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The Spooners

William Spooner

The first Spooner ancestor we have documented lineage to was William Spooner, who came from Leyden, Holland early in 1637 with (it is presumed) his widowed Mother, Ann, and brother, Thomas. On their arrival in this country they separated, Ann and Thomas settled in Salem, and William settling first in the little Colchester settlement and later in New Plymouth. It is believed that William was only 15 when he came to America, and he was "redemptioned" (indentured once he arrived to pay his passage) to John Holmes a well-to-do citizen of New Plymouth, in the colony of Massachusetts. Within the year, John Holmes sold William's indenture to John Coombs, a printer and also well-to-do citizen of New Plymouth. The terms of this indenture stressed that John Coombs provide William Spooner with "one comely suit of apparell for holy days, and one suit for working days, twelve bushels of indian wheat and a good servicable muskett, bandaliers and sword fitt for service". Upon the death of John Coombs William was entrusted with the administration of his master's estate and the custody of his children. Mrs. Coombs decided to return to England shortly after the death of her husband and left William in charge of everything, including her children. So, at a very early age William was a family man and had the care and responsibility of a lot of property. With John Coomb's help, William Spooner had been able to buy a piece of property, and he bought more land in Plymouth and the vicinity in 1658 and 1662. On June 6, 1654 he was appointed "Surveyor of Highways". He served on the "Grand Enquest" in 1657 and 1666. In 1660 he moved to a new settlement at Acushnet in the Dartmouth purchase. He along with 35 other colonists, founded the town of Dartmouth in June 1664 and he spent the remainder of his life near there.

William Spooner was married twice, first to Elizabeth Partridge, by whom he had only one son, John. She died in 1648 and William married his second wife, Hannah Pratt. Hannah was a daughter of Joshua Pratt, who was a "First Comer" (came to America on the "Ann" in 1623). William and Hannah Spooner had 8 children and I am a descendent of two of them, Samuel and Isaac. All through the Spooner family we find much intermarrying In fact, Adam Spooner was called "Great-Uncle Grandad" by his grandchildren. William Spooner died in Acushnet, Mass. in March 1684, leaving a lengthy will.

Samuel/Isaac Spooner (we will focus on Samuel's lineage)

Samuel Spooner was born in 1655 and died in 1739 at age 84. He married Experience Wing about 1688 and they had 11 children, 6 sons and 5 daughters. He was Constable of Dartmouth in 1680 and again in 1684; served on grand and petit juries and held other positions of trust. The office of Constable was responsible for collection of taxes as well preserver of the peace. The name Spooner first appears in the record of Dartmouth municipal procedures in 1680, when Samuel Spooner was chosen Constable. After that time the name Spooner appears on almost every record. A Spooner was elected to some office, or in some way introduced, at more than two-thirds of the town meetings from 1680 to 1779.

William/Simpson Spooner

William was a farmer and lived and died in Dartmouth. He married Mercy Delano and they had 7 children; 4 boys and 3 girls. William was "a man of consideration in his town; he held the then important office of Constable, and was often called to other positions of trust".

Joseph/Deborah Spooner

Joseph was a farmer and lived and died in Dartmouth. He married Deborah Spooner and they had 8 children. Joseph and Deborah were cousins. In Joseph Spooner's will dated October 23,1771 at Dartmouth, Mass. his property was divided between his 3 sons and likely he felt he was taking care of his daughters too. From his will: " I give and bequeath unto my son, Simpson Spooner (the eldest son) and to his heirs and assigns forever, all that part of my homestead farm lying between the river and a line running north and south from a pine tree near the path that goes from the widow Hannah Hathaway's to Thomas Hathaway's and on the easterly side thereof, he paying to his sister, Ruth, thirty shillings lawful money and to his sister, Lucy, three pounds lawful money when he shall come to the age of twenty-two years and allowing to his sisters the quite and peaceable use and improvement of the northeasterly room in my now dwelling house so long as they do remain unmarried and likewise liberty to bake their bread in the oven and draw water out of the well".

