Descendants of James Spensley
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1-James Spensley b. Abt 1756, Blades, Swaledale, c. 25 Jan 1756, Grinton, 
  Swaledale
 +Elizabeth Buckton , m. 12 May 1777, Grinton, Swaledale
|--2-William Spensley b. 11 Oct 1799, Reeth, d. 21 Sep 1869, Shrubbery House,
|   +Jane Swaine b. 21 Jan 1800, Stockport, Cheshire, d. 28 May 1870, Shrubbery House, 
|    Edmonton. m. 19 Jul 1831, Stockport.
|  |--3- Howard Spensley b. 1834, London, Middlesex, d. 8 Aug 1902, London
|  |   +Martha Tasmania Staughton b. 1844, Tasmania, d. 10 Jul 1921, m. 1868, 
|  |    St. Kilda, Australia
|  |  |--4-Howard Staughton Spensley b. 1 Feb 1870, Victoria, Australia, d. 3 
|  |  |    Mar 1938, Westoning
|  |  |--4-Tassie Mary Spensley b. 1872, St. Kilda, Australia
|  |  |--4-Ethel Spensley b. 1876, Sydenham
|  |  |--4-Eirene Spensley b. Cir 1883, Kensington, London, d. 17 May 1921
|  |--3-William Spensley b. Cir 1839, Islington, d. 1899
|  |   +Elizabeth Alice Richardson b. Cir 1840, Sunderland, m. 1866, Sunderland
|  |  |--4-James Richardson Spensley b. 17 May 1867, Stoke Newington, London, 
|  |  |    d. 10 Nov 1915, Magonza, Italy
|  |  |--4-Alice Robson Spensley b. 1874, Hackney, d. 1921
|  |  |--4-Dorothy Elizabeth Spensley b. 1880, Stoke Newington, London
|  |--3-Jane Mary Spensley b. 1841, Edmonton, Middlesex
|      +? , m. 1871
|--2-Jenny Spensley b. 18 May 1779, Feetham
|--2-John Spensley b. 1785, c. 28 May 1785, Low Row, d. 1837, Rochdale
|   +Ruth Brunskill c. 30 May 1791, Low Row, Smarber, d. 1857, Rochdale, m. 29 
|    May 1811, Muker, Swaledale
|  |--3-William Spensley b. Cir 1824, d. 8 Nov 1870, Littleborough, Rochdale, 
|  |    Lancs
|  |   +Hannah Heap b. 1831, Rochdale, m. 1850 d. 10 Jul 1901, 1634 Aldine Ave, Chicago
|  |  |--4-Elizabeth Spensley b. 1851, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs, d. 1851, 
|  |  |    Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-John William Spensley b. 1852, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs, d. 
|  |  |    1852, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-Thomas Spensley b. 1853, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-Eleanor Spensley b. Abt 1856, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-Arthur Spensley b. Oct 1857, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-James Spensley b. 1859, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-Agnes Spensley b. 1860, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs, d. 25 Jan 
|  |  |    1904
|  |  |--4-Walter Spensley b. Abt 1863, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs, d. 1875
|  |  |--4-Frank Spensley b. 1866, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-William Spensley b. Abt 1867, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs, d. 
|  |  |    1868, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-Elizabeth(Lily) Spensley b. Abt 1868, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-Harold Spensley b. Nov 1870, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |  |--4-Edith Marion Spensley b. Abt 1871, Littleborough, Rochdale, Lancs
|  |--3-Elizabeth Spensley c. 20 Oct 1811, Smarber
|  |--3-David Spensley d. 1837, Rochdale
|  |--3-James Spensley 
|  |--3-Eleanor Spensley c. 7 Aug 1813, Smarber
|  |--3-Mary Spensley b. 25 May 1818, c. 3 Aug 1818, Patmos Chapel, Todmorden, 
|  |    Lancs, d. 1883, Rochdale
|  |--3-Agnes Spensley 
|  |--3-John Spensley b. Cir 1832, Rochdale
|--2-Mary Spensley c. 13 Apr 1783, Smarber, d. 1834, On The Mississippi River
