Capt. James Spence ( 1839-1822) Carthage, Jasper, Missouri

 

This photo was from James Spence's obituary in the Carthage Press. The obituary was dated March 13, 1922

This photo was from James Spence’s obituary in the Carthage Press. The obituary was dated March 13, 1922

 

CAPTAIN SPENCE IS DEAD

END COMES TO PIONEER CARTHAGE CITIZEN, 83

________

Had Been Ill Several Weeks–Was Prominent Citizen, Soldier, Business Man and Official

Capt. James Spence, a resident of Jasper county for 56 years, died at his home, 1529 South Garrison avenue, on Sunday afternoon at 3:45 o’clock after an illness of several weeks due to ailments incident to old age. Had he lived until March 14 he would have been 83 years old.

Captain Spence was a leading Carthage citizen, had served as county treasurer, city treasurer, member of the city council and member of the school board, serving four years as secretary of the latter body. He had been a merchant here, and for many years up to the time of his last illness was engaged in the insurance business and was publisher of the Record Reporter, a daily journal for businessmen and investors.

Captain Spence was a man of sterling integrity and stood very high in the community where he had so long lived, not only because of his character but because of his capabilities as a citizen and the fine qualities which brought him a very large number of warm friendships.

The funeral will be held from the home tomorrow afternoon at 2 o’clock, the 83rd anniversary of his birth. Because of the fact, as he himself expressed it, that he had had his flowers in life, and so abundantly during his last illness, friends are asked to omit flowers for the funeral service.

The Rev. Dr. J. D. McCaughtry, pastor of the First Presbyterian church, of which the deceased was a number, will have charge of the service.

Grew Up in Illinois

James Spence was born in Adams county, Illinois, March 14, 1839 and was the sixth of ten children. His father was John Spence, of Davidson county, North Carolina who emigrated to Illinois about 1826.

James Spence was reared on a farm and attended the common schools of the neighborhood during the winter months. In 1858 he attended McKendree college at Lebanon, Illinois, and spent part of the following year in teaching. The following two years he attended Quincy college under the presidency of Prof. J. F. Jaques, who afterward was colonel of the famous “Preacher’s Regiment,” the 73rd Illinois infantry in the civil war and who gained some notoriety as one of the peace committee who ineffectually interviewed Jefferson Davis on the subject of bringing about peace between the north and south. He became of age in 1860 and cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln for president in November of that year.

He enlisted as a private in Company L, 2nd Illinois cavalry, July 15, 1861, at Quincy, Illinois, being one of four brothers to enlist, and served in that capacity for two years and ten months. His first experience in battle was at Belmont, Mo., November 7 1861 under General Grant, General Logan and some other officers who afterwards gained distinction during the war. In the spring of 1862 he participated in the capture of New Madrid, Mo., and from there went to Island No. 10 on the Mississippi river, spending the remainder of the year in scouting duty between that point and Memphis, Tenn.

On account of serious disability he was sent to a government hospital at Paducah, Ky., in the early part of 1864. In the month of May of that year General Forest made a raid and attacked a small fortification called Ford Holt. The fort was garrisoned by about three hundred colored soldiers belonging to the 8th U.S. heavy artillery which was being organized there at that time. Many of the hospital convalescents, of which Mr. Spence was one, hastened to the fort and assisted in its defense, as a result of which Forest was defeated with considerable loss and ingloriously retreated from the scene of action.

Took a Lieutenancy

Observing the bravery displayed by the colored troops and the demand at the time for officers to lead them, the subject of this sketch accepted the appointment of second lieutenant and soon thereafter entered on duty with the regiment. The organization did garrison duty till the spring of 1865 when it was ordered to Richmond, Va., to participate in the siege of that city. Being delayed somewhat in securing transportation the regiment was sailing up the Ohio river when the news came that Lincoln was assassinated. Richmond in the mean time having fallen, the regiment moved on to Washington, which they reached the second day after Lincoln’s assassination, and was detained there for several days during the excitement of that terrible occasion. From Washington they were ordered to City Point, Va., and after a brief stay there, were put aboard transports. After a tedious voyage of about thirty days they reached the coast of Texas as a part of the 25th army corps, all on account of the trouble brewing at that time over the action of France in placing Maximillan on the throne as emperor of Mexico.

