Thomas DeSpain (b. 1835). Tom moved from Kentucky to Indiana,
married Mary S. Moore purchased a farm and began raising a
large family. Tom and Mary were the parents of eleven, including
James (b.1867) and Francis Mildred (b. 1873).
While Tom was feeding the family hog, and with several of the children
looking on, the hog rushed him knocking him to the ground.
Complications form this accident led to his death in 1908.
He was buried at Fairview cemetery in New Albany Indiana.
Submitted by Robert (Bob) De Spain
Written by Mrs Charles (Daysie) DeSpain. September 28 1970.
Peter DeSpain (b. 1763) of Montgomery County, Virginia fought in the Revolutionary War. On Sept 11, 1780, Peter DeSpain and three other men, ranging in age from 17 to 30 years, appeared before the Recruiting Officer at Chesterfield Court House, Va. and enlisted in the Virginia Line. They had traveled over 80 miles from Montgomery County, Va. to join the Revolutionary Forces at Chesterfield Court House, traveling over dim and poorly marked trails in order to join in the common cause. Peter DeSpain , age 17, -five feet five and 3/4 inches tall. He said he was born in North Carolina, but did not say in which county he was born in. He was then living in Montgomery County, Va. when he enlisted. The Enlisting Officer then proceeded to give whatever type of physical they gave in those days, pronouncing him fit for service and fighting and describing Peter DeSpain as follows...."his hair was light brown, his eyes were gray, and his complexion was "SWR ATHEY"", (yellowish). He enlisted for 1 year and 6 months. By trade he was a farmer. On his war records in Washington DC, his name is spelled "d Espagne". After the War, he moved to Green County Kentucky. Where he settled on Sand Lick Run and Brush Creek where he died March 31, 1850. He was born in 1763 or 1761. He was married twice, his first wife was Polly House. His 2nd wife was Nancy Skaggs whom he married December 15, 1791, daughter of Henry Skaggs. James and Solomon Skaggs, Nancy's brothers were witnesses, Nelson County Kentucky. William Perry DeSpain, son of Peter DeSpain and wife Nancy Skaggs, was born in Green County Kentucky August 2, 1837. He was a minor when his father died and William D. Skaggs, who was magistrate of Green County, Kentucky and the child's uncle, was made his guardian. The 1810 census of Green County shows that Peter DeSpain had 9 sons and 4 daughters. Peter DeSpain had sisters...Temperence and Charlotte, and a brother James Scott DeSpain.
The following stories are about a few of the daughters of Thomas DeSpain (b.1835) and sisters of Francis Mildred (b.1873) and James (b.1867) above.
Submitted by Caryl L. Garrett
My great-great Aunts Jo, Lily, and Irene lived in New Albany, Indiana; Essie in Louisville, Kentucky. Hearing loss seems to run in the family. I recall everyone having to talk very loudly to each of them. All of them were accomplished in some type of needlework. They either pieced quilts and/or quilted quilts in their entirety. They did not produce ordinary quilts. They created works of art. The De Spain women were exceptionally good homemakers, excelled in all domestic skills, and were wonderful hostesses. They seemed to be especially adept at keeping a clean home, and I do not ever recall seeing a speck of dust or anything out of place.
She pieced quilts and always had a quilt top or two in
progress. She seemed to specialize in unusual designs or
very difficult, elaborate patterns. I recall seeing
extremely beautiful ones. Even as a child, I was mesmerized
by the many, many tiny stitches her work contained and
appreciative of the hours of hard work she put into each
Her vice was smoking and she tried to hide it. As soon as
she finished a cigarette, she would immediately empty and
wash out the ashtray. She kept a covered dish of hard candy
on the dining room table and a small bag of it in her purse.
She thought that by sucking a piece of candy, it would mask
the odor of smoke.
She was extremely vain about her hearing loss! To hide it,
she would pretend that she understood every word spoken.
Consequently, a visit to the doctor resulted in her saying,
"He told me I have very close (varicose) veins." Another
time she told someone how well her hibiscus plant was doing,
"My high biscuits has grown all the way up to the window
She was Catholic and spoke often of a religious order called
the Passionate Fathers which was really the Passionist
Fathers. Her husband rigged a door bell with an ear-splitting
buzzer so she could hear it when she was at home alone.
However, if anyone visiting was unaware of its piercing
sound, they would be scared out of their wits when it rang.
The usual reaction by most visitors was to bolt upright in
their chair, wide-eyed with fright, exclaiming "What was
THAT!" Aunt Essie would calmly look around and ask, "Was
that the bell?"
When my stepfather and I went to her house on some errand,
Aunt Essie would always inquire about my mother, Buena (her
great niece). My stepfather would wink at me and say, "Oh,
Buena fell down the steps and broke her leg." Aunt Essie
would reply, "My, that's nice." Of course, I would try my
best not to laugh. With each visit, the tales of accidents
that Mother endured grew worse, only to elicit more"My,
that's nice," comments!
