Genealogy of the Spare Family of New Bedford Massachusetts

SPARE (New Bedford family). For upward of half a century the old Spare family of Boston-Canton has been represented in New Bedford citizenship, professionally and in business life, by the late John Spare, M. D., a man of liberal education, surgeon in the United States navy during the Civil war, etc., followed by his son, John V. Spare, who has for long years been one of the most enterprising and successful merchants of the city, as well as substantial citizens.

The family history and genealogy of this branch of the Spare family follows, given in chronological order from the immigrant settler.

Samuel Spare, according to one of his descendants and the genealogist of the family, is of record in Boston in 1729, on July 5th of which year was baptized in Christ Church his negro slave. Family tradition has him a mariner in England and coming to this country from Devonshire. His name – spelled Spear – and that of Elizabeth his wife appear on the church records in 1733-34-37. Mr. Spare bought land in Canton in 1739. He removed thither in that year or the year previous and resided in Canton until the time of his death, July 5, 1768. His wife Elizabeth died in Canton Oct. 10, 1774. Their children were:

  1. Samuel Spare, who was buried in Boston, Sept. 27, 1734
  2. a child that died on the passage over
  3. a daughter baptized May 6, 1733
  4. John Spare, born Oct. 17, 1737

John Spare, born Oct. 17, 1737, in Boston, married in December, 1757, Elizabeth, daughter of Hezekiah and Eunice (Torrey) Barber, of Boston. The father is said to have been stern in his discipline, and brought up the son to obedience. He resided at the paternal homestead till between 1775 and 1780, when he built for himself. He sailed from Boston May 15, 1759, in the “fleet of about twenty sail of topsail vessels, and ten sloops and schooners, under convoy of the twenty-gun ship ‘Hind,’ Robert Bond, commander,” with supplies to the Wolfe expedition against Quebec. At home he was farmer and sawyer and in business much of the time in Boston, sawing timber at lumberyards. He served as “minute-man” in the Revolution. He died June 6, 1820, in Boston, and was buried in Canton, where the family always lived. His children were:

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  1. Hannah Spare, born Oct. 27, 1758
  2. Samuel Spare, born Sept. 24, 1760
  3. Eunice Spare, born June 14, 1762
  4. Elizabeth Spare, born Jan. 12, 1766
  5. John Spare, born Oct. 11, 1769
  6. Polly Spare, born March 17, 1775
  7. James Spare, born Dec. 9, 1778
  8. Mehetabel Spare, born Sept. 30, 1780
  9. Peggy Spare, born Dec. 28, 1782
  10. Elijah Spare, born Feb. 20, 1785

Elijah Spare, born Feb. 20, 1785, in Canton, Mass., married March 31, 1812, Sally, born Aug. 17, 1789, in Norton, Mass., daughter of Noah and Olive (Shepard) Clapp, of Norton. Mr. Spare was born at the 13th milestone house, owned it and the twenty acres, and seventy or eighty acres in the vicinity, and resided there until 1850. He learned the trade of wheelwright under Michael Shaller, beginning it in 1808. This occupation he followed until 1823, from which time until 1842 he was occupied as a farmer and sawyer, then retiring from active work. In 1850 he removed to South Boston, where he had built several houses, residing on the northeast corner of B and Sixth streets. He had served as selectman of Canton and as representative to the General Court in 1830 and 1831. He was a good provider, but stern and severe with his children. He was of sanguine temperament and a great trait of his character was the impressing of industry upon everyone controlled by him. He was a member of the Baptist Church in Canton and also in South Boston. His death occurred in South Boston and his burial in Canton. The children of Elijah Spare and his wife were:

  1. Elijah Spare, born Feb. 13, 1813, died Feb. 28, 1869
  2. Galen Spare, born April 11, 1815, died March 1, 1867
  3. John Spare, born Nov. 13, 1816, is mentioned below
  4. Edwin Spare, born Oct, 6, 1818, died Jan. 30, 1840
  5. Nancy Clapp Spare, born Sept. 12, 1820, died July 13, 1849
  6. Sarah Jane Spare, born April 29, 1822, died Aug. 11, 1883
  7. Elizabeth Spare, born Feb. 15, 1824, died Oct. 13, 1881
  8. Almira Stevens Spare, born Nov. 1, 1825, died Aug. 24, 1830
  9. Samuel Spare, born Oct. 27, 1827, died Feb. 28, 1828
  10. Louisa Maria Spare, born April 23, 1829, died May 11, 1865
  11. Samuel Spare (2), born Jan. 27, 1831, died Feb. 17, 1832