Much of the time of Lieutenant Spence was spent, after he was commissioned with this regiment, in staff duty of different kinds. His last service was that of quarter master in charge of a large amount of government property used in rebuilding and equipping a military railroad from Victoria, Texas, to Indianola on the gulf. The regiment was mustered out of service in March, 1866, but Lieutenant Spence was detained nearly a month longer to turn over the property in his charge and make settlement with the government. His service covered a continuous period of more than four years and eight months.

Almost immediately after his discharge Captain Spence came to Jasper County, Missouri, reaching here about the first of May, 1866. He has resided ever since, most of the time in the city of Carthage.

Captain Spence was married on November 11, 1868, to Miss Mary Elizabeth Hood, who died many years ago. To them two children were born, Mrs. Inez Ornduff, now deceased, and Mrs. Nelle Royse, wife of O. D. Royse, of Joplin. Captain Spence’s second married was to Miss Emma Corwin, who survives him. To them one child was born, Walter Spence, who died as the result of an electrical accident in this city many years. ago.[1]

***

“Who was James Spence?” I asked my grandfather, after finding the James Spence obituary in my grandparents’ trunk.

“Oh, he was my dad’s cousin!” Grandpa told me.

“Well, where did the Spences come from?” I asked.

“They came from Kentucky.”

It was the summer of 1958, and I had been spending a week with my grandparents–William Franklin Spence (1884-1973) and Oda Elizabeth Hopper Spence (1894-1981). Having acquired an early interest in genealogy, I had already asked them for names and dates of people, but my grandfather’s Kentucky response later sent me on a year-long goose chase into the state looking for ancestors there. I did not begin an active search until the early 1990s. It was only after finding a Missouri Census record, indicating my second great-grandfather was born in Tennessee and not in Kentucky, that I was finally off in the right direction. However, the James Spence connection left me puzzled. Who was he?

I actually forgot about this obituary for a long time.  I was looking inside my grandmother’s trunk–something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. And after digging down a distance, I found it between several items. Well, since I wasn’t supposed to be looking inside the trunk let alone digging around inside it, I didn’t want to ask whether I could borrow it. So I decided to take it home, hand copy it (this was long before copy machines) and then return the original to the trunk. That didn’t happen. I don’t remember where I put the obituary after returning home, but years later, I found it loose inside a scrapbook.

“I still have this?”

By then I was married and living in another state. My grandparents had long departed–so had their trunk. I have no idea what happened to the trunk or to the contents inside it.

Who knows? By “borrowing” the clipping, I may have saved “history.”

I then transferred the clipping to my dresser drawer, and it stayed in that drawer for a long time. When I rediscovered it in that drawer much later, I decided to get serious about genealogy. What follows is the rest of my discovery.

* * *

Searching for James Spence’s ancestry and his connection with my Spence line has been a particular challenge. Although a prominent figure in Jasper County, Missouri for many years, few researchers have been interested in James. What is more disappointing is that few researchers have been interested in his father John. Some have attempted to identify a wife for him, a location or locations where he lived and the names of his children. Some of those attempts led me down an unfruitful path. More often or not, this was the wrong John Spence. Some researchers had him living in Tennessee prior to his removal to Illinois, where some of his children were born. Other researchers identified him as a John Spence who died in Allamakee, Iowa in the late 1800s. While this information looked enticing, I noticed that James Spence’s obituary made no mention of Iowa or of Tennessee at all. According to the obituary, John Spence was from Davidson County, North Carolina and moved his family to Illinois. After several starts and stops, I was finally forced to delete everything I had entered on my charts and start all over again. In the late 1990s, I spent two summers reading old microfilm of the Carthage Press in our local library and saved all notices pertaining to Capt. James Spence. No, the microfilm wasn’t buried inside a trunk. I obtained it through inter-library loan. So armed with a notebook full of Jasper County data obtained from that microfilm and with the obituary from 1922, I began a new search.

John Spence was a son of Robert Spence (1767-1825) and Lovey Sexton (1773-1851). John’s wife’s name was Elizabeth, but her maiden name is unknown.  Robert Spence was  a son of James Spence (1730-1804) of Randolph County, North Carolina, and Lucy Upton (1734-1788). James Spence was a son of James Spence (1702-1753) and Elizabeth Greaves (Graves) (1707-1755), a brother of William Edward Spence (1722-1785), and an uncle of Elisha Spence (1776-1835) [For the previous article written on James Spence of Randolph County, click HERE.] The Spence families  initially settled in Pasquotank County, North Carolina, having arrived there from Maryland in the late 1600s/early 1700s.