|   +Robert Bonson photo of tombstone b. 28 Jul 1781, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 26 Oct 1854, Low 
|    Row, Swaledale, Yorkshire, bur. 30 Oct 1854, Low Row, m. 19 Apr 1803, 
|    Grinton, Swaledale
|  |--3-Mary Bonson b. 1803, d. 8 Oct 1869, bur. Low Row
|  |   +William Musgrove b. 1798, Feetham, c. 17 Aug 1798, Grinton, d. 14 Feb 
|  |    1858, m. 20 Apr 1824, Grinton Parish Church
|  |--3-Betty Bonson b. 1804, c. 4 May 1804, Low Row Smarber
|  |--3-Alice Bonson b. 1805, d. 28 Aug 1887, bur. West Galena Cemetery
|  |   +Richard Spensley b. 19 May 1805, Yorkshire, c. 21 Jul 1805, Grinton, d. 
|  |    24 Nov 1892, bur. 25 Nov 1892, m. 24 Apr 1824, Grinton, Swaledale
|  |  |--4-Rosamond Spensley b. Cir 1824, Swaledale
|  |  |--4-Robert Spensley b. 24 Nov 1826, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. Jun 1837, 
|  |  |    Stainbrough, Nr Barnsley, bur. 25 Jun 1837, Stainbrough, Nr Barnsley
|  |  |--4-Mary Spensley b. 19 Dec 1828, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 6 May 1886, 
|  |  |    Fort Dodge , Iowa
|  |  |--4-Elizabeth Spensley b. 14 Feb 1831, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 22 Oct 
|  |  |    1872, Asbury, Dubuque
|  |  |--4-James Spensley b. 17 Apr 1833, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 4 Nov 1916, 
|  |  |    Madison, Wisconsin, USA
|  |  |--4-Bonson Spensley b. 5 Apr 1835, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 6 Feb 1885, 
|  |  |    Shullsburg, Lafayette, Wisconsin
|  |  |--4-Margaret Spensley b. 3 Aug 1837, England, d. 2 Sep 1881, bur. 1881, 
|  |  |    Grant Hills Cem., Council Hill, IL
|  |  |--4-John Robert Spensley b. 13 Sep 1839, Dubuque, Iowa, d. 24 Feb 1872, 
|  |  |    Galena, Jo Daviess, Illinois, USA, bur. 1872, Greenwood Cem., 
|  |  |    Galena, IL
|  |  |--4-William Spensley b. 26 Dec 1841, Catfish, Dubuque, Iowa, d. 12 Feb 
|  |  |    1910, Galena, Jo Daviess, Illinois, USA
|  |  |--4-Alice Ann Spensley b. 25 Dec 1843, Dubuque, Iowa
|  |  |--4-Ellen Spensley b. 4 Aug 1846, Dubuque, Iowa, d. 20 Mar 1923, Galena, 
|  |  |    Jo Daviess, Illinois, USA
|  |  |--4-Richard Mason Spensley b. 31 Dec 1849, Dubuque, Iowa, d. 14 Nov 
|  |  |    1922, Galena, Jo Daviess, Illinois, USA
|  |--3-Ann Bonson b. 28 May 1810, c. 17 Jun 1810, Low Row Smarber, d. 15 Mar 
|  |    1880
|  |   +Thomas Raw b. 1809, d. 30 Jan 1869, Big Patch, m. 21 Aug 1832, Grinton 
|  |    Parish Church
|  |  |--4-Mary Alice Raw b. 14 Oct 1838
|  |  |--4-Margaret Raw d. 1896, Iowa
|  |  |--4-Simon B. Raw 
|  |  |--4-Sarah J. Raw b. Cir 1840
|  |--3-Elizabeth Bonson b. 1808, Riddings, Low Row, Swaledale, c. 7 Apr 1808, 
|  |    Low Row Smarber, d. 1 Apr 1871
|  |   +Anthony Simpson b. 1806, Low Row, c. 7 Jun 1806, Grinton, d. 15 Apr 
|  |    1864, Iowa, m. 20 Jun 1826, Grinton
|  |  |--4-Nathan Simpson b. 1828, England, d. 30 Oct 1903
|  |  |--4-Robert Simpson b. 1829, England
|  |  |--4-Mary Simpson b. 1831, England
|  |  |--4-Thomas Simpson b. 1835, England
|  |  |--4-James Simpson b. 1838
|  |  |--4-George Simpson b. 1840, Iowa
|  |  |--4-Jane Ellen Simpson b. 1844, Iowa
|  |  |--4-Margaret Ann Simpson b. 1847, Iowa
|  |  |--4-Alice Caroline Simpson b. 1849, Iowa
|  |--3-Ellen Bonson b. 1812, c. 30 Sep 1812, Low Row Smarber, d. 10 Apr 1851, 
|  |    bur. 11 Apr 1851, Galena
|  |   +Samuel Hughlet b. Tennessee, d. 2 Jan 1864
|  |  |--4-Mary A. Hughlet b. 1837, Illinois
|  |  |--4-Thomas B. Hughlet b. 1839, Illinois
|  |  |--4-Elizabeth Hughlet b. 1843
|  |  |--4-Alice R. Hughlet b. 1845, Illinois
