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Marriage and Farm



Site Map Essex-Lincolnshire Tree Daniel --> New Zealand Aitken to Australia
Spilman Surname Daniel --> Iowa, USA William --> California, USA John Ellerker Spilman --> Canada Aitken in Scotland Alexander Aitken 1776

Nov 24, 1848 Whitton, England - Feb 6, 1915 Burchinal, Iowa, USA

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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 1890.

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 farms."

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 23, 1883
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 Holmes

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.  Thea died 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.                                             447.58 acres
Minnie (Spilman) Hugh                                  96.91 acres
Harry Spilman                                                697.12 acres
L. Spilman (Lloyd? Alexander's Son)      100.00 acres
Thomas Spilman                                               76.10 acres
Kate (Spilman) Johnson                                 78.25 acres
L. T. Spilman (Lillie Theresa?)                     79.25 acres
Ann  (Spilman) Eastman                                 77.76 acres


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Daniel Spilman 1848-1915- Life in England before going to the United States.
-Birth Certificate,   Sloop Walcot, Whitton Windmill, Map of North Lincolnshire to America 1870.
Letters from America back to England
-Dan's marriage to Thea Anderson and his farm in Clear Lake, IA
  Marriage Certificate, 1912 plat map, Photo of Thea, Thea's death certificate
-Dan and Thea Spilman's children  photos 1893, 1898, 1961





Daniel , Jr.




Select each child to find ancestor branches.