SPILMAN FAMILY ABROAD
Thomas and Harriet rented a large tract of land from Mr. Goulton Constable which totaled about 330 acres. Daniel knew farming but there was no way of taking over the farm from his parents. The land was owned by Mr. Goulton Constable and so could only passed on to one of the children to continue to rent for farming. That child was to be the oldest son, John Spilman. As the second son, Daniel was looking for other opportunities for himself. He became interested in going to America to farm with the intent of earning enough money to return to England to buy his own farm. (noted in his letters).
The Spilman's farm in Whitton overlooked the Humber River and Whitton Church. Below are some views from the farm taken in May 2002 (left) and in February 1979 (Right). The Whitton Church tower in the background of the right picture.
Below is a map of the Lincolnshire area east of Manchester, England.
The first Spilman Ancestor we are able to identify lived in Harlow, Essex,
England in the late 1500's. In 1660 Captain Thomas Spilman came to
Alkborough from Harlow, England. He and his brother Edward moved to
Alkborough after the English Civil War. For more information see the web
page of Tom Smith.
As previously noted, Epworth was not far from Whitton and was the home of John Wesley and the Methodist religion. The Methodist religion was very strong in this area of Lincolnshire when Dan was here. According to Tom Smith, the Spilman family allowed a Methodist Chapel to be built on to the White house where Daniel was born. No doubt Daniel grew up learning the teachings of John Wesley. John Wesley had come to the Alkborough Churchyard to give a sermon to a group of people. Perhaps there were Spilman families was among them.
In addition to farming, Thomas and Harriet Spilman owned the boat shown below.
The Sloop "Walcot" was built when Dan was 6 years old. Dan no doubt
traveled on this boat along the Humber River. Tom Smith said that
Dan's father was, "supposed
to have sent him to work on a farm on the North side of the river (maybe with
one of his cousins around Goole who were doing well ) but he soon came back as
he didn't like some aspect of the job and this is supposed to be one of the
reasons he decided to go and see what the New World had to offer. If he
did not like it over there ...well, he could always come back....."
From the web site of Tom Smith he writes,
The image we get of Daniel Spilman is that he was born the second son into a family that owned a boat, ran a mill, and farmed approximately 330 acres of land. Daniel appears to be of the Methodist religion. Knowing that he would not be taking over the family farm, Daniel looked into other options. He worked for a while on the North Side of the Humber River and apparently it was there that he decided he might try going to the "New World" - America to see what he could do there. In the letters he writes back to his family in England he says that he intended to make enough money farming in America so that he could buy himself a farm in England and return to his home Country. Instead he ended up staying in Clear Lake, Iowa, USA and having 9 children. Dan's nephew John Ellerker Spilman would also venture out into the new world in the Country of Canada in 1928.
Daniel left for America in 1870 at the age of 22. We have yet to find the ship he sailed on, and his port of entry. We know that his family in England remained very important to him. He wrote letters home and even kept in touch with his 12 year old sister Mary Spilman. In fact, Daniel had a Grandchild named after his sister Mary and the two of them used to write each other and exchange photographs in the early part of the 1900's. Daniel had written a number of letters to his brother Thomas Spilman between the dates of 1870 - 1877. These letters were kept and passed down from Thomas to his son Tom, to his daughter Kathleen Ann Aitken Spilman (Mrs. Alan Wood). These letters help us understand a bit more about Daniel and his life in America.
Select each child to find ancestor branches.
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