836. Levinia COMSTOCK212 was born on 29 August 1810 in Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky.8,277 She died on 23 December 1837 at the age of 27.
Levina does not appear to be in the 1840 census with her husband. Likely she died prior to that year. And I found her date of death on a handwritten family group sheet in the manuscript file of Samuel Willett Comstock at the NEHGS library - she died 23 Dec 1837, the day after the birth of her baby girl, Lavinia. The information was furnished by her son, John Spickernagle.
Levinia COMSTOCK and William SPICKERNAGLE were married on 31 December 1827.256,263 William SPICKERNAGLE was born between 1790 and 1800. He died on 12 July 1845 at the age of 55 in Shelby County, Tennessee.
Minister for marriage of William Spickernagle to Levina Comstock, was Barsdell Snider, DD of the Sept Baptist Church.
I found a Wm Spickernagle in Shelby Co TN in 1840. There seem to be many children but no spouse. I don't know if this is the correct person or not. He seems to be some older than Levina would have been, she could have been a 2nd wife.
2m 5-10, 1m 10-15, 1m 15-20, 1m 20-30, 1m 40-50. 1f -5, 1f 5-10.
William was next door to a J. M. Spickernagle who was age 30-40 [his son]
John M. Spickernagle married Mary Jane Davis, 18 Feb 1832, Shelby Co Tn. This is obviously not William's son - was he a brother? Apparently his widow later lived in Memphis - it's possible that they had only a single daughter, Kate.
1860: Mary J. Spickerangle, age 40, b. PA ran a boardinghouse. Kate Bowers, age 18, b. TN seems to always appear with Mary in all these censuses.
1870: M. J. Spickernagle, age 44, b. PA lived with Kate G. Morgan age 31, b. Tenn
1880: Mary Spickernagle, age 60, mother-in-law, b. PA, lived with Kate & Joseph Payne. Kate was 35, b. TN and had children with the surname Morgan as well as Payne children. Kate's father born in NY and her mother born PA.
I also found marriages for Horace and William Spickernagle in Shelby Co.
Horace married Lean [LeAnn?] Smith, 1 Jan 1854.
William Spickernagle married Isabella Haralson 18 Dec 1842 - since this cannot be the son named William who was born in 1831, it might be assumed Levina Comstock had died and William remarried. On 29 Jan 1846, Isabella Spickernagle married Jno. Houston, so perhaps William was also now deceased.
[I did not find a John & Isabella Houston anywhere in 1850, certainly not in Shelby Co TN, but there are a LOT of Houstons out there. I searched on variations of her given name, too. I wanted to check her age.]
On the Political Graveyard website, I found the following:
Spickernagle, William — of Memphis, Shelby County , Tenn. Mayor of Memphis, Tenn. , 1841-42
and on a Memphis history site:
In 1841 there was a move afoot in Memphis for a "reform mayor". Part of the reform may have been that the city was ready for a "real mayor" with a dedication to his civic duties. This would require a salary of course. In that year Memphis which still had a large German population elected William Spickernagle to the office of mayor. Mayor Spickernagle would become the first mayor to earn a salary. That salary was richly deserved.
Spickernagle not only put teeth into the wharfage laws he also formed two militias for the enforcement of these regulations. Also the wharf-master's position graduated to a job that earned 25% of all taxes collected. With these steps in place the flatboatmen began to pay more regularly, but to also pull into the neighboring towns of Fort Pickering and South Memphis where the rules were not so stringent.
Ultimately these reforms would provide Memphis with its largest source of income. The back of the flatboatmen's rebellion against taxes was broken the year after Mayor Spickernagle left office. In what later became know as the "Flatboatmen's War", a large group of flatboatmen were at wharf at once and decided to rebel. The mayor by that time was Major Edwin Hickman who promptly called out the militia. The militia and townspeople drew arms against the 500 or so flatboatmen. Ultimately the leader of the mob, a man named Trester, was killed and others taken into custody.
That was the end of the city's difficulties in collecting wharfage fees. This civic progress was due largely to Mayor Spickernagle's anticipation of the need for a militia.