 

Robert Spence (1767-1825)

On December 3, 1798, Robert Spence married Lovey Sexton (1773-1857), the daughter of Willis Sexton, in Pasquotank County. Their children have been identified from Robert’s will:

  1. Alston Spence (1799-1836)
  2. Joseph Spence (1801-1876)
  3. Jeremiah Spence (b. 1803)
  4. Willis Spence (b. 1805-1875)
  5. Robert Spence (1807-1843)
  6. John Spence (1808-1866)
  7. Daniel Spence (b. 1809-1882)
  8. Mark Spence (b. 1812-1860)
  9. Thornton Spence (b. 1814-1880) [2]

Robert Spence’s father, James Spence (1730-1804)—Executor of William Spence’s estate—left Pasquotank County and resettled in Randolph County, which had been carved from Guilford County in 1779 [3] This James Spence raised Elisha Spence (1776-1835), a son of William Spence. Elisha was my fourth great-grandfather. He appears to have left Pasquotank in 1785 or 1786 (after William’s death)—so his new location would have been in Randolph County.

[Note: Robert Spence died in Davidson County, North Carolina in 1825. Davidson was carved from Rowan in 1820 [4]—so in all likelihood the family first settled first in Randolph and later moved out to Rowan or to Davidson. A number of researchers list Davidson County as the birth location for his sons, but since all of them were born prior to 1820, Davidson County would not have existed.]

A summary of the Last Will and Testament of Robert Spence follows:

1:39 Robert Spence. 24 Aug 1825; Prob. Sept. 1825

I have given to my son Joseph Spence to the amount of $40.00. And to my son Willis Spence I give one bay colt at $30.00 and I give him 410.00 in something else. All my sons to be made equal with them when they come of age or marry, that is my sons–Jeremiah Spence, Robert Spence, Daniel Spence, John Spence, Mark Spence and Thornton Spence. My son Alston Spence to have but 50 cents of my property. My wife, Lovey Spence, all my property, real and personal, during her life or widowhood to be used to support and raise my small children and to give them moderate learning. Further at the death of marriage of my wife, all shall be sold and equally divided among my children (after having) been made equal with Joseph Spence and Willis Spence–that is Jeremiah Spence, Willis Spence, Robert Spence, John Spence, Daniel Spence, Mark Spence and Thornton Spence. Executor: William Hannah. Wit: Henry Stewart, Joseph Spence, Alphasmy Reley.[5]

At this point, I do not know why Robert “disinherited” his oldest son Alston. According to the will summary, Alston was not to receive more than fifty cents of Robert’s total estate. Perhaps he had already given a large share to his son Alston, or he may have been displeased with him. Alston died eleven years after his father.

 

John Spence (1808-1866)

Census records indicate that John Spence was born about 1808 in North Carolina and that he probably died shortly after 1866 (the date of the last IRS Assessment record bearing his name). Unlike a number of members of the Pasquotank, North Carolina Spence families who relocated to Tennessee and Kentucky, John Spence and several of his brothers relocated to Illinois, taking their mother with them. Lovey Sexton Spence died in Adams County, Illinois in 1857. The name of John’s first wife—the mother of all of his children—is unknown, although the name “Elizabeth” has been suggested. They were married about 1829 in Davidson County, North Carolina. The Spences had the following children:

  1. William A. Spence (b. 1830, North Carolina)
  2. Martha Spence (b. 1832, North Carolina)
  3. Daniel Spence (b. 1833, North Carolina)
  4. Obediah Spence (b. 1836, Illinois)
  5. Willis Spence (b. 1837, Illinois)
  6. Capt. James Spence (1839-1922, Illinois)
  7. Ann Spence (b. 1840, Illinois)
  8. Sarah Spence (b. 1842, Illinois)
  9. John Fletcher Spence (b. 1843, Illinois)
  10. Thomas Spence (b. 1845, Illinois) [6]

John’s first wife died about 1847. His second wife was Elizabeth J. Gibson, whom he married in Adams County, Illinois April 6, 1848. Her year of birth is estimated as 1807, and she may have died shortly after 1860. Since several of John’s sons relocated to Jasper County, Missouri about 1866, that was probably the year of John’s death.

