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Spence, John (family)
Type of entity
Authorized form of name
Parallel form(s) of name
Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules
Other form(s) of name
- Captain John Spence
Identifiers for corporate bodies
Dates of existence
Captain John Spence was born in June 1814 in Scotland and died on October 1, 1904 in Southampton, Bruce County, Ontario. Upon retiring from the Hudson Bay Company, John Spence moved to Kingston, Ontario until in or around 1848, when he and David Kennedy built a log house on Huron Street, Southampton, Ontario. After returning to Kingston for the winter, they moved to Southampton (then known as Saugeen or Saguingue), and are known as the first permanent settlers there. After engaging in an unsuccessful fishing venture with Kennedy, Captain Spence began a schooner-for-hire business.
Captain John Spence married Jane Harold on January 17, 1850. Jane and John had 7 children born in Southampton, Ontario:
a) Margaret Spence (December 7, 1850 – September 27, 1851);
b) John Harold (“Jack”) Spence (October 19, 1852 – March 27, 1929) married Martha Rusk, of Southampton, in December 1878. He earned his master's (marine) certificate in 1874. In 1897, he moved to Wiarton, followed by a move to Owen Sound and finally, a move to Saskatchewan in or around 1905;
c) Mary E. Spence (May 23, 1855 – May 10, 1926), married John Harrison;
d) James Hendry (“Harry”) Spence (April 14, 1858 – November 1906) was married first to Margaret MacAulay and later to Jennie Byers, both of Southampton, Ontario;
e) David William (“Bill”) Spence (March 25, 1861 – 1935), married Mary Anne Harold of Kingston, owed the Schooner White Oak, and sailed for 35 years. They moved to Kingston in or around 1914;
f) Margaret Eleanor (“Nellie”) (b. Aug. 10, 1864), married George Edward Currie;
g) Alexander Peter (“Cappy”) Spence (November 23, 1867-August 23, 1895), married Mary E. Hilditch. Cappy died on Lake Huron after falling overboard from the family Schooner, Wanderer, during a gale. Their daughter, Alexandria, was born about three months after her father’s death at sea. She was also known as “Cappy”.
Captain John and his sons engaged in a coastal trading and lumber business businesses in the 1880s and 1890s. They also operated general stores in Pike Bay, Dyer’s Bay and Tobermory. The family schooners, including the Wanderer and the Nemesis, were used in the trade of Hemlock bark taken from Pike Bay to Southampton, Port Elgin or Goderich. The family also shipped Pike Bay cedar, some of which was used in paving the streets of Detroit, bringing a pay load of supplies upon return for their general stores.
Captain John Spence and his Schooner, Nemesis, launched in 1868, are known for the 1876 daring rescue of the steamer New York on the Michigan coast of Lake Huron during a vicious fall storm. Captain Spence was presented by the American Government with a gold watch as captain of the rescuing vessel. Jack Spence and George Currie received silver medals for their role. Captain John Spence was also presented with a silver tea service by the village of Southampton.
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Dates of creation, revision and deletion
Skeely Skipper: Southampton's master mariner Captain John Spence / John Weichel, 2001
Southampton Vignettes: a brief history of a Lake Huron town / Robin R. Hilborn