The Flatboatmen's War
In 1841 William Spickernagle was elected as a "reform mayor". It had become obvious that Memphis would not thrive if no money were made from the river commerce utilizing its wharves. Spickernagle not only put teeth into the wharfage laws he also formed two militias for the enforcement of these regulations. Also the wharf-master's position graduated to a job that earned 25% of all taxes collected. With these steps in place the flatboatmen began to pay more regularly, but to also pull into the neighboring towns of Fort Pickering and South Memphis where the rules were not so stringent.
The reforms put in place by Mayor Spickernagle were ultimately enforced by his succession, Edwin Hickman. During May of 1842, in what later became know as the "Flatboats-men's War", a large group of flatboats-men were at wharf at once and decided to rebel against the wharfage fees.
Initially, the wharf master (possibly historian James Davis) attempted to collect the fees, but was threatened and driven away by the mob, led by a man named Trester. The wharf-master returned with the town constable, future mayor G. B. Locke. Locke was treated with the same contempt. Fleeing for his life Locke returned to city hall and reported to the mayor. Mayor Hickman promptly called out the militia. The militia and townspeople drew arms against the 500 or so boats-men.
Trester and his men pulled out onto the river, but were pursued by Constable Locke and others. Trester once again threatened the constable and swung at him with a club. At this point four soldiers fired at the rogue river boat captain, leaving him dead on the spot. As the other river boat workers grew testy the towns folk gathered in force with their fire arms, taking dead aim from atop the bluff. The riverboat men grew tame. Several of the leaders of the rebellion were taken into custody.
Although all were released by the end of the day, there was never again a large-scale attempt to evade the wharf master. Ultimately these wharfage fees became the single largest source of income for the City of Memphis.
The Freemason's Monthly Magazine [Google Books], Vol. II, No. 1, Nov 1842.
Register of Officers
Washington Chapter, Memphis, TN
W. Spickernagle, Treasurer
In Winchester Cemetery, Shelby Co TN, is the grave of a William Spickernagle - no dates. The cemetery was established in 1828 as the first cemetery in Memphis by Andrew Jackson, John Overton, and James Winchester, who were the three original land owners of Memphis. The last burial there was in 1874. During the yellow fever epidemics, the cemetery went to ruin. It was made a city park in 1931 and there are no marked graves, only a marker denoting it was once a cemetery.
Commercial and Statistical Review of the City of Memphis. Reilly & Thomas, 1883 [Google Books]
p. 14. re Winchester Cemetery "among the most prominent graves are those of Mayors, Winchester, Lawrence and Spickernagle"
Received via email from an interested researcher:
Died—At his residence in South Memphis, on Saturday evening last, the 12th inst., Mr. William SPICKERNAGLE, an old and respectable citizen of this town. He was highly esteemed by all who knew him, for his honesty, kindness and liberality. Weekly Appeal, Friday, 7/18/1845.
Levinia COMSTOCK and William SPICKERNAGLE had the following children:
|Laura SPICKERNAGLE was born on 21 October 1835.317 |
Laura may have married a Mr. Lewis. This could be the lady in 1850 with her remarried stepmother:
1850 Census. 5th Civil District, Shelby Co, TN, Hh 88
John Houston, age 58, supt. Hospital, b. NC
Isabella, age 50, has $1500 worth of her own property, b. NC
John, age 11, b. TN [probably a son of John Houston by earlier marriage]
S. S. Lewis, age 34, b. PA
Laura, 18, b. TN [may have been Laura Spickernagle, now married to Mr. Lewis - the youngest Spickernagle daughter, Lavina, would have been about 15]
Mary Siddle, age 17, b. TN [a young widow?]
Joseph Siddle, age 1, b. TN
Gandius Cocke, age 4, b. TN
|Lavinia SPICKERNAGLE was born on 22 December 1837.317 |
Lavinia's mother died the day after she was born. The infant may not have survived either. She doesn't appear to be living with her remarried stepmother in 1850, when she would have been about 13.