Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


JAMES D. SPENCER. No man is better or, more favorably known in Franklin township and that section of Greene county than James D. Spencer, now living in retirement in Springfield, having attained his seventy-fifth year and certainly entitled to a little respite from life's serious labors, for his record shows that he has been a man of great industry and also a man of usefulness to his community. He devoted over a half century to farming on the same place in Greene county, and for more than three decades was justice of the peace, one of the most efficient And popular justices the county has ever had. He is a native Missourian and has been a good representative citizen of the state all his life.

Mr. Spencer was born in Cape Girardeau county, Missouri, September 20, 1838. He is a son of Andrew and Christina (James) Spencer. The father was a native of North Carolina, who emigrated to southeastern Missouri in an early day and located on a farm. His wife's parents died when she was quite young.

Mr. Spencer grew to manhood on the farm in his native county, amid the rugged scenes of the early days, and he worked hard when a boy. His education was somewhat limited, but he improved such opportunities as he had and studied at night by the light from the open fireplace at home. On June 3, 1852, at the age of fourteen years, he arrived in Greene county, Missouri, and settled in Franklin township on a farm which he developed and kept well improved and here he carried on general farming for a period of fifty-four years and ranked among the best farmers of the township. He served the people of Franklin township as justice of the peace for a period of thirty-two years and it stands to his credit to add that during that protracted period he never had a decision reversed at the hands of a higher tribunal. This would indicate that he had a sound knowledge of the basic principles of the law and that he dealt fairly with all who came before him to settle their differences, his decisions being unbiased and satisfactory to all concerned. And his long retention of the office would also indicate that the people reposed in him the utmost confidence and held him in the highest esteem.

Mr. Spencer was married in this county on December 5, 1869, to Mary E. Wallace, who was born near Cave Spring, Missouri, in the northern part of Greene county, and there reared to womanhood, and was educated in the common schools, and, although her education was limited, she was studious and was enabled to teach three terms of subscription school in her community when a young woman. She is a daughter of Jeptha and Nancy Wallace, natives of North Carolina from which state they emigrated to Missouri as early as 1836 and located on a farm in Greene county, and the Wallace family has been well known in the northern part of the county from that time to the present. Mrs. Spencer is one of ten children, four sons and six daughters, five of whom are living. Mr. Spencer is one of six children, an equal number of sons and daughters, two of whom are living.

During the Civil war Mr. Spencer desired to take an active part, but was not in proper physical condition. However, he served in the Home Guards three months. He and his wife retired from active life and moved to Springfield, January 22, 1907, where they have since resided, owning a home on North Main street. He has been a loyal supporter of the Republican party all his life. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian church.

The union of Mr. and Mrs, Spencer has been without issue.

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