|  |  |--4-Ellen Hughlet b. 1847, Illinois
|  |  |--4-Margaret S. Hughlet b. 1849
|  |--3-Richard Bonson b. 23 Oct 1814, Swaledale, Yorkshire, c. 29 Nov 1814, 
|  |    Smarber, Swaledale, d. 1 Feb 1883, Burnage Villa, Dubuque, Iowa
|  |   +Jane Burton b. 1812, Bonsall, Derbyshire, England, d. 26 Aug 1866, 
|  |    Dubuque, m. 10 May 1838
|  |  |--4-Priscilla Bonson b. 13 May 1841, c. 12 Sep 1841, d. 1925, bur. 
|  |  |    Center Grove Cemetery
|  |  |--4-Mary Ellen Bonson b. 29 Nov 1844, d. 6 Jan 1892, bur. 9 Mar 1845, 
|  |  |    Linwood Cemetery
|  |  |--4-? Bonson b. 23 May 1842, d. 23 May 1842, bur. 24 May 1842
|  |   +Harriet Watts b. 29 Jan 1833, Manchester, England, d. 5 Nov 1903, m. 13 
|  |    Mar 1867, Dubuque, IA
|  |  |--4-Robert Bonson b. 5 Jan 1868, Dubuque, IA, c. 13 Mar 1868, Richard 
|  |  |    Bonson Home, d. 13 Dec 1933, Dubuque, IA, bur. SeeNotes, Dubuque, IA
|  |  |--4-William Watts Bonson b. 22 May 1870, d. 6 May 1946
|  |  |--4-Annie Watts Bonson b. 30 Nov 1873, d. Nov 1959
|  |--3-Jane Bonson b. 1817, c. 26 Apr 1817, Low Row Smarber, d. 16 Feb 1894
|  |   +Isaiah Gill b. 1819, Arkle Town, c. 24 Oct 1819, Arkendale, d. 1 Feb 
|  |    1892, Wisconsin, m. 24 May 1842, Galena
|  |  |--4-Abel Gill b. 1846, Wisconsin
|  |  |--4-Mary M. Gill b. 1847, Wisconsin
|  |  |--4-Robert B. Gill b. 1849, Wisconsin, d. Mar 1894
|  |--3-Margaret Bonson b. 1819, c. 13 Jun 1819, Low Row Smarber, d. 18 Apr 1896
|  |    
|      +James Scott b. 1815, Ireland, d. 7 Mar 1869
|     |--4-Thomas Scott b. 1840, Illinois
|     |--4-Mary E. Scott b. 1842, Illinois
|     |--4-Robert Scott b. 1847, Illinois
|     |--4-Catherine Scott b. 1848, Illinois
|     |--4-James N. Scott b. 1849, Illinois
|--2-James Spensley b. Jul 1787, Feetham, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 2 Jan 1873, 
|    Mineral Point, Wisconsin
    +Margaret Watters b. Cir 1797, Heights, c. 23 Apr 1797, Grinton, d. Oct 
     1851, America, m. 18 Apr 1815, Grinton Parish Church
   |--3-Eleanor Spensley b. 1816, Gunnerside, c. 3 Feb 1816, Gunnerside 
   |    Methodist, d. 1851, bur. 9 Sep 1851
   |   +Joseph Hutchinson b. 12 Jan 1809, c. 6 Aug 1811, Smarber, m. 17 Jun 
   |    1834, Grinton Parish Church
   |  |--4-Christopher Hutchinson b. Abt 1835, Harkerside, Nr. Grinton, c. 5 
   |  |    May 1835, Low Row Methodist
   |  |--4-James Hutchinson b. Abt 1838
   |  |--4-Spensley Hutchinson b. Abt 1840
   |  |--4-Margaret Ann Hutchinson b. Cir 1842, England
   |  |--4-Joseph Hutchinson b. Cir 1843, England
   |  |--4-Ellen Hutchinson b. Cir 1845, England
   |  |--4-Ruth E. Hutchinson b. 1849, Iowa, d. 1925
   |  |--4-Elizabeth Hutchinson b. Cir 1849, Wisconsin
   |--3-Ruth Spensley b. 22 Feb 1818, Swaledale, Yorkshire, d. 2 May 1877, 
   |    Mineral Point, Wisconsin
       +Harker Spensley b. 12 Nov 1813, Low Row, d. 14 Apr 1876, Mineral Point, 
        Wisconsin, m. 15 Nov 1836, Grinton, Swaledale
      |--4-Solomon H. Spensley 
      |--4-James Spensley b. Jan 1838, England, d. 19 Sep 1851, Shullsburg, 
      |    Lafayette, Wisconsin
      |--4-William Spensley b. 1841, England, d. 14 Sep 1854, Shullsburg, 
      |    Lafayette, Wisconsin
      |--4-John Spensley b. 22 May 1841, Middlesbrough, Yorkshire, c. 13 Sep 
      |    1841, Low Row, d. Jan 1882, San Antonio, Texas
      |--4-Thomas Calvert Spensley b. 25 Jan 1843, d. 7 Sep 1845, Stockton
      |--4-Calvert Spensley b. 2 Jan 1846, Stockton-On-Tees, Co. Durham, d. 17 
      |    Jan 1924, Mineral Point, Wisconsin
      |--4-James W. Spensley 

