Transcribed by Deb Thormahlen
7 Jun 2008
Daniel P. Spears, of the firm of D.P. Spears & Son, dealers in dry goods, hats, notions, gentlemen’s and ladies’ furnishing goods, at Morrison, Ill., was born Dec. 29, 1822, in Milan, Erie Co., Ohio. His father, William W. Spears, was born in Pennsylvania and went thence to the State of New York, whence, after a residence of some years there, he went to Ohio where he remained until the termination of his life. The mother, Love (Watkins) Spears, was a native of Massachusetts. Of their ten children five are living: Nathan W. is a farmer and merchant in Fayette Co., Iowa; Nancy is the widow of Samuel Harper and lives in Lawton, Mich.; Betsey is the wife of Russell Munger, a retired farmer at Lawton, Mich.; Mary A. married Crowell Eddy, a farmer in the township of Clinton, Lenawee Co., Mich., and died there March 10, 1885.
Mr. Spears is the youngest of the children born to his parents, and until he was 24 years of age remained on the farm of his father. Meanwhile his brothers, William and Charles, both now deceased, had established themselves in business at Pittsburg, and at the age named he went there and engaged in their employ, where he continued for four years. About 1840 he went to Tecumshe, Lenawee Co., Mich., and entered in partnership with his brother, Nathan, where they were interested in the manufacture of woolen goods. On the termination of this venture he went to White Co., Ind., where, associated with W.R. Davis, he embarked in a mercantile enterprise in which he was occupied seven years. In 1858 he came to Morrison to enter upon the duties of the position of salesman in the dry-goods house of Spears & Bro. Four years later he purchased a part of the building where he is now engaged in the transaction of his business and put in a stock of merchandise. He embarked in the enterprise in company with Joseph Shafer. This relation existed until the death of the latter, when Mr. Spears purchased the claims of the heirs of his late partner, and became associated with James Shafer, nephew of the deceased. Two years later he became by purchase sole proprietor of the establishment and until September, 1884, conducted business alone. At that date he purchased the store and stock of Chas. Spears & Son, situated adjoining, opened communication between the sales-rooms and is now transacting business in the double store. At the date of enlargement he admitted his son, Frank W., to a partnership. Their establishment includes two large sales-rooms, 51 by 44 feet in size, and they employ four assistants. Their stock is estimated at a value of $17,000, and includes a full line of goods suited to the local patronage. In the spring of 1885 Messrs. Spears & Son added a carpet department to their business.
Mr. Spears belongs to the Order of Odd Fellows. He is a member of the Board of Alderman of Morrison. He owns a farm of 70 acres lying three miles south of the city, also 12 acres connected with his residence in this place. He is also the owner of a half interest in 160 acres of land in White Co., Ind.
Mr. Spears has been married three times. He was first joined in marriage in Milan, Ohio, to Elizabeth Walbridge, who died two years later, after becoming the mother of one child, who died in infancy. Mr. Spears was again married, in White Co., Ind., to Sarah J. Burns, who survived between two and three years. Dec. 6, 1858, Mr. Spears contracted a third marriage at Monticello, Ind., with Mary Shafer. Their five children were born at Morrison. Frank w. is the oldest and is in business with his father. Fred is the next in order of birth. Burt C. is a clerk in the store. Maggie J. and James are the two youngest.