Neighbarger, Spawr

Elizabeth (Messer) Spawr's grave in the Cedarvale Cemetery in Neosho Falls, Kansas
Elizabeth (Messer) Spawr’s grave in the Cedarvale Cemetery in Neosho Falls, Kansas

My research

All of my genealogy information is now available in the Genealogies section of

A written history in PDF format is at Spawr complete. Please consider downloading it and sharing it with family because this site won’t always be here.

I am looking for a place where I can post my photos online where they will be available publicly, freely and permanently. I previously attached my old photos to individuals in FamilySearch’s Family Tree, but I can’t be sure they will continue to be available there. It’s too easy and common for other users to merge these individuals into people in “their” family trees, deleting the ones I attached the photos to.

Missing pieces (do you have one of them?)

  • Do any photos exist for the Spawrs or Neighbargers? If they do, I haven’t come across any. If you have any, will you please share scans of them?
  • Where were Irena Neighbarger’s children with John W. Griffith (if that’s the case)–Amanda Adelaide and James Ross Griffith–in the 1850 census? They would have been 4 and 2 then, but they’re not with Irena and John.
  • Is there a divorce record for Irena and John?
  • When and where did Valentine and Irena get married?
  • What did Irena Neighbarger look like? Do any photos exist? What did she die of?
  • Is the Isaac Spawr who was the son of John Spawr and adopted by Peter and Elizabeth the same Isaac Spawr who showed up in Missouri and married Minnie Sweet and Flora Richison in the 1880s?
  • What happened to Isaac Spawr (son of Peter and Elizabeth Spawr) between the 1860 census and his wife’s remarriage in 1863?
  • The older Isaac Spawr’s children ended up in Washington. Two of his sister Mary’s children and Mary (Spawr Best) herself ended up in Washington. There’s probably no way to know this, but did each know the others were there in the same state?

Photos and links to related sites

The Good Old Times in McLean County by Dr. E. Duis
This book, which is the source of a lot of what we know about the Spawr family, is now online. (Click on the “Read this book” tab. There is a search box, too.)

Fourteenth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry

Valentine L. Spawr Civil War diary
As transcribed by Chad Spawr.

Excerpts from Valentine L. Spawr Civil War diary with current photos

Sketch of Fort Halleck, Columbus, Kentucky, during Civil War

The Spawr Family of America
Chad Spawr’s site. Includes the Spawr line back to the 1500s, biographies of recent Spawrs, and photos.

Spawr store adPeter and Elizabeth Spawr, the children they still had at home—Margaret and Joseph—their grandson Isaac, their son Valentine and his wife Irena and their daughters, and three of Irena’s brothers—Jacob, George, and Abraham Neighbarger— and their families moved to Neosho Falls in the late 1860s. Peter, Elizabeth, and Joseph Spawr died there, as did Jacob and George Neighbarger. Valentine and his family moved to Gilman, Illinois, in 1876, and Abraham Neighbarger and his family moved to the Topeka area.

Cutler’s History of Kansas, Woodson County
Valentine Spawr mentioned as trustee of Neosho Falls.

Map of Neosho Falls, Woodson County, Kansas
Home of Valentine and Irena Spawr from about 1866 to 1876. Peter and Elizabeth Spawr had a farm southeast of town.

Life for a Neosho Falls Pioneer
Memories of a woman who moved to Kansas in 1857 and settled near Neosho Falls with her new husband in 1860. (If you find this page interesting, click “next” at the bottom to read about the next 20 years in Woodson County.)

United Brethren in Christ Church

Isaac Messer was a United Brethren minister, and the Spawrs in McLean County, Ill., were members of the church. In a history of the Money Creek township (Lexington centennial book), it says, “Probably the first preaching in the Township was by Isaac Messer, a local man belonging to the church of the United Brethren in Christ; with meetings being held at the Valentine Spawr residence.” As we know, Valentine Spawr’s son Peter married Isaac Messer’s daughter Elizabeth in 1829. A church was not actually built until 1856.

The United Brethren built a church in Neosho Falls, and when you look at a map of where their churches are distributed now, you will see a swath there in southeastern Kansas.

Nola Miles Rogers’ Web site
Descendants of Christian Neighbarger, Sr. (a couple of generations back from James Neighbarger). This site has more details than I’ve found anywhere else.


1992: Jim, a cousin who went to college near Lexington—Spawr family group sheets and cemetery information; excerpts from The Good Old Times in McLean County, Illinois by Dr. E. Duis (1874) and other books and pamphlets.
1998-2001: Chad Spawr, my half second cousin once removed (really!) and a great-grandson of Valentine L. Spawr and his second wife—The Spawr/Spahr line back to the 1500s. It turned out he was the one who had prepared the family group sheets my cousin had received from the Lexington Genealogical and Historical Society.
Laurin Spawr Farwell, my fifth cousin and a descendant of John Marion Spawr, Peter R. Spawr’s brother: The source of a lot of Chad’s information.
1999 to present: Nola Rogers Miles, a descendant of James Neighbarger’s uncle Christian Neibarger—Ongoing source of information about the Neighbargers/Neibargers/Nibargers going to back to the original Christian Neibarger.
1999: Julie Smith, my fourth cousin and a descendant of Irena Neighbarger’s sister Griselda/Grizelda Neighbarger Wince—Information on Griselda and her descendants.
1999: June, a fourth cousin who is the great-great-granddaughter of Irena Neighbarger’s brother James Ross Neighbarger—Information on him and his descendants.
1999: Don Knight, my fourth cousin once removed and a descendant of James Ross Neighbarger’s daughter Lucy Margery/Margie—Information on Lucy and her descendants.
1999: Stephen, a third cousin who is a descendant of Ella Spawr—Information on her descendants.
1999-2000: Ray, a distant cousin-in-law—Information on Peter Marion Spawr and Clara Mae Flesher’s family.
2001: Gary, an Iowa Falls resident who is no relation at all, just a really nice guy—Help in looking up information about hardware store owners and cemeteries for my search for Jesse Payne and her family.
2002: James, another distant cousin-in-law (I think!)—Information on Amanda Griffith Payne’s family and descendants.
2011: Marilyn, a fifth (?) cousin who is a descendant of Valentine J. Spawr: Information on the life of Mary E. Spawr, daughter of Isaac and Louisa (Mason) Spawr.

Other sources

  • Verda Gerwick of the Lexington Genealogical and Historical Society—my cousin Jim’s source of information.
  • Other volunteers at the Lexington Genealogical and Historical Society