'A Devon family that has branched out Globally'

Paul Devon to Canada Devon Roots My Speare Line Gilbert Speare Devon to East London


The Speare Family in Canada 


The Speare family in Canada is a result of four separate immigrations in the space of about 60 years that include two different Centuries. 

William Speare was born in Inwardleigh, Devon England. He married first Mary Ann Baker who bore him six children before she died in Devon between 1851 and 1853. He then married Ann Baker in about 1853 in Devon and had nine more


children all born in Devon England. William Speare then decided to move his family from the Early Ontario Marriage Registrations 003966-1884 (Haldimand Co.) Henry ROBBINS, 21, Yeoman, Wellandport, same, s/o Wm & Elizabeth, married Emeline JONES, 18, Moulton, same, d/o Thomas & Jane, witn: Thos & Jane JONES both of Moulton, 30 June 1884 at Dunnvilleentire family to Canada. In Canada William's wife Ann Speare nee Baker gave birth to three more children

According to descendants of William Speare and Ann Baker Speare, William Speare and his family immigrated to Canada from Devon, England in 1869. He bought the farm in Cromarty, Perth Township, Ontario in 1870 and built a log house for the family to live in.

Home of William Speare and Ann Baker Speare

Built in 1888 for $2500.00 Destroyed by Fire Jan 7 1997

William built a solid brick house for his family in 1888, and he built his barn in 1897. The barn was torn down in 1998 and replaced by the new owners of the farm. The house was destroyed by a chimney fire in 1997. The cost of the house at the time it was built was $2500.00 as the brick was 3 brick deep. The brick had to be brought in by his son Joseph by horse and wagon from St. Mary's to Cromarty.

Most of the descendants of William Speare remained in the Perth / Wellington County areas but some went further west to Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and others immigrated to Texas, and the state of Washington, USA

The next Speare family to arrive in Canada was from Dolton, Devon, England. Henry Speare and his wife Elizabeth Speare nee Lake arrived between 1851 and 1871 with their four children. 

In the 1851 British Census for Devon Henry Spear, his wife Elizabeth and four children lived at Halsdon, and the census place was Dolton, Torrington, Devonshire. The Spear family in Dolton Devon had an e at the end of their name in baptism records but not on the 1851 Census. In the 1871 Census for Ontario, Canada, Henry Spear had an e at the end of his name, and he and his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Elizabeth lived in Preston Village, South Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada. 

Some descendants of Henry Speare and his wife Elizabeth Speare nee Lake moved to neighbouring Oxford and Brant Counties from Waterloo County where the family originally settled. One branch of Henry's family moved to Manitoba and one branch of the Manitoba Speare's immigrated further to North Dakota, USA and to California, USA.

The third family to arrive in Canada was the family of George Walter Speare and Sarah Mitch with their three living children. They came from Newton Abbot, Devon, England. They first settled in Hamilton Ontario about 1890, where a daughter Susan Emily Speare was born. The eldest child, a daughter, Maud Eliza Speare stayed in Hamilton and the rest of the George Speare family moved to South Hampton, Bruce County, Ontario, Canada by the mid 1890's

George Walter Speare

In 1896 Sarah wife to George Walter Speare died and he married a widow, Christina Gray who had one daughter. Together George and Christina added two more Speare offspring to the growing Speare family members living in Canada.

One of George and Sarah's children, George Richard Speare immigrated to Detroit, Michigan, USA, where he raised a large number of children. These children all remained living in United states as well as most of their descendants but a few returned to live in Canada.

The last immigration of Devon Speare's to move to Canada happened after World War I, in September of 1920. This was the Walter Henry Speare family from Upton Pyne, Devon England of which I am personally involved. Walter Speare's family came to Canada to live via Cardiff, Wales.

Walter was the last born child of Daniel Speare of Inwardleigh, Devon England and Harriet Perkins of Upton Pyne. He was born in Jackmore Cottage, in Upton Pyne in November, 1868 and spent his youth in the same home. He moved to Cardiff, Wales between the years 1881 and 1891. He became a master baker in between these years as on the 1891 census Walter appears as Baker. Later that same year he married Lucy Howard, who's father Joseph Howard had also immigrated from Devon England to Wales with his family.

Lucy died around the same time as the birth of their third daughter, in 1898.

Walter Henry Speare subsequently married Alice Scourse who was born in Cardiff Wales, the daughter of James Scourse of Cheddar, Somerset, England, and Elizabeth Wilson, of Glasgow Scotland. Alice raised the three daughters of Lucy until the untimely death of the youngest daughter. She continued to raise the other two daughters of Walter's and his first wife Lucy plus the 12 children she had by Walter. 

      Alice Speare nee Scourse                                     Walter Henry Speare

Photos both taken around 1920

After the war Walter and Alice decided to immigrate to Canada with their family. In January of 1920, they sent their oldest boy Walter Daniel James Speare, was a young lad of 17 at that time, to visit his Uncle Sidney Hunter, who was the half brother of his mother, Alice Scourse Speare. The son Walter must have had a good report to give his parents about Canada as shortly afterwards Walter Senior sold his bakery business in Cardiff, Wales and packed up his entire living descendants and immigrated to Canada.

They set sail from Liverpool, England, on the 4th of September 1920, on the ship the Megantic, and reached the port of Quebec on September 11, 1920 From Quebec City the family travelled to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where they commenced to find a place to live and a location for Walter to open a bakery.

Above 12 Severn St. Hamilton Ont. Canada circa 1921, Bought by Walter Henry Speare circa 1920

12 Severn St. Hamilton, Ont, Canada 2001 still possessed by a Speare family member.

Upon their arrival in Hamilton, they went first to the Caroline St. Mission, and then they went to Wesley United Church. The Speare family had trouble finding a place to live in. No one wanted to rent a house to someone who had so many children. In the end they had to use the money they had from selling their bakery business in Cardiff to purchase a home to live in. Instead of setting up a new bakery in Hamilton, they bought a semi-detached house at 12 Severn St. in Hamilton, where they lived their remaining years. This same house is where the youngest daughter spent her remaining years also dying in 2004. Walter then went to work as a master baker at Hill's Bakery until his retirement.

Alice Speare nee Scourse & Walter Henry Speare Circa 1940

Most of Walter Henry Speare's descendants remained in the Hamilton area with the exception of James Arthur Speare who moved from Hamilton Ontario, to Nova Scotia where he remains living today, July 18, 2009





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