Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can you add to this ...

In the June 1882 Watch Tower Russell announced that “Bros. Leigh and Spears have started on a trip down the Ohio river in a small boat belonging to the latter. They purpose (D.V.) to visit all the river towns between here and Cincinnati or St. Louis, spending about a week at each. This will require all summer or longer.” The purpose of this trip was to circulate Food for Thinking Christians.
Identifying Leigh and Spears is difficult. The primary identifier is that they sailed from “here” or Pittsburgh. This suggests that they were residents of either Allegheny or Pittsburgh. The only Leighs in the city directories include an S. M. Leigh, a teacher at The House of Refuge, a home for juvenile offenders. Unfortunately, this is a “Miss S. M. Leigh,” thus not qualifying as “brother” Leigh.[1] A later directory lists a William Leigh, a waiter.[2] The 1880 Directory lists a Valentine Leigh, a laborer. Other directories list a Samuel Leigh, a glass molder, and an E. C. Leigh, a student living on Federal Street. It is impossible to point to any one of these as the “Brother Leigh” of Russell’s article.
We fare no better with “Brother Spears.” The 1880/81 Directory lists a number of people with the last name “Spear” but only one with the name “Spears,” and thereby we might make the connection. James Spears was a glass cutter, living on Carson Street. It may be no more than coincidence that Samuel Leigh and James Spears worked in the same industry, but I am inclined to believe these are the two we seek. There isn’t enough evidence to say with surety. James Spears drops out of the directories no long after, either moving away of dieing. As much as one wishes for more detail, it seems not to exist.
[1] 1873 Directory of Pittsburgh and Allegheny City, G. H. Thurston, page 323; 1873/4 Directory, page 43.
[2] 1878 Directory, page 373.

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