Descendants of Ralph Spensley & Jane Watters
1-Ralph Spensley b. 1766, Barfside, Swaledale, c. 28 Jul 1766, Grinton, 
  Swaledale, bur. 18 May 1832
 +Jane Watters , m. 29 Mar 1791, Grinton
|--2-Mary Spensley b. 1791, Barffside, Swaledale, c. 28 Aug 1791, Low Row Chapel
|--2-James Spensley b. 1793, Barffside, Swaledale, c. 5 Nov 1793, Low Row Chapel
|   +Ruth Cleminson c. 24 Apr 1796, Grinton, m. 17 Jan 1815, Grinton
|  |--3-Ralph Spensley c. 11 Nov 1815, Gunnerside
|  |--3-Mary Spensley b. Barf End, c. 4 Apr 1818, Gunnerside
|  |--3-Jane Spensley b. Oct 1823, Smarber, c. 11 Jan 1824, Low Row
|--2-Jane Spensley b. 1796, Barffside, Swaledale, c. 29 Mar 1796, Low Row Chapel
|--2-Ruth Spensley b. 1797, Barffside, Swaledale, c. 2 Apr 1797, Low Row Chapel
|--2-John Spensley b. Abt 1800, Barfside, Low Row, Swaledale, c. 10 Aug 1800, 
|    Low Row Chapel, d. 18 May 1839, Low Row, Swaledale, bur. 20 May 1839, Low 
|    Row
|   +Elizabeth Spensley b. Abt 1805, Feetham Holme, Whitaside, Swaledale, c. 16 
|    Feb 1805, Grinton, Swaledale, d. 26 Apr 1881, Dubuque, Iowa, USA, bur. 27 
|    Apr 1881, Potosi, Iowa, USA, m. 1 Jan 1828, England
|  |--3-James Spensley b. 23 Oct 1828, Healaugh, Swaledale, c. 12 Nov 1828, 
|  |    Healaugh Meth, Swaledale
|  |--3-William Spensley b. Abt 1836, Dubuque, Iowa, d. 11 Feb 1903, Iowa
|   +Elizabeth Pedley b. 1799, d. Feb 1825, Healaugh, bur. 20 Feb 1825, 
|    Grinton, m. 2 Mar 1819, Grinton
|  |--3-Ralph Spensley b. 8 May 1819, Healaugh, c. 15 Sep 1819, Grinton, d. Sep 
|  |    1901, 398 West Third St., Dubuque
|  |--3-John Spensley b. 6 Feb 1821, Healaugh, d. 14 Nov 1893, Dubuque, Iowa
|--2-Ralph Spensley b. 1802, c. 11 Jul 1802, Low Row, Smarber, d. 3 Jan 1804, 
|    Barffside, Swaledale
|--2-Anthony Spensley b. 5 Jan 1803, Barfside, Swaledale, c. 9 Jun 1804, 
|    Grinton, d. 16 Jul 1880, Dubuque, Iowa
|   +Ann Whitehead b. 1800, Feetholm, Swaledale, c. 8 Aug 1801, Grinton, d. 5 
|    Mar 1893, Dubuque, Iowa, m. 4 Jul 1831, Grinton, Yorkshire
|  |--3-Mary Jane Spensley 
|  |--3-Sarah Spensley b. 1832, c. 14 Mar 1832, Grinton
|  |--3-Ralph Spensley b. 3 Jul 1839, Dubuque, Iowa, d. 19 Dec 1917, Dubuque, 
|  |    Iowa
|  |--3-William Spensley b. 14 Feb 1842, Dubuque, Iowa, d. Jun 1925, Delhi 
|  |    Road, Dubuque, Iowa
|--2-Sarah Spensley b. Abt 1806, c. 22 Mar 1806, Grinton
|--2-Ralph Spensley b. 1808, c. 6 Nov 1808, Smarber, Low Row, bur. 17 Apr 1825, 
|    Grinton
|--2-William Spensley c. 22 Jun 1811, Grinton

Anthony Spensley was born in 1803 at Barfside, Swaledale and married Ann Whitehead. His ancestors in Swaledale can be traced back via Ralph (b. 1766), James (b. 1727), Ralph (b. 1696).Anthony was brother of John Spensley mentioned below.

