Spafford Family

Spafford Family Tree (PDF)

Hopley Family Tree (PDF)

Not all of the people buried in the Auburn cemetery are of Japanese descent. Faustula Spafford, for example, is one of the earliest burials documented. Her 1887 death precedes the earliest Japanese arrivals by about a year.

When John and Georgiana Hopley had their first child in 1856, they gave her the unlikely name "Faustula." It's possible that they had notions of Roman mythology in mind; according to the legend, "Faustulus" was the name of the shepherd who rescued the twins Romulus and Remus from the she-wolf who raised them. Later embellishments to the myth gave rise to the notion that Faustula was the daughter of the shepherd Faustulus and his wife. It seems unlikely that a Massachusetts farmer or his wife would have had the sort of classical education that might inspire such fanciful names. Indeed, as the years passed, the inspirations for their chilrens' names became much more transparent. For example, when their fourth child was born at the close of the Civil War in 1865, the Hopleys used the occasion to underline their Yankee sensibilities by naming the child Abraham Lincoln Hopley. Faustula, if she was named after a character from mythology, was the only one of John and Georgiana's children so named.

After the birth of their fifth child, a little girl named Eva, the Hopleys decided to leave New England and explore opportunities out west. We know that they were in Colorado in 1872 for the birth of their sixth and final child George. Although information on the family's Colorado years is sketchy, we know that John Hopley passed away, leaving Georgiana alone in Colorado Springs to raise their six children on her own. Faustula was probably a teenager when her father passed away. No doubt her mother depended on her to help with the younger children while she agonized over the best way provide for the family of seven without a husband and father.

Sometime around 1881, Georgiana decided that the family would have better prospects in Washington State. They moved to Skagit County and, with the help of the older children, began farming.

It must have been during this period that the family became acquainted with another displaced easterner, Ira E. Spafford. Ira was a widower with two small children who resided in Skagit County at the same time. He was almost eleven years older than Faustula, but his (probable) service in the Union Army (there was an Ira Spafford who served in the 15th Regiment New York Engineers who was probably the same Ira Spafford) might have given him a certain dashing appeal to young Faustula. The two were married just before Christmas of 1882 in King County and made their home in the Auburn area.

Unfortunately, Ira and Faustula did not get to enjoy the long and happy marriage both had surely envisioned. After just five years of marriage, Faustula gave birth to a child. Tragically, she died in childbirth, along with her newborn infant. She was 31 years old. Ira buried both mother and child together in the Auburn cemetery.

After Faustula's death, Ira very likely remarried and moved on. There is very little evidence of him in surviving records after the late 1880's. The grief Faustula's own family suffered over her loss was compounded the next year when her brother Abraham Lincoln Hopley, at age 23, also passed away. He is buried in Seattle's Lake View Cemetery.

Faustula's mother Georgiana relocated to Seattle at some point (she can be found in Duwamish, King County for the 1900 Federal Census) along with her daughter Eva. Her remaining sons both evidently stayed in Skagit County and raised families there. Georgiana passed away in 1909 having never remarried. She is buried in Lake View Cemetery along with her son Abraham.

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