Pages 798-799, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




A well known and respected farmer of Liberty township, Woodson County, Ferdinand H. Spencer, was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey, May 22, 1838, and was the sixth in order of birth in a family of seven children, born to John L. and Elizabeth (Tantum) Spencer. The father was a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and after residing in New Jersey for some time removed to Illinois in 1839, there following the occupation of farming until his death, which occurred in 1867, when he was sixty-seven years of age. His wife survived him until 1872, and passed away at the age of seventy-three years. Of their children five are yet living, namely: Mrs. Hettie M. Dey, now of Morrisonville, Illinois; William T., who is living in Jerseyville, Illinois; Martha R., of St. Louis. Missouri; Ferdinand H., and Samuel H., of Yates Center.

The subject of this review was only a year old when taken by his parents to Illinois, and with them he remained until they there were called to the home beyond. He was reared amid the scenes of rural life, spending his time in mastering the branches of English learning taught in the common schools or in working in the fields. On the 16th. of February, 1871, he was joined in wedlock to Miss Sarah R. Parsell, who was born in New Jersey, on the 17th, of January, 1850, her parents being Peter and Elizabeth M. (Smalley) Parsell, both natives of New Jersey. In 1864 they removed to Illinois, where the father followed the occupation of farming until his death, which occurred in 1890, when he was sixty-five years of age. His widow still survives him at the age of seventy-four, and is now living in Jerseyville, Illinois. Their family numbered nine children, as follows: Margaret S.; Sarah R.; Isaac S.; Jeremiah; James S.; Sophia S., wife of James Nugent, and Peter R., all in Illinois; John R., of St. Louis, Missouri; Oliver P., of Jerseyville, Illinois, and Margaret S. The first named became the wife of Thomas Herdman, but both died in Neosho Falls, his death occurring December 3, 1880, and her death March 23, 1900.

The year 1879 witnessed the arrival of Mr. Spencer in the Sunflower state. He purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land in Liberty township, Woodson County, on which he now resides, the farm being conveniently located four miles directly north of Yates Center. He has wrought a great transformation in his land, making many excellent improvements thereon, and the boundaries of the farm he has extended until it now comprises three hundred and twenty acres. His attractive residence stands in the midst of a nice grove of evergreen and forest trees, and in the


rear is a good barn and other substantial outbuildings, which stand as monuments to the thrift and enterprise of the owner.

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer has been blessed with six children, namely: Elizabeth T., a highly educated young lady, who is a graduate of the State Normal School, at Emporia, Kansas, and is now teaching in the city school of Kansas City, Kansas; Walter H., a graduate of the Agricultural College, at Manhattan, Kansas; Lila S., a graduate of the State Normal School, of Emporia, of the class of 1901; H. Scott, who is now teaching in the country schools; J. Oliver, who is attending high school in Yates Center, and Sophia B., who is also a student in the high school. Mr. Spencer has provided his children with excellent educational privileges, thus giving them somethiug which can never be taken from them and which admirably fits them for the practical duties of life.

In his political views Mr. Spencer is a Democrat and cast his first presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860. In his business affairs he has been very successful, for though he had neither wealth or influential friends to aid him at the outset of his business career he is now in control of a valuable farm which he owns, and which annually brings to him a good financial return on his investment

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