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 James Richardson Spensley was the son of the Rev. William Spensley and wife Elizabeth Alice Richardson. He was a doctor who worked in Genoa, Italy and is credited with the introduction of soccer to that country, and one of their junior championships is named for him. He also introduced scouting to Italy. He joined the British Army in WWI sailing for France, with the battalion on 31 Aug 15 and was captured on 26th Sep 15 to die at Mainz 10 Nov 15 of injuries received. Although RAMC he was attached (as were many doctors) to an infantry battalion , the 8th East Kent Regiment known as The Buffs, which deployed with a brigade that fought at the Battle of Loos late Sep 1915. (Chris Best)

   Click for larger image...................Scroll (image courtesy of Chris Best).......................


James Spensley left for America on the Saxony with daughter Ruth and son-in-law Harker Spensley. His other daughter Eleanor (Hutchinson) was already there. Margaret Batty writes in her book on Low Row,
"James Watters took his last class meeting on February 4th 1849, then set off for America with James and Margaret Spensley of Riddings and Ann Harker of Birdnest, all of them a great loss to the society. Ralph Place, then 31, a lead mine agent living at Feetham, took over the class."

Dubuque Daily Times 4 Jan 1873
"On the 2nd inst., at the residence of his son-in-law, Harker Spensley, of Mineral Point, Wis., Mr. James Spensley, Sen., aged 85 years and 5 months.
Funeral at the Rockdale church on Sunday morning at 10.30 o'clock. Friends of the family are invited to attend."

Select for transcript of his will


September 21st - At Edminton. Mr. William Spensley who was born at Reeth, Swaledale, Yorkshire, on the 11th of October, 1799. at the age of [ ]teen he left the parental roof and came to London. .....
he joined the Society and engaged himself in Christian work. He entered the Radnor street Sunday school and became a diligent teacher. He soon felt however the need of light.....
In those days, Circuit Superintendants used to send young men to the out lying districts of London, to exhort sinners wherever they could, and point them to the Lamb of god. In simple faith these young men went when they were sent, and in this way many of the Societies in the suburbs of London were commenced. Mr. Spensley was deputed with some others to try the neighbourhood of Edmonton. They obtained the use of a cottage . Sabbath after Sabbath the meetings were held and exhortation given, by young men who did not think it too much to walk eight miles in so that some might be saved.
Mr. Spensley's exertions that in 1825 a small chapel was erected at Edmonton and his heart was filled with praise when nine years ago, it was found feasible to supersced this by a much larger and more commodious building. In 1841, mr. Spensley left City road in which Circuit he had laboured for twenty five years as a Sunday school teacher and tract-distributor, and had held several offices of trust. He removed to Edmonton the scene of his early labours and from that time till his death establishe the cause of God there both by his liberality and zeal. he was prominent in carrying forward every good work to which Methodism directs the energies of its members, and remained faithful to the church of his choice through.
It was the privilage of the writer to visit Mr. Spensley several times during his last illness. The old sentiment which seemed to be preeminently manifested in him was that of cheeriful confidence in God through Christ. When a physician had been consulted on his case, and an unfavourable report had to be given he said "You need not be afraid to ell me the worst; I am quite ready for anything - to live or to die, as God may see fit." he waited quietly a few days for the salvation of the Lord, and then his body peacefully fell asleep in the arms of death, while his spirit woke up to the never-fading glories of a blissful eternity. He died in the seventieth year of his age, having been a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Society fifty one years.

