Born in 1803, six years before Abraham Lincoln and living through the Irish Famine during which he and his wife Nora (Hartney) lost two little girls named Mary and Anne either in Ireland or on the way over in a famine ship, their oldest boy Matthew survived the trip. They had lived through the famine in Ireland by emigrating to America (via Canada?) according to the history that I can find in “Centennial History of Coshocton County, Ohio” by William Bahmer in 1909. What happened was this I put in “John Spellacy Nora Hartney” into the search area on “Google Books” screen and the book on Coshocton popped up. It said; (Remember this was 1909)
” In recent years Coshocton’s development has been rapid. Many business concerns have here found a profitable field and their trade interests are bringing the city into close touch with other parts of the country. Each successful industry should be a matter of pride to the citizens in that it is a factor in the general progress and improvement here. The Spellacy-Raiff Enameling Company is now conducting a prosperous concern in the manufacture of high grade enameled kitchen ware. The President of the company, M. Spellacy was born in Clare County, Ireland, In 1844 and was therefore only about six years of age when in 1850 his parents, John and Nora (Hartney) Spellacy, bought their family to the United States. They located first in Vermont and the father became identified with railroad work there. He lived at various places and after the breaking out of the Civil War engaged in contracting and railroad building, with which he was identified until he reached the evening of life, He died in 1888 at the very respectable age of ninty two years. M. Spellacy began railroad work at an early age, carrying water for the construction crews when but just a lad of ten years. From water boy he gradually worked his way upward until he became a railroad contractor and for some thirty five years was prominently and extensively engaged in railroad construction. During this period he built many miles of railroad and was employed by a number of the leading railroad companies of the country. In 1903 he became a factor in development of the oil interest in Harrison County and is still associated with this work, in which he attained a notable measure of success. A man of resourceful ability however, he has not confined his attention to a single line but has engaged in various fields of business enterprise, readily recognizing a favorable opportunity.”
According to family lore the Spellacys were known for being very good with horses and when John Spellacy first came to America he worked grading roads with a team of horses…he was in charge of taking care of and getting the work out of the horses. Horses were the “Heavy Construction Equipment” of that day and age to level and create a “roadbed”. It talks of them being “Contractors” so I imagine they owned the horses and leased them and their services to the Railroad Companies. Ergo Martin Spellacy’s Horse Farm in Alton, Ohio. And from what I’ve read in old newspaper archives online Matt had a huge place (100 + acres) too. It looks like a horse farm (he was a railroad contractor also) outside Coshocton in Hopedale, Ohio. And when there was oil found on it he sold off his horses and then the land to Standard Oil, and started the Enameling Plant with Raiff in Coshocton.
And another thing, I can remember my Dad telling a story about how not everyone was happy when Lincoln was elected and about a Aunt on the Spellacy side who got so angry at the election because they this meant war and they knew that their brothers Martin, Matthew and Michael would be at risk and sure enough Matthew though and immigrant was pressed into service unwillingly. So his father John Spellacy according to this moved his family at the start of the Civil War…I’ll bet right after they took Matty away. Anyway John moved the rest of his family to Southeastern Ohio. When Matt left the service his own way and found his family in Southeastern Ohio his next step was to sell horses to the Confederates. I can remember them talking of a useless trunk of Confederate money in the family. Reality bites even in real families and War stinks and It’s wrong to force someone into military service period. They came here from Ireland to stay alive and to have a say in how they lived their own life, they fought enough hard battle just to get here alive they’d lost enough children and weren’t losing any more. They would not to be forced into Military service like in England.
We come from a long line of immigrant survivors. And in raising a large family of whom only one married and had children, Jon’s son Michael Spellacy is our Great Grandfather. Family lore says that John was from a place called “Ballykett” in County Clare Ireland. He and his wife Norah (Honora Hartney Spellacy) were married in Cabinteely Parish in Ireland. The records I can find show that at one point his family was living according to a census in Sandusky County and he was a Farmer and residing in the house with him was Norah his wife and the children Matthew, Martin, Michael working for the Railroad and their daughters Sarah, Anna and Kate at home yet. Now family lore is that Sarah and Anna were fraternal twins. Family stories…the more I read the more real they become part of a history of this country you won’t find in a history book because it’s real it’s family.