David Spence, Sr. (1639 - 1679) MP

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Birthplace: Dysart, Fife, Scotland
Death: Died in Wiccomocomo, Somerset, Maryland
Occupation: planter
Managed by: Bjørn P. Brox
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About David Spence, Sr.


In his great study of Somerset County, Torrence speaks of David Spence as being a Scotsman. While we do not know the circumstances which led David Spence to leave his native land to become an "adventurer", or sponsor of colonists to Lord Baltimore’s new province of Maryland, he was one of only 62 such adventurers to be granted a "manor", or grant of 1000 acres or more. To secure the grant, he was required to transport twenty colonist (including himself) to the new land.

By such large grants, Lord Baltimore meant to create an American aristocracy along feudal lines, with each "Lord of the manor" having extensive judicial and social power over his tenants. By 1641, such powers were reserved for those granted 2,000 acres or more[6], so that David would never have been considered a "Lord". Still, a 1,000 acre grant implies a certain level of social standing (and influence) on the part of David, his family, or his family connections.

David apparently landed in America sometime in late 1662, for on January 1, 1663, he appeared before William Thorne, one of the officials of Lord Calvert’s new colony, to enter rights "in part to make good his Pattent for one thousand acres"[8]. He named eleven people (including himself): James and Ann Dashiell and their son, James Jr., Elizabeth Dashiell ( a niece, age 9[9]), George Doone, John Thomas, Joell Taylor, Robert Murdrake (or Muldrake), William Layton, and Isabell Egions (Evans?)[10]. No listing has been found of the remaining nine people David transported in order to secure his patent. A deed was drawn up on February 8, 1663[11], and a certificate of survey and patent were subsequently issued on September 8, 1663 for a 1000 acre tract of land which David named "Despence"[12], from the Scottish "de Spens", or "of the Spences".

Occupation: Bet. 1663 - 1679, Planter (Source: Maryland Hall of Records, Maryland Prerogative Court, Wills 10, (Baltimore, MD), pp 57-61.)

Patents land in MD: March 17, 1673, Patents 250 acres called "Spence's Choice" on the north side of the "Cuttymortyes River", Somerset Co., MD (Source: Dryden, Ruth T., Calvert Papers, Rent Rolls of Somerset Co. MD 1663-1723, (R. T. Dryden, 2414 Front St., #25, San Diego, CA 92101: 1981?), p 15.)

Will probated: August 1679, In Somerset Co., MD (Source: Maryland Hall of Records, Maryland Prerogative Court, Wills 10, (Baltimore, MD), p 57-61, Leaves "Despence" to two younger sons (James & John); "Spence's Choice" to two older sons (David Jr. & Alexander); minor bequests to maid, Sophia, and dtr, Ann; personality to wife Ann and she to be executrix.) Will written: March 29, 1678, In Somerset Co., MD (Source: Compiled and edited by Cotton, Jane Baldwin, Maryland Calendar of Wills, Vol 1, (Baltimore, MD: W.J.C. Dulany Co., 1901-), p 216.)


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David Spence, Sr.'s Timeline

April 5, 1639
Dysart, Fife, Scotland
Age 25
January 25, 1666
Age 26
Wiccocomoco, Northumberland, Va., United States
September 13, 1669
Age 30
Somerset, Maryland, United States
April 11, 1672
Age 33
Somerset, Maryland, United States
January 5, 1674
Age 34
Somerset, MAryland, United States
October 30, 1677
Age 38
Wickocomoco, Maryland, United States
July 31, 1679
Age 40
Wiccomocomo, Somerset, Maryland