Jo Archer Arnspiger

2013 DGS Writing Contest First Place Winner

During the 10-year life of the Republic of Texas, hardy pioneers enticed by the offer of free land moved into the wilderness that is now northern Texas. Peters Colony was the first and largest colonization endeavor for the new Republic, encompassing the huge land survey conveyed to W. S. Peters for the purpose of bringing settlers into the widely unpopulated area.

Land grants of 320 acres for single men, 17 years and older, and 640 acres for married men, were granted with the following provisions: building a home, occupying the land for a minimum of 3 years, and cultivating at least 15 acres of the land1. On 19 February 1856, Certificate No. 391 was issued to David Arnspiger and his wife Jane, for 640 acres in Grayson County in the southern portion of Peters Colony2.

David Arnspiger was born in Jessamine County, Kentucky, 5 June 1808, the son of Henry Arnspiger3. Upon coming of age, he followed the historical path of young men, striking out on his own and travelling to Missouri in 18314. Coming from the blue grass region of Kentucky, it seems likely he pursued work with horses during his three-year residence in Missouri. Later years reveal a continuing occupation involving the raising of horses. The death of his father in 1834 prompted David to return to Jessamine County from 1835 to 18375. Following the settlement of his father’s estate in 1837, David and three of his brothers removed to Illinois; two settled in Jersey County with David6.


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  1. Capt. B. B. Paddock, editor, A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, (Chicago and New York: The Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), 78. Available via Internet Archive (
  2. W. M. Arnspiger, David Arnspiger 1808–1870, (MS, Van Alstyne, Texas, 1976) 1–2; privately held by Gary A. Nees, Portland, Oregon. A copy was provided to the author in 1985. Also, “Land Grants,” database, Texas General Land Office ( : accessed 18 August 2013), entries for David Arnspiger, Grayson County, abstract no. 1526, file no. 001123 and David Arnspiger, Collin County, abstract no. 15, file no. 001123. Full payment for the land was made 19 April 1856; the land lay in both Collin and Grayson counties.
  3. Find A Grave ( : accessed 19 August 2013), entry for David Arnspiger, memorial no. 6424435. Also, Jessamine County, Kentucky, Will Records, E:57–59, Henry Arnspiger; “Kentucky Probate Records, 1727–1990,” database and digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 August 2013).
  4. Jessamine County, Kentucky, Will Records, E:57–59; affidavit by Samuel Arnspiger, son of Henry Arnspiger, stating David Arnspiger, his brother, was due money from the estate. Also, Tax Books of Kentucky Counties, Jessamine County; Kentucky State Historical Society, roll no. 217. David Arnspiger appears for the first time in 1830, listed as 21 years old with no land.
  5. Tax Books of Kentucky Counties, Jessamine County, 1835 and 1837 (the 1836 book is missing); David Arnspiger, over 21, no land.
  6. 1840 U.S. census, Jersey County, Illinois, no township, p. 27, line 28, John Arnspiger (also, p. 29, line 2, Samuel Arnspiger and p. 29, line 27, David Arnspiger); digital images, (http:// : accessed 19 August 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M704, roll 61.

Author Biography
Jo Archer Arnspiger is a professional genealogist and owner of Those Who Went Before. She is retired from a career as an Information Technology trainer in the education field. She is currently accepting research clients, and subcontracts with Bridge to Yesterday to create Ancestry Albums, merging her technology and graphic art skills with genealogical research. Jo began doing genealogical research in 1974. She has been editor of the Northern Arizona Genealogical Society’s quarterly newsletter, The Bulletin, for three years. She also maintains the Jessamine County (Kentucky) Genealogical Society’s website and attends national conferences and institutes. For more information on the Arnspiger family, contact Jo at