John "The Elder" Spann Family
North and South Carolina

John "The Elder" Spann
b. about 1719 to 1723
probably at Edenton, Surry Co., N.C.
d. 1795 probably in
Edgefield Dist., S. C.

m. Sarah Smith abt 1746, Northampton Co., North Carolina Colony
b. about 1725 Mount Royal, Bertie Precinct, N. C.
d. aft 3 Jun 1790 Edgefield Dist., S. C.
father: James Smith of Halifax Co., N.C
mother: unknown

his father - Capt.  John Spann
his mother- Mary ?Norwood
Child with Sara Smith
John Spann b. 1746 Wayne Co., N. C. d. May 1814 Ridge Springs, Saluda Co., S. C. m. Amelia "Milly" Smith
William Spann b. 1752 Johnston Co., N. C. d. aft. 1773 96th Dist., Buncombe Co., N. C. m.
James Spann,(Capt.) b. 1754 Johnston Co., N. C. d. 21 Dec 1793/96 Augusta, Richmond Co., GA m. Elizabeth Fox (dau. Catherine Fox Spann m. Elizha Hammond)
George Spann b. 1755 Johnston Co., N. C. d. Oct 1809 Tattnel Co., GA m. Anne White Capers
Francis Spann
b. 1757
m. Eleanor Bruton
Martha Spann b. 1765/1783 Dobbs Co., N. C. d. 1836 Glynn Co., GA m. Richard Childers

Earle Steadman wrote extensively on the Spann relatives about 1967 and is the primary source of research on the Spann families of Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia. The following excerpts were taken from pages 12, 13, and 14.

"It is said that he was born in Virginia. He apparently moved first to Bertie (now Northampton) County, N.C., and later to Edgecombe (now Halifax) County, N. C., with his father. After his marriage he settled first in Johnston County, N.C. and later moved to Anson County, N.C. Two deeds of record (Deed Book 1, pg. 282and 326) in Anson County show that on 14 Oct 1747 he bought from one Robert Parks 1200 acres of land in that part of old Bladen County, N.C., which in 1749 became Anson County; and that he also bought from Robert Parks "other lands" in Johnston County.

Researcher, Joe Spann, states that Steadman himself gave up on trying to connect Capt. John Spann with the Virginia Spann families. Joe has done major research to revise this families early history.  [Joe Spann, Genforum 5/07/04]

Randolph Currie says that he discovered Sarah Smith was the daughter of James Smith of Halifax County.  She is named in his will. (WB 1, p. 70).

The original area of Johnston County, as formed from Craven County in 1746, embraced a large section of country south and west of the original Edgecombe County. Since in later years one of his sons was living there, it is inferred that the actual place in Johnston County was in that part of the original area which became Dobbs County in 1758 and became Wayne County in a later year. It is evident that he lived in Johnston County but a few years before moving to Anson County.

Joe Spann, reseacher, states

"Johnston County Courthouse and more than 400 acres on Button Branch, about 13 miles to the north. It is likely that he was in the business of collecting and selling naval stores (pine tar) or operating a mill. The close proximity of the Neuse River also makes this seem reasonable. The absence of a large number of slaves before 1758 seems to preclude any extensive agricultural activities.

About 1758 Captain John Spann joined his oldest son John and became a resident of the Piney Grove Community in present-day Wayne County, North Carolina. Captain John Spann had deeded over his former home at Mount Royal in Northampton County, North Carolina to his youngest son Richard Spann. He brought with him his wife and seven slaves.

