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Below is a family biography included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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John Jasper Spilman may be mentioned as one of the prosperous and successful farmers and stockmen of Lawrence County, Mo. He was born in Allen County, Ky., April 21, 1827, and in 1847 he, with his parents, brothers and sisters, emigrated to Lawrence County, Mo. He is a son of John and Mary (Boucher) Spilman, parents of the following named children: Thomas F. Spilman, born November 29, 1817, died December 25, 1871; Sallie B. Spilman, born April 13, 1821; Nathan C. Spilman, born February 3, 1823, died July 21, 1871; Mary M. Spilman, born December 15, 1824; John J. Spilman, born April 21, 1827; Arrena Spilman, born December 18, 1831; Nancy E. Spilman, born April 1, 1834; Julie F. Spilman, born February 9, 1836; Terrisse E. Spilman, born November 21, 1837. Thomas F. Spilman married Martha Parish in 1842, and their children are Nancy, John, Kittie, Mary, Martha, Thomas, Carrie, Belle and Maggie. Sallie B. Spilman married Simon Williams in 1836, and their children are Elizabeth, Ordra, Lewis, Lucinda, John T., James C., Abner, Joel H., Simon W. and Charles D.; her husband died, and she married John Pruitt, and their children are Hestira and Oscar. Nathan C. Spilman married Emily P. Pruitt, in 1843, and their children are Arvazena, Lewis, Paralee, John F., Julia, Marie, William J., Nathan B. and Luther. Mary M. Spilman married James P. Hewlett in 1848, and their children are John Thomas, born in 1849; Samantha Ellen, born in 1851; William Corydon, born in 1852; Alfred H., born in 1856; Sarah, born in 1860; Eli Judson, born in 1864. John J. Spilman married Laura A. Moody, February 5, 1852, and their children are Harrison W., born November 18, 1852; Francis B., born July 19, 1854; Cirrilla E., born March 17, 1856; Thera C., born May 26, 1858; Isaac E., born August 20, 1860; Oliver J., born August 24, 1866; Barney N., born November 27, 1868; Mary M., born March 8, 1872. Arrena Spilman married Harris Wood in 1849, and their children are Marvel L., Samira, Melvina, Fannie, America Oliver, Lenora, Landen S., Loren P., Porter, Abert, Edwin, Finus and Roxa. Nancy E. Spilman married William A. Moody, and their child is Oscar P. Julie F. Spilman married William Mingus in 1855, and their children are Ada, Webster, Josephene, Lotta, Judson, Ida, Pauline, Frank, Coke and John A. Terrissa E. Spilman married Asberry Brite in 1859, and their children are Warren, Oliver, Scott, Sanders, Norman J. and Arta F. The father died in Lawrence County, July 6, 1854, and the mother November 29, 1860. John Jasper Spilman is the grandson of Thomas Spilman, who lived and died in Allen County, Ky. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. The Spilman family can be traced back to one Henry Spilman, who was picked up, an orphan child, along the coast of Ireland or Holland, it is not definitely known which. He was brought to the United States and reared and cared for by the famous Capt. John Smith, of Colonial fame, who purchased a large tract of land for him in Culpeper County, Va. The maternal grandparents of our subject were Peter and Sally (Goodnight) Boucher. The former was born in Virginia in 1763, and was a son of Peter Boucher, who was a French Huguenot, and who left France on account of religious persecution. The original French spelling of the name was Boushelder, but was changed to Boucher owing to a mistake made by a lawyer in making out some land deeds in their name. Peter Boucher was married in Maryland, to a Welsh woman. In his old days he became an imbecile, and while living with his son Peter ran away and managed to evade his friends, who were searching for him, until he was thirty miles from home, in another county. He was accidentally shot here by a young man who had picked up an old gun that had been loaded for years, and pointed it at him. To the surprise of all it went off, killing the old man almost instantly. His son Peter came to Kentucky with Daniel Boone on his second or third trip, and was in the battle of Blue Licks, where the Indians defeated the whites, killing nearly all of them. His horse was killed under him, but he managed to make his escape by bounding upon a horse behind a soldier who was passing. He lived to be ninety-three years of age, his death occurring in Allen County, Ky., in 1856. His wife, Sally (Goodnight) Boucher was born in 1777, and emigrated with her parents from Germany to Virginia when she was three years of age. They soon moved to Boone Station, Ky., making the trip on ponies, but broke down when about a day’s journey from the station and were obliged to leave a portion of their goods. They reached the station safely, but the oldest son, John, returned with his father to get the goods that had been left behind. While returning they camped on a creek about twenty miles east of the station and cooked and ate a turkey, which the father had shot, for their supper. Fearing to attract the attention of the Indians, John tried to persuade his father to move their camp, but the old gentleman thought there was no danger and refused to move. In the night they were attacked by the Indians, who had crept upon their camp, and the father was shot and killed. John was also shot, but not seriously, and he succeeded in effecting his escape. He reached the station about ten o’clock the next day. The Indians were pursued, but not found. The father’s body was found, and he was buried on the bank of the creek where he was killed, but his friends of late years have been unable to find his grave. Shortly after his death his youngest child was born—Isaac by name—who was the third white child born in the State of Kentucky. Isaac lived to be very old, and died near Martinsville, Warren County, Ky., in 1874. John, Henry, Jacob and Isaac were the brothers of the maternal grandmother, Sally Goodnight, who died in Kentucky in 1840. John Jasper Spilman, whose name heads this sketch, began working for himself in 1849. He went in debt for an axe, and in partnership with a neighbor, Willian Hewlett, earned his first $50 by fencing a farm. He afterward received some assistance from his father and a merchant in Sarcoxie, Mo., and with his $50 purchased a wagon and an ox team and, in company with his brother, Nathan C., started to seek his fortune in the far West. He started from home April 27, 1850, and reached Eldorado County, Cal., September 1, 1850. He worked in the mines thirteen months, and accumulated $1,112. He reached home December 24, 1851, with a horse and saddle and $689, with which he purchased him a home. He married February 5, 1852, Laura A. Moody, [see above] a daughter of Isaac Moody. Mr. Spilman served in the Union army during the late war, and was wounded at Springfield, Mo. In 1866 he was elected assessor of Lawrence County, and held that position for six consecutive years. Mr. Spilman’s sister, Nancy Ellen, was married to a Mr. Moody, and by him became the mother of one son, Oscar P. [see above], who was born in 1861, and was married to Miss Dora Pruitt. Mr. Spilman’s brother, Thomas F. [see above], married, in 1842, Martha Parish, a daughter of John Parish. Mary M., another sister [see above], married James P. Hewlett, a son of Samuel Hewlett; he died in 1867. Six daughters of John and Mary (Boucher) Spilman are living. The family had a reunion of July 4, 1882, and were all together for the first time in forty-four years.

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This family biography is one of 272 biographies included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Lawrence County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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