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Monday, January 24, 2022

Mount Union Stories: George Washington Spencer (1815-1895)

Published as it appeared on Dec. 14, 1895, in the Corvallis Times, Page 3, Column 3.

ANOTHER PIONEER

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Death and Burial of “Uncle George” Spencer.

The disease that laid hold of Uncle George Spencer several months ago, finished its fatal work at four o’clock Wednesday morning, when the spirit of the familiar figure winged its flight. The funeral occurred from the late residence at ten o’clock yesterday morning, and many old friends and acquaintances joined in paying a last tribute of respect. The services were conducted by Rev. Oberg, assisted by Rev. Kelly. The interment was made in the Newton cemetery. The pall bearers were W.S. McFadden, Jesse Spencer, John Osburn, J.D. Johnson, John Huffman and Mayor Kelsay.

George Washington Spencer was born in Vermont, April 6, 1815, and spent his early manhood in travelling over the south, engaged in the tobacco business. He first married Mary Wilcoxen, by this wife he had several children of whom two, John P. and Mary survive him. In 1842 Mr. Spencer removed to Missouri, where he remained seven years. The farm he occupied at this time was almost within a stone’s throw of what has since become the site of the great city of Kansas City. In 1851 he started west for Oregon, but when he came to the road leading to California, he with several companions, changed their course and went to where his brother and two nephews were mining, on the Calavaras river, one of the rich mines of the state. In September of the same year, they all started back to Missouri, making the trip by way of Acapulco and Vera Cruz to New Orleans. There were scores of miners in the party, all returning home with the fruit of their labors in the rich mines, and their trip through the Mexican territory, sometimes on foot, sometimes on donkeys, by steamer and otherwise, was replete with hardship and thrilling adventure. After another two years spent in Missouri, in 1853 Mr. Spencer again started over the plains for Oregon, this time accompanied by this family, brother and nephews. There were also in the same train, Fritz Horning, Charles Johnson and Mr. Mauzey. It was during this trip that Mrs. Spencer died. Sometime after his arrival in Oregon, Mr. Spencer married a second time to Mrs. Lucinda Allen, after which they resided on her farm a few miles west of Corvallis, where their daughter, Nettie was born. Later, they disposed of this farm, and purchased property in Linn county, where they remained until 1872, when they brought a home in Corvallis where Mr. Spencer resided until his death, his second wife having died seven years ago.

“Uncle George Spencer,” as he has been universally known in later years, as a mild mannered, quiet man, without enemies, and with plenty of warm friends. He gave to all men what was their due, and meddled with no affairs that concerned others. He was a good citizen and the closing years of his four score years of life were made peaceful by consciousness of the honest purpose that guided him from the beginning to the end. In early manhood he contracted a neuralgic trouble of the face that troubled him through life, sometimes interfering with his speech, and which went with him into the grave. He was not a Christian, but with all men like him, there would be no crime, no jails, no prisons, and scarcely need for courts, laws, and lawyers.

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