Origin of the Name Spicer
The name of SPICER is derived from the occupation of its first
bearers as “spicers”, that is, as grocers. It is found in
ancient English and early American records in the various forms
of Spicere, Speciar, Spycer, Spyser, Spisar, Spicer and others,
of which the last mentioned spelling is the most generally used
in America today.
It is generally believed that all families of Spicer are
descended from three brothers who followed William the Conqueror
into England about the year 1066 A.D., and settled in Devonshire,
Warwickshire and County Kent, whence they later spread into the
Counties of Cambridge, Oxford, Somerset, Lincoln, York, London
and Worchester. These families were, for the most part, of the
landed gentry of the British Isles.
The Devonshire branch of the family was represented in the year
1273 by John Spicer who was Mayor of the City of Exeter, in that
county, and the grandfather of another John Spicer, who also
held that position from 1352 to 1359. About the beginning of the
sixteenth century this family was represented by Nicholas
Spicer, who was the father of Thomas, who married a Miss Pomeroy
and had issue by her of Nicholas, Richard (father of a son named
Alexander), Thomas (father of a son named Thomas), Christopher,
and William, of whom the last two had numerous descendants in
Christopher, son of Thomas, married Elizabeth Symonds or Symons
and had, besides several daughters, Christopher (father of a son
of the same name), Nicholas, John, Thomas (father of a son
Thomas), Richard (father of Christopher, Richard, Nicholas and
John, all living in the early seventeenth century), and William.
Of these, the son Nicholas married Joan Horsey in 1602 and had
issue by her of several daughters and Christopher, Richard and
Nicholas, of whom the last died young. By his second wife the
widow Elizabeth Lovelis, whom he married in 1626, Nicholas who
had a son named Nicholas, and by his third wife, Martha
Priestly, he had, among other children, a son named Thomas.
William, the youngest son of Thomas Spicer and younger brother
of the before-mentioned Christopher, was married in 1580 to
Grave Chappell, who gave him several daughters, and four sons,
William, Nicholas, Thomas and George. Nicholas, second son of
William, had issue by his wife Judith Prouse, whom he married
about 1604, of Richard, John, Nicholas, Zacharie, Jasper, Samuel
Among other early records of the family in England are those of
Simon Le Spicere of Cambridgeshire in the year 1273; Stephen le
Spicer of Kent in 1294; William le Spicere of Oxford and William
Speciar of Lincolnshire in the thirteenth century; Sacre le
Spicer and Amphelsia le Spicer, during the same period; Edmund
le Spicer of Kent in 1307; Richard le Spycer of Somersetshire in
the time of King Edward the third; John Spicer of Dover in 1377;
Adam and Giliaum Spyser of York in 1379; Richard Spicer, M. P.
for Canterbury in 1392; John Spicer of Kent in 1414; John Spycer
of Kent in 1533, who had a son named Henry; and William Spicer
of Kent in 1549 who was the father of Edmund, who had a son
named William and possibly other children.
Among those of the name who emigrated at early dates to America
but who left few records of themselves and their families were
Gregory Spicer of Jamestown, Va., in 1618; Richard Spicer of
Virginia in 1634; William, Edward and Henry Spicer of Virginia
in 1635; and Stephen Spicer, who came from Devonshire, England
to Barbados sometime before the year 1663.
Thomas Spicer emigrated to America before 1638 and was first at
Newport, R. I., whence he moved to Gravesend, N. Y., in 1643. By
his wife, whose name is not known, he was the father of Jacob,
Thomas, Michael, Samuel, Ann and Susanna.
Another early settler in New England was Peter Spicer, who came
to New London, Conn., before 1666, according to some historians
from Virginia, and was possibly the son of the before-mentioned
immigrant Edward of 1635. He was married to Mary Busecot and had
issue by her of Edward, Peter, William, Ruth, Samuel, Jabez,
Abegail, Hannah, Jane, Mary and Sarah.
Arthur Spicer of Virginia in 1688 made his home in Rappahannock
County, later Richmond, and was the father of an only son named
John by his wife Elizabeth Jones.
The descendants of the various branches of the family in America
have removed to many parts of the United States and have made a
substantial contribution to the advancement of American
civilization. An energetic, conscientious, and keen-minded race,
of high integrity, and possessed of kindliness of sociability,
the Spicers have been particularly outstanding as clergymen,
educators, writers, and members of the professions in general.
Among those of the name who fought in the War of the Revolution
were Captain Abel, Asher, Edward, John, Joshua, Nathan, Oliver,
Samuel and Simeon Spicer, of Connecticut; Daniel and Jabez
Spicer of Massachusetts; Edward and Samuel Spicer of
Pennsylvania; David, Joseph, Benjamin, and William Spicer of
Virginia; Jacob, Frederick and Nathan Spicer of New York;
Captain John of North Carolina; Paymaster James of North
Carolina; and many more from the other States of the
John, Thomas, Nicholas, Christopher, William, Richard, Edward,
James and Samuel are some of the Christian names favored by the
family for its male progeny.
A few of the members of the family who have attained distinction
in America in more recent times are:
Tobias Spicer (1788 – 1862) of Mass., Clergyman and author.
William Francis Spicer (1820 – 1878) of Rhode Island, Historian.
William Ambrose Spicer (b. 1866) of Washington DC, Seventh day
Adventist and author.
Charles Elijah Spicer (b. 1867) of Indiana, Historian.
Robert Barclay Spicer (1869) of Maryland, Ohio & Pa., educator &
Anne Higginson Spicer (later 19th & early 20th centuries) of New
George Washington Spicer (b. 1897) of Va., public official.
Hazel Inscho Spicer (b.1898) of IL. author and educator.
Edward Holland Spicer (b.1906) of Calif., author.
Dorothy Gladys Spicer (early 20th century) of New York, author.
This was posted to Rootsweb in May 1999 by Ellen Schwartz in
response to another post. Ellen had this to say about the
I have a document that was originally compiled by The Media
Research Bureau of Washington D.C. I believe it was probably
done in the 40’s or 50’s.