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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Eva (Johnson) Spence

MRS. EVA SPENCE, of Lewis, is one of the Kansas women who went through the pioneer days of Edwards County, and the large prosperity with which she is now surrounded is due as much to her own capable management and industry as to that of her late husband, W. T. Spence.

The Spence family, consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Spence and two children, came to Kansas in 1884 They drove across the country with team and wagon from Salisbury, Missouri. The purpose in making this journey was to bring their sons into the open and under the influence of the genial Kansas climate. They drove about at will, stopping at Wichita, Kingman and Kinsley and remained at Kinsley for two years, where they conducted the Emigrant Hotel.

About that time the Town of Lewis was being founded and built. That attracted them to this center and here they built a hotel called The Spence, now The Grove. Mr. Spence also invested in some land around the town. Mrs. Spence looked after the hotel and continued the business for twenty-two years, selling out in the fall of 1906, because of the poor health of her husband. He soon afterwards moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and died there December 25, 1906, at the age of sixty-six. Spence had been a farmer in Chariton County, Missouri, also a tobacco grower and manufacturer and shipper. He never occupied any of the farm lands in Kansas. In early time the Spences experienced some hardships but they were in a position to get through those hard times without difficulty and they eventually saw their community in a flourishing condition.

Mrs. Spence was born at Fayette, Missouri, March 31, 1850. When she was a small girl she moved to the vicinity of Salisbury and lived there until her marriage to W. T. Spence. Mrs. Spence is a daughter of Samuel Johnson, who was born and reared and spent his life in Missouri, where he died in 1894, aged seventy-three. His father was a Virginian and was drowned in the Missouri River six weeks before Samuel was born. Samuel Johnson married Barbara Hershey, who died in 1890, at the age of sixty-six. Her father, David Hershey, came to Missouri from Maryland in the early days. The Hershey ancestors were Germans and were all finely educated people. Mrs. Johnson was the oldest of her parents' children. Mrs. Spence's brothers, David and George T., live in Missouri. Her brother W. P. Johnson died in Edwards County, Kansas, in 1906. Her sister Tenie is the wife of E. J. Hayes, of Missouri. Her sister Emma married banker William Hayes of Salisbury, Missouri.

Mr. Spence was a son of William and Rebecca (Hayes) Spence. His father came from North Carolina. Rebecca Hayes was a native of Kentucky and her father, Robert Hayes, took her to Missouri when she was a small girl. Robert Hayes acquired a large amount of land and was quite wealthy before he died. William Spence and wife had the following children: Emmet, W. T., Jesse, John, Bedford, James, Frank and Betty, all still living except Emmet, W. T. and Betty. W. T. Spence served as a soldier in the Confederate Army with General Price, the general's home being about six miles from the Johnson farm and Mrs. Spence knew the Confederate leader well.

Mr. and Mrs. Spence were married May 17, 1868. Their two oldest children, Samuel J. and Willie, are both now deceased. Willie was affiliated with the Masonic Lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and Samuel belonged to the Modern Woodmen of America. Samuel married Ella Fitzpatrick and died December 31, 1906, and has the following children: Raymond, W. T., Eva, Thomas, Rebecca, John Pitts and Olive. The only living child of Mrs. Spence is Thomas, who is a successful farmer, managing an entire section of Western Kansas land and engaging in wheat raising and stock growing. Thomas Spence married Reba Scroggins, a daughter of Ollie Scroggins of Missouri. They have five children, Howard, Sam, Wallace, Wayne and G. T. Thomas Spence is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Mrs. Spence is active in the Christian Church.

While the Spences were not so poor as were many of the early comers into Kansas, they had to practice economy in some of the close times. They owned a splendid home in Missouri and had not come to Kansas for the purpose of starting at the bottom. Mr. Spence bought some land here and finally concentrated all his interests in Edwards County. At the time of his death they owned 1,640 acres and since then Mrs. Spence has added as much more to her possessions besides business buildings in Lewis, two blocks of lot and a ten-room two-story modern house where she now lives. Mrs. Spence has proved a public spirited factor in the growth and development of Lewis and recently presented the town with a block of land adjoining the townsite on the south for a city park, which bears her name, Spence Park.