International Speare Family News
Internet Edition

2nd Edition, December  2002


Welcome to the 2nd Internet Edition of the International Speare family news.  This edition Combines the Latest issue and the Special Christmas Edition.

News from Speare’s Down Under

By Gordon King

It is interesting that Speare relatives must have some particular look about them. In 1977 when Joy and I were in England we visited a relative on my mother's side of the family, I think it was Mabel and Miriam Pavey at Seaton.and when I went to the door, even before I introduced myself, she said you must be a Speare relative, and of course she was right. On both occasions that we have been to the UK we have met up with Muriel and Alan Linton and also had long chats with my Uncle George Speare on our first visit in 1977. He told me so many interesting things about my parents that I wish I had known when I was growing up. I would have had some useful arguments to use when I was a teenager being told how I should behave. Uncle George brought out some old photos and he was of the opinion that I was very much like my Uncle Tom Speare whom I had never met.

Even though our visits to the UK in 1977 and 1986 were working visits resulting out of Study Leave from Griffith University here in Brisbane, we were able to visit some of our relatives and also visit the birth places of both my parents. If we were able to travel to the UK again there would be more relatives that we could visit. However another trip over that way can be only a dream. Joy has not been well and it would be too long a trip for her and probably for me also.

On the family side our eldest son Peter lives on the Sunshine Coast just north of Brisbane and works in the Computer industry; our daughter Judith works in the Fabric industry and her husband Geoff has his own Maintenance business; our middle son Max is a High School teacher and his wife Julia is the Office Secretary at the City Baptist Church where most of our family attend; and our youngest son , Russell is working in Papua New Guinea in the Airline industry. I have been retired now for twelve years but still sing in two choirs which I really enjoy. I also do a bit of writing and my main task is caring for Joy during her long illness.

Gordon King

Lorne Speare of Harriston, Ontario

Celebrates his 100th Birthday!!

Lorne Speare celebrated his 100th Birthday on 19th September in Harriston, Ontario. Lorne was born on the Speare family farm in 1902 at Hibbert Township, Perth County, Ontario (Photo below).

Lorne received a Birthday card from the Queen & Governor General of Canada.

Lorne has lived through the Reign of 5 Monarchs Edward VII to Elizabeth II, 19 Canadian Prime Ministers from Sir Wilfred Laurier to the present Jacques Chretien & 17 US Presidents Theodore Roosevelt to George Bush

Review of 2002

By Thomas Peeke

2002 has been a really eventful year for the Speare Family History.

Starting in April with the First Speare family Get Together in the UK. When I first started planning the event with Paul Speare I had no idea the success it would be and the media coverage it would receive.

Then there was the Mitchell Get Together in Canada attended by at least 70 members of the family another great success.

All through the year I have been making contact with new branches of the family in the US, Canada & Australia and the family tree has been growing rapidly as a response.

During the year I have been able to make 2 trips across the Atlantic the first in March to see Cliff & Marcy Speare and their family in St Charles, Illinois. I got a shock whilst I was their as Donna & Brian Fortman & Irene & Bill Allan also came to St Charles. I am was surprised that all the people who knew were able to keep it a secret. The 1st Photo is of us all on Navy Pier in Chicago.

The Next Photo is of all the Speare family members taken at Cliff & Marcy’s home


My 2nd Trip in September/October I went back to Cliff & Marcy’s in St Charles. Whilst their I looked at suitable venues for the 2003 Speare Get Together with Marcy. I also went to Al Capone's Hideaway Restaurant.

I then flew to Cleveland, to meet Michael & Sandy Speare and their family. Michael took me into Cleveland and then we went to the Cuyahoga National Park The Photo below is at the Brandywine Falls.

 I then went by Road with Michael to Hamilton via the Niagara Falls.

Whilst in Hamilton I stayed with Donna & Brian Fortman and was able to meet lots of different family members.

I would like to thank everyone for their interest & assistance with the Speare Family History.

I hope you all have a Great Christmas & Prosperous New Year.

Thomas Peeke

A Musician’s Tale, Part 2

Paul Speare describes the ups and downs of a career in the pop industry.