She seemed to have the best hearing of the four sisters and
always looked younger than the other three. She exuded a
very sunny, pleasant disposition. It seemed that she was
always smiling. She was an accomplished seamstress and made
clothes for her family (husband, daughter, and sons). She
made shirts so well-tailored, they looked "store bought."
As a child, it was the first time I had ever seen a man's or
boy's homesewn shirt.
Her talent lay in quilting. Going to Aunt Jo's house was
akin to a geography lesson. She had shelves and shelves of
quilts from all over the U.S. just waiting to be quilted in
some special design. She would point to one bundle after
another, and name the state it came from.
She prevailed in needlework and embroidery, and she taught
me several stitches. Once she told me that if you sewed on
Sunday, that when you died and went to Heaven that you would
have to pick the stitches out with your nose! It scared me
so badly that I would not touch a needle on Sundays for a
long time. Finally, some kind adult assured me I had
nothing to fear if I did a little Sunday stitching!!
Years ago, every home was filled with "fancy work" (doilies,
runners, vanity sets, dresser scarves, etc...) These pieces
decorated the arms and backs of every "settee" and tops of
every piece of furniture in the house. The De Spain women
never did anything halfway, and Aunt Lily was no exception!
Fancy work was a big part of her home's decor.
She was the ultimate pack rat. Behind every door were
cardboard boxes stacked nearly to the ceiling. Her husband,
Frank even built a closet across one corner of a room to
hold some of the numerous cartons. Years later, after she
died and family members had to empty the house, they were
amazed. In all those boxes were linens (tablecloths,
napkins, placemats, dish towels, pillow cases, fancy work,
etc...) of every description; and personal items
(nightgowns, aprons, petticoats, camisoles, and slips). Her
clothing were outdated styles full of wide lace bands,
overly decorated with embroidery and ribbons. Some of the
items were so old that they had started to rot, and at the
slightest pull on the fabric, it would fall apart. Jars of
canned food were so old they couldn't even be identified. A
jar marked "Sauerkraut" had dried up and looked like a
Submitted by a Grandson
Francis Mildred DeSpain (b.1873) (Sister of the above ladies.)
was known as Grandma Nafius, Grandma, Granny, Aunt Fanny, and various other
endearing names. As noted above, about her sisters, she also was a good
As children we would often see her, after her household chores were done,
outside, sweeping the dirt to get rid of the dust. She was a very simple
lady but always prompt. If she was to stay elsewhere for a few days, and
was to be picked up at noon on Saturday, she would begin to pack on
Wednesday. She would bring her suitcase to the living room and place
it by the front door on Thursday. On Friday she would spend the better
part of the day
curling her hair. Grandma would use a very old curling iron that she would
heat to a glow in the front burner, on the kitchen stove.
Saturday morning at 9:00, she would be sitting on the arm of a chair,
front door, hat and coat on, ready to go. She could make the best berry
cobbler, that to this day, we have ever had. Grandma would not let us run
in front of the TV in our night clothes or in anything but fully dressed.
She just knew that if we could see those people on TV that they could see
us. We teased her a lot as youngsters. Grandma took it well, and only
remarked. "You will miss me when I'm gone." Yes Grandma, we sure do......
Submitted by Robert (Bob) De Spain
My Uncle Fred DeSpain and his Father-in-law, Mr. Coy, scratched the initials TL on a rock and buried it in an old cemetery in LaRue County. A few years later someone dug it up and said they had found the grave of Tom Lincoln (brother of Abe) They had not found the grave of Tom Lincoln until now. Well, there was a big celebration, lots of powerful people and the Boy Scouts were involved. My Uncle Fred was too scared to admit he had done it. He didn't know what these people would do to him so he kept quiet all these years. The stone is still at the gift shop at the Lincoln Farm.
He confessed this to my sister and I shortly before he died.....
Submitted by Sharron Conner
As written by Pearl Stout in the 1940's (est.)
A daughter of Joseph DeSpain
Two De Spain brothers came to this country in 1777 with the French who came to assist the colonies in the War of Indepedence. The Marquis de Lafayette headed the movement. After the Revelutionary war many people started the westward movement. That is the story of the De Spain family in Kentucky. (moving ahead, leaving out the digression) The name De Spain should be in two parts. In France it was "de Spain". I believe that families with this"de" preceeding them were families of distiction, usually families of nobility.
Submitted by Vicki Chrysler
Uncle Bo and Aunt Elsie were really nice people, they had no children of their own, but always had vanilla wafers and kool-aid on hand for the neices and nephews who were always around. Aunt Elsie always used those colored aluminum glasses for drinks, they were so neat. Uncle Bo, was a farmer, there were hogs, chickens, cows, etc.. He used to let me go with him to collect the eggs from the hens. That was always fun. They had a piano on the back part of the house. All of us kids used to "Play" the piano. No one really knew how but aunt Elsie and Uncle Bo never hollered at us, they just let us bang away. When it got to much for everyone, someone that could really play would come out and say "Let me show you kids how this is done" A polite way of getting rid of us.