Submitted by Peggy Oberbeck
Mary Spice is my great grandmother. She married William A Taylor.
The Spice Girls of Little River
The Spice Family C:1890
The name Spice originates from Spicer, a dealer in spices; an apothecary or druggist. The origins of most Spice families in the United States appear to have their roots in Kent County, England. Kent is located in the southeastern part of England. The following information is the most likely origin of our Oconto County Spice Family.
The records found so far, date back to the first generation, Thomas Spice, born in 1703 at Boughton, Matherbe, Kent, England. He was married to Ann Lyndridge, born in 1707. The second generation is again Thomas Spice, born in 1729 at Kingsdown, near South Kent. He married Rebbecca Land, born in 1730 at Kingsdown. The third generation continues with another Thomas Spice born on July 19, 1761 in Kent. He married Elizabeth Stone on June 9, 1783 in Lynsted, Kent. He died on July 28, 1831 in Lynsted, Kent. The fourth generation takes a break from the Thomas name! Edward Spice was born on July 22, 1792 at Rodmersham, Kent. He married Catherine Lee on November 23, 1816 at St Michaels Church, Hartlip, Kent. He died on January 22, 1869.
The fifth generation finally brings us to the brave person who left his ancestral home and brought the Spice name to Canada and eventually Oconto County, Wisconsin. My Great-great-great grandfather Thomas Spice was probably born on December 16, 1821. At this time, it is the most likely record for our Thomas Spice. It is not known when Thomas Spice emigrated to Canada. He may have been one of the many immigrants who filed the empty logging ships on the return trip to Canada for more lumber. Kent County, England was a very large papermaking area. He may have also come with his young bride, Nancy (Ann) Jane Logan, of possible Irish descent. Or, he may have met Nancy Jane Logan after his arrival in Canada. Census records indicate that Nancy Jane Logan was about the same age as Thomas. This young immigrant couple had their first child, Sarah Ann Spice, someplace in Canada in 1841. They were only 20 years old.
The Spice Logging Camp
The next child, Robert Alexander Spice, my great-great grandfather, was born on October 7, 1843, in Quebec, Canada. These records have not been found. According to his Naturalization records, this young family of four left Canada in June 1843 or 1846. They traveled through Port Sarnay, Canada on the Grand Trunk Line, and entered the United States at Detroit. However, The Grand Trunk Line to Sarnia was not completed until 1856. How could Robert have been born in Quebec after the family had already left Canada? Did they return to visit family for the birth of the second child? This confusion may always remain a mystery.
The Spice family made their way to Erwin Township, Steuben County, New York, where the third child, Elizabeth T. Spice was born in 1846. Two years later Mary Ann Spice was born at Cooper’s Plains in 1848. Cooper’s Plains was down the road from Painted Post in the late 1840’s. Painted Post became known as Corning, New York in 1853.
In 1851, Thomas Spice filed his intention of naturalization, indicating he was from London, England. In the same year, Thomas is listed in the Balcom Lumber Company records working as a logger at Uri Balcoms lumber mill in Erwin Township, Steuben County, New York. The Balcom Lumber Company also owned timberland in Wisconsin. Thomas Spice may have cut timber for Uri Balcom in both New York and Wisconsin. The fifth child, Louisa Jane Spice was born in Wisconsin in 1852. The Spice family returned to Steuben County, New York, where the sixth child Samuel Beasley Spice was born on October 12, 1854. He was named after Uri Balcom’s father-in-law, Captain Samuel Beasley, a widely known and respected landlord in Erwin Township. Is there a special connection between the Spice family and the Balcom family?
According to the 1850 Federal Census, the Spice family was living in Steuben County, Erwin Township, New York. The town they lived in was Coopers Plains. Living next doors, or in the same building was Daniel Ogden, hotelkeeper and family. According to the history of Coopers Plains, “Daniel Ogden’s reputation as a prince of landlords nearly absorbed the name of the village, and in fact, it was more frequently said, “going to Ogdens” then to Coopers Plains.” The Hotel burned in 1871.
By 1856, the family followed Uri Balcom to Stiles, Oconto County, Wisconsin, where Thomas Spice probably assisted in building the new sawmill for Uri Balcom. Thomas continued to work for the reorganized Holt and Balcom Lumber Company. According to the History of Northern Wisconsin, “ Mr. Balcom, during his residence in Oconto, from 1856 to 1866, was among the foremost and most active of its businessmen in opening up the country of the pineries and connecting it by way of good, passable roads with Oconto and the Green Bay region. He was for a number of years a member of the Board of Supervisor’s and when the county lost him, it lost one of the most useful of citizens.” Uri Balcom lived in Chicago until his death.
As new residents of Wisconsin, Thomas and Nancy Ann Spice added a seventh child to the family. William Henry Spice was born on March 2, 1858 in Stiles, Oconto County, Wisconsin. Thomas filed a second intent for Naturalization. He never completed the Naturalization process. His illiteracy probably prevented him from understanding the steps needed to complete the process.
