Elisha Spence (1776-1835)–Part Two: Off To South Carolina–The Spencer and Toney Families

Modern South Carolina County Map. Greenville County is on the northern border

Modern South Carolina County Map. Greenville County is on the northern border

David Jones, Jr. married in 1786 or 1787. His wife’s name is unknown, as are the names of his children. By 1790, he had a young son and daughter(1) and by 1800, he had a total of two sons and four daughters(2). As previously noted, David Jones, Sr. and Judah Perry Spence both died in 1795–Judah passing first and David following. After their deaths, David Jones, Jr. decided to re-establish himself in a new location, and his attention soon focused on South Carolina. Apparently, some family members who settled there had traveled to Gates for the elder David’s funeral. Their stories intrigued both David Jones and Elisha Spence, who was also eager for new surroundings. Plans were subsequently made and as soon as they were able, the David Jones family and Elisha Spence traveled to Greenville County. Shortly after their arrival, Elisha Spence met the John Spencer family.

The Spencers and Toneys of Greenville County

The son of William David Spencer (1706-1775) and Sarah Hill (1706-1755), John Spencer was born in South Carolina in 1750(3). John’s father William David was born in Wales. Apparently, he traveled back and forth between England and America before settling here. The following is a section from my earlier research concerning this Spencer family beginning with Generation 5 and continuing up through Generation 1:

Generation 5: William David Spencer (b. 1706, Wales; d. March 1775, South Carolina-Today, Laurens County) WILLIAM DAVID5 SPENCER (ALEXANDER4, ALEXANDER3, OLIVER2, OLIVER1) was born 1706 in Wales, and died March 1775 in South Carolina (what is now Laurens County). He married SARAH HILL November 20, 1722, daughter of CHARLES HILL and ELIZABETH HOOVELL. She was born Abt. 1709 in North Carolina, and died 1755 in South Carolina (what is now Laurens County). William David Spencer died without a will. While conducting my research in the late 1990s, I found the following notice: “Citation granted to John Spencer of 96 District to administer the Estate of William Spencer, late of 96 District, deceased, as son and next of kin. To be read in the nearest place of Worship and return Certified.” Dated: March 24, 1775. [Some records indicate that this William David Spencer died in 1794. I think those records are referring to one of his sons, who was born in 1740 and who bore the same name.] At the time of William, Sr.’s death, his son, John, was the only remaining son in the area. The children of William David Spencer and Sarah Hill are: 1. Joseph Charles Spencer, b. November 6, 1738, Wales; d. January 6, 1837, Poor Valley, Lee Co., Virginia. 2. William D. Spencer, b. abt. 1740; d. 1794 3. John Spencer, b. abt. 1750, Greenville Co., South Carolina; d. abt. 1801, Greenville Co., South Carolina.

Generation 4: Alexander Spencer (1671-1735/36) ALEXANDER4 SPENCER (ALEXANDER3, OLIVER2, OLIVER1) was born Abt. 1671 in Rose Ash, Devonshire, England, and died bet. 1735 – 1736. He married CATHERINE PARROT in St. Andrews Parish, Charleston, South Carolina, daughter of JOHN PARROT and ELIZABETH PARRIS. She was born Abt. 1680 in Barbados. Alexander was christened December 24, 1671 in Rose Ash, Devonshire England. The children of Alexander Spencer and Catherine Parrot are: 1. Joseph Spencer, b. abt. 1704; d. abt. 1730 2. William David Spencer, b. abt. 1706, Wales; d. March 1775 in what is now Laurens County, South, Carolina. 3. John Spencer, b. abt. 1710, South Carolina. 4. Catherine Spencer, b. abt. 1708, South Carolina; m. Edward Van Vellsen, August 17, 1721, St. Philip’s Parish.

