Source: "The Spencer Family History"
Transcribed by: Brenda Collins Dillon
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. During 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 energetic, strong, wiry, and very straight. An excellent
horseback rider, able to mount and dismount his mule until the week of his
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 intestinal 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 Macedonia was
built about 1895) This building burned and was rebuilt near the home of
Lloyd Spencer, a descendant of Smith Spencer.
Marker made by Glenn Spencer of Fenwick Mt.
and erected with many of the descendants of James on Fenwick Mt. Cemetary
use to sit behind the school house but the school burned years ago. There
are just a few graves there some I am sure are not marked. I did find the
marked graves of William Collins Jr. and Nancy Lambert Collins. William Jr.
was the grandson of my ggggrandfather, Meredith Collins.
A man named Allen Spencer
Transcribed by: Brenda Collins Dillon
Allen Spencer was born April 18, 1817 at or near Keister, on the Greenbrier
River, WV. He was the third child of James and Elizabeth Haptonstall
As a young man Allen served as a bodyguard for Fransis Ludington, who owned
a large acreage north of Frankfort,WV. The Ludington's were a wealthy slave
holding family. Mr. Ludington kept several bags of gold coins in a dresser
drawer in his bedroom where Allen slept on a pallet between his employer's
bed and the door. One day one of them money bags was missing and Mr.
Ludington hotly accused Allen of stealing it, but it was later found where
it had fallen beneath the drawers.
One summer Mr. Ludington decided to sell some of his slaves, and his foreman
was instructed to get them ready for the journey. He took his black snake
whip from it's peg on the wall and rounded up the boys and girls who were 16
to 18 years of age and started over the road to Cincinnati to be taken down
the Mississippi River to be sold. The screaming youngsters were given no
time to take leave of the whip. Allen was so hurt by this inhuman treatment
that he yelled to the slave driver, "Something terrible will happen to you".
The slaves were sold but on the way back the foreman was taken ill with a
dread disease called "Black Death" and choked with his tongue protruding
from his mouth.
On December 31, 1846 Allen married Polly Clendenin Knapp. Early in 1847 they
began life in their new home on Fork Mountain near the present town of
Richwood, WV. These early pioneer settlers were a sturdy hardworking people.
They cleared the land, grew their food , made their clothes, traded for
their needs. If they were poor they never knew it. On his farm of 200 acres,
Allen and Polly reared 10 children, six sons and four daughters.
Allen Spencer was a energetic man and devoutly religious. He believed firmly
in the power of prayer. His sons told their children about these experiences
of how prayers were answered. One autumn Allen needed seed wheat to complete
the fall sowing. He knew that his good friend and neighbor, Allen McClung,
who lived on the other side of Cold Knob, some 25 miles away, had plenty, so
he sat out to get a couple bushels. However, Allen had no money so he took
with him his trusty rife in hopes to get a deer or something in which to
trade for the wheat seed. He did not get anything but when he rode up to his
friends house the friend came out and invited him to get off his horse and
spend the night. He also said "I have some wheat seed which I wish to give
In the dark days of the Civil War, Allen would go into the woods to pray,
where he could be alone with God. Once he came in from his prayers so happy
he was shouting. His wife Polly ask why he was so happy. He said, " God has
just revealed to me the end of the war" It came soon after according to the
How truly grateful, we, his descendants are, for the Christian heritage. God
grant that we may live according to the example which he sat for us.
When Allen died his body was laid to rest on the hill in what is now South
Richwood, on the farm of his son Ben. When Cherry River Boom and Lumber
Company bought the farms of the Spencer brothers the bodies buried there
were removed to the little church cemetery on Hinkle Mountain.
The Story of Uncle Smith Spencer
Transcribed by:Brenda Collins Dillon
Smith Spencer married Mariam Kerns of Anthony's Creek, December 26, 1850, in
Greenbrier County, Va.( now WV). Most of their children were born in
Greenbrier Co. however they reared their family in New Hope (Fenwick)
Nicholas County, WV. After their children were grown they came over to where
Richwood now is and ran Grandpa Allen's Gristmill, just below where the
north and south fork join to form the Cherry River. My earliest memories of
when they lived there in a tiny storybook cottage, in a equally tiny
flowered bordered yard. It was always neat and clean, opening on the road
that lead on up a few yards farther, to the little mill. Between the road
and the river, just west of the house were several sugar maples, which
offered a pleasant shade on a hot summers day.
Uncle Smith was a devout Methodist (the shouting kind) and lived his
religion everyday as well as Sunday in all ways but one. He had a very quick
temper, which he did not attempt to control, and when things went wrong he
would snatch his old battered felt hat from his head and throw it on the
ground, and execute on it a war dance that would have done credit to any
Comanche Chief, while informing all and sundry in his hearing of the
unworthily traits of the condemned object or creature. However, he held no
spite, and the next hour would find him going about his usual duties, happy
and serene. So when a Spencer youngster would fling a tantrum he was often
referred to as " having a Smithy"
Uncle Smith was well liked by all his kin and neighbors, in spite of his
uncertain temper, and when a wen (outside tumor) started to developed folks
began to worry. It grew and it grew until it reached almost from his knee to
his body, and filled the roomy leg of his homemade breeches to overflowing.
He was finally taken by horseback over into the "Promise Land" to consult
with Dr. Kent Kessler, who decided the tumor must be removed. A few days
later Dr. Kessler brought with him another physician, Dr. Houston McClung,
from Summersville, WV. and Uncle Smith was laid on a crude plank operating
table out under the sugar maple trees, in the presence of a large crowd of
male friends and kinfolk. My father, Charles , kept the kettle boiling near
to sterilize the instruments. Other nephews aided in various ways, some of
the older ones wisped the flies from the operating theater while the
assistant (Dr. McClung) administered the chloroform and Dr. Kessler, with
sure strokes, peeled out the 33 pound tumor, tied off the feeding blood
vessels, and closed the wound. As soon as Uncle Smith was conscious , the
two doctors mounted their horses and started their homeward journey of 20
miles, leaving Uncle Smith to the care of Aunt Miram and his relatives.
Recovery was swift and Uncle Smith was almost like a young man again. He
died in 1908 at the age of 84 years.
Uncle Smith and Aunt Mirim are buried in the Macedonia Church Yard Cemetery
, near Fenwick,WV.