The oldest daughter Sarah Ann married William McCurdy on April 2, 1859 in Stiles. She was 18 years old. Witnesses for the ceremony were Uri Balcom, and Augustus Cole, the future manager of the lumber company. The young couple is found living next door to the Spice family in Stiles, on the 1860 Federal Census.
The last child, Thomas Spice was born
on February 31, 1860. Shortly after the birth of Thomas, tragedy struck
the family. Nancy Jane Logan Spice died of poisoning. She is buried in
Stiles, but no headstone or record of this burial has been found.
Spice, a widower, was left with 7 children of the following ages:
Robert 17 years
Elizabeth 15 years
Mary 12 years
Louisa 8 years
Samuel 4 years
William 2 years
Thomas 5 months
How did Thomas Spice manage with no wife and a family to support? Did the oldest daughter Sarah, step in as a second mother to these children? The oldest three were probably considered to be old enough to take care of themselves and the younger siblings.
To complicate this situation, one year later, the Civil War started. The oldest son, Robert Spice, enlisted on May 21, 1861 in Oconto, at the age of 17. His father, Thomas enlisted August 22, 1861 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This left 20 year old Sarah, 16 year old Elizabeth and 13 year old Mary to care for themselves and 4 siblings. How did they manage? Did the community help this family? Tragedy struck again, when Sarah Ann Spice McCurdy died in 1862. It is possible that she had one son, William McCurdy, found on the 1870 Census living with Sarah Collins Taft, future mother-in-law of Robert Spice.
Thomas Spice served in the Civil War as a private in Co A, 16th Regiment of U.S. Infantry. He fought in the battles of Shiloh and Antietam. He was shot in the left elbow joint on December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Stone River, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was given a disability discharge on March 20, 1863. Thomas returned to live in Delavan,Wisconsin, where he filed his claim for an invalid pension. It was determined that he suffered from a total disability and a pension of $8.00 per month was granted to Thomas Spice for his service in the Civil War. This seems like a small payment for the price he paid. Thomas Spice, a native of England, left his job and mother-less family to fight for his country. This dedication probably changed his life, and the lives of his children, forever.
Robert A. Spice was 17 years old when he left for the Civil War on June 19, 1861. He served with Company H, 4th Wisconsin Infantry, known as the Oconto County River Drivers. He enlisted for 3 years, being mustered into the service at Racine. He went to the front lines where he participated in the battles of Fort Jackson, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Red River campaign. The regiment was reconstructed into a calvary unit. In 1864 he re-enlisted and participated in skirmishes at Clinton, Baton Rouge, Alabama, Mississippi and Vicksburg. They expected to be discharged at Vicksburg, but were sent to San Antonio, Texas on an expedition against the Indians. While in Olive Branch, Louisiana, Robert Spice suffered from a severe fall, when his horse fell and the reserve of mounted men tumbled on top of him. He received a severe back injury that he continued to suffer from. Robert Spice wore the uniform of his adopted country for five years. He was honorably discharged at Brownsville, Texas in June, 1866, returning home with a military record he could be proud of.
When Robert Spice returned to Oconto County, he secured employment with the Holt and Balcom Lumber Company, later operating a shingle mill at Humbolt, Wisconsin for 2 years. On October 7, 1866, in Green Bay, Robert Spice married Emily Collins, daughter of Silas Collins and Sarah Joslin, pioneer settlers of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Emily Collins was born in Oshkosh on August 28, 1849. Her father Silas Collins, was an early landowner in the city of Oshkosh. He was killed at L.P. Sheldon’s sawmill when he accidentally slipped on a piece of bark, falling onto the large circular saw. He is buried at Ellenwood, Cemetary in Oshkosh.
In 1872, Robert and Emily Spice purchased 80 acres in Section 35 of Little River Township, building a home for his family and assisting in the organization of Little River township. The corner on County A became known as Spice’s Corners. Robert was one of the original promoters of the Little River Creamery Company. In June of 1892, he built Spice’s Hall, a dance hall and saloon.
Robert and Emily had 13 children. Their first child was William, born in 1869. He was listed as 1 year old on the 1870 Census, but died as a young child before 1880. Another child Earl, died as an infant. The 3rd child was Adelbert R. on October 19, 1871. Delbert married Kittie Leigh on April 4, 1900. They had three daughters, Helen, Marjorie and Lucille. Delbert served with Company M in the Spanish-American War. He died in 1922 from a fall from a church steeple in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
The 4th child was Olive Myrtle in 1875. She married a handsome doctor from Endland, James Joel Whitcomb, on July 25, 1892. They had one daughter Iva. Olive died in childbirth in 1893. James remarried and moved to Portland, Oregon.
Clara Alice, the 5th child was born on September 24, 1879. She married George Trepanier on June 27, 1899. They had four children. George Jr. of Muskego, Francis, Avila of Schroeder’s Orchard in Green Bay, and Florance.