Paul Speare continues the account of his career as sax player with some 80’s bands. In 1982, after eighteen months with Dexys Midnight Runners, and with ‘Come On Eileen’ about to become a worldwide hit, Paul and company decide to seek pastures new….

Along with the other two horns players from Dexys, I embarked on a career as a session musician. Things were a little slow to start with, although we soon managed to pick up a couple of album and touring contracts. During this time, “Come On Eileen” had hit number 1 for four weeks in Britain, and was about to do the same in America, so it looked like our money problems were over for now as we were all on a cut of the royalties.

It was during a British college tour with The Q Tips - featuring Paul Young before his rise to stardom as a solo singer – that we were asked to meet Elvis Costello. This led to an incredibly successful year in 1983, starting with two nights at the Royal Albert Hall, followed by the album “Punch the Clock” and tours of USA, Britain and Europe, together with a number of further sessions for other artists. At the end of the year I needed a break from touring, and decided to concentrate on my interest in music production by setting up a commercial recording studio. But there was one further hit to come. In 1984, Elvis Costello had asked me to play on a protest song, “Free Nelson Mandela”, which he would be producing. Little did I know at the time how significant a part of history this would become.

There have been numerous bands, gigs, recordings, TV and radio appearances since, but none quite as high-profile as in the early eighties, and on a more part-time basis. My time these days is divided between teaching sound and radio production, family life, and many pastimes including cycling, computers, family research and, of course, music.

Maude Elizabeth Speare


Maude Speare was the oldest daughter of George Walter Speare & Sarah Ann Mitch. Maude was born 31st May 1884 in Devon, England. Maude moved with her family to Southampton, Ontario, Canada in the 1890s. In 1900 aged 16 she married John McMurray. They lived at 3 Nightingale Street in Hamilton, Canada


Maude had one son Walter B McMurray. After the death of her husband she remarried 2 further times to Walter Hazel & Alfred Scorse. The family are all buried in the Hamilton Cemetery with the exception of Alfred.


Dick Speare of Speare Seeds

After mortgaging all of his assets, Dick Speare started his own seed company, Speare Seeds, in June 1971 in the small town of Harriston, Ontario. Dick Speare had 20 years experience at Pritchard Seeds and Rick Elliott had only one year of experience. They moved to the other end of the town to a 7000 sq. ft. building (formerly an old stove foundry). Their only equipment was a telephone to contact the customers, shovels to mix the seed on the cement floors and a pick-up truck to deliver the orders. Whenever the telephone rang, the carpenters who were building the offices would have to stop while either Dick or Rick talked to their customers. The first month was spent moving stored steel siding to the previous owners' location, then came the task of setting-up cleaning equipment and a lawn packaging line. Cleaning of that fall's red clover crop was essential as there was an export market which had to be shipped in November.

The company almost ended before it got started. On Remembrance Day, after filling the newly constructed overhead bulking bins, the supports gave way to the weight and came crashing down, smashing some of the Cleaning equipment below. Luckily no one was injured, but the place was a disaster and the load of' red clover still had to he shipped that day. True to Speare Seeds' continued effort towards quality and service, the red clover was loaded on the container by 3:00 am that night and delivered on time. Since Speare Seeds was located two hours from Toronto and other major centers, it was felt that the company needed their own fleet of trucks to deliver their products quickly and in good condition. Most orders, depending on the distance, can be delivered the same day they are received.

Speare Seeds has been active in the small town of Harriston sponsoring all kinds of sports teams and local fund raising events.  Dick Speare has always believed that if you live in the community, you should support it.

Speare Seeds is one of the largest employers in the town and many of the employees have worked there between 15 and 20 years, also showing the company's strong commitment to their staff.

Initially, forage seed had been the main product handled, but in the last 10 years, Speare Seeds has been one of the fastest growing companies in the turf business, supplying grass seed coast to coast. The 7000 sq. ft.  office and warehouse has grown to over 44,000 sq. ft. utilizing modern and efficient equipment. The first pick-up truck has expanded to a fleet of small and medium sized trucks for local deliveries and three tractor-trailers for long hauls.

Speare Seeds' roots may be from a small town but their vision is firmly set on the rest of the world.