Speare Family of Dolton, Devon

Welcome to this web page for the Speare family from Dolton in Devon.  At present i have not managed to link them to the Speare family from Inwardleigh.

I would like to thank Robert Speare & Marie Speare in Canada who have helped me find out more about this branch of the Speare family.

Family of Henry Speare

My Grandfather, Henry Speare was born in De­vonshire, England, on July 30, 1846. In 1856, he immigrated to Canada with the rest of the family by sailing vessel, a voyage of 11 weeks. He learned the trade of his father, that of a hand spinner in a woollen mill. He worked at that trade in Ontario. He was married to Isabelia Menzies, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland on January 6, 1849. She passed away in June of 1915. Her father, William Menzies (1824-1903) is buried in the Lyleton Cemetery.

Henry Speare came west in 1887 by train to the end of the line at Deloraine.  After buying a yoke of oxen and cart of sorts, he headed west with his belongings to his homestead at 10-1-29. In May 1888 his wife and six children - John, William, Raymond, Henry, David and Jeannette (Nettie), joined him.

They took up residence in a sod house where another daughter, May was born in 1889.

The family lived in a sod house until a big stone house was built in 1900. Ox team broke the land on the homestead and later horses were used for farming. The first tractor was purchased about 1924. Grain was hauled originally to the grist mill at Delo­raine. The round trip required five days.

The family first got their mall at Sourisford and later Henry Speare delivered the mail to and from Lyleton and Pierson, operating the Copley Post Of­fice from his home. We still have the original rubber stamp used for registered mall. He was also the superintendent of the first Sunday school organised in Lyleton. Ox team and wagon was the mode of travel for his family every Sunday. During his last year, he was superintendent of Copley Sunday school. He passed away January 23, 1919. 

Their eldest son John also lived in Lyleton for a time. (See separate history for John Speare Family.) 

William (Billy) started farming in the early 1900's, living most of his life on the farm at 2-1-29. He used to tell of going to Minot in the early days with a team of horses, leaving home at sunrise and arriving in Minot at sunset - and this was in July.  On one of these trips he, my father and two friends went to Minot for the fourth of July celebrations in 1900. It was here that they saw their brother Dave for the last time. 

 Dave moved to Spokane, Washington, and the only member of the family to see him after that was John's son Bill who called on him while passing through Spokane during W.W. 11. Billy never mar­ried and passed away in 1955. 

Raymond married Mary Louise (Minnie) Lin­ton and they lived on their farm on 14-1-29 until 1933 when they sold out and moved to Basswood. Ray and Minnie had two children, Clayton born in 1909 and Eunice born in 1910. Clayton married Muriel Hamilton of Newdale, Manitoba in 1939. They have two children: Carol born in 1943 and Linda born in 1947. Both girls are now married and living in On­tario. Eunice married Gordon Garrard in 1967.

They live in Toronto in the summer and spend the winter in Florida. Ray and Minnie lived in Basswood until 1950 when they purchased property at Clear Lake and operated a summer cabin enterprise until Min­nie's death in 1957. Ray then went to Ontario to live with his family and passed away the following year. They are both buried in Minnedosa Cemetery. 

David moved to Spokane, Washington at an early age where he married and established a family.

Nettie married Rivers Kett and they lived on the farm south of Lyleton until the late 1920's when they moved into Lyleton.  They had no family but raised a foster son, Elmer Lyle. Rivers died in 1951 and Nettie passed away in 1954. 

May married Reuben (Ted) Tooke on May 7, 1919. They farmed on 13-1-29 until Ted's death in 1938. They had one daughter, Merle, born on October 9, 1920. After Ted's death, May lived in Lyleton for a time, then worked in Souris, Waskada and Boissevain until coming to stay with my brother Lloyd and me on the farm in 1952.  In 1968 she moved to Melita and later was in the senior citizens' home in Killamey and Deloraine where she passed away in 1971. Merle enlisted in the navy in April 1943, where she served as a cook. She has lived in Ottawa since leaving the navy in 1946. Merle is not married. 


  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Speare, JR.

My father, Henry Speare JR, stayed on the home farm and married Elsie Fisher of Dundas, Ontario, on January 25, 1918.  One child died in infancy. 

Robert Henry (Bob) was born September 20, 1920. 1 (Ceell) followed on July 23,1924; Lloyd on April 12, 1927; and Phyllis, on October 5, 1929.

Our schooling took place at Lyleton and Copley Schools.  Elsie passed away in February of 1944.  That fall Henry went to Los Angeles, California where he renewed his acquaintance with Violet Cartwright (Violet Quesnel, who had worked in the telephone office in Lyleton in 1911 and in Melita later that year). 