 

Capt. James Spence (1839-1922)

When the Civil War Broke out, James Spence and four of his brothers signed up and served in the Union Army. According to his obituary:

He enlisted as a private in Company L, 2nd Illinois cavalry, July 15, 1861, at Quincy, Illinois, being one of four brothers to enlist, and served in that capacity for two years and ten months. His first experience in battle was at Belmont, Mo., November 7 1861 under General Grant, General Logan and some other officers who afterwards gained distinction during the war. In the spring of 1862 he participated in the capture of New Madrid, Mo., and from there went to Island No. 10 on the Mississippi river, spending the remainder of the year in scouting duty between that point and Memphis, Tenn.

On account of serious disability he was sent to a government hospital at Paducah, Ky., in the early part of 1864. In the month of May of that year General Forest made a raid and attacked a small fortification called Ford Holt. The fort was garrisoned by about three hundred colored soldiers belonging to the 8th U.S. heavy artillery which was being organized there at that time. Many of the hospital convalescents, of which Mr. Spence was one, hastened to the fort and assisted in its defense, as a result of which Forest was defeated with considerable loss and ingloriously retreated from the scene of action.[7]

By the end of the war, James Spence received the rank of Captain and was thereafter referred to as Captain Spence. He and his brothers appear to have returned to Adams County, Illinois and remained there until after their father died in 1866. Capt. James Spence and at least two of his brothers, Fletcher and Thomas, relocated to Jasper County, Missouri, which was then described as a “Mecca” in the wake of huge lead mining operations that brought prosperity to the region. I do not know how acquainted they were with their distant cousins who lived in the area. Samuel and Daniel Spence, sons of Elisha Spence, were dead. Milly Catherine Spence Jones still resided in the area. Some cousins had left the region, either for Kansas or Texas or other parts of the West and South. And there were a few cousins who may not have been too inclined to welcome a Yankee distant relative from Illinois. On the other hand, two uncles had already settled in Missouri: Willis Spence, settled in Greene County, Missouri and Joseph Spence relocated to Independence, Clay County, Missouri

Feelings remained high in the area immediately after the war and in 1866 through the end of the century, Jasper County became the domain of Republican rule and strong Pro-Union Support. Such feeling stands out strongly in an 1891 account from The Carthage Press:

The Dalton boys, the most daring outlaws in Oklahoma, suspected of the Santa Fe Express robery [sic] last night were deputy United States Marshals under President Cleveland. They came from Missouri and were considered good Missouri Democrats. [Topeka Capital]

Now come on; It is bad enough at this time to have our courts conducted by a Democratic Judge fail to convict ex-Treasurer Noland without charging the crimes committed in Oklahoma upon her noble Democratic sons. Missouri can stand most anything but we would like to draw a line somewhere. [8]

When Capt. James Spence arrived in Jasper County, he was immediately liked because those in power approved of his credentials. He was a Union officer during the Civil War. He was a Republican. He became an active member of the Grand Old Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) As his obituary notes:

Captain Spence was a leading Carthage citizen, had served as county treasurer, city treasurer, member of the city council and member of the school board, serving four years as secretary of the latter body. He had been a merchant here, and for many years up to the time of his last illness was engaged in the insurance business and was publisher of the Record Reporter, a daily journal for businessmen and investors.

Captain Spence was a man of sterling integrity and stood very high in the community where he had so long lived, not only because of his character but because of his capabilities as a citizen and the fine qualities which brought him a very large number of warm friendships. [9]

Capt. Spence’s brother Thomas last appears on the 1870 Jasper County Census. He may have returned to Illinois or relocated elsewhere, or he may have died. I could find no record for him after that year. His other brother Fletcher (John Fletcher Spence) was in the area earlier and then removed to Florida. An item from the December 17, 1885 issue of The Carthage Press notes:

Fletcher Spence, brother of Capt. Spence, recently left the sunny regions of Florida for western Illinois. He was raised in Illinois and had lived some time in this state previous to going to Florida. The reason he left Florida was that he had been having the shakes. [10]

Fletcher probably died in Illinois. I could find no further record for him.

