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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

EDWIN B. SPENCER, farmer and stock-raiser, resides on section 11, Taylor Township. He is a son of William and Resign (Nutting) Spencer, and was born Jan. 10, 1812. His father was a native of Hartford, Conn., and his mother of Vermont. His father was a lawyer by profession, and for several years was Judge of Orange County, Vt. He was one of the most prominent lawyers of his city, and even when he was more than fourscore years of age, people came to him for advice. He was also Probate Judge for several years, and died in 1870, in his eighty-eighth year. The mother died in 1848. Edwin was reared on a farm and remained with his parents until twenty-one years of age. He then went to New York City, and for two years worked for Fisher Howe, a wholesale merchant, who was worth $100,000, and who lived at No. 110 Billow street, Brooklyn. He traveled with a company two years, visiting all the principal towns in the East during the first summer, and wintering in Boston, Mass. The second summer was spent in Canada. After quitting this business he rambled around for three or four years, and in the fall of 1839, passing through what is now Benton County, he made a claim to 160 acres of land in what is now called Denison's Bottom. He then went to Indiana, but returned in the spring of 1840, and made a permanent settlement on his land. Previous to his return he had made arrangements with some men to build him a log cabin, which was ready for occupancy when he returned, and into which he moved and lived about five years. Selling the place for $300, he purchased 160 acres more, to which he has added from time to time, and now has quite a large tract of land. In 1875 he moved to the place where he now resides, and on which he has nearly all the improvements, and he has one of the best farm-houses in Taylor Township, together with a fine barn erected at the cost of several hundred dollars. His place is beautifully located, and he deserves great credit for its improvements. In 1870, in company with his wife, he went to Vermont to see his relatives, making a visit of three weeks. He says the lay of the land looked very natural to him, but forty years had changed all the faces which he once knew. In 1875 Mr. Spencer sold out and went to California, but, being dissatisfied with the country, he returned to Benton County and purchased the place where he now lives, comprising seventy acres, which with his other farms, makes 550 acres of land, all lying in Taylor Township. On his home farm he also has a fine set of buildings.

On the 21st day of March, 1843, he was married to Martha, daughter of William and Margaret (Smoot) Davis. Mr. Spencer is one of the oldest settlers now living in the county; none but the red men were to he seen when he made his first claim here. He has lived to see the once wild wilderness develop into a rich and wealthy country, the Indian wigwams giving place to the handsome dwellings of civilized men, and in all he has taken an active part. We are happy to present the portraits of Mr. Spencer and wife in connection with this sketch.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 269-270.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 9th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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