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Benton County, IAGenWeb Project
The IAGenWeb Project

History of Benton County, Iowa
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910; Luther B. Hill, Ed.

Pages 635-637

VICTOR G. SPENCER, who operates a stock farm in Polk township, was born June 30, 1866, at Spencer's Grove, Iowa. He is a son of Charles H. and Mary (Rice) Spencer, farmers of Benton county. Charles H. Spencer was born January 3, 1828, in Orange county, Vermont, and was a son of William and Martha Spencer. William Spencer was a lawyer, judge and postmaster of Corinth; he was a member of the firm of Spencer & Vilas, the latter being the father of the Vilas who held the office of postmaster-general under President Cleveland.

Charles H. Spencer was reared in Corinth, Vermont, and came to Benton county, Iowa, when twenty-one years of age and entered two hundred acres of land. In 1852 he went to California with an ox team, and returned across the Isthmus. He worked on a farm for his brother until his marriage in 1855 and was a farmer until the time of his death, January 9, 1904. His wife was a daughter of James and Mary (Hunt) Rice, born in Danville, Virginia, June 12, 1835; she came to Benton county, Iowa, by stage and steamboat, with her parents, when fourteen years of age. Mr. Rice was a tailor, but became a farmer after settling in Iowa. One of his sons Fielding, fought side by side with former President McKinley at Cedar Creek, during the Civil war, and another son, Nathan, was killed at Pea Ridge. One son, Roy, lives in Urbana, and William and Harry live in Vinton. There are also two daughters living, Mrs. Sallie A, Gaylor of Glendive, Montana, and Mrs. Lucinda Pauley, of Vinton, Iowa.

Charles H. Spencer and his wife had nine children, namely: Emma, wife of John T. Robinson, of Grant City, Missouri; Ashbel D., of Lake Benton, Minnesota; Harriet, killed in an accident while at play; Edwin N., killed in a runaway accident; Charles F., a banker, in Lexington, Nebraska; Victor G.; Minnie, deceased, wife of James D. Hoffman; Louis H., who died in infancy; and James W., secretary and treasurer of the Banner Lumber Company, of St. Louis. Mrs. Spencer died February 7, 1907.

Victor G. Spencer attended the common school and spent one year at Tilford Collegiate Academy. Later he completed a course at Northern Illinois College, of Fulton, Illinois. After teaching school six terms he attended the American Institute of Phrenology, of New York city, and then took up farming, which he has since continued, on the old homestead. He owns two hundred and eleven acres of land in Polk township, and has made many improvements in the way of buildings, etc., and is an energetic, up-to-date farmer. He breeds several varieties of hogs, Hereford cattle, and owns sixteen head of Norman horses, among them a thorough-bred stallion known as "Young Brilliant."

Mr. Spencer is a bright newspaper correspondent, and writes for the Commoner and other papers. He is a great admirer of William J. Bryan, and an ardent Democrat. He is quite prominent in local public affairs, and is serving as treasurer of the school district. He has traveled extensively, and is well informed on the leading topics of the day. He is a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal church. After the death of his mother Mr. Spencer married Mrs. Lilla M. (Francis) Kelso, daughter of Almon I. and Elizabeth (Girton) Francis, the former born in New York, and the latter in Pennsylvania. Mr. Francis came to Buchanan county, Iowa, about 1859, and Mrs. Francis came with her parents when young. They were married about 1860. Mr. Francis enlisted in Company E, Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry and served three years. He was wounded at Iuka, Mississippi, came home on furlough and later rejoined his regiment, but was discharged because of his disability. Shortly after the war he began farming in Buchanan county, Iowa, where he remained until about 1888 when he sold his farm and removed to Polk township, Benton county, and bought one hundred and ninety-seven acres in section 11 and continued to reside there until his death.

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