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

GEORGE W. SPENCER. The life record of George W. Spencer, the present efficient and popular sheriff of Greene county, is one which might be studied with profit by the youth who stands discouraged and hesitating at the parting of the ways, for it shows what grit, determination and an unconquerable will can accomplish despite an unfavorable early environment and numerous obstacles, for our subject has by his own unaided efforts forged his way from the bottom rung of the ladder to a position of importance in the body politic. He has evidently inherited many of the traits that win in the battle of life from his sterling ancestors of old Kentucky, from which far-famed country he hails, but has spent the past quarter of a century in Greene county, and in the growth and development of which he has been an interested spectator, having had its interests at heart all the while. He has always been a persistent worker, idleness never for a moment appealing to him, and while he has tried to keep busy he has never neglected his duties as a broad-minded citizen. Among his friends, neighbors and acquaintances, wherever he is known, his word is considered as good as his bond, and it is a fact worthy of note that he has never been sued at law on his individual paper, nor had business in the courts except as a public official. For many years he was one of our enterprising agriculturists, and in all that goes to make up true citizenship he occupies a prominent position in the community.

Mr. Spencer was born in Bath county, Kentucky, forty miles east of the city of Lexington. He is a son of Jack and Mary (Leach) Spencer, both natives of Kentucky, and they grew to maturity there, were educated in the common schools and married there and established their home on a farm and spent their lives in general farming, dying many years ago. They were hard working, honest, hospitable people, true products of the Blue Grass state. Politically, Jack Spencer was first a Whig, later a Republican when the latter party succeeded the former in 1854. During the Civil war he cast his fortunes with the Union army, in which he enlisted from Bath county, his native state, and saw four years of active service, which he performed bravely and creditably. He was twice married, his first wife being Mary Leach, by whom two children were born, George W., of this sketch, and Elijah, who has remained in Bath county, Kentucky, where he is engaged in farming, and he has served two consecutive terms as jailer in his county.

The death of Jack Spencer occurred when his son, George W., was a small child, soon after the close of the war, and the lad was reared in the home of an uncle, where he remained until he reached manhood. He spent his boyhood on the farm, where he worked hard, and he received a limited education in the public schools of Bath county. He has been twice married, first, to Elizabeth Montjoy, March 28, 1877; she was a daughter of Jared and Maggie (Shoult) Montjoy, both natives of Kentucky, where they grew up and established their home and where their daughter Elizabeth grew to womanhood and was educated in the common schools. Eight children were born to Mr. Spencer by his first wife, namely: Claude lives in Dallas county, Missouri; Mrs. Alice Barron lives in Republic, Missouri; John is farming near Brookline, Greene county, this state; Mrs. Ava Hutchinson also lives in that community; Ethel, Ruth, Georgia, are all living at home, and Lilly is deceased. The mother of the above named children was called to her eternal rest on April 20, 1905. Mr. Spencer was married on November 9, 1906, to Mattie Cross, who was born at Republic, Missouri, where she grew to womanhood and was educated in the public schools. She is a daughter of Henry and Alice (Logan) Cross. The mother was born and reared at Republic, Missouri, and the father was born in England, coming to this county in an early day. He was a farmer all his life.

One child has been born to Mr. Spencer and, his second wife, Cleo Spencer, who is now seven years old.

Mr. Spencer began life for himself in Kentucky by engaging in general farming, which he followed until he removed to Springfield, Missouri, in 1884, arriving here on April 16th. He worked for some time as a common laborer on the streets, then worked on a farm for over a year near Springfield, then rented a farm and followed general farming and stock raising until he entered the sheriff's office as a deputy in 1902-3, under Sheriff Milliken, and later also served as deputy under Sheriff Freeman in 1909, and in November, 1912, he was elected sheriff by a majority of six hundred and fifty-one. He assumed the duties of office January 1, 1913, and is discharging the same in a manner eminently satisfactory to all concerned. He is very prompt and faithful in his every duty, is unbiased and accurate and courageously enforces the law as he sees and understands it.

Politically, Mr. Spencer is a Democrat and has always been loyal in his support of the party. Fraternally, he belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America at Brookline, Missouri. He and his family are members of the Christian church.


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