Family Stories

Mrs. Mary J. Lancaster Spalding Biography

Kentucky Genealogy and Biography

Marion County, Kentucky

Mrs. Mary J. Lancaster Spalding is a native Kentuckian, born on the 25th of May, 1816.  She is a direct descendant of the Lancaster family of England, and her ancestors came to America about fifteen years after the Maryland colony was planted by Lord Baltimore.  At that time came John Lancaster, the great-grandfather of John Lancaster, the father of Mary J.  He and two bachelor brothers settled with the Catholic colony in Charles County, Maryland.  John married Fannie Jarnaghan, an Irish lady from near Cork.  It is said that her beauty surpassed that of any other lady in the colonies at that time.  To her and her husband were born five daughters and one son, all of whom lived to be married; one of the daughters was the grandmother of Chief Justice R. B. Taney; among them was a son named John, who married a Maryland lady.  He left two sons and six daughters.  The sons were John and Raphael; Raphael immigrated to Kentucky, married Eleanor Bradford, and with her came to Kentucky in 1785.  John, the eldest son of Raphael, was born in 1766, and at the age of eighteen also came to Kentucky; his parents, Raphael and Eleanor, came one year later.  John married Catherine Miles in 1789; she was a native of St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  John Lancaster was one of the prominent men of his day; he was highly educated, and a man of true moral worth and sterling integrity, and was a member of the Kentucky Legislature from the 1800 to 1808.  He accumulated a large property, and was considered one of the wealthiest citizens of Washington County.  He reared a family of eight sons and four daughters.  Ten of the number were living at the time of his death, which occurred in 1838.  Our subject, Mary J., and Judge W. D. Lancaster, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, are now the only survivors.  The Lancaster family have always held the Catholic faith, and left old England by reason of the persecutions they sustained from the established church.  Mary J. Lancaster, a native of Washington County, now Marion, was married in 1839, to Richard M. Spalding.  They reared a family of five sons and four daughters, namely:  John L., bishop of the see of Peoria; Richard C., who died at the age of twenty; Catherine, the widow of Raphael Spalding; Dr. Leonard Spalding of Peoria, Illinois; Henrietta, a member of the convent of the Sacred Heart; Mary Ellen (Slevin) of Peoria, Illinois; Rev. B. J. Spalding of Peoria, Illinois; Anna E. (Putnam), and Martin John, who died at seven and one-half years of age.  The archbishop of Baltimore, Most Rev. Martin John Spalding (died in 1872) was a younger brother of Richard M. Spalding.

The grave stone of Mary J. Lancaster Spalding’s parents – John Lancaster and wife Catherine Miles, at St. Charles Catholic Church in Marion County, Kentucky.

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