One of the earliest memories of Capt. Spence in Jasper County is told by Judge Wesley Ralston in The Carthage Press:

Capt. Spence and I joined farms. Each had a three-rail fence around our residences. We tried to practice economy in those days. The captain employed an old tailor by the name of Brown living in our neighborhood to make him a suit of Kentucky jeans and as soon as I saw him with the suit on, I resolved to have one too. The tailor was a man of very close habits and made my suit correspondingly close, and you ought to have seen me when I made my debut. I made a spectacle [11]

Life in Carthage was good for Capt. James Spence, as is evidenced by the following newspaper account:

Captain James Spence and family went to the country yesterday and visited with Mr. James Ralston and family, partaking bountifully of the good things from their well-spread table. They also viewed the new house Mr. Ralston has almost completed and pronounced it a good home in every particular. [12]

On November 11, 1868, Capt. Spence married Mary Elizabeth Hood (1849-1880) in Carthage, Missouri. Betsy Hood was the daughter of Norris C. Hood, Sr. (1811-1870) and Melinda Bond (1812-1862). They had two daughters.

  1. Inez Spence (1871-1897)
  2. Nelle Spence (1875-1942).

Betsy died in 1880, and Capt. Spence’s second wife was Emma C. Corwine (1861-1930), daughter of George Corwine (1817-1898) and Lydia McCollister (b. 1828), whom he married October 30, 1880 in Carthage. They had one child:

  1. Walter Spence (1884-1899).

From the early 1880s through the late 1890s, The Carthage Press noted a series of events taking place in the James Spence household. The first was a surprise birthday party for the Captain in 1886:

Capt. Spence was the victim of a genuine “surprise” last night by the sudden and unceremonious appearance of a host of his friends, intent upon celebrating the birthday anniversary of the Captain, who had scarcely realized that another year was added to his terrestrial sojourn. An enjoyable evening was passed and now the Captain realizes that there is one woman at least, can keep a secret as it is evident his wife was in this scheme that was to him such a perfect surprise. [13]

In 1892, Capt. Spence accepted a new position in Carthage:

Capt. James Spence has accepted a position as clerk in Walter Wells grocery store and will begin his new duties tomorrow. Capt. Spence is an experienced salesman and Mr. Wells is said to be congratulated on the acquisition to his force.[14]

In 1896, James Spence’s daughter, Nell (from his first marriage) became engaged to Orville D. Royse:

  1. D. Royse left last night for St. Louis and will on Wednesday evening be united in marriage to Miss Nell Spence. The happy couple will arrive in Carthage on Thursday morning and will go to housekeeping in a cottage on South Garrison Avenue. Miss Spence is a well known and popular Carthage girl who has held for several months an important position as a stenographer in St. Louis. Mr. Royse is a rising young attorney and has hosts of friends. The congratulation of all their friends is extended. [15]

Then came a time of testing for Capt. James Spence and his wife Emma when their 15-year old son was suddenly killed in an electrical accident.

 

INSTANTLY KILLED

Walter Spence Electrocuted Last Night

HE TOOK HOLD OF A LIVE WIRE

The Body Received Electricity for ten Minutes Before the Wire Could be Cut–Nonen Hurry Had a Close Call–Sarcoxie Man Shocked

Walter Spence, a bright and promising boy, the only son of Capt. and Mrs. James Spence, lies cold in death, the result of a terrible accident which occurred in this city a few minutes before 8 o’clock last night.

The young man was coming west on Fourth street and as he passed the Commercial hotel reached up and took hold of a dead telephone wire which had come loose and had been wrapped around the east post of the hotel porch. It was an innocent looking wire, but was in contact with a live electric wire somewhere in its course, and the dampness of the weather favored the transition of the current to the dead wire with unusual force. The moment the boy touched the wire he was thrown violently to the pavement, the wire still grasped in his hand with convulsive force. He lay there fully ten minutes, receiving the entire force of the current before the wire could be cut and the current thus shut off. The first force of this electricity undoubtedly instantly killed him. His only visible injury was on his right hand, where he grasped the wire, the ends of the fingers being burned to the bone and the bones even being charred.