Generation 3: Alexander Spencer (b. abt. 1646, England; d. after 1710) ALEXANDER3 SPENCER (OLIVER2, OLIVER1) was born Abt. 1646 in England, and died aft. 1710. He married ANNE WILLIAMSON, daughter of JOHN WILLIAMSON and UNKNOWN//. She was born in Aberdeen, Scotland. The following is from my 1999 research: Alexander remained in Devonshire, England for the most part, but he may have owned land, which he’d inherited, in Wales and Scotland. The lands he owned in Scotland were located near Aberdeen. It was during one visit to Scotland when he met and married Anne Williamson, daughter of John Williamson of Aberdeen. The Williamsons were Baptists. He also met another family in Aberdeen that would later unite with his descendants in South Carolina; the Duncans of Aberdeen. 1st record of Alexander in Scotland was in the 1690’s, along with his brother-in-law, Samuel Williamson, and other Williamson in-laws. By the Governor: authorize you whose names are underwritten to that Province which lies from Cape Fear (South Carolina), south and west, as directed by James Sheaphard, Executor of the estate of Henery Cleamons, late of this province, deceased, and appraise said estate to Office of Secretary, within 90 days after date hereof signed; Mr. John Mills, Edward Perry, Manly Williamson, William Russell, John Williamson, or any three of them. Dated: May 8, 1693 February 15, 1694 Samuel Williamson had one Warrant; for a quarter of a Towne Lott: which was formerly granted to Oliver Spencer, but now in the possession of said Williamson. Dated ye 15th of febr. 1694. Signed by Governor Blake. (land Indentured to Williamson) By the Governor: authorize those whose names are underwritten to go to such parts of Province, as directed by Mary Capters, Administrator of said estate (of Richard Capters, planter) and make inventory, of Office of Secretary, 90 days: We: William Rivers, James Witter, Benjamin Lamball, executors of estate of Thomas Greatbeach, late of Province, deceased. Samuel Williamson and Alexander Spencer, all of Berkley County; 27 Mar 1695 Deed book A-A, pg. 123, 25 Feb 1743/4, Release. Joseph Spencer, planter, to Joseph Rivers, cordwainer, for 50 Pounds currency, 7acres on James Island, Berkeley County, bounding NE on Thomas Dickson; S on dividing line; W on William Chapman; E on part same tract; which land formerly belonged to Alexander Spencer; was inherited by his son Alexander Spencer; then (owned) by his brother, said Joseph Spencer: Kezia (her mark) Coziah, wife of Joseph Spencer, freely surrenders her dower. Witnesses: Joseph Rivers, Robert Rivers, before Henry Gibbes, J.P. James Mickie, D.P.R. Deed book D-D, pg. 105, 10th and 11th Aug 1746, L&R, William Spencer Jr. house carpenter, to George Rivers Jr., son of Robert, planter, all of James Island, Berkeley County, for 960:10 Pounds currency, 113 acres (part of 150 acres) bounding E on Stephen Russell; S on the great Sound; W on Joseph Rivers; N on Thomas Dixon. Whereas William, Earl of Craven, Palatine and the Lords Propers, by grant dated 14 Apr 1710, signed by Edward Tynte, Robert Daniel, Robert Gibbs, Thomas Broughton, and Frances Turbeville, granted Edward Wesbury 400 acres, English measure, in Berkeley County, and whereas Wesbury died intestate and all his real estate descended to his heir-at-law, Thomas Westbury, and whereas he sold 150 acres (part of the 400 acres) to Alexander Spencer, at whose death it was inherited by his son Alexander Spencer, at whose death it descended to his brother Joseph Spencer, who bequeathed the 150 acres to his brother William Spencer Jr. now he sells part (113 acres) to George Rivers. Witnesses; Capt. Robert Rivers, Daniel Stent, William Rivers. Before Thomas Lamboll, J.P. John Beale, Register. Alexander Spencer emigrated to Charleston South Carolina from Scotland with a group of Baptists. His religion is identified as “Puritan.” The children of Alexander Spencer and Anne Williamson are: 1. Alexander Spencer, b. abt. 1671, Rosh Ash, Devonshire, England; d. bet. 1735-1736 2. Joseph Spencer; b. (unknown); d. 1746, James Island, St. Andrews Parish, South Carolina; m. Keziah Rivers, March 15,1 737/38; d. bef. 1746, South Carolina. 3. William Spencer, b. (unknown); d. 1751. 4. Elizabeth Spencer, b. (unknown).

