Capt. Wesley Wells Spear

Excepted from
"The History of Wayne County, Ohio" published in 1910 by B. E. Bowen & Co.

Contributed by John and Cordelia Hall

 

[Capt. Spear served with the 48th OVVI for two months just before it mustered out of service.]


What greater badge of honor could be stowed upon a man than to allude to him as one of the "boys in blue," who readily sacrificed the pleasures of home and business opportunities to do what he could in saving the honor of the old flag? One of this brave number is Capt. Wesley W. Spear, an interesting and deserving citizen of Wooster, Wayne county, who was born in that city December 28,1835, the son of William Spear, who was born near Shippingberg, Pennsylvania, in 1803, and who came to Wayne county about 1827. He was a cabinetmaker by trade, and he located in Wooster where he established a shop and led a very active life here until his death, in 1890, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. He was an honest, hardworking and highly respected man. He married Malinda Wells a native of York county, Pennsylvania. Her father conducted a whip factory at Wellsville, that county, and the town derived its name from the family. Mrs. Spear was born in 1808 and died the same year as her husband, 1890--in fact only four days after her husband passed away. To them seven children were born, four of whom lived to maturity, Wesley W., of this review, being a twin brother of William Fletcher, who died about five years ago, Caroline Spear, and Olive, widow of Rev. James Mendenhall, both of whom reside in Arkansas, are the other children.

Captain Spear has always made Wooster his home, although he has traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific. On August 6, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Twentieth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and very faithfully served for a period of three years. He was mustered in at Camp Mansfield, Ohio, as a private, and he proved to be a very capable soldier from the first, having been commissioned a second lieutenant and a few days later was made first lieutenant. He had a varied and interesting experience during the service, taking part in many battles and engagements, among them being the battle of Chickasaw Bayou, Arkansas Post, Thompson's Hill, Champion's Hill and the siege of Vicksburg, under General Sherman. He was wounded at Jackson, Mississippi, July 12, 1863, having been shot in the right groin with a minie ball. This brought him home on a furlough, but, recovering, he later rejoined his regiment in western Louisiana, where the brigade was divided and Mr. Spear was stationed on Colonel Shelton's staff, doing staff duty that winter at Peackamon, Louisiana. Again in active service, he was with his company going up Red river when the boat which was transporting them was fired on and captured, their colonel and about one-half of the company killed or captured. This necessitated consolidation with the One Hundred and fourteenth Ohio Regiment, and Mr. Spear was made captain and given command of Company H, of that regiment. As captain of that company he was in the siege of Fort Blakeley at Mobile, also Spanish Fort there. Near the close of the war Captain Spear was transferred to the Forty-eighth Regiment, Ohio Volunteers, and after a very eventful career he was mustered out of service at Houston, Texas, October 17, 1865, after which he returned to Wooster, and, with his father, engaged in the cabinetmaking and undertaking business. After the war his eyesight began to fail gradually, and in 1885 he became totally blind, and he has since lived in quiet retirement from the world.

Captain Spear was married in 1858 to Anna M. Watt, who was born in north Ireland and came to Philadelphia when five years of age with her father, who went into the produce business there, later removing to Wooster, Ohio, and continued the same line of business here for several years. Of the seven children born to the Captain and wife, only two survive, namely: Charles Wesley Spear, of Northampton, Massachusetts, and Jesse Watt Spear, a conductor on the Pennsylvania railroad at Crestline, Ohio.

Captain Spear lives on West Liberty street in the home he purchased in 1867. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, being a charter member of Given Post. Notwithstanding his affliction, Captain Spear is a cheerful, genial and interesting man to talk to, who enjoys life, conscious of the fact that he has performed his duty well and greater rewards await him than his fellow-men have ever bestowed. A man of good health, of snowy hair and beard, he is a picturesque character and is greatly admired by all who know him.

 

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2/15/2004