Like his father, John was a land speculator, buying and selling large tracts. On at least one occasion things seem to have gone awry. In 1760 John traveled to Orange County, North Carolina to take part in the estate proceedings of Ambrose Joshua Smith. Spann had sold Smith 1,200 acres in Anson County, North Carolina only fours years previously. It seems likely that Smith bought the lands on credit
and was then unable to pay. Spann was named estate administrator and performed the inventory. Whether or not he received restitution is unknown. " [ Joe Spann posting on - 21 Apr 2005]

1747 - The original area of Anson County, as formed from Bladen County in 1749, extended westward and embraced more than one-half of the territory which now is included in the present State of North Carolina. A deed of record (Deed Book 5, pg. 122) shows that the 1200 acres of land bought by John Spann on 14 October 1747 was situated in that part of the original area which now is in the present Anson County. This land is described (Deed Books 1 and 5) as being in three tracts: one tract consisting of 500 acres (south of Peede River), one tract consisting of 400 acres (south of Peede River, and at the mouth of Rocky River of Peede), and one tract consisting of 300 acres (on the lower side of Little River of Peede and on both sides of Dry Creek). Rocky River flows into the Yadkin River (formerly Big Peedee River) a few miles northeast of Ansonville in the present Anson County, while Little River flows into the same stream at a point above Blewitt Falls (on Blewitt Falls Lake and north of the town of Pee Dee) in the present Anson County. On 22 Jun 1756 all of this land was sold (Deed Book 5, pg. 122) by John Spann of Anson County, N. C., to one Ambrose Joshua Smith of Rowan County, N. C.

1759-1760 - A John Spann is listed as No. 73, on the Muster Roll of Captain James Leslie's Company, under Colonel Richard Richardson, as serving in the Cherokee Indian War of 1759-1760, a microfilm of this roll being in the Congressional Library at Washington, D. C. In Leonardo Andrea's "South Carolina Colonial Soldiers and Patriots" it is shown that Colonel Richard Richardson's men were mainly from Camden District of Craven County, S. C. At that time he lived in the neighborhood of what then was called the "High Hills of Santee" and near to the locality which became the town of Statesburg in the present Sumter County, S. C. This place of residence is evidenced by the fact that the wife of one of his sons was a constituent member of the High Hills of Santee Baptist Church which was organized on 4 Jan 1772. Though no record has been found of a grant of land made to him in South Carolina prior to 1772, it is probable that he acquired land by purchase from a private party and record of such purchase and a later disposition was either lost or destroyed by fire, war, or other.[Steadman]

1777 August, By Act of the legislature ofSouth Carolina, John Spann was appointed a member of the Petit Jury and also a member of the Grand Jury for Ninety Six District. He is listed in the 1790 census for Edgefield County, his household then consisting of one male (himself) 16 years and upwards of age, one female (his wife), and five slaves. It is shown by deeds of record (Deed Books D, pages 194 and 195; 10, pages 119 and 125; G, page 180) at Edgefield Courthouse that as of 31 August 1791 he, in one instance naming himself as "John Spann the Elder", has disposed of all lands and slaves which he held in Edgefield County. Soon thereafter he moved to Georgia, and evidently was the John Spann who is mentioned in the Minutes of the Inferior Court of Wilkes County, for 1794-1795, as a party to a lawsuit ($41.44 due him) in that county. It is said that he was alive in 1795, and perhaps died in the home of one of his children not then living in Edgefield County.

Early in 1772 he moved from Craven County (now Sumter County), S. C., to about that part of old Edgefield County which now is Saluda County, S. C. As recorded in Council journals of South Carolina.---on 7 July 1772 his petition for 350 acres of land in South Carolina was read and approved; on 2 March 1773 his petition for certification of a lapsed patent for 350 acres of land in Colleton County was read and approved; on 26 July 1774 a grant to him for 350 acres of land in Colleton County was signed. The grant (Royal Grants, Vol. 31, pg. 610) and his memorial (Memorials, Vol. 13, page 221) covering this land describe it as being "in Colleton County on Waters of Little Saludy River bounding South and South East on Enis Richison (Richardson), John Spann and Peter Foy, North West on land the owner unknown the other sides on vacant land". This grant and memorial show that John Spann has previously acquired another tract of land adjoining that described in the grant. As shown by Deed Book R-4, page 311, at Charleston, S. C., and by Deed Book 10, page 119, at Edgefield Courthouse, this previously acquired land was a tract of 200 acres bought from James and Mary Farral (Farrell) at some time after 5 March 1770, and described as being situated in Colleton County on Red Bank Creek (Waters of little Saludy River). On 3 June 1790, as shown by Deed Book 10, pages 119 and 125, at Edgefield Courthouse, both of these tracts of land (200 acres acquired by purchase and 350 acres acquired by grant) were sold by him to one of his sons. Prior to 1776 Colleton County, as memtioned herin, included the eastern two-thirds of what later became Edgefield County.[Steadman]