Generation 2: Oliver Spencer (b. 1611, England) OLIVER2 SPENCER (OLIVER1) was born Abt. 1611 in Warwickshire, England. He married (1) UNKNOWN Abt. 1633 in England. She was born in England, and died Bef. 1640 in England. He married (2) ELIZABETH HEDGER September 27, 1640 in Enfield, St. Andrew, London, England. The following is from my older research (1999): The restoration left many English Puritans in a quandary concerning their fate, and Oliver may have decided to join his Spencer relatives in Massachusetts. However by the late 1660’s John Winthrop, Thomas Hooker and other early Puritan leaders and ministers were dead. The new generation of Puritans tended to focus on secular rather than on spiritual matters. As a result dissenting groups, such as the Quakers, appeared on the scene. Oliver Spencer may well have joined that persuasion. In 1663, a group of dissenters who were disgusted with Massachusetts politics in general, left the colony in order to develop a new colony in the Cape Fear area of Carolina (today North Carolina). The colony broke up and some returned to Boston, some to England, and the rest of them went to the West Indies. Since Oliver Spencer is presumed to have come from the Caribbean to South Carolina, he was probably a member of the latter group. William Sayle, a native of the Isle of Man, Independent Congregationalist and future governor of South Carolina had settled in Bermuda in the late 1630’s. Oliver Spencer and his first wife had one child named Oliver Spencer, who was born about 1634. His children by his second wife Elizabeth Hedger are: 1. Joseph Spencer, b. abt. 1641 2. William Spencer, b. 1644; m. Jane Woulfe, September 1, 1669, Exeter, Devonshire, England 3. Alexander Spencer, b. abt. 1646, England; d. aft. 1710.

Generation 1: Oliver Spencer (b. abt 1590, England) Little is known about Oliver Spencer other than the fact he was born about 1590 in Warwickshire, England. His known son, Oliver Spencer, was born about 1611 in England. Another son, Ricardus (Richard) was born in 1613. Both sons were christened in Warwick, St. Mary’s, Warwickshire, England. His wife’s name is not known(4)

[The 96 District South Carolina Spencers were Baptists and were associated with the early Baptists in Charleston and in other parts of the state. As already noted in the Alexander Spencer section, a group of Baptists from Scotland landed at Charleston in 1684(5). Ahimaaz Spencer (1721-1805), son of John Spencer (1694-1780) and his wife Mary (1694-1780), was a minister-missionary who traveled between various Baptist congregations throughout the country, and he was in Greenville County, South Carolina when the Spence, Jones, Spencer and Toney families were there. Ahimaaz was born in East Haddam, Connecticut, and he died in Alton, Madison County, Illinois. At this time, I do not know the exact connection between the Spencers of Greenville County, South Carolina and the Spencers of East Haddam, Connecticut/subsequently Spencertown, New York, but I definitely believe they were distant cousins–a connection that undoubtedly dates back to England. Ahimaaz pastored at the Turkey Creek Baptist Church, and I have traced the John Spencer family to that congregation.]

My article I cited above contains an extensive reference to John Spencer, the subject under discussion here. Since writing that, I have made additional discoveries that replaces some of that information. So I will only cite portions of it here. For a period of time, I thought that Milly Catherine Duncan, daughter of John Duncan, was John Spencer’s wife. Then I learned that didn’t happen, per the following:

The Duncans of Greenville County, South Carolina were Presbyterians and were members of the Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church, which was organized in 1752. The Spencers were Baptists and were members of the Turkey Creek Baptist Church. From my earlier research: Concerning Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church, from Old South Carolina Churches, 1941, by Hazel Crowson Sellers:

“The first settler in the historic Duncan’s Creek neighborhood was John Duncan, a Scotch-Irish pioneer from Pennsylvania. Finding the country to his liking, he induced two friends, Joseph Adair and Robert Long, and their families to join him. Both Long and Adair were later to become soldiers of the Revolution. The Reverend Hezekiah Balch commenced holding services at Duncan’s Creek in 1752. It was not, however, until 1763 that a church building was erected. The present structure erected in 1842 is the third. Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church is known as the “Mother Church” of the Presbyterians in this neighborhood. About 1758 there arose a quarrel between the adherents of ? and Watt’s versions of the Psalms which were sung at services, and a large portion of the congregation seceded to form a Baptist Church”(5).

