CHARLES H. SPENCER is one of the producers of agricultural and livestock wealth in Kearny County. His farm and ranch are situated in Kendall Township, where he has lived continuously since 1888, when as a boy of fourteen he accompanied his parents to this county.
He was born in Bureau County, Illinois, November 26, 1873. His ancestry is all English. His grandfather, Robert Spencer, was born at Newport on the Isle of Wight, England, June 1, 1791. He died from exposure June 2, 1843, as a result of his efforts to save some shipwrecked people. Robert Spencer married Charlotte Ury. Left a widow, she came to the United States with her children, the family settling at Sterling, Illinois, but she died later at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Robert and Charlotte Spencer had the following children: Harold; William, who spent most of his life at Sterling, Illinois, but later came to Kansas; and Mrs. James Cantaloe, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Harold Ury Spencer, but known everywhere in Kearny County as Harry Spencer, was born at Newport, Isle of Wight, England, January 18, 1841. When a boy of sixteen he began learning the shoemaker's trade and he stuck close to his work all his active career. On coming to Kansas he first settled at Kendall, setting up a shoe shop there, and made and repaired boots and shoes for a number of years. Later he did similar work at Lakin, and died in that town January 13, 1892. He was never active in local politics, though always voting the republican ticket, and had no outside interests beyond his family, his home and his chosen work.
Harry Spencer married Morna H. Moore, who died August 6, 1904. Her father, George Moore, was born in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, October 12, 1773. Her mother, Eliza P. Moorhead, was born at Donnegal, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, January, 7, 1793, and died at Rock Island, Illinois, in December, 1848. The Moore family had gone to Rock Island when Mrs. Harry Spencer was a small girl.
Harry Spencer had preceded his family to Kansas, coming in the year 1887 and entering the homestead where his son Charles now lives. It was lot 3 and the south half of the northeast quarter of section 4, township 26, range 38. There he dug a dugout for his country home. It contained only a single room, and his wife and son and himself occupied this during a part of the proving up process. His widow completed proving up the land and she lived on it and was a factor in the community the rest of her days. Had it not been for his trade Harry Spencer would have found it impossible to maintain a family in this new locality. Farming as he knew it did not work well in Kansas, and more failures than successes in crops were recorded. Charles H. Spencer had one brother, Robert, who was born in 1870 and died in 1902. He married Anna Neis, and left a daughter, Catherine H., in Bureau County, Illinois.
Charles H. Spencer secured his early education in Illinois and though a boy in years he assisted with the strength of a man at the homestead in Kansas. He has been engaged in the cattle business and in farming ever since he came to the state. The Spencers brought very little resources with them to Kansas, and the father passed away before he had accumulated much property. They brought in an emigrant car a few cattle and a couple of sheep, and this was the livestock with which they hoped to conquer the conditions of success in the new scene. Mr. Spencer at different times tried grain raising, wheat and rye, but the crops proved so indifferent in quality and quantity that he concluded they were not worthy of serious attention or prolonged labor. A few years ago he began specializing in the Polled Angus strain of cattle, a breed that is hardy and admirably adapted to this climate and region. A part of the Spencer holdings is a claim taken and proved up by his mother, and altogether the family own three quarter sections of land in a single body. This estate lies against the sand hills south of the river and is in one of the productive tracts in the county. The crops on which Mr. Spencer chiefly depends for his success as a farmer is feed stuffs and the broom corn.
For many years he has been a director of his school district and has also served as trustee of Kendall Township three terms. He is a republican, and cast his first vote for McKinley. He has no church membership and is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America.
At Kendall, Kansas, March 20, 1900, Mr. Spencer married Miss Agnes Weatherly. She was a daughter of John and Agnes Weatherly and her mother is now Mrs. S. S. Clapp of Syracuse, Kansas. Besides Mrs. Spencer there were three other daughters, Mrs. Paul Johnson, Mrs. Ike Clore and Mrs. Henry Ogilvie. Mrs. Spencer died January 30, 1912, the mother four children: Dorothy C., who is a graduate of the common schools and is now head of her father's household; Grace W., Harry J. and Robert Dickson.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project