As shown in previously mentioned deeds made by him in Edgefield County, the name of John Spann's wife was Sarah. Its is family tradition that she was a Miss Smith; and since she has a son named Francis Spann, it seems possible but unproved that she was a sister of the Ambrose Joshua Smith to whom John Spann sold 1200 acres of land in Anson County, N. C., as previously mentioned. Ambrose Joshua Smith sold 900 acres of this land on 7 August 1756, and one Francis Smith (father or brother of Sarah and Ambrose Joshua?) was a witness to the deed. She died after 3 June 1790, this being the date on which she and her husband deeded land to one of their sons.
Is is said that they were the parents of eight children:

DAUGHTER (?) ".[Steadman12, 13, 14]

Sarah Spann inherited a slave girl from her husband, John"John Spann was last known to be living on 7 January 1799 in Edgefield District, South Carolina. His exact date of death and place of burial remain unknown to this compiler. Traditionally he is thought to have been buried on his plantation at Red Bank Creek. A recent examination of those lands failed to reveal any family cemetery. Strangely, no probate proceeding for him in Edgefield District has been located. It is also possible that he died and was buried at one of his children's homes. Sarah Smith Spann was last known to be living 3 June 1790." [Joe Spann posting on 21 Apr 2005,]

1784-87 State of North Carolina Census
page 2                     males         males                       women        blacks          blacks
                                 21-60       under 21/over 60     all ages         12-50         under 12/over 50
Willis Spann                  1                      -                       -                 -                  2
James Spann                  1                     -                        -                1                 1?
Richard Spann               1                    -                         -                -                  1?

1790 -

"As has been noted previously John Spann "the elder" was a slave owner. As a resident of North Carolina he held only one slave, his wife's house servant Aggy. However by 1790 in South Carolina he held a total of five slaves, probably indicating a shift to crop agriculture as a means of making a living. The origin of these additional slaves is not clear. Some of his unexplained deed transactions in Dobbs<> County may relate to the procurement of these slaves. It is equally possible that he acquired them as part of his father's estate.

In about 1789 John seems to have made a decision to retire. Two slaves were sold to his son James in 1789. His Red Bank Creek plantation was sold to James in 1790. Four other slaves were sold to his sons James and Francis in 1791. This last sale resulted in a bitter feud which split the family apart. In 1792 James and Francis Spann confided to their older brother John that they had tricked their father into making out the deed. In 1799 their father took them to court, bringing suit for the return of the slaves. John Spann III testified on behalf of his father, thus causing a rift in the family." [Joe Spann - - 21 Apr 2005]

1790- US  Census,  In the following census we see several Spann families.  Some have been referred to above but others are still unknown by the author as to whether or not they have a relationship with John "The Elder".

            North Carolina.  Dobbs County. Series: M637  Roll: 7  Page: 460
            John Spann               2(males)   0           1(females)   -   2 (slaves)
            N. C., Halifax Dist.,
Series: M637  Roll: 7  Page: 481
            Richard Spann         1               0           1           -        2 (slaves)
             N. C., Edenton Dist,
Series: M637  Roll: 7  Page: 288
            Thomas Spann         1               1            1           -        3 (slaves)
             N. C., Halifax Dist.,
Series: M637  Roll: 7  Page: 482
             Richard Spann        1               0            1            -       2(slaves)
             Fredrick Spann       1               1            3            -       6(slaves)
N. C., Halifax Dist., Series: M637  Roll: 7  Page: 480
             Willis Spann             1               2            2            -      6(slaves)

1791, October 14 - Will of Frederick Jordan is filed in Wayne Co., N. C.  The witnesses to the will includes Henry Johnson, James (X) Spann and Henry Spann. [North Carolina Archives, Raleigh, N. C]


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