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William B Spencer
1835 - 1882


The Monroe BulletinWednesday, May 10, 1882Page 2, Column 4 Hon. Wm. B. Spencer.[New Orleans Times-Democrat.]"Death loveth a shining mark." Such is the reflection which came to us on learning last evening of the death of Judge Spencer. Far and wide, in every horizon of the State, from the hills of North Louisiana to the lowlandsof the Gulf, hearts will be saddened by the announcement of his death. No man in the State was better known, no one more loved and more respected, and no one in passing away would have taken with him more of the affection and respect of the people among whom he was born, and amid whom he lived and labored for all the years of his active, useful and honorable life. His father, George Spencer, came to Louisiana in the early days of its history,about 1818. He settled in Catahoula, where he married, and where, as we have said, the subject of this sketch was born in the year 1835. The boyhood of Judge Spencer was passed in Catahoula parish. He went at an early age to Centenary College, at Jackson, La., where he graduated with distinguished honor in 1855. His schoolmates, who are now scattered ove rthe State, filling many walks of life, recall with pleasant memory his courage, his honor, his directness, and all those other qualities which made the boy lovable, and which, ripening in the man, made him what he was, a brave, true-hearted, chivalric gentleman. Judge Spencer studied law in theUniversity of Louisiana, from which he took a diploma in 1857. His professional career commenced in Catahoula, and was successful until disturbed by the late war. After his army service, Capt. Spencer began a new practice of law, settling at Vidalia. He rapidly assumed the leadershipof the bar of his section of the State. Vigorous in mind, powerful inanalysis, fertile in resource, he was in every sense of the word an advocate. In 1874 he was elected as a Democrat to Congress in an overwhelmingly Republican district, the success being largely the result of his personal popularity and ability. In the midst of his Congressional career, Judge Spencer was summoned by Gov. Nicholls to take a place on the Supreme bench. Great as had been his success as an advocate and as a candidate for popular suffrage, it was surpassed and overshadowed by his judicial career. As a judge, we may safely say, the great work of his life was done. His intimate knowledge of our system of law; his remarkable power of analysis; his faculty of luminous statement; his purity of purpose, made him indeed a strong and great judge. We believe no man, since the days of Martin and Porter and Mathews, has left a more vigorous and lasting impression on our judicial history than he has. Retiring from the bench on the organization of the judicial system under the Constitution of 1879, Judge Spencer commenced the practice of law in this city as a member of the law firm of Spencer & White. His health, however, failed him. On the advice of his medical man he sought recuperation in the table lands of Mexico. Alas! Without avail. He died at Cardova, Mexico, on 29th April.His loss will be seriously felt, not only by his family and friends but bythe people of the State. Far from kindred and friends and family, he sleeps his last sleep. But the hearts of those who loved him go out to his new-made grave with the assurance that his useful and honorable life has not been lived in vain.


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