Concerning Turkey Creek Baptist Church: Ahimaaz Spencer was a Baptist preacher. He is credited with three wives, but all of his children were by Mary Wetmore. His first two wives were Zippard Brainerd and Susannah Spencer, whose Spencer line is currently unknown. He left Massachusetts for New York; from there he traveled to Virginia, where he ministered for some time. Ahimaaz appears on the tax records for Charlotte County, VA in 1782. He next relocated to North Carolina, and then traveled to South Carolina. In her “South Carolina Baptists 1670-1805”, Leah Townsend, Ph.D. finds Ahimaaz Spencer in several documents: Turkey Creek CB July, Aug 1791. List of members dismissed from Turkey Creek: Thomas Jones; Ahimaas Spencer (p. 187). Turkey Creek received in July 1791, Ahimaas Spencer from a dissolved body at Spur Creek–a northern branch of Little River, which may have been the body mentioned in the association (p. 193). Ahimaaz Spencer ministered in South Carolina for a while, and then he relocated to Kentucky. Eventually, he settled in Illinois, where he died in 1831. Amasa Spencer left Kentucky and relocated to Jennings County, Indiana. James Spencer, Amasa’s son, remained in Pulaski County(6).

Duncan was a prominent name in the Greenville County area. The parents of John Spencer’s first wife have been suggested as John Duncan and Jean Henderson, but “Milly Catherine’s” name does not appear in a will contest in the John Duncan estate file in Edgefield Co., South Carolina. (John Duncan died in Edgefield County in 1809.) A copy of the will contest dated 1837 involving his estate establishes: “———-Catherine Dunkin wife of Isaac Farmer has not been heard of in some 20 years(7). The name CATHERINE appears in this file (her full name was Milly Catherine), but she was the wife of Isaac Farmer and not John Spencer. Given the information in the estate file, this John Duncan cannot be the father of John Spencer’s first wife(8).

The search for John Spencer’s wife has not been easy and after a number of dead ends, I finally found her! The following is a synopsis of his life:

When John Spencer was born in 1750 in South Carolina, his father, William, was 44 and his mother, Sarah, was 41. He married MILLY CATHERINE RODEN and they had three children together. [I found the names “Rhoda” and “Sarah” associated with her, but those proved false. His first wife’s name was Milly Catherine Roden! Milly Catherine Roden will return in Part Six of this series.] John then married Caroline Toney and they had two children together between 1785 and 1788. He died in 1801 in Greenville County, South Carolina, at the age of 51(9).

The children of John Spencer and Milly Catherine Roden follow:

l. Levi Spencer (1770-1844). Levi was born in Bradford County, Virginia, and he died after July 1, 1844 in Bartow, Cass, Georgia. Levi would go to Tennessee with Spencer, Spence relatives later, but he didn’t settle in Davidson County, although he appears there on 1811 tax lists. So he may have been there a short time. His wife was Susanna Susan Bolton (1779-1896). Their children were: (a) Levi Spencer (1800-1840); (b) Doctor Hampton Spencer (1812-1863); (c) Thomas J Spencer (1813-1864); (d) an unknown daughter (1820-1825). He appears on the 1800 Census for Greenville County, Tennessee(10). By 1810, Levi appears on the records of Sevier County, Tennessee(11) and by 1812, he was in Roane County, Tennessee, where his second son was born. After that, he relocated to McMinn County, Tennessee and remained there until 1827, when he appears on a Georgia Land Lottery(12). Levi relocated to Lee County, Georgia and put his sons in charge of properties he retained in McMinn, Tennessee and in Bradley County, Tennessee.
2. John David Spencer (1775-1820). John was born in 96 District, South Carolina in 1775, and he died in Perry County, Tennessee before the 1830 Census. He last appears on the 1820 Census for Perry County. His wife’s name is unknown, but they had one son–Levi Spencer (1800-1830).
3. Thomas J. Spencer (1784-1810). Thomas was born in 96 District (which became Greenville two years later), and he died in Greenville County in 1810. His mother, Sarah, died in childbirth.

Shortly after his wife’s death, John married Caroline Elizabeth Toney (1767-1830). This is the wife I’ve been looking for. A recent DNA match proved my connection with her! She is my fifth great-grandmother!

