J. EUGENE SPENCER. This gentleman is a well-to-do retired farmer, residing at Wampsville on his fine homestead of thirty acres. He was born in Canastota in 1825, and comes of good old New England stock, his grandfather, General I. S. Spencer, having been born in 1780 in Sheffield, Mass., and reared in Great Barrington of that State, where his brothers and sisters were born. General Spencer was well educated, and became an eminent lawyer. He married Miss Polly Pearson at Alford, Mass., in 1801. They came to Madison County in 1802; and the wife survived her husband for many years, dying at Wampsville, February 19, 1865, when she was over eighty years of age. During her early life Mrs. Spencer was thrown much in the company of the Oneida Indians. She spoke their language fluently, and was regarded by them as a benefactress. Her children were three
sons and one daughter, namely: Julius A., father of our subject; Frederick R., an artist of much ability, who resided in New York City and attained great celebrity, afterward retiring to his farm at Wampsville, where he died at an advanced age; Charles A., an optician of excellent reputation in Canastota,
whose son is now a manufacturer of optic glasses in Buffalo, N.Y.; Caroline, who married A. A. Bradley, of Little Falls, where she lived and died.
Julius A. Spencer, our subject's father, was born at Quality Hill, near Canastota, in the year 1802. His wife was Miss Lucy K. Plumb, of Middletown, Conn. To this marriage there were four children born: J. Eugene; Oscar, who was a hardware merchant in New York City, and died at the age of sixty; Josephine, widow of Roscoe McConnell, who was a silk merchant of New York City, and has one son living; the fourth child died when an infant. Mrs. Spencer died at Utica, N.Y., a short time previous to the death of her husband.
J. Eugene Spencer spent the greater part of his youth in Utica, N. Y.; and received an excellent education in the high school of that place. He was a clerk for a few years after leaving school, and later became engaged in railroad and express business, which he followed for many years. His first marriage was in 1862, with Miss Jennie N. Hoffman, of Fort Plain, Montgomery County, N. Y. She died a few years afterward, leaving no children. Mr. Spencer married in 1871 Mrs. Harriet M. Corey, whose maiden name was Spence, although she was not akin to him. In 1874 Mr. and Mrs. Spencer moved to Wampsville, Madison County, where he bought a farm with a handsome house and ample barns thereon, paying the round sum of ten thousand dollars for the property.
For many years Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Spencer lived in this large pillared and porticoed house which he bought with the farm; but in 1888 he built his present elegant home, where they now live, surrounded with every needed luxury and comfort. The road that runs in front of their residence is the oldest in this region, if not in the whole State, being the "old trail" of the Six Nations from Albany to Buffalo. In the twilight hour one can easily imagine the first occupants of the land flitting along, in their paint and feathers, to interview the "white Father," and seek redress for their wrongs from the head of the government.
Mr. and Mrs. Spencer have no children; but their hospitable home is always open to the young people of the village, who find the cheer of sympathy with their pursuits and pleasures in this genial couple, who have never allowed themselves to grow old in heart, even if advanced in years. Mr. Spencer is a member of the fraternal orders in high standing, being a Royal Arch Mason, and having occupied the several chairs of Odd Fellowship. He and his wife are attendants of the Episcopal church, with which they have been connected since early childhood.
Politically, Mr. Spencer is a Democrat, and in his life of retired ease follows with much interest the progress of the party of which he proudly claims himself to be a supporter.
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