McLean County Illinois USGENWEB Project
The SPAWR family radiated out across America from McLean County. This site offers a great deal of good information.

Iroquois County Illinois USGENWEB Project
A good site for genealogy searchers seeking Illinois ancestor information.

Missouri GENWEB Project
A good source of information for researchers with Missouri ancestors or interests.


You may contact members of the SPAWR family by e-mail at the addresses listed below. THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO LOAD US UP WITH "SPAM" EMAIL. Please feel free to contact any of the family listed below FOR LEGITIMATE NON-COMMERCIAL NON-SPAM purposes only:

Berryhill, Ron

Busch, Laurel

Byrne, Ellen

Cabaj, James Jr.

Carter, Sandy

Downing, Connie Spawr

Farwell, Laurin Spawr

Herzog, Shirley

Spawr, Alex

Spawr, Brad

Spawr, Chad

Spawr, Chandler

Spawr, Jim and Karen

Spawr, Linda

Spawr, Ryan

Thompson, Lucy Ann Spawr

West, Dennis