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Another of Becker County's pioneering women: Julia Warren Spears

This photo of Julia Warren Spears is part of the Becker County Museum's collection.

One of the pioneering women of Becker County was Julia Warren Spears. Julia, the daughter of Lyman Marquis Warren and Mary Cadotte, was born on September 3, 1832, at Madeline Island, La Point, Wisconsin. Her father could trace his ancestry back to the Mayflower Pilgrimage, while her mother was the granddaughter of White Crane, a Chippewa Chief.

Julia had three sisters and two brothers, one of whom was William W. Warren, a Chippewa historian. William wrote a book titled, History of the Ojibway People, Based Upon Traditions and Oral Statements (1885), which was originally published by the Minnesota Historical Society.

In 1852, Julia married Duncan Stuart at Swan River, Minnesota. Together they had one child, a daughter named Mary. Duncan passed away in 1854. Two years later, Julia married Andrew Spears and had two more children, a son named William and a daughter named Alice. Andrew would pass away in 1861.

Then, in 1870, Julia and her children moved to White Earth, Minnesota. In the fall of 1870, Julia became the first school teacher in Becker County. She taught for several years at the school before her health forced her to retire. She then went to live with her daughter, Alice, in Detroit. Her obituary in the July 9, 1925, issue of The Tomahawk states she struggled with illness for several years before she passed away at the age of 92.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

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