Pages 325-327, 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.


Jonathon H. Spicer


JONATHAN H. SPICER has passed the eighty-fourth milestone on life's journey and his has been an honorable record, the history of his life containing no esoteric chapters. Manly and sincere at all times he has commanded the respect and confidence of those with whom he has associated, and he now receives the veneration and regard that should ever be accorded those who have reached advanced age.

Mr. Spicer was born in New Hampshire, on the 12th of April, 1816. His father, Jabez Spicer, was also born in the old Granite State and married to Miss Mary Huvey, a native of Connecticut. The father won the degrees of D. D. and M. D. He pursued both the classical and theological course in the Dartmouth Theological College, and though he prepared for the medical profession he never engaged in practice, believing that his duty called him to the ministerial field. In an early day he removed to Michigan where he entered upon the often arduous life of a home missionary, and during the greater part of his career he was thus engaged in work in the west, carrying the gospel tidings into settlements where church privileges were little known. When he arrived in the Wolverine State it was a largely undeveloped region, the Indians being far more numerous than the white settlers. He took a very active part in planting the seeds of truth in the new communities and his influence was manifest in the upright lives of those among whom he lived and labored. He died in Michigan on the 25th of December, 1847, at the age of sixty-two years, and his wife passed away three years later when sixty years of age. They were the parents of ten children, but only two are now living, the other being Charles R. Spicer.

J. H. Spicer of this review was the third in order of birth. He spent


much of his boyhood in the Empire State and received a common school education. When a young man he went to Vermont where he engaged in teaching school and also worked on a farm. Subsequently he returned to New York and later made his way to Ohio and afterward to Michigan, where he met a little black-haired maiden of attractive appearance and pleasing manner. Their acquaintance ripened into love and on the 3rd of September, 1842, Emily Finney became his wife. She, too, was a native of the Old Granite State, a daughter of Seth and Lydia Jane Finney, the former born in New Hampshire and the latter in Connecticut. Her father's birth occurred May 27, 1791, his death October 24, 1872. Mrs. Finney was born November 26, 1792, and departed this life May 25, 1852. They were the parents of seven children, but Mrs. Spicer is the only survivor of the family. She was born April 8, 1821, and for sixty one years (September 3, 1900, the 61st anniversary) she has traveled life's journey by her husband's side, sharing with him in all his pleasures, sorrows, his adversity and prosperity, and ever proving to him a faithful companion and helpmate.

A few years after his marriage Mr. Spicer removed from Michigan to Kansas, arriving in this State in 1857 with a colony that took up their abode at Geneva. He preempted a tract of land just north of the little village and his experience on the frontier of Michigan well fitted him to meet the hardships and trials of pioneer life in the Sunflower State. The Indians were still numerous in this section of the country and there was much discussion as to whether Kansas would or would not permit slavery within its borders. It was decided to settle the question by popular suffrage, and the South, anxious to retain Kansas as slave territory, sent many squatters who, says Mr. Spicer, gave the permanent settlers more trouble than all the Indians. Not long afterward the country became involved in civil war and loyal to the North, Mr. Spicer enlisted as a member of the Ninth Kansas cavalry, being made quartermaster sergeant of his regiment. He went to the front and served throughout the war, while his young wife and little son remained alone in the wild country. Mrs. Spicer relates many interesting instances of her experience in Kansas and Michigan, living in both States when they were the haunts of the red men. When they located at Geneva their nearest post office was Kansas City, Missouri. For many years they resided upon a farm, but about 1886 took up their abode in Geneva where they have a pleasant home. They are nearing the end of life's pilgrimage, but can look back over the past without regret and forward to the future without fear.

Duane D. Spicer, the only son of J. H. and Emily Spicer, was born in Seneca County, Ohio, December 4, 1845, and with his parents came to Kansas when twelve years of age. This was in 1857. He was reared upon a farm and the experiences and duties of agricultural life early became familiar to him. His education was acquired in the schools at Emporia and later at the Academy in Geneva. On the 15th of June, 1869, he was united in marriage to Miss Ella G. Brown, a daughter of G. M. and Caroline Brown. They had been reared in the same neighborhood and attended


the same school, and now they are traveling life's journey together in a happy married relation. Their home has been blessed with three children, namely: Fred Brown, a resident of Neosho Falls; Flora E., the wife of Robert B. Warner, of Geneva, and Herbert R., who is still with his parents.

Duane D. Spicer continued farming until 1885, when he sold his land and entered into partnership with C. L. Knowlton in the conduct of a general mercantile enterprise in Geneva. They carried on business together for fourteen years when Mr. Spicer sold his interest to Mr. Knowlton and established a hardware business which he is still conducting. In 1899 he was appointed postmaster of Geneva and is now filling that position with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents. In 1887 he was appointed on the board of county commissioners, to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Robert Inge, and in 1891 he was elected to that office where he served for two terms, retiring from the position as he had entered it, with the confidence and good will of the public. His political support is given to the Republican party and he keeps well informed on the issues of the day. His prosperity is the reward of his own unaided and well-directed efforts and today he ranks among the representative residents of his adopted village.

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