My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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J. E. Spencer, miller of Batie Township, was born March 10, 1838, in Polk County, Mo., and is the son of William and Nancy (Cordell) Spencer. The father was born in Kentucky. In an early day he went to Fulton County Ill., remaining seven years, then from there to Polk County, Mo., remaining two years; thence to Cedar County, Mo., where he resided five years; then he returned to Kentucky, and remained there till after the war then came back to Cass County, Mo.; from there to Bates County, then to Arkansas, and here resided about twelve years, and died. He had received no education but by his own exertions could both read and write. The mother was born in Alabama but when a young girl immigrated to Kentucky, where she was afterward married to Mr. Spencer, and bore him thirteen children, nine now living so far as known. They are named as follows: James, Elizabeth, John E., Fareby, Sampson, William, Nancy J., Mary and Hannah. Those deceased were named Amelia, Alexander, Mina and William. The grandfather and grandmother Spencer were both native Virginians, and immigrated to Kentucky being among the pioneer settlers of that State. This was about 100 years ago and they suffered all the privations and hardships incident to pioneer life. J. E Spencer has often heard his grandparents speak of making their own gunpowder. His great-grandfather on his mother’s side was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was severely wounded in the last battle, being almost disemboweled. The maternal grandfather was a native of Germany, and the grandmother a native of Alabama. The latter was a cultured Southern lady, and was the owner of 300 negroes. J. E. Spencer was but two years of age when his parents left Polk County, Mo., and settled in Cedar County of the same State. They remained here five years and then moved to Kentucky, but J. E. received no education, and worked on the farm until nineteen years of age. He then returned to Missouri, settled in Macon County, and there lived for three years, engaged in tilling the soil. From there he went to Ringo County Iowa remained but a short time, and was married to Miss Lydia Chambers, daughter of Joel Chambers. One child was born to this union, Eliza A , who is now deceased. At the breaking out of the late Civil War Mr. Spencer enlisted in the Confederate army under Gen. Price; was in Stein’s battery, and served faithfully for four years. He was in the battles of Lexington, Blue Mills Landing, Lone Jack and many other smaller engagements. During the war Mr. Spencer was captured, but made his escape; was reported dead by a friend, and when he returned home after the war, found his wife married again. He was married to Miss Mary J. Burch, of Bates County, Mo., whose father was one of the first settlers of North Missouri. Eight children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Spencer seven now living: George W., Charley R., Emma, Hiram, Ella, Ebb and Emmit Lee. After marriage Mr. Spencer remained in Bates County, Mo., engaged in farming for two years, and then moved to Newton County, where he remained for nine years, working at the carpenter’s trade, but also carried on farming. From there he went to Siloam Springs, where he followed carpentering, railroading, and was also engaged in mill wrighting, which he followed until 1887, when he removed to Southwest City, Mo., and here remained two years then came to Maysville, Ark., and purchased one-half interest in the mill he is now running. He is doing a good business, and supplies the country for miles around. He is a Mason, a Democrat in politics, and is yet a strong advocate for the lost Southern cause. He assisted in bridging the Mississippi River at Burlington, Iowa, and was and is a first-class carpenter.

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This family biography is one of 240 biographies included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Benton County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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