The circumstances leading up to the accident were these. For some time Walter had been in charge of the night service of the Missouri & Kansas Telephone Company office in this city. Early yesterday evening it was noticed that their system of wires were somewhere in contact with some powerful electric light or power current, as several of the number drops kept falling without being rung up and part of the switch board was burned out. While the cause and remedy for this was being sought out. Deputy Williams came up to the office with a message that their telephone at the jail needed attention as the bell was ringing ….

Walter went promptly to the jail and remedied the trouble by cutting out that telephone. He started back at once to the office believing that other telephones were likely the cause and would need immediate attention. Accompanying the young man was Earl Laubach, son of Councilman F. G. Laubach of East Third Street, who was a chum of Walter–spending a part of the evening with him. Earl says that on their return, as they approached the Commercial hotel, Walter said, “Here’s something loose. I will see what’s the matter with it,” or words to that effect. These were the last words he uttered. As he said them, he stepped to the outer edge of the walk and reached up and grasped the wire, which was wrapped loosely around the post of the hotel porch. As he did so he received the full force of the current as mentioned above, and fell headlong to the pavement, his head and shoulder lying out in the gutter. The deadly wire was not only clinched tightly in his right hand but part of it lay across his body, the electricity…and lighting up the surrounding area wherever it touched him…

His companion, Earl Laubach, called loudly for help, and the first to reach him were Willis Wallingford and Earl Curry, who was across the street in the H C Grieps bicycle shop. Charles Howell of 845 East Street, who works at the Excelsior Laundry and was standing at the Opera House corner also reached him about the same time. Neither of the four boys could do a thing, however. They dared not touch the body as they were inexperienced in electrical matters.

Body Taken Home

Walter Spence was born in Carthage and was 15 years old on September 30 last. He had been attending the night telephone services since last July. He was a bright member of the sophomore class in the high school and was a very capable and energetic boy, much liked by all who knew him.

Besides his father and mother, there survives him a half sister, Mrs. O. D. Royse of Joplin. She was notified late last night and arrived here this morning.[16]

Walter Spence’s funeral was held November 2, 1899, per the following account in The Carthage Press:

The funeral of Walter Spence occurred this afternoon at 2:00 at the family home on Central Avenue and was tended by a large concourse of people. The house was filled to capacity and many stood on the porch and yard.

The floral offerings were the most profuse and elaborate which have been seen in Carthage in many a day. They completely covered the casket and made a dense bank in front and beside it.

A lyre of chrysanthemums and lilies was sent by the pupils of the high school; a floral piece of two hears was sent by a group of pupils from the central school, a large and beautiful design “gates afar” was sent by the brothers and a sister of Mrs. Spence. , a cluster of roses was sent by the matrimonial club, of which Mrs. Royse is a member, a pillow of roses, ??? a harp and a number of other ??? set pieces was sent by individuals besides numerous less pretentious floral offerings.

Rev. A. J. Wagner delivered a most appropriate and touching funeral discourse in which he referred feelingly to the peculiar sadness of bereavement and spoke words of comfort to the sorrowing parents, relatives and friends. His eulogy of the departed boy was fitting and appropriate and found a ready echo in the hearts of the listeners, among nearly all of whom Walter Spence was well known and well liked. The pastors words deeply touched all present and there was hardly a dry eye within the sound of his voice.

The active pallbearers were Prof. Gray. Prof. Howland, Lewis Manley, George Webster, Harry Alexander and R. J. Wright. The honorary pall bearers were Charlie Bartlett, Earl Laubach, Claude Murdock and George Friend.

Music for the occasion was furnished by a choir comprising of Mrs. Maud Murdock and George Radcliff and Messrs Euclid Woodmansee and Frank Wells. A long line of carriages followed the remains to Park Cemetery where the internment took place.[17]

Capt. James Spence and his family are buried in Park Cemetery in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri. His daughter, Inez, died in 1897, probably in childbirth. She married Samuel Wilson Ornduff on May 6, 1896 in Carthage and died in December, 1897. Nelle Spence married Orville D. Royse in St. Louis and lived until 1942. After the death of his first wife, Capt Spence and Inez moved lived with the Thomas Garland family, where they appear on the 1880 Jasper County Census and where he is listed as a grocerer and widowed. Nelle lived with the Ralston family. Capt. Spence’s children were reunited with him after his marriage to Emma Corwine.

