SPENCER, George Horton - 1890 Bio (1830-1918)
SPENCER, HORTON, GILLETT, COOP, THOMAS, HURD
Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 8/28/2007 at 19:27:41
Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, Printed 1890 by Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
George H. SPENCER, who resides on section 8, Penn Township, is numbered among the honored pioneers of Jefferson County, where he has made his home since 1839. Great indeed have been the changes which have taken place since that time, and it may well be esteemed an honor to have been a witness of the transformation, but to have been identified with the work as long as Mr. SPENCER has been, is a privilege of which but few can boast. The county owed to its early settlers a debt of gratitude which can never be fully repaid, but we can cherish their memory in our hearts while we perpetuate their lives by written record.
The worthy gentleman whose name heads this sketch was born in Niagara County, N. Y., March 30, 1830, and is a son of George and Catherine (HORTON) SPENCER. His father was a native of Hartford, Conn., born September 29, 1793. Being left an orphan at a tender age, he was bound out to a blacksmith, with whom he worked until attaining his majority. Hitherto he had received no educational advantages, and now he determined to at least acquaint himself with the common branches. This he did, and afterward devoted himself to acquiring a competence. He purchased one hundred acres of land in New York, turned his attention to farming, and procured for himself a helpmate in the person of Miss Catherine HORTON, whom he married on the 14th of October, 1823. The lady was a native of Wayne County, N. Y. Some seven years later they removed to the Territory of Michigan, where Mr. SPENCER opened up a new farm, and in 1938 became residents of Penn Township, Jefferson County, Iowa, where he made a claim of two hundred and forty acres of Government land. Again, with characteristic energy, he began transforming the wild lands into fields whose fruitfulness would provide for his wants, and had made a comfortable home before his death, which occurred on the 9th of September, 1862. His first wife had died January 16, 1829, and two years later he married Polly GILLETT, who survived him some twenty-two years. She was born in 1803, and died at the advanced age of eighty-two. By the first marriage were born four children, but our subject, who was the youngest, is the only one now living. The others were: DeWitt, Cynthia Ann and Mary J. The children of the second marriage are: Elaphilet, of Penn Township; and Cynthia J., now Mrs. COOP, of the same township.
For years Mr. SPENCER was a member of the Baptist Church, and one of its most active members. He was liberal with his means in support of the Gospel, and his religion formed a part of his everyday life, prompting him to deeds of kindness and acts of charity. His heart and hand were in the work, and whatever he could do to aid in its advancement he cheerfully performed. In his early life he was a Whig and a stanch Abolitionist, and was one of the first four to vote for the Abolition party in his township. He then became a Free-Soiler, and when the Republican party was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery at once espoused its cause. However, he did not live to see the curse banished from the land. As a citizen he was faithful to every duty, and his name is inseparably connected with the progress of the county. He helped to lay out the city of Fairfield in 1839, and in the years which followed prior to his death was ever found in the foremost ranks in any enterprise calculated to benefit the community.
Our subject was a lad of eight years when he accompanied his parents on their removal from the Empire State to Joliet, Ill. He came with them to Jefferson County in 1839, and in the pioneer schools of that day acquired a limited education, but he has become a well-informed man by reading, experience and observation. The hardships and privations incident to pioneer life fell to his lot in boyhood. He has to assist in the arduous labor of developing a farm, and has felt the pangs of hunger, for it was oftentimes difficult to procure bread stuffs, and frequently the crops were insufficient for the needs of the family. He remained at home until twenty-nine years of age, when he began life for himself in the occupation to which he was reared. His first purchase of land consisted of a forty-acre tract, upon which he made his home for eleven years, when he removed to his present place of residence. A log house and a small barn constituted the improvements at that time, but a pleasant frame residence has since been erected, while eighty acres of highly cultivated land pay to him a golden tribute.
On the 14th of October, 1857, Mr. SPENCER was united in marriage with Miss Diana THOMAS, who was born March 12, 1828, in Ontario County, N. Y. the wedding was celebrated in Richland County, Ohio, and eight children graced their union -- Mary Anna, born May 6, 1859, died on the 1st of September of that year; Theodesia, born November 14, 1860, is at home; Arloa, born September 21, 1862, died August 30, 1863; William A., born February 9, 1864, died September 20, 1865; Charles B., born September 30, 1865, married Ina J. HURD, by whom he has one child, and is engaged in farming in Penn Township; Louisa, born February 8, 1867, is successfully engaged in teaching school; Sylvester M., born January 16, 1869, died March 15, 1871; Lochiel T., born August 18, 1871, died March 29, 1886. The children have been provided with good educational advantages, and two of the number have been students of the Pleasant Plain Academy. Mr. SPENCER, his wife and children, are all members of the Howard Grove Baptist Church, in which he holds the office of Deacon. He has also been a licensed preacher for fourteen years, and is one of the most faithful and earnest workers of his home congregation.
In politics, he is a stanch Republican, and an ardent Prohibitionist. By his vote and voice he supported the amendment, and in every way possible he aids in the promotion of the temperance sentiment among the people. He is widely known throughout the county, and the high regard in which he is held is justly merited by his Christian character.
*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.
Jefferson Biographies maintained by Joey Stark.
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