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Fifth Generation

189. Levinia COMSTOCK103 was born on 29 August 1810 in Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky.93,120 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 1827.97,98 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:
William Spickernagle
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:



Horace SPICKERNAGLE was born on 21 March 1829.186

I found Horace Spickernagle in Shelby Co TN in 1850. He was age 21, born in KY, working as a printer, living in a boardinghouse.
He was indexed as Horace Spechernagh ......

Horace married Lean [LeAnn?] Smith, 1 Jan 1854 in Shelby Co Tennessee.



William SPICKERNAGLE was born on 16 January 1831.186 He died in 1878 at the age of 47 in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee.

I may also have hints of the brother William Spickernagle.

Marriage Record:
Margaret Ann Dean married William Spickernagle, 23 Sep 1862
Yalobusha County, MS

on Google:
A History of the Yellow Fever by John McLead Keating, Tenn.
papers re 1878 devastating yellow fever epidemic in Memphis
On list of the dead was a Wm Spickernagle.

and here:
Comprising our Patrons and others, together with
Brief Sketches of the Principal Cities and Villages
22 New Church Street, Post Office Box 3763.
Benson & Ripley, Managers.

Spickernagle, Mrs. A., Tobacco and Stationery, 125 Poplar street.

And these census records:
1870, Shelby Co TN, City of Memphis
W. Spickernagle, age 39, news dealer, b. KY
Marg, age 26, b. Mississippi
Ida, age 6 months, b. TN

1880, Shelby Co TN, City of Memphis
Margaret Spickernagle, age 43, news dealer, b. MS, father b. NC, mother b. TN
Ida M. daughter, age 10, b. Tennessee, father b. KY, mother b. MS
John C., son, age 6, b. Kentucky, father b. KY, mother b. MS

1890 Memphis City Directory
Spickernagle, Margaret A., Mrs. new depot at 164 Main & 123 Poplar
[her son, John C. Spickernagle was listed as a clerk in bonds, at the 123 Poplar address]



John SPICKERNAGLE was born on 12 October 1833 in Tennessee.181

Found in 1850 Census - Owensboro, Daviess Co KY, living with Elijah Comstock. Surely the son of Levina & William. He was age 16, a cabinet maker as was Elijah.

Also think I found John in Memphis in 1860:
He was living in a boardinghouse as Jno. Spickernagle, age 25, Carpenter, but born in New York [of course the info probably given by the landlady...]
However, there are Spickernagles found in New York.

John Spickernagle was listed as a Private in Company A, of the 154th Senior Regt. Tennessee Infantry [1st Tenn. Volunteers]
NARA film: M231, roll 41

1870 Census, Owensboro, Daviess Co KY
John Spickernagle, age 36, Jour. Carpenter, b. TN
Sallie C., age 24, b. MS
Susan J. age 3, b. KY. Lillie S. age 1, b. KY

Found in the manuscript file of Samuel Willett Comstock at NEHGS Library - in his collection of letters that had been written to Noah D. Comstock.
The letter was written in Owensboro by John Spickernagle on 17 Jan 1877 to N. D. Comstock, Esq. [Answer to a letter written to his uncle Elijah]
Your favor of the 3d, came to hand and found Mr. Comstock Dead. He died 5th of Dec 1875. [This would be Elijah Comstock, John's uncle. John had lived with him after the deaths of his parents.] As to your queries in regard to his family, I will give all the information that I possess. His father came from Connecticut - or was born there. His Grandfather died when his father was small and his grandmother married again, a man by the name of Linden. One son was born to them. [Surely a confusion regarding the two families of Daniel Comstock - wrong grandparent! The grandmother died early. The grandfather was married twice and Lyndon was a son of the 2nd marriage. But the stories of Lyndon live on!]
This boy went to sea and when the war of 1812 occurred he became part owner of a privateer. The last heard of him was that his ship was in sight of the British Channel. The supposition was that some English cruiser put her to the bottom. [Lyndon did go pirating and probably was entitled to a percentage of the spoils - he was seen some years later in New Orleans, but his family never heard from him again.] Mr. Comstock's father [William] came to Kentucky sometime in 1790. He married Winney Hardin by whom he had three children two boys and one girl. Ephraim was the oldest, Elijah was the second son 10 years younger. Lavinia was the daughter's name. She was the youngest by two years. [This part seems accurate enough although the spread between the boys was more like 13 years; I've always wondered about this 13 years with no children. There must have been difficulties in the marriage, or perhaps some dead babies.] Ephraim Comstock was married three times. By his first wife he had one child, a daughter. By his second wife he had one son. By his third wife he had three or four sons. [Actually seven sons and a daughter.] The last wife was married in Arkansas. [No, they married Maury Co. TN - the last wife and all the children moved to Missouri after the death of Ephraim in Perry Co TN. She was a widow in the 1850 census in Tennessee. Only my Tom went on to Arkansas and that was after the Civil War. It's interesting that John Spickernagle knew anything about Arkansas.] The others were in Kentucky. Elijah Comstock had two wives. By the first he had two children, one son and one daughter. By his last wife he had no children.
His father's given name was William. He was one of the district Judges in this state when there were three on the bench at a time. Breckinridge County was the place of Mr. Comstock's birth, near Hardinsburg.
[This is confusing, but I think he meant Elijah was born near Hardinsburg, which would be so.]
John Spickernagle.

Finally found John Spickernagle in 1880. His name was quite unreadable and indexed as "Spiennagile".
He was in Owensboro, of course. Family 186. His wife was Sallie C. in 1870 and I think the "C" might be for Caledonia since the age and her place of birth fits.

Jno was age 46, working as an undertaker, b. TN as were his parents
Wife, Caladonia, age 34, b. Mississippi as were her parents
Sue, age 10, daughter, b. KY
William age 5, son, b. KY [probably Wm C. mentioned on SWC's worksheet re the Spickernagles]
Sue Comstock, age 62, Boarder, b. KY, her parents born in Maryland - this can only be Susannah Bowlds, 2nd wife and now widow of Elijah Comstock who had died in 1875.

A note in the Samuel Willett Comstock manuscript "John's son Wm. C. Spickernagle, Owensboro, KY. His letter Nov 8/03 promises info from his mother."
I find no Spickernagle in Daviess County in 1900, but in Owensboro in 1910:
W. C. Spickernagle, age 38, b. KY, father b. KY, mother b. MS, did general repairs and had his own shop



Laura SPICKERNAGLE was born on 21 October 1835.186

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 1837.186

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.