Last week I mentioned my ancestor, Samuel Spicer, so this week I will tell a little bit more about the Spicer family. Samuel Spicer was born in 1640, either in England or New England, the son of Thomas and Michael (yes, this is his mother’s name) Spicer. The Spicer family accompanied Lady Deborah Moody from Massachusetts to Gravesend around 1643. Samuel, Thomas, and Jacob Spicer are listed as freeholders in the town in 1656. Sometime before 1660, Samuel became a Quaker, and was arrested and imprisoned in New Amsterdam for ‘encouraging Quakers.’ Samuel’s mother Michael was also arrested and charged with ‘trying to entice even young girls to join the Quakers.’ Mary Dyer (who became a Quaker martyr) and John Taylor finished a preaching tour in Gravesend in 1659.
Sometime around 1665, he married Esther Tilton, the daughter of John and Mary Tilton. This is the same Mary Tilton who was banned along with Deborah Moody for not believing in infant baptism. The Tiltons also followed Deborah Moody to Gravesend. Esther was born in 1646. Samuel and Esther had nine children, Abraham in 1666, Jacob (my 6th great grandfather) in 1668, Mary in 1671, Sarah in 1674 (died young), Martha in 1676, another Sarah in 1667, Abigail in 1683, Thomas, and Samuel.
John Tilton and Samuel Spicer are witnesses to a deed of purchase of land from Native Americans at Gravesend in 1684. In 1686, Samuel and his family moved to West Jersey. There is a letter from the Quaker meeting in Gravesend recommending them to their new Quaker meeting. (Quakers, when they moved, had their meeting write them a leter of recommendation, essentially saying that they were good and respected members.) He held worship at his new home before the new meetinghouse was erected in Newton. He became a representative to Quaker meetings. He was appointed a judge of the Gloucester County courts in 1687. He died in 1699 at the age of 59.
Esther died four years after Samuel, in a rather unusual way. It appears that she was sitting in her house with several others when they were struck by lightning. None of them survived. Esther was 58. They were both buried in the Newton Friends cemetery, which is recorded as ‘utterly neglectected and overgrown’ in a Victorian-era genealogy. It appears that the cemetery is now beginning to be looked after, or at least that’s what I was able to find online.