Nov 24, 1848 Whitton, England - Feb 6, 1915 Burchinal, Iowa, USA
Marriage and the Farm
Late in 1871 Dan came to Iowa and began looking for land.
We do not know when he met Thea Anderson but they
married on February 11, 1879 in
Mason City, IA. She was the daughter of Olaf Anderson and Thuvi Olson and
born in Dvarve Hollsgdall, Norway. She was said to have come to America in
1870. We do not have much information about
Thea at the present time.
Tom Smith went to the Lincolnshire Archives
Office in 2002 and viewed the will and probate record of Daniel's father Thomas
Spilman (1809-1888) farmer, windmill and boat owner. Tom writes,
"When he died in 1888 he left
gross personal estate worth 5,103 British pounds which, because of inflation in
the last 114 years would be worth (amazingly) 325,000 British pounds today which
is equal to $510,315 US dollars. He left to his son Dan Spilman in Clear
Lake, Iowa 800 British pounds which is worth 51,330 British pounds today, equal
to $80,598 U.S. Dollars."
If Dan had wanted to return to England he might have been able
to do so at this time. The family would have been expecting their fifth
child Daniel Jr. at about this time in 1888. In June of 1889 Dan would
have received his inheritance. It seems most likely that Dan decided to
invested his money in the purchase of Land in Iowa.
We know that Dan began purchasing
his farm in 1872 per letter #6.
The 1912 plat map book for Cerro Gordo County in Iowa shows that Dan owned
858.61 acres of land. See plat map below:
Dan kept in touch with his family
in England both by way of letters
and visits from his brothers from England.
Letter #9 from the collection
is from Dan's brother, Thomas Spilman. Tom made a trip in 1889 (the
year after their father's death) to
visit Dan in America just before marrying his wife Helena Blanche Levick in
Other brothers also came to visit
Dan in America. Tom Smith writes:
"In 1893 Alex (aged 41) and his brother George (37)
went on a holiday trip to see their brother Dan in Clear Lake, Iowa . They had a
high old time apparently and the three of them went right across America and got
as far as San Francisco before it was time to return home to their respective
According to Ellis Island records
Alex and George arrived
June 12, 1893 on
the ship Aurania from Liverpool, England.
It is interesting to note that Dan
had a son born in Oct 1893 and he named him Alexander Aitken Spilman, no doubt
after the brother he visited with that year.
Below is an article that Anne
Cooper kept from a local newspaper noting the trip as news from 30 years ago
(1923). The article reads:
"Daniel Spilman returned Monday
from a three weeks trip in the West. From here he and his brothers went to
Denver where they remained for a few days sight seeing. They then went to
Colorado Springs, next to Pike's Peak and then to Salt Lake City, Utah, where
they remained for some time. While here they visited the Mormon temple and
all the other places of interest in that city. They also bathed in the
waters of Salt Lake. From there they went to San Francisco, then north to
Victoria and homeward on the Canadian-Pacific. This was a very fine trip
and they all enjoyed it splendidly."
Daniel and Thea had 9 children all
together. One son, Ned, died at less than 1 year of age.
Minnie Spilman March 05, 1879 -
July 20, 1951 married George Hugh
Harry Spilman November 11, 1880 -
December 28, 1965 married Ada Crozier
Ned Spilman May 12, 1882 - March
Thomas Spilman October 20, 1884 -
April 22, 1967 married Winnie Fry
Annie Spilman August 30, 1886 -
September 21, 1970 married Earl Eastman
Daniel Spilman, Jr. December 26,
1888 - May 31, 1974 married Alphena Thompson
Kate Spilman October 09, 1891 -
March 1981 married Chester Adolph Johnson
Alexander Aitken Spilman October
09, 1893 - December 17, 1933 married Anna Katz
Lillie Theresa Spilman December 07, 1895 - November 1985 married Clare Jesse
Daniel Spilman basically retired
from farming in 1908 at the age of 60. He left what was called the "Home
Place" and moved to Burchinal, IA (a small town 8 miles SE of Clear Lake).
He died 6 years later of prostate and kidney problems. Dan Spilman, Jr.
took over 'the home place' and farm when his Dad and Mom moved to Burchinal.
After Dan died February 06, 1915
Thea moved to a house across the street from her eldest daughter Minnie Hugh.
In 1927 she fell and broke a shoulder, never fully recovering.
May 02, 1927 and was buried in Clear Lake, IA.
Below is a photo of
Thea in her
old age holding the bible.
When Dan died his farm was split
up between his eight surviving children. Deane Spilman, Dan's Grandson,
said that each of the children had put a plot of land in a hat and each drew
their tract of land inherit and farm. They each were said to have
inherited about 80 acres apiece.
Below is a plat map from 1939.
Some of the children bought additional land for farming. This was 24 years after
Dan's death, but many of the farms of his children are noted below. Some
of the children invested in additional farm land as well.
Dan Spilman, Jr.
Minnie (Spilman) Hugh
L. Spilman (Lloyd? Alexander's Son)
Kate (Spilman) Johnson
L. T. Spilman (Lillie Theresa?)
Ann (Spilman) Eastman