Maine & Maritime Canada Genealogy

Researching Downeast Maine and Maritime Canada Families Together

William Thomas Spates, born 1845, Eastport, Maine; great grandson of Hessian Johann Julius Anthon Christoph Specht

Note of 17 July 2013: A reader has posted a photograph of William Thomas Spates in uniform - see the comments section.

William Thomas Spates was born in February of 1845 at Eastport, Maine, the son of John Edward(s) Specht an his wife Sarah Suzanna McMullen.   His paternal grandparents were Thomas William Specht and his wife Bridget.  Thomas William Specht was the son of Johann Julius Anthon Christoph Specht, a Hessian soldier from Braunschweig, in Germany.


His maternal grandparents were Peter McMullen and his wife Mary Sarah McDormand.  


William Thomas Spates married Anna Graham of Nova Scotia and had, I believe, three sons and a daughter.


Below are a post from the blog Heirlooms Reunited about William Thomas Spates, which includes a 1908 invoice from the W. T. Spates Tin Plate and Sheet Iron business, and a family tree for William Thomas Spates.


1908 invoice, W.T. Spates, Eastport Maine, with photo of Mr. Spates

1908 invoice from W. T. Spates of Eastport, Maine, Tin Plate and Sheet Iron Worker.

Thanks to a reader [see comment below], I now know that William Thomas Spates was born in Eastport, Maine, in February of 1845.  There was another William Spates in Eastport, but he was the nephew of William Thomas Spates.  The Spates surnames appears to have evolved from the Braunschweig surname Specht.

From online research, hopefully correct:

The parents of William Thomas Spates were John Edward(s) Specht, born in 1813 in Nova Scotia, and Sarah S. McMullen, born in 1812 in Digby, Nova Scotia.  William's paternal grandparents were Thomas William Specht (son of Hessian Johann Julius Anthon Christoph Specht of Braunschweig, in what is now Germany) and his wife Bridget.  William's maternal grandparents were Peter McMullen and his wife Mary Joanna McDormand of Digby, both of Nova Scotia.

William Thomas Spates married Anna Graham of Nova Scotia; they had, I believe, three sons and a daughter.

I found an interesting website on the Hessians and on Johann Julius Anthon Christoph Specht

Other names that appear on the invoice are O. H. [?] Brown and B. N. Andrews, who must have been members of the I.O.R.M., which I assume was the International Order of Red Men, to whom the invoice is directed.  I found Oscar H. Brown and Byron N. Andrews in the 1900 Census for Eastport, Maine.

Thanks for stopping by!

William T. Spates was born in Eastport in 1845. He did not pass his name to a son. His brother John W. Spates was also born in Eastport. In 1870 William Anthony Spates was born to John W. Spates in Eastport.

I can't vouch for the picture but the William Thomas Spates would be my first cousin 4x removed through my late mother Muriel Frances Spates Cohoon

ToddHouse said...

Thank you for your helpful comment. I notice that the Spates name evolved from Specht of Braunschweig in Germany. Johann Julius Anthon Christoph Specht came to North America with a company of Hessians. Like several thousand other Hessians, he stayed in North America after the Revolution. In the summer of 2010, Prof. Anette Ruppel Rodrigues of Bangor, Maine, spoke at the Border Historical Society, Eastport, Maine; she's an expert on the Hessians who served in the Revolutionary War and has done extensive research both in North America and Germany.



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Comment by Pam Beveridge on July 17, 2013 at 9:16am

Wow!  Thanks for the wonderful image, Louise Matheson.  I'm amending the page with a note at the top for folks to scroll down to see this photo.

Comment by Gale Spates on July 16, 2013 at 9:19pm

Great picture, I'm a  cousin; connected via

James Wellington Spates 1821 – 1876, a brother of WT's father John Edward

Gale Spates Stevenson

Comment by Louise Matheson on July 16, 2013 at 8:59pm

This is a picture of W. T. Spates. The pic was taken in Eastport, Maine, and on the back he signed his name. My relation to him is through his wife, Anna Graham.

Comment by Pam Beveridge on June 22, 2013 at 6:48pm

Might be a good idea to plan a trip and spend some time at St. Andrews, shire town of Charlotte County, and Machias, shire town of Washington County, as well as Eastport.  Machias has TONS of records, and they've got many of them indexed.  Hopefully St. Andrews is the same.  There's a great researcher there, Shirley O'Neil.

Comment by Gale Spates on June 22, 2013 at 3:20pm

There is also a book:

Vital Records from the Eastport Sentinel 1818-1900

Nothing there to help me but the CD might be different. Also checked with the Eastport Clerk- she was very nice but didn't find anything.. Appreciate your other thoughts.

Comment by Pam Beveridge on June 22, 2013 at 12:29pm

The Machias Historical Society and Washington County Courthouse have one of the best newspaper collections in the State, which they're in the process of digitizing.  They're selling CDs of what they've done so far, in both a regular and a searchable format.  I bought one of the searchable format ones of the Eastport Sentinel, from, IIRC, 1818-1829 or thereabouts and donated it to the Barracks Museum, or I'd look for you.  (The Barracks is open in the summer but has no phone; there may be copies of Vital Records there.  The manager's email is  The second installment may be done by this time.  If I had the CD in hand, I'd perhaps be able to give you contact info.  I just searched and could not come up with a website advertising the CDs.  You could contact Valdine Atwood at  The longtime clerk at Eastport, Helen Archer, who died recently, would have been a great help to you.  But perhaps there is someone there now who is also willing to dig for you.  The sexton at Eastport also died within the year or so, and he was a fountain of knowledge about Hillside Cemetery.  It's very sad when you think of the loss of friends, as well as the loss of their knowledge and helpfulness.

Comment by Gale Spates on June 22, 2013 at 12:16pm

My Spates roots are also connected to this family via James Welling Spates (a brother of John Edward) James married Lucy Hanscom of NB, children born Eastport: Frances, James, Ella, moved to Brooklyn NY in 1850s and 2 children born there.  Can anyone document the Eastport births ?

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