The third son of David Spence (1639-1679) and Ann Roe (1640-1711), John Spence was born April 11, 1672 in Wicomico, Somerset County, Maryland.(1) His father died in 1679 and after their father’s death, John and his younger brother James Spence (1674-1740) inherited Hereafter, a property left to them by their father.(2) About 1690, John married Catherine Truman (1665-1726), one of the orphaned daughters of John Truman (1627-1686), in Somerset County, Maryland. Catherine was raised by Richard Stevens, a Quaker who resided in Somerset County.(3)
By 1697, John and his brother, Alexander, elected to relocate to Perquimans County, North Carolina. According to North Carolina Colonial and State Records:
Cathron was imported by her husband John Spence, also three sons. Vol. 1, p. 488(4)–
–indicating that John and Catherine had their three sons in Maryland prior to relocating to North Carolina. One of those sons is identified in the North Carolina Records:
Robert imported by father John Spence, 1697. Vol. 1, p. 488(5)
The names of John and Catherine’s other sons have been gleaned from their father’s will. The daughters were apparently born in North Carolina.
In 1723, John appears as a juror in Pasquotank, North Carolina.(6) The other reference I found for him occurred in 1729, as follows:
John Spence, Sr. pays quit rents for 400 acres in Pasquotank County in 1729.(7)
Catherine Truman Spence died April 29, 1726 in Pasquotank County. She was the oldest of John Truman’s daughters. John and Catherine’s son, Robert, died before John drew up his will in 1735. The abstract of his will follows:
14 Mar 1735
13 Apr 1736
Sons: David and Alexander (lands divided between them). Daughters: Dorothy Davis, Elizabeth Spence. Granddaughter: Reachell Sawyer. Executors: Charles Sawyer and John Davis. Witnesses: Geo. Rowe, Alexander Leflear, Elizabeth Lefleare. Clerk of the Court: Jos. Smith. Device on seal: Letters S. S., three circles and square(8).
The children of John Spence and Catherine Truman were:
1. Robert Spence (1690-bef. 14 Mar 1735). Robert is the only child listed on the transportation list to Perquimans, so he was probably the oldest son. He is not mentioned in his father’s will, so he may have died young.
2. Alexander Spence (bef. 1697-Jan 1744). Alexander would have been one of the sons imported into North Carolina in 1697. He apparently died in Pasquotank County, North Carolina in January 1744. I know nothing else about him. He is identified in his father’s will.
3. David Spence (bef. 1697-1741). David would have been the third son imported into North Carolina by his father in 1697. He is identified in his father’s will and is believed to have died in Pasquotank County in 1741.
4. Ann Spence (aft. 1697-bef 14 Mar 1735). She is not mentioned in her father’s will, but her daughter is. Ann married Charles Sawyer (1692-1750) about 1734 in Pasquotank County. He was the son of Henry Sawyer (1673-1729) and his wife Sarah, who was born about 1677. They had one daughter—Rachel Sawyer (1735-bef 1750)—and she is mentioned in her grandfather’s will. Ann died in childbirth with Rachel. Charles remarried about 1736, but the name of his second wife is unknown. Their children were: Charles Sawyer (1739-1764); Dorothy Sawyer (born aft 1739); Jesse Sawyer (b. 1739); John Sawyer (1739-1743); Miriam Sawyer (b. 1739); Robert Sawyer (1739-1764); Willis Sawyer (1739-1753). The exact dates of birth and order of birth are unknown for these children. An abstract of Charles Sawyer’s will reads:
21 Oct 1750
Jan 1750(1)—Since the will was dated 1750, it was probably entered for probate in 1751.
Sons: John (plantation on North River), Jesse (land on North River), Charles (“land I now live on,” riding horse and cattle); Willis (land adjoining Butterworth, John Sawyer, etc.). Daughters: Dorothy and Miriam. To each of above-named children is bequeathed a negro. Wife: not named. Executor: Willis Sawyer. Witnesses: Bennett Morgan, Lodwick Williams, S. S. Plomer. Clerk of the Court: Thos. Taylor.(9)
5. Dorothy Spence (1698-1758). Dorothy married John Davis (1685-1765) in Pasquotank County. They had two sons: Ephraim and George Davis. Nothing else is known.
6. Elizabeth Spence (1702-aft 1736). Nothing else is known.
John’s will was entered for probate in April 1736. His estate inventory was filed the following year.(10)
(1)Maryland, Births and Christenings Index, 1662-1911 about John Spence. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: October 14, 2014. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(2)U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s about John and James Spence, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: October 14, 2014. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(3)John Truman 1685 Will Abstract, MARYLAND CALENDAR OF WILLS: Volume 2
(4)North Carolina Colonial and State Records, Vol. 1, p. 488
(5)North Carolina Colonial and State Records, Vol. 1, p. 488
(6)North Carolina Colonial and State Records, Vol. 25, p. 187
(7)North Carolina Colonial and State Records, Vol. 22, p. 256
(8) John Truman 1786 Will Abstract, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: October 14, 2014. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(9) North Carolina Will Abstracts, 1660-1790 about Charles Sawyer, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: October 14, 2014. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(10) North Carolina Will Abstracts, 1660-1790 about John Spence, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: October 14, 2014. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com