History of the Spencer Family
By Brenda Collins Dillon
Historical records show that the name "Spencer" is a very ancient family name in England, where many families are said to have their origin in the kind of work that people did. Thus the name "Spencer" could have come from "Despencer" which meant the work of a steward. This office was among the highestin the King's household and proportionally great among the barons. One historian clains that the Spencers came into England from France. The coat -of-arms seen in the homes of many Virginian Spencers bears a french inscription; "Dieu defend le droit", which means "God defends the right". Those who bears the Spencer name should take pride in knowing that their ancesters were people of honor. Many were Earls, Dukes, and Lords. Lord Fransis Spencer was the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, raised to peerage in 1815. Some were of royal bloodline, not only from kings of England, but also France and Spain. Always faithful to their country .
The first known member of the Spencer family to come to America was Gerald Spencer b. 1614. He came to New England with three brothers. Some of the early Spencers settled in Virginia. Col. Thomas Spencer of Charlotte County Virginia served in the Revolutionary War c/o 1793. Captain John Spencer, also of Charlotte County Virginia died in 1828.
Some Spencers were early ministers. Among them were Rev Thomas Spencer, and Abraham Spencer, brother of James Spencer.
Our ancester, Thomas Spencer, Jr. married the daughter of James Morrow( record found in will of James Morrow ) Their first born son, James, bnorn about 1785, married Elizabeth Haptonstall in 1808 . To this marriage was born:
2 William Hamilton
11 Elizabeth (twins)
James Spencer's first wife, Elizabeth ,died in 1831. In 1833 he married Mary Cook.
To this union was born:
13 Maria Ann
James was the father of 20 children, including 3 sets of twins. His second wife ,Mary Cook must have died before he did. In his later years he made his home among his children. Durning the years preceding his death, ( july 4, 1880) he had been living in the home of his son, Allen Spencer, who had moved down from his Fork Mountain home to a house he had built in Cherry Tree Bottoms, on the Cherry River.( today Richwood,WV area) James was a small man, very inergetic,strong, wiry, and very straight.An excellent horseback rider, able to mount and dismount his mule until the week of his death.
James was a great hunter, as was most of the Spencers. When only 14 years old he kept camp on Cherry River for his father and some of his father's friends. Once when the hunters had left him working , he killed a fine deer with his bow and arrow and was busily skinning it when the adult hunters returned emptied handed.
James had a son named Smith, who lived in New Hope( now Fenwick Mountain,WV)
James rode his mule the five miles to visit Smith and his family. While there he became ill with a severe intestional disease called "flux" and died at the ripe old age of 95 years. He was buried in the school yard of the little one room school house which also served as a church before Mecedonia was built.(about 1895) This building burned and was rebuilt near the home of Lloyd Spencer, a descendant of Smith Spencer