John Spare, son of Elijah and Sally (Clapp) Spare, was born Nov. 13, 1816, in Canton, Mass. He attended the common schools of the vicinity of his home and when large enough worked on the farm. In 1833 he furthered his studies at the Randolph Academy; in 1834 at the Amherst Academy; then in October, 1834, entered Amherst College, from which he was graduated A. B. in 1838, and was given the degree of A. M. in 1864. He then studied medicine, graduating with the degree of M. D. from Harvard Medical School in March, 1842. He commenced the practice of his profession in May, 1842, in East Milton, Mass., remaining there until January, 1845, when he removed to Long Plain or Acushnet; thence in the year following to East Freetown, and in 1852 to New Bedford, which was ever afterward his place of residence.

During the Civil war Dr. Spare, was surgeon of the United States ship “Release,” which on April 22, 1862, sailed to the Mediterranean, on a cruise of nine months. In 1863 he made a second voyage, this time going to Cadiz, Spain. He continued in the United States service, being afterward on the blockade in Wilmington and Charleston in 1864-65 on the steamer “Cambridge.” He was on the steamers “Mahaska” and “Yucca,” Gulf squadron, in 1865-66, resigning from the service in July, 1866.

Dr. Spare resided on Arch street, New Bedford, maintaining during his active years an office on the corner of Purchase and Elm streets. He was a member of the New Bedford school committee in 1871-77. For many years beginning in 1867 he was sole medical examiner from New Bedford of the Etna Life Insurance Company. He was a fellow of the Massachusetts Medical Society and of the American Academy of Medicine. He published in 1864 a treatise on the Differential Calculus. In 1868 he was author of the prize essay of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

On July 12, 1846, Dr. Spare was married to Susan Vigneron, daughter of Edward Bennett, of Montpelier, Vt., and his wife Mary Vigneron (Weaver), and widow of Benjamin Mason. Their children were:

  1. Sarah Louisa Spare, born Aug. 15, 1847, died in February, 1897
  2. John Vigneron Spare, born Oct. 28, 1849, is mentioned below
  3. James Edward Spare, born Dec. 28, 1853, died Jan. 10, 1854
  4. Elijah Eric Spare (twin), born Dec. 28, 1853, died Feb. 5, 1854
  5. Susan Flora Spare was born Dec. 23, 1855
  6. Walter Vernon Spare, born Dec. 16, 1860, died Oct. 1, 1863

The mother died in January, 1899.

John Vigneron Spare, son of John Spare, M. D., and Susan V. (BennettMason) Spare, was born Oct. 28, 1849, in New Bedford, Mass., and acquired his education in the public and high schools of the city. Soon after his school days were over, in 1865, he enlisted in the United States navy as surgeon’s steward and was assigned to the ship “Mahaska” in the Gulf squadron, his father at the time being surgeon of that ship. Leaving the navy after a time he returned to his home city, where for three years he was employed as a clerk in the New Bedford post office. Some three years later, in 1873, with his savings he began for himself in a small way in a dry goods store on County street, near Kempton. Seemingly possessing the qualities requisite for conducting a business to success, being industrious, having tact, and careful in the management of his affairs, and with characteristic energy and enterprise, it was not long before he was securely established in a lucrative trade and was on the road to success. It was not long before his business outgrew his quarters and a change in location became advisable; and in time after a move or two more he got to his present commodious building on Purchase street – the main business street of the city, where his business has so increased that employment is given to fifty clerks, the establishment now ranking with the best department stores in Bristol county. Mr. Spare is also largely interested in real estate, and he is a trustee of the Five Cents Savings Bank.

Mr. Spare has always been a Republican on national questions. In 1905 he was nominated and elected to the board of aldermen, but declined the nomination for reelection the following year. In 1907, in response to a call from certain of his fellow citizens, he was an independent or third party candidate for mayor. In 1908 he was again a candidate for mayor on the “no-license” platform, and while not elected, his well-known stand on this question and the strong fight made for it helped to carry the no-license question to a successful conclusion, placing the city in the no-license column for the first time in fourteen years. Since 1868 Mr. Spare has been a member of the G. A. E.

On Feb. 20, 1879, Mr. Spare married Harriet M. Snow, daughter of Capt. Andrew Snow, of New Bedford. Their children are:

  1. Chester V. Spare
  2. Romeyn A. Spare
  3. Arthur F. Spare
  4. Louise S. Spare

Civil War, Military,

Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: containing historical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families. 3 Volumes. Beers & Chicago. 1912.

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