PROF. JOHN S. SPEAR, Principal of the Golconda public schools, is a teacher of rare merit, and is deservedly classed among the leading educators of southern Illinois.
He comes of fine old Revolutionary stock and was born at Alton, in this State, October 7, 1855. His father, Louis P. Spear, was born in Jefferson Town ship, Richland County, Ohio, and was a son of William Spear, who was a native of Pennsylvania, and he in turn was a son of one Duncan Spear, who was born in the North of Ireland. He came to America in Colonial times, accompanied by two brothers, and all fought in the Revolution in the interests of the Colonies. Duncan Spear's brothers fell in battle, and he was the only one left to rear a family. After the war he settled in Pennsylvania, and there died at a ripe age.
The grandfather of our subject, the only son of Duncan Spear, moved to Canada in young man hood and located on land that he bought near Kingston. But be did not cease to be loyal to his native country and showed his devotion to it when the War of 1812 broke out by refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the British Government, though he knew that by refusing to do so his property would be confiscated. He sacrificed his all to his patriotism, and returning to the United States penniless, he enlisted in the service of this Government, was commissioned Captain and won a most honorable military record. Later he received a land warrant for one hundred and sixty acres for his services, and equipped with that be emigrated to the wilds of Richland County, Ohio, selected a suitable tract of Government land and built a home in the forests. He was a man of much prominence among his fellow-pioneers, as he possessed a superior education. He taught school and served Justice, and at the same time super intended the improvement of his land, which was his dwelling-place until his death. His wife also spent her last years on the home farm in Richland County. She bore the maiden name of Catherine Will, was a native of Pennsylvania and was of German antecedents. She was the mother of twelve children.
The father of our subject was educated in his native country, and learning the trade of a carpenter in his youth, he was engaged at that occupation a few years. At the age of twenty-one he made his way to St. Louis, where he was employed at his trade for a time, and he also worked at it at Chester, Ill., whence he went to Alton, in the same State, to take the position of superintendent of the carpenter shop of the penitentiary, and he acted in that capacity until the institution was re moved to Joliet. He then bought a farm in Greene County and resided thereon until his removal to Bloomington, in 1870, where he now lives retired from active labor. He was married, June 10, 1838, to Lourene S. Stowe, who was born in Alabama, November 17, 1818, a daughter of John and Pamela (Lane) Stowe. She was in her second year when her parents emigrated to Illinois, in 1820 and settled in Madison County. The parents of our subject have lived together fifty-four years in an unusually long and happy wedded life, and both are in the enjoyment of good health. They have reared seven children to useful and honorable lives and they now have their homes in six different States. They are William L., Harvey V., Stephen L, Charles E. Walter E., John S. and Kate C.
The subject of this biographical review has spent the greater part of his life in Illinois. His early education was conducted in the public schools of Greene County, and was completed by a thorough course of study in the fine State Normal School at Normal, Ill. For a time he taught and attended school alternately, his teaching being con fined to the schools of McLean County until 1885. That year he went to Kansas, took up his residence at Kendall, Hamilton County, and was elected Principal of the schools in that city. He held that position one year, and in 1886 was appointed County Clerk. At that time there was a contest in that county over the permanent location of the county seat, and feeling ran so high that the contest ripened into one of the most bitter wars of the kind ever known in the States. Our subject sided with the "Kendallites," of course, and as his party was finally defeated his office was taken from him in consequence.
After his retirement from office, Prof. Spear spent some time in traveling in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, whence he returned Northward to Boone County, Neb., where he accepted the appointment of Principal of the schools at Peters— burgh, and retained that office until 1891. Returning home then on a visit, he was called to Golconda to take charge of the schools of this city, and has ever since presided over them, He is an honest and enthusiastic worker in his profession, is possessed of much executive ability, and under his administration the public schools of Golconda are accorded high rank among the schools of this part of the State.
Prof. Spear was married in 1890, to Miss Kittie Brady, a native of McLean County and a daughter of James and Catherine Brady. One child, Mary Estelle, has hallowed their happy wedded life. Our subject is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is identified with all movements to promote the highest interests of the community. In politics, he is a Republican. He has held public office, as before mentioned, and while a resident of McLean County served as Township Collector several terms. He is a member of Normal Lodge No, 673, A.F. & A.M.
The Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois. Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1893.