The Toney family is an old family with ties going back to the Plantaganets. As he did with his first marriage, John returned to Virginia to marry her. Since his brother, Joseph Charles Spencer, lived in Lee County, Virginia, John probably made many trips there, retaining his ties to that state. The daughter of Sherwood Toney (1738-1833) and Lorena England (1743-1810), Caroline was born June 7, 1767 in Goochland County, Virginia, and she died after 1830 in Lee County, Georgia. John Spencer and Caroline Toney were married about 1784 in Goochland County, Virginia. They had two children:

1.Susanna Roden/Rhoda “Susie” Spencer (1785-1810)–my fourth great grandmother. Her story will unfold in Part Three.
2. Abraham Spencer (1788-1865). Abraham was born in 1788 in Goochland County, Virginia, and he died December 25, 1865 in Greenville County, South Carolina. Abraham’s wife was Sarah Goolsby (1790-1855). Their children were: (a) William Toney Spencer (1810-1876) [William was quite the person. He was born April 20, 1810 in Greenville County, South Carolina, and he died May 28, 1876 in Pickens County, South Carolina. His wife was Elizabeth Sammons (1812-1872). Their children were: Mary Jane Spencer (1830-1929), Elizabeth Spencer (1832-1903), John R. Spencer (1833-1930), William D. Spencer, born 1837, and Tench Carson Spencer, Sr. (1847-1915). He was known as “Colonel William Spencer” and by 1822, he was the wealthiest man in the town of Greenville, Greenville County, South Carolina. In 1822, he purchased Lots 7 and 8 in Greenville from Thomas Crayton for $5,000.00 (which was a hefty sum back then). In 1824, he built the Mansion House in Greenville, which became a famous hotel. (b) Evaline Spencer (1820-1850)

John and Caroline Toney Spencer remained in Goochland, Virginia until 1789, although John may have traveled back and forth during that period of time. Then John moved his family to Greenville County, South Carolina, where they appear on the 1790 Census(13). John’s land was located between Turkey Creek and Savannah River (14).

John Spencer died in Greenville County, South Carolina in 1801. For years, researchers could not find Caroline Toney Spencer. They knew that she died in Georgia, but they did not know the details. I have my own theory.

As already noted, Levi Spencer (the oldest son of John Spencer and his first wife) took part in the 1827 Georgia Lottery. He appears to have placed his children in charge of properties he owned in McMinn County, Tennessee and in Bradley County, Tennessee. Levi relocated to Georgia, where he appears on the 1830 Census for Lee County, Georgia. A woman Caroline’s age is in his household. I believe that Caroline is that woman, and that she accompanied Levi to Georgia to help him become established. She disappears after that census record, so I believe that she died between 1830 and 1840. This theory would explain Caroline’s disappearance from South Carolina or Tennessee records and her reappearance in Georgia. Levi Spencer died after July 1, 1844 in Bartow, Cass County, Georgia.

This article has been updated. Click here for the update!

To Be Continued in Part Three


(1) 1790 Census about David Jones, Ancestry.com, Provo Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(2) 1800 Census about David Jones, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(3) American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI), Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com.
(4) “Spencer Research of Barbara Inman Beall: Generations 1-6”. Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(5) Sellers, Hazel Crowson, “Old South Carolina Churches”, (1941)
(6) Townsend, Leah. South Carolina Baptists (1670-1805). Originally Published Florence, South Carolina 1935
(7) John Dunkin Estate File, FHC film 24,145; SLC 2/19/94; from reference in “Newberry Co. SC Equity Records 1818-1844”) Equity 1837: Package 6 (Box 22)
(8) Beall, Barbara Inman, “John Spencer (1750-1801),” Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(9) Inman-Spence-Beall-Warfield Family Branches (In Process). Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(10) 1800 Census about Levi Spencer, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(11) Early North Carolina and Tennessee Land Records about Levi Spencer, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 June 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(12) Georgia Land Lottery, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(13) 1790 Census about John Spencer (erroneously listed by the census taker as John Spence). Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com
(14) 1780 Tax Records about John Spencer, Ancestry.com, Provo, Utah. Date Accessed: 2 Jun 2015. Available online at http://www.ancestry.com

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