Thursday, January 24, 2013

William Harrison Speirs

William Harrison Speirs
B. 19 Jun 1849 Kilmarnock, Ayreshire, Scotland
M. 17 Mar 1872 in SLC to Mary Jane Walters
D. 19 Jun 1908 in Bennington, Bear Lake, Idaho, USA at the age of 59
William was born on June 19, 1849 in Scotland, the eldest son of George and Janet Speirs.  When William was seven years old, the family emigrated to America. They stayed in New York City where his father worked at his trade of a weaver and in a store in order to replenish the money that had been stolen from them on the ship. William attended the New York public school for two years.
The family crossed the plains in the Jesse Murphy Company with an ox team and arrived in Salt Lake in 1860. They moved to Tooele in 1861 where William grew to manhood. He worked in his father’s store where he learned mathematics and basic carpentry. He herded cows in the summer. As he grew up he acquired cows and horses and started to build a house. It was not yet finished when he and Mary Jane Walters were married so they lived with his parents until the house was completed.
In June of 1880, William and Mary moved to Bear Lake Valley with three small sons. It was a fearsome journey through the Logan Canyon, rough, rocky and with dangers of Indians and Outlaws.
They homesteaded a farm in Bennington, Idaho where they lived the rest of their lives. The log home was two rooms with a dirt floor that grew tall pig weeds and red roots. As the family grew, William built a large “lumber" room at the back to accommodate the seven growing boys.
He had many positions in the community including water master, school teacher, justice of the peace and sexton. He was also the ward clerk. He was an exacting worker and made many coffins (which Mary Jane trimmed). He died at his home on his birthday in 1908 at the age of 59. He had been suffering with Locomotor Ataxia for three years which had limited his mobility.

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