William left the Dale and went to London. He was a silk merchant as well as preacher.
Mr. Spensley was deputed with some others to try the neighbourhood of Edmonton. They obtained the use of a cottage . Sabbath after Sabbath the meetings were held and exhortation given, by young men who did not think it too much to walk eight miles in so that some might be saved...... He died in the seventieth year of his age, having been a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Society fifty one years.


Howard Spensley went to Victoria, Australia in 1858 and was called to the Victorian Bar in 1864. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly and became Solicitor-General of Victoria. By 1876 he had returned to England and was a member of the Middle Temple in 1876. In English politics he became M.P for Central Finsbury. He built and owned the Royal Arcade in Melbourne. The site was purchased by his father-in-law Simon Staughton who was a well-known squatter and given to Martha at her father's death.
Simon Staughton and Howard Spensley spent about £20,000 on the building of the arcade and it remained in the ownership of the Staughton/Spensley family until the tenants formed a company in 1958 to buy the property.


In late 1870, William Spensley died, leaving Hannah a widow at 39 years of age with nine of her twelve children survivng and another child on the way. One of her sons died young a few years later and her two eldest surviving sons, Thomas and Arthur, emigrated to the USA in the 1870's, Thomas to Pennsylvania and Arthur toChicago.Hannah and her younger sons and her daughters (together with her son-in-law Charles Fielden) emigrated to Chicago in 1881. They left Liverpool on the "City of Berlin" a few days before Christmas and arrived in New York on January 3rd.


Niece of Sir James Watts of Abney Hall, Cheshire, manufacturer, warehouse owner. Entertained Queen Victoria.



RICHARD BONSON, capitalist, Sec. 22; P.O. Dubuque; is a native of Yorkshire, England, and was born Oct. 23, 1814; he grew up to manhood there and came with his father's family to the United States in 1834; they came to Dubuque the same year, and arrived here in July; his mother died of cholera while coming up the river; Mr. Bonson's father and Richard Waller, and John H. Roundtree, erected near Platteville the first blast furnace ever built in the United States; in 1836, they built three furnaces, one at Mineral Point,one on the East Fork of the Fever River, and one near Dubuque, at Rosedale; two of these furnaces are still operated; there was a company of twelve of them, which was found to be too large and unprofitable, so they dissolved and worked in smaller companies. In the early days of mining, there were many complications in locating claims. A committee of twenty-five was appointed as arbitrators to settle the disputes. From this committee was appointed an executive committee of three, consisting of T. Davis, J. Langworthy and R. Bonson. They made the maps of the claims, and settled all disputes between the disputed claimants, and their decision was final. We are informed that Mr. Bonson is the only surviving member of this executive committee. Mr. Bonson has been interested in lead mining and smelting for over forty-six years, a longer period than any one else in Dubuque Co.; he was also engaged in the mercantile business for some years. When Mr. Bonson began life, he was a miner, and his father was without means, and his success is owing to his own efforts; he was twice elected as Representative to the State Legislature, and has served as member of the Board of County Supervisors. Mr. Bonson has been actively identified with the interests of the county, and with the mining interests of Iowa and Wisconsin. Mr. Bonson resides about one mile from the city, and has one of the most elegant and attractive houses in the State. In 1838, Mr. Bonson was united in marriage to Miss Jane Burton, from Derbyshire, England; she died in 1866, leaving two children-Mrs. Priscilla Morgan and Mrs. Mary Ellen Simplot. In 1868, Mr. Bonson was united in marriage to Mrs. Harriet Pierson, formerly Miss Harriet Watts,f rom Manchester, England; they have three children-two sons, Robert and William W., and one daughter, Annie Watts.

It is largely through the diaries of Richard Bonson that enabled me to unravel the family links of this line of Spensleys.


Calvert Spensley studied at business college and Columbia Law School. He served in the Republican Army during the Civil War and afterwards became a lawyer, at one time mayor of Mineral Point, and also State Senator. Calvert and his wife Clara (Cobb) travelled widely and spent several winters in Bermuda where their daughter Ruth married Lindsay Lightbourn, son of an English wholesale liquor dealer of considerable wealth and position.

The family attended the Protestant Episcopal Church in Mineral Point where he became senior warden. He was a commanding figure and one used to having his own way.

Sitting at his office desk he passed away on Jan. 17, 1924. Burial was in Graceland Cemetery, where there was not only the last rite of the church and of the Masons, but the taps of an old soldier.