|RANSFORD W. SPEER of the town of Rutland, is a well-known farmer of American birth. His father, John D. Speer, was born near Newark, N.Y. and went to New Your state with his parents when a boy. There he grew up and learned the blacksmith’s trade. He married Miss Maria Johnson of Monroe county, N.Y. and together the young couple went to Washtenaw county, Mich., leaving their home there to come to Rutland in 1854.A farm of one hundred and twenty acres was bought in section 32 and Mr. Speer started a blacksmith shop. They joined the First Baptist Church of Union, Wis.Ten children were born to them, of whom four are living; Jane married John Hutchinson, Quincy, Mich.; Maria in Columbus, Ohio; Harriet, in Janesville, Wis.; and Ransford. The father died in January 1888, aged eighty-four years, and the mother died in 1899, aged ninety-three.
Ransford was the youngest son and was born February 26, 1844, at Lodi, Mich., came to Wisconsin when he was eight years old and attended the Rutland schools. He learned the blacksmith’s trade at this father’s forge, and like his brothers, became a skilled workman. The duties of the farm have, however, always occupied his time, and he lived on the old homestead and took care of his parents as their years advanced, and he now owns the old homestead and has added to it until he had a fine farm of two hundred and thirty-five acres.
In December, 1866, he married Miss Sarah R. Colburn, daughter of Hobart and Catherine A. (Witt) Colburn, the former a native of Putney, N.H. and the latter of Wilmington, Vt. They came to Rutland in 1847 and later lived in Brooklyn. They were among the early settlers of Rutland and took up government land. Mrs. Colburn is now a member of her daughter Sarah’s family, her husband having died May 28, 1888 aged sixty-seven years.
Mr. and Mrs. Speer have had eight children. Elvira, the oldest, died; Walter C., is a watchman at the State Institute for the Blind at Janesville; Grace married William Pratt of Stoughton; Lewis, Glenn Arthur, Dora and Edith E., reside at hone with their parents. Glenn is a member of the organization of Beavers in Brooklyn, Wis. Mr. Speer is a Republican but has never been an active politician. The family belongs to the Congregational church.
1906 History of Dane County, Wisconsin, p. 831-832