The uncles of Capt James Spence spread out all over the country:

  • Alston Spence died in Pasquotank, North Carolina in 1836.
  • Joseph Spence died in Independence, Clay County, Missouri in 1876.
  • Jeremiah Spence died in Walton, Florida in 1850.
  • Willis Spence died in Greene County, Missouri in 1875.
  • Robert Spence remained in Davidson, North Carolina and died there in 1843.
  • John Spence (Capt. James Spence’s father) died in Adams County, Illinois in 1866.
  • Daniel Spence died in Randolph County, North Carolina in 1882.
  • Mark Spence died after 1860 in Adams County, Illinois
  • Thornton Spence last appeared in North Carolina in 1860. By 1867, he was in Butte County, California, where he remained through 1879. He is last found in Illinois on the  1880 Census, where he is listed as a mechanic.

In addition:

  • Norris C. Hood, the first father-in-law of Capt. James Spence, was a brother of Joel and David K. Hood, who resided in Jasper County. Norris C. Hood was the sheriff who rescued the Jasper County treasury from the bushwhackers during the Civil War. Joel Hood (my 3rd great-grandfather) relocated to Benton County, Arkansas. David K. Hood spent the rest of his life on his farm in Jasper County.

‘***

There is a sequel to this story that happened within the last five years. I wrote the initial draft of this story over five years ago for my original website: Historical Footprints 2010. This sequel happened since then.

My mother passed away in 2003. After her passing, all of her picture albums were sent to me. I was teaching at the time and didn’t have time to go through all of that stuff until after my retirement in 2009. Around 2012 or 2013,I was going through an album that belonged to my Grandmother Spence, and I found a folded piece of paper at the front of the album.

“What’s this?” I wondered.

After unfolding it, I received a wonderful surprise: a handwritten history called The Sterns Family History–my grandmother’s mother’s family history. It was compiled in 1976. Finding information on the Sterns family has really been a problem for me. This history gave me a start, and I have been able to develop it from there. I do not know who compiled it.

No doubt, Grandma kept that history inside her trunk. In 1976, she was still living in her little house in Marion, Iowa, and the trunk was kept down in the basement. I know she went into senior living around 1980. Her house was sold, and the contents were either sold or distributed among other relatives. I don’t know what happened to the trunk. I think my mother’s sister took it, but she didn’t want all the stuff inside it. She probably found the history and gave it to my mother.

“Here–put this in her picture album.”

Mom put it inside the album. Grandma passed away in 1981. And that Sterns family history was not rediscovered and incorporated into my family tree until around 2012 or 2013.

Another item rescued from the trunk!

References

[1] James Spence Obituary, The Carthage Press, Carthage, Missouri, March 13, 1922.

[2] Henry Reeves and Mary J Davis Shoaf, Compilers. Davidson County, North Carolina Will Summaries, Vol. 1. Publisher: Mrs. Mary Jo Davis Shoaf, Lexington, North Carolina, 1979.

[3] “List of Counties in North Carolina” from the Wikipedia Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_counties_in_North_Carolina

[4] List of Counties in North Carolina” from the Wikipedia Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_counties_in_North_Carolina

[5] Henry Reeves and Mary J Davis Shoaf, Compilers. Davidson County, North Carolina Will Summaries, Vol. 1. Publisher: Mrs. Mary Jo Davis Shoaf, Lexington, North Carolina, 1979.

[6] 1850 and 1860 Census Records, John Spence Family, Adams County, Illinois. Available at Ancestry.com: http://www.ancestry.com.

[7] James Spence Obituary, The Carthage Press, Carthage, Missouri, March 13, 1922.

[8] The Carthage Press, May 21, 1891

[9] James Spence Obituary, The Carthage Press, Carthage, Missouri, March 13, 1922.

[10] Local News, The Carthage Press, December 17, 1885

[11] Old Reminiscences of Carthage. The Carthage Press, January 16, 1902.

[12] Local News, The Carthage Press, April 15, 1885.

[13] Local News, The Carthage Press, March 18, 1886.

[14] Local News, The Carthage Press, January 26, 1892.

[15] The Carthage Press, May 7, 1896.

[16] Instantly Killed. The Carthage Press, Carthage, Missouri, October 26, 1899.

[17] The Funeral of Walter Spence. The Carthage Press, Carthage, Missouri, November 2, 1899.

 

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