They were married in 1945 and operated a restaurant and later a greeting card shop until Henry's death on May 12, 1955.  Violet is still living in Los Angeles.

Bob joined the army on January 19, 1943. He married Ann Skilnik on February 25,1950. They had two children: Gene, born November 21, 1950, and Duane born January 5, 1953. Gene is now living in Toronto. Duane is married with one child and is living in Winnipeg. Bob and Arm moved to Vemon, B.C. after Bob retired from the army where he had spent 27 years. Ann passed away on May 23, 1982. Bob still lives in Vemon. 

I joined the R.C.A.F in 1943 and received my discharge in 1945.  After working at a variety of jobs, 1 started farming in the Copley district.

In 1958, I became employed as Immigration Officer at the Port of Coulter, transferring to Customs as Customs In­spector in 1959, a position which 1 still hold. Mima Andrews and 1 were married in 1961 and have three children. Marie is beginning her third year of Arts at Brandon University (1982), Sheila is entering first  

Year Arts at the University of Manitoba and Kerri is entering Grade IX at Melita. 

Lloyd farmed in the Copley district until 1973. He married Darlene Downey in 1970. Their daughter Elsie was born in 1972.  Lloyd has also adopted two other children, Jeannine and Joe.  After leaving the farm, Lloyd and Darlene moved to Armstrong, B.C. and in 1974 they moved to Debolt, Alberta, where they still live.

Lloyd is farm manager for a John Deere agent from Grande Prairie. 

Phyllis moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1946. She married Tommy Green in 1947. They have two daughters, Pat and Pam, who are both married. Tommy and Phyllis, as well as their daughters, live in Reno, Nevada.

               History of John Speare Family

               Submitted by Leo B. Speare


John (Jack) Speare, son of Henry Speare, Sr., was born February 10. 1870 in Ontario.  Canada.  He married Loretta Dishart, who was born March 25, 1885 at White Lake, South Dakota, and passed away December 21, 1968. John was a musician, playing the comet, and during his lifetime led many bands and orchestras throughout the area, including the "Billy Bennett Travelling Show".

John, with his family, lived in Lyleton until June 29, 1923, when they moved to Kenmare, North Da­kota. They hired three teams of horses and wagons to make this move.

Five children were born of this marriage: Leo B., Isabelle, Katherine, William, and Harold. Leo and his wife Helen reside in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Isabelle passed away on October 14, 1970. Katherine (Mrs. Paul Wherley) resides in Minot, North Dakota. 

Katherine Wherley (nee) Speare

 William and his wife Olga live at Rugby, North Dakota, and Harold at Edmore, North Dakota. 


 William has four sons: Barry of Washington, D.C.; David of Cando, North Dakota; Lorry of Puer­to Rico, West Indies; and Donald of Grand Forks, North Dakota.  Like their father, sons Barry, Lorry and Donald all served in the United States Military Services.  Barry is the father of one son and two daughters, William Ill, Sonja, and Tiffany.  Lorry has one son, John.

Leo recalls having attended grade school at Lyleton and at the little red Copley School, along with his cousins Clayton and Eunice Speare.  One of his teachers was Miss Reekie.


Henry Spear(e) 1851 Census in Devon, UK

Name                   Relationship     Age     Sex     Occupation    Birthplace

Henry SPEAR     Head                39          M            Farm Lab   Dolton-Dev

Elizth. SPEAR     Wife                 40          F                                Roborough-Dev                                    

Willm. SPEAR     Son                  9            M                               Roborough-Dev                                            

Mary SPEAR       Daur                 6           F                                Roborough-Dev

Henry SPEAR     Son                   5           M                               Dolton-Dev

Elizth. SPEAR     Daur                  2          F                                Dolton-Dev

Address: Halsdon, ---
Census Place: Dolton Torrington, Devonshire

Other Spear(e) Members from Dolton in 1851 Census

Name                   Relationship     Age     Sex     Occupation    Birthplace

Simon SPEAR     Head                 71         M         Ag Lab             Dolton-Dev

Rebecca SPEAR Wife                 59             F                                Merton-Dev

Address: Petheridge Gate, Torrington
Census Place: Merton Torrington, Devonshire

Name                   Relationship     Age     Sex     Occupation    Birthplace

William SPEAR     Head                 64         M         Farm Lab         Dolton-Dev

Mary SPEAR         Wife                    64         F                                  Dowland-Dev

Address: Langham, ---
Census Place: Dolton Torrington, Devonshire