Family Stories

William Jerome Head and Mary Rosalia Spalding Family Lived Near Gethsemani Abbey – Nelson County

William Jerome Head and Mary Rosalia Spalding were married February 19, 1835, by Father Martin John Spalding, later Bishop of Baltimore, in Nelson County.  They had 14 children – 4 daughters and 10 sons.  Many family members are buried at Gethsemani Abbey.  The family lived in the area of Gethsemani in a poplar log house on 156 acres of land.  It must have been well built, and strong.  The house was destroyed by fire in 1964.  Some said it burned for a week.

William Head who died February 16, 1880, aged 69 years and 6 days. ‘He lived a loving husband, an affectionate father, and a sincere friend. Gethsemani Abbey Public Cemetery, Nelson County, Kentucky.

William Jerome Head was the son of John Head and Elizabeth Vowels.  He was born February 10, 1811.  Rosalia Spalding was the daughter of Peter Spalding and Sarah Walker, born September 1, 1817.  All of these families came from Maryland in the later years of the 18th century.  

Rosalia Head, born September 1, 1817, died May 20, 1893.

Most of the couple’s sons went to college.  John, Thomas, James, Josephus, Nicholas and Emmanuel attended Saint Mary’s College in Marion County, then the third oldest Catholic college in the United States.  John, James and Josephus were teachers.  John and James moved to Daviess County to teach school.  Josephus was a teacher at Gethsemani.

A Nelson County census chart listing family member:

Name                                            1850       1860       1870       1880

  • Head, William                    38           48           59           X
  •          , Rosalia                      33           42           54           64
  •          , Emeline                   14
  •          , John                          13           22 st     
  •          , Thomas                    11           20
  •          , James F.                     8           18           29 st
  •          , Josephus                   5           15           25 st
  •          , Nicholas                     4           13
  •          , Demetrius                2           11           22           26
  •          , William J.                                  8           18
  •          , Robert A.                                   5           16
  •          , Lucy                                             3           13           22
  •          , Frances Eliza                             1           11          
  •          , Vincent Emmanuel                                7           17
  • Spalding, Sarah                                 72           X             X

st – school teacher

If you will notice, Rosalia’s mother, Sarah Spalding, lived with the family from 1854, when her husband Peter Spalding died, until her death in 1878. 

Sarah, wife of Peter Spalding, died July 18, 1878, aged 90 years.

Two children, Sarah Head, 1843-1846, and Albert Head, 1850-1855, did not live long enough to be included in a census record.

  1. Mary Emeline Head, March 19, 1836 – December 13, 1902.
  2. John Head, July 23, 1837 – June 4, 1919, Daviess County, Kentucky.
  3. Thomas H. Head, December 25, 1839 – October 17, 1916.
  4. James F. Head, October 18, 1841 – December 22, 1919.
  5. Sarah Head, March 3, 1843 – 1846.
  6. Josephus Head, January 18, 1845 – February 18, 1929.
  7. Nicholas Head, 1846 – 1928.
  8. Demetrius Head, 1848 – December 27, 1884.
  9. Albert Head, August 17, 1850 – May 16, 1855.
  10. William Jerome Head, Jr., March 19, 1852 – January 11, 1922.
  11. Robert A. Head, August 26, 1854 – July 8, 1922.
  12. Lucy Head, May 6, 1857 – November 14, 1912.
  13. Frances Eliza Head, April 9, 1859 – February 10, 1949.
  14. Vincent Emanuel Head, 1864 – March 12, 1931, Los Angeles County, California.

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