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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 Devonshire.

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 and Judith.

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 Revolutionary period.

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 & collage president.
Anne Higginson Spicer (later 19th & early 20th centuries) of New York, Poet.
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 document:
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.




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