Erna Spice, the 6th child was born on November 6, 1880. She married Joseph Fifrick and had 5 children. Orville of Menomonie, Michigan, Robert, a pharmacist from Eagle River, Wi. Lloyd, a doctor in Milwaukee, Eileen died as an infant, and Ruby Wade of Tampa, Florida.
Little River Saloon
My great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth, known as Maime, was born on June 14, 1883. She married William Alexander Taylor on October 7, 1903, her father’s 60th birthday. They had 4 children. Robert of Waukegan, Illinois, Marion Anderson of Waukegan, the Marion Marion Martin of San Diego, California. Ruth Sloman of Waukegan, and Harriet Bishop of Waukegan, now living in Arizona. Maime and Robert divorced in 1920. Grandma remarried to John Cook and lived in Waukegan until her death in 1969. Grandma was a very sharp little lady, and made the BEST peanut butter cookies you ever tasted!
The 8th child was Nelli on February 22, 1884. She married George Kinzinger. They had 2 children, Loyola Kahaupt and Carl. The 9th child, Emma was born in 1886. Emma was a twin of an unnamed, stillborn child. She married Henry Kinziger, brother of George, on October 16, 1907. She was epileptic and required hospitalization. They had no children.
The 11th child born was Laura Elsie on March 3, 1888. She married George C. Schaetz on November 20, 1906. They had 5 children. Iva Luella Traeder of Milwaukee, Erna Lehn Jacobs (The first name of Erna is Erma and Landis Scheatz was born in Oconto and moved to Milwaukee at an early age. He married Doroty Cira in Denver Colorado, while stationed there in the Army. - Dan Scott ), Alice Haury, Grace and Landis of Denver, Colorado. George and Laura eventually took over the farm and dance hall when the elderly Spices moved into the city of Oconto.
The last of the Spice Girls, Mollie, was born in March 1894. She married Ernest Hassenfelt on June 11, 1913. They had 3 children, Robert J. died as an infant, Emily (Dolly) Nelson and Harold. Harold became the youngest Colonel in the army in WWII and lives in North Carolina. He is lucky to have possession of Robert Spices’ Sword from the Civil War.
These children all worked hard to help run the family farm and dance hall. The first farmhouse burned down, but was rebuilt in the same location. Ruth Taylor and Harriet Bishop share fond memories of baking for the Saturday night dances held at Spices Hall.
At the age of 71, Robert Spice applied for and was granted naturalization as a citizen of the United States on August 1, 1914. The following year, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. A couple years later, they moved to Oconto to live with their youngest daughter Molly.
Very little is known about the lives of Roberts brothers and sisters. According to the “Biographical Record of Robert Spice, 1896,” they lived in the following places. Sarah Spice McCurdy died in Stiles in 1862. Elizabeth married Joshua Temple in Delavan, Wisconsin on June 4, 1864, moving to Iowa in 1865, Pittsfield, Wisconsin in 1870, then Nebraska in 1896. Mary was found living with her older sister Elizabeth in Pittsfield on the 1870 Census. She married James Cone on October 9, 1887 and moved to Indiana. Louisa married Thomas B. Whitney on October 19, 1869, and remained in Oconto. For an unknown reason, William Spice was living in Marcellon, Columbia, County at the age of 12. He remained in Marcellon and married Carie McDougal on March 27, 1879. He died in Armenia, Juneau County, Wisconsin on May 1, 1911.
Samuel Beasley Spice remained in
He married at the home of his brother on November 19, 1879. He married
Clara Alice Collins, a younger sister of Emily Collins Spice. He was
employed by the Holt and Balcom Lumber Company. They had 10 children.
Jane - November 11, 1880 George Silas - April 4, 1882
Sarah Emily - December 23, 1883 Eva A. - August 1885
Ethel Maude - March 9, 1890 Roy Samuel - March 25, 1892
Agnes Elnor - June 19, 1895 Wesley Robert - April 1897
Earle G. - June 1899
Wesley had a son who became the police chief of Zion, Illinois. The other descendants of this family are not known. Samuel and Clara lived long lives in Oconto. Clara died on February 12, 1941 at 84 years. Samuel died on April 21, 1942, at 89 years. They are buried at Evergreen Cemetary in Oconto.
Robert Spice was described in the Commemorative Biographical Record, as one of the thoroughly reliable businessmen of Oconto County. In politics, he was a staunch Republican, and has served as a supervisor of Oconto Township, a school board member. He was instrumental in organizing the reunion of the county, which was first held at his home. In his lifetime, he witnessed the entire development of Oconto County. He is an honored pioneer, from one of the oldest families of Oconto County.
Robert and Emily died 2 days apart over Easter weekend in 1920. Emily died on a cold, rainy day, March 30, 1920. Robert was also near death and did not know of his wife’s death. He died on April 2, 1920. He was honored as a Civil War Veteran with a flag draped casket and volley of gunfire by old friends from Company M. After a lifetime together, Robert and Emily Spice are buried side by side with many of their children in the first row of Evergreen Cemetary, Oconto, Wisconsin.
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