Hannah M. Spears

Hannah M. Spears (maiden name: Ford) was born around 1841 to Tabitha Ford in Middletown, Guernsey, Ohio. Not much is known about her early life. Sometime before 1859, Hannah began living with a man named Thomas Watkins. With him, she had two children: Florence May, born January 15, 1859; and Harry, born around 1864. In 1866, she began living with William Spears. Though it is unclear whether the two were ever legally married, she called herself Hannah Spears, and testimonies from neighbors and friends indicate that they "behaved as husband and wife." The couple had five children together: Agusta, born around 1867; Clarkson, born around 1872; Sarah or Sadie, born April 11, 1875; Hattie, born around 1876; and Emma, born July 13, 1878. 

William Spears drowned in a creek near the family's home on February 13, 1879. Hannah filed for a widow's pension in 1890, but the government rejected her claim in 1903. They concluded that William had never legally divorced his first wife. Hannah died on October 27, 1916, and is buried in the Northwood Cemetery in Guernsey.


Testimony of Hannah Spears

Special Examiner's Report, William Spears Pension

Name:Spears, Hannah M.
Alternative names:
  • Ford, Hannah M. (alternative name)
  • Spouse
Branch of service:
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:
Rank Out:
Highest rank achieved:
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Spears, WilliamSpears, Hannah M.433979application-widow
Birth date:1841
Birth date certainty:About
Birth place:Guernsey County, OH
Death date:1916-10-27
Death place:Guernsey County, OH
Causes of death:
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Spears, Hannah M.parent ofSpears, Emma
Spears, Hannah M.parent ofSpears, Sarah
Spears, Hannah M.parent ofSpears, Clarkson
Spears, Hannah M.parent ofSpears, Agusta
Spears, Hannah M.parent ofSpears, Hattie
Spears, Hannah M.wife ofSpears, William

Pension Records for William Spears, RG15, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; United States Federal Census, 1850. 1860, 1870, 1880, 1910; Florence May Anderson in the Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993, accessed through Ancestry.com; "Hannah M. Ford Spears," FindAGrave.com (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33115903/hannah-m-speer).