The Spoffords in America are descended from John Spofford of Rowley, Mass., who had emigrated from England in 1638 at the age twenty-six. The Spofford name appears in the “Doomsday Book”, the record of the lands of England as parceled out after the Norman conquest. It derives from “Spa”…a spring of mineral water and “Ford”…to cross by wading and the family ‘myth’ was that probably the first one of that name ran a tavern by a stream where travelers and locals with a thirst could meet, drink and swap lies.
So, too, there was a family motto: “RATHER DEATH THAN FALSE OF FAYTH.” A record from Pilgrim days describes tough times in the colony; the governors in Salem weren’t distributing the grain to one and all. So John went down to Salem as head of a delegation to protest and, then, he was arrested for swearing and being blasphemous. At the trial, he won his case by pleading that he had not been blasphemous but, rather, was swearing religiously and simply quoting Provebs 11:26:
but a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.
It seems an apt tale for many Spoffords we have known and, surely, fitting for W.B.S. Sr.
It was Benjamin, fifth generation descendant of John, who moved from Boxford, Mass., to Danville, N.H. and started the New Hampshire clan. Then, of course, it must have been the frontier and probably for that Benjamin the ‘suburbs’ of Salem and Boston were getting too crowded and staid.