Zoath Spooner

Zoath is probably the most colourful ancestor we have and surely he led a FULL life. Apparently he enjoyed all the pleasures and vices life had to offer, yet lived to be 104. Zoath was a very odd name and when he went to Georgia, it was spelled every which way but right. In the records of Georgia you can find his name spelled Zoeth, Zoah, Zore, Soar, Lore, and many times the writer couldn't begin to spell it, so they just wrote "Mr.". Family tradition tells us that he always hated his name and would not allow any of his children or grandchildren to be named for him. He was in his early teens when he was left an orphan. According to probate records in Bristol County, Mass. Wesson Tallman qualified as guardian of Zoath Spooner April 26,1773 and on December 16, 1778 Nathaniel Spooner, uncle of the minor, was appointed his guardian. As soon as he was old enough Zoath went into the army and fought in the American Revolution. He was a soldier in the company of Capt. Daniel Drake, Col. Drury's Regiment, sent by order of the general Court to north river June 30, 1781. Descendents of Zoath are eligible for the Daughters of the American Revolution on his service.

Nathaniel Spooner, Zoath's uncle had been a seafaring man, as had been many other members of the Spooner family for generations. Zoath took to the sea after the war and came south, sailing up the Savannah River. Early research of this area's records reveal several men by the name of Spooner in the Savannah area, but only Zoath stayed in the south. We find a deed recorded September 9, 1786 in the records of Bristol Co., Mass. from Zoath Spooner of Dartmouth, Mass., MARINER, to Nathaniel Spooner for some of the property he had inherited from his father. On November 14,1787 he sold another piece of property to Gameliel Bryant and this deed stated Zoath Spooner was of New Bedford, Mass. Then on March 7,1791, Zoath Spooner of the County of Burke, State of Georgia, sells his final piece of property inherited from his father to Samuel Perry, Jr., This deed was signed in Savannah. Thus we prove how Zoath happened to settle in the south. Zoath took up residence first in Burke, Co. Georgia and later in Screven County. It is not known whether he was married in those early years in Georgia nor actually how many wives he had, but from the census records, we gather he had more than one wife and a number of children. We know he was married to Katren Duncan by Feb. 27, 1796, because we find a deed from Andrew Duncan of Screven Co., Georgia, conveying to his daughter, Katren Spooner, 100 acres. "Her husband, Zoar Spooner, agrees to take same". Zoath was then at least 33 years old, so he may have had an earlier wife. At any rate, his oldest child was born November 17,1798 and he named him Joseph after his father. Zoath and Katren also had the following known children: Elizabeth, Adam, Richard, William and Joshua. It is believed that Kathren died about 1812 or possibly when Joshua was born. We find the following deeds in Screven Co. On October 21, 1812, Mrs. Elizabeth Duncan of Screven Co., Ga. deeded to her son-in-law, Zoar Spooner "in consideration of the love, good will and affection which I have and do bear towards my son-in-law, Zoar Spooner of the same state and county, one negro fellow, 8 head of stock cattle, 17 head of hogs, all her household furniture and her crop now on hand. Since she did not mention her daughter, Katren, she is presumed deceased. On the same date Elizabeth Duncan deeded to her granddaughter, Elizabeth Spooner, of the same state and county, a certain bay horse called Tom, and 1 cow and calf. Elizabeth Spooner was the oldest daughter of Zoath and Katren Spooner and apparently her grandmother Elizabeth Duncan's namesake. It is reasonable to believe if Katren had still been living, her mother, Elizabeth Duncan, would have mentioned her in the place of, or at least with, Zoath Spooner in the first deed. Zoath's next set of children were: Rebecca, Deborah, Tabitha, and James. They were born between 1816 and 1825. Then he married his last wife, Nancy, some 40 years his junior. In the 1850 census of Decatur Co., Ga. We find "Mr" Spooner, age 90 years old, with his wife Nancy , age 50, Debby, age 30, Caleb, age 20, Nancy age 18, Martha age 16 , and Mary age 14. John age 12 , is also listed but we know he was the natural son of Zoath's daughter Deborah. In Zoath's will he "Left all to Nancy" and does not mention any children, so we do not know for sure that Caleb, Nancy, Martha, and Mary were his by his wife, Nancy, but they might have been. Zoath Spooner was pictured as being a giant of a man, 6 feet 5 in. tall and weighing 240 lbs. who was famous for his abilities as a hunter, trapper, indian fighter, frontiersman, pioneer, and American Patriot. There are stories of Zoath stalking deer with the lithe silence of an indian in the Savannah River swamplands, and after killing a deer, being able to toss it over his shoulder and carry it some 5 or 6 miles to his home without fatigue. There are also stories of his being the nemesis of the "Florida Scouts" in the 1800-1815 period. The "Florida Scouts" were Tories and British sympathizers who moved into, or were driven into Florida during the closing phases of the American Revolution and shortly thereafter. A deadly hatred existed between the men who fought for American independence and these Florida settlers. These men of East Florida often raided the isolated and thinly settled districts of Georgia in marauding bands which killed, plundered, stole slaves, and committed atrocities against the early Georgians. They often reached up as far as Screven County in these raids and Zoath Spooner was famed for his ability to track and destroy them. He mostly traveled on foot in these actions against the "Florida Scouts" and was noted for his ability to cover great distances in stealth and silence at an "Indian Lope" or trot. There was one incident in which Zoath tracked seven "Florida Scoust" for almost a hundred miles in this manner and at opportune times, destroyed them one by one. From this description, one might picture Zoath as being the same type frontiersman and pioneer as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Jim Bowie. These accounts my not be entirely accurate, but Zoath must surely was a hearty individual to have survived as long and as well as he did in the times in which he lived.

