'A Devon family that has branched out Globally'





Speare Family Get Together

St Charles, Il, USA

30th October - 1st November 2003

The family get together took place between the 30th October & 1st November in St Charles, Illinois.   The Event was attended by Family from Ontario, Canada, York & Oxford in the UK and the following US States. California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Utah.  

Please Click on a Day/Time below to view Photos of the event..


Lunchtime, 31st October 2003  

Evening, 31st October 2003, Page 1

Evening, 31st October 2003, Page 2

Saturday 1st November 

Photos from family members

Gilbert Speare's Photos

Donna Fortman's Photos

Chris Perreault's Photos



 By Gilbert Speare

 I travelled by rail from York to Oxford to join Thomas Peeke for our British Airways flight on Tuesday 28th October from Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare International.  On arrival Clifford Speare met us at the airport and conveyed us to their home in Hoeweed Lane, St. Charles where later we met Marcy and their sons, Cliff, Phillip, Matt and Scott.  We stayed with the family for the duration of the Get Together.

Clifford’s mother Kay Speare joined the family for dinner in the evening. 

On Thursday 30th October family members from Canada and the United States began to arrive and after checking in at the new Marriott Fairfield Inn in Bricher Road, St. Charles Assembled for the inaugural meeting in the spacious games hall of the

Hosanna! Lutheran Church.  Family Groups came from Ontario and Hamilton in Canada, from Texas, Michigan, Utah, Ohio and California in the USA and from York and Oxford in the UK.  Some enjoyed reunion with relatives they had not seen for some time and those who had not met before were introduced to each other.  Latest news was exchanged and photo albums and copies of family history items were passed around.  Altogether it proved to be a friendly and productive beginning to the weekend.

Later in the evening we all met together for the first family dinner at the Silvirado Grill in St. Charles and enjoyed an excellent meal and a fine spirit of friendship. 

The following morning, 31st October at 8.30 am, we all shared in the family breakfast at the Colonial Café, voted for the best breakfast in the Fox Valley with which I would heartily agree.  It provided another occasion for exchange of family information and an opportunity to get to know each other.

After breakfast family groups chose their own options.  Some chose a shopping excursion to the unique boutiques and shopping malls of historic down town St. Charles; others fancied a drive to Cantigny to visit the First Division Museum and Park.  I joined the party from Hamilton, Canada and took the Metra railroad from Geneva to the Ogilvie Transportation Centre in Chicago, From there we made our way to the Sears Tower, the world’s tallest building of 110 stories and ascended by elevator to the sky deck with its stunning views of the city below and its waterfront to Lake Michigan

Marcy and Clifford invited us all to their home in the evening for a relaxed cook-out in the form of an indoor barbecue whilst the children and younger members enjoyed celebrating Halloween American style. 

Saturday  1st November was another day for family groups to do as they pleased.  I took the opportunity of another trip into Chicago with the Hamilton party for a coach tour around the city with a commentary, complete with sound effects, on the period of the Chicago gangsters in the early 1900’s.

In the evening we all met together again for the final family dinner at the Erik & Me Riverside Restaurant famous for its variety of American and Danish specialities.  After the meal there were many emotional farewells as most families were planning to return home the following morning. 

The entire three days was a great and unique experience and a real pleasure to enjoy such great company and friendship of so many who trace their roots back to the small village of  Inwardleigh in Devon.  There was a general feeling that another get together should be planned in, say, 2005.

 Thomas and I stayed on with Marcy and Clifford and enjoyed a number of drives around the countryside and visits to shopping malls before our return flight to Heathrow on the evening of Wednesday 5th November.


9th November 2003




Contact thomas.peeke@googlemail.com