Anthony was one of the first settlers in West Dubuque, coming from Yorkshire in 1834. He travelled on the Ship 'North Star', from Liverpool to Philadelphia, arriving June 3 1834. With Anthony and wife Ann, was daughter Sarah and brother William. He was another of the miners and soon began working in the ravines west of Delhi Street. First establishing squatter's rights to a claim, in 1842 he purchased title to most of the tract from the government. Living first in a log cabin, he built in 1845, the home near Delhi Road which has remained in the family ever since. Son Ralph married Elizabeth Fawcett; William married Sara Beatty and daughter Jane married Ralph Fawcett. William was about three years old when his parents moved into this house and it was his home for 81 years.

The Fawcetts were another family which immigrated from Yorkshire. Many families left Yorkshire within the same time-period. They continued to intermarry here as back home, for some generations.

John Spensley married Elizabeth Pedley 1819 in Grinton, Swaledale. They had sons Ralph (1819) and John (b.1821) . After Elizabeth's death, he remarrried to another Elizabeth (Spensley) and the family emigrated first to the coal mines of Pottesville, PA, and then to Dubuque in 1834. In 1836, another son, William was born and was one of the first white men to be born in Dubuque. John was a miner & smelter at Potosi.

Son John first engaged in mining and smelting with his father. He married Mary Crocker, a native of Manchester, England, in 1840, and then farmed from 1854 to 1880 when they retired to a home on Dodge St. Dubuque, Iowa.
Obit from Dubuque Daily Herald. 14 Nov 1893
"In the death of Mr. John Spensley, Sr., which occurred Sunday morning at his home on Dodge street, Dubuque loses one of her best citizens. He was one of the pioneer settlers of Dubuqe county, having come here in the year 1834. Mr Spensley was born Feb. 6, 1821, in Yorkshire, England. In 1821 he came with his parents to Pottsville, Pa. In 1834 they removed to Dubuque county, where for several years he was engaged with his father in mining and smelting. He married Mary Cocker, a native of Manchester, England, in 1841.
About the year 1854 he removed to Center township, where he engaged in farming until the year 1880 when he sold his farm and purchased the hime on Dodge street, where he has since lived.
He leaves a wife and five children, three sons and two daughters, to mourn his loss. The sons are James and William, of Aurora, Iowa, and John, Jr., of Oelwein, Iowa. The ddaughters are Mrs. D C Stewart, of this city, and Mrs. George Gladwin, of Asbury."

Son Ralph was to marry Rosamond Spensley, daughter of Richard and Alice Spensley. He was employed first in mining, then bought 160 acres of unimproved land and turned to farming.

Son William continued his father's business when his mother remarried to William Lightfoot of Potosi, Wisconsin.

John himself returned to England, in ill health and died in Low Row in 1839, of consumption
click for larger image.
When John returned to England, he took a memo book in which he recorded gifts he was taking back to England for a few of his fellow Dales' emigrants. Will is dated June 15, 1838. It mentions his property containing the blast furnace which was owned by him jointly with Joseph Woolley and Matthias Ham. His address was Dubuque at that time. Letter of Administration was dated 13 June 1844. It names Elizabeth as his widow, represented by Wm Lightfoot, Anthony Simpson as guardian for minor son William (age 9), and John Spensley and Ralph Spensley.
His notebook was to return to America with Robert Bonson and contained memos of items Robert was to buy for John's wife and family.

Elizabeth was the daughter of George Spensley and Margaret Harker. Following John's death, she married William Lightfoot.


Mrs. Elizabeth Lightfoot, a lady much respected and beloved, died at the residence of her step-son, Mr. Ralph Spensley, at Asbury, Dubuque county, April 26, aged 76 years. The remains were taken to her home in Potosi, and buried the following day in the cemetery at British Hollow. Mrs. Lightfoot was a native of Yorkshire, England, and came with her husband, John Spensley, --the father of Mesers. Ralph and John Spensley, of Dubuque county, Iowa-- to America and settled first in Philadelphia, in the year 1832. The following year they removed to Dubuque, then a mere mining camp consisting only of one log tavern, a store and a few cabins. Indians were plentiful enough in those days, and the old lady was often heard to remark about them, and of having shaken hands with Blackhawk who was at that time a prisoner. Her husband's health failing, he left her and returned to his native land in the hope of that climate's benefiting him, but his hopes were vain. He never returned, and she was left a widow in a strange land with four little ones to guide and protect uncheered by a husband's loving aid and counsel.......................... In 1838 she married Mr. Wm. Lightfoot by whom she has three children living, two sons and a daughter........................Her life work is done; the faithful wife and mother has fulfilled the task appointed and gone to her reward.