Deborah Spooner

Deborah was the child of Zoath and Nancy Spooner. Deborah was born around 1819 Screven County, Georgia. It appears she had one child (John Hezehiak Spooner) out of wedlock and was living with Zoath in 1850 along with son John in Decatur County Georgia. In 1860 she was in Columbia, Alabama living with John H. and his family.

John Hezekiah Spooner

John H. Spooner was born in Screven County, Georgia on April 15, 1836. When he was 14 he was in Decatur County, Georgia living with his grandfather, mother and aunts & uncles. John apparently moved northwest and across the state line to Columbia, Henry County, Alabama by the time he was 20. He was farming there and he married Esther Riley in 1857. John and Esther had 3 children (one of which was John Davis Spooner) by the time Esther died in 1871. John enlisted in 1863 to the CSA as a private in Company E of the Alabama 6th Calvary at China Grove, Alabama. He was injured in the battle of Spanish Fort, discharged in 1865, and subsequently received a Confederate pension for his efforts (which was paid through 1940 when his last wife died). He was married two other times; to Martha Jane Kirkland in 1871 until her death in 1904 then to John Jefferson Creel's widow Narcisis Josephine Love in 1904.

John H Spooner was given a homestead land grant patent of 160 acres in Henry County, Alabama on July 1, 1875 (became part of Houston County in 1903) where he lived until his death.

John Davis Spooner

John D. Spooner was the 2nd child born to John H. and Esther Spooner. He was born on 11 Jul 1861 (just prior to his dad going to war) in Henry (currently Houston) County, Alabama. He married Mary E. Davidson in 1885 and they had 11 children; eight of them lived into adulthood. John D homesteaded property in Cowarts, Alabama and was awarded the patent on 29 May 1891. John lived and died there in September, 1936. He, Ester and their three infant sons are buried at Buried Bluff Springs Cemetery in Houston County, Alabama.

Cora Alabama Spooner

Cora was my maternal grandmother and she was quite the character. I suppose being married four times (and only 1 died on her) is probably an indication. She ran a small grocery store on the southeast corner of the intersection of Lafayette and Cherry streets in Dothan as a way to provide for her family after she left the country. After she and her last husband split up, she re-took the name Dudley because her last child (my mother) Johnnie B. was a Dudley and "Mama" didn't want her growing up with a different last name. Our fondest story about Mama is after "professional" wrestling came to television, she would "watch" it by turning her chair with her back to the TV and grabbing an occasional glance because it was too violent to watch the other way. She always had a pecan pie for me when I was growing up!

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