William Augustus & Mary E. (née Harrington) Spencer


1887:William Augustus Spencer, comments by Audrey Mae (nee Spencer) MacDonald

William Augustus (“Gus”) Spencer, May 1st, 1887, Taken at Norwich, CT.  Gus was born April 21, 1824 and died June 21, 1901. At age twelve, William J.B. Spencer went to live with this great uncle’s family on Middle Road (East Greenwich, Rhode Island).  William J.B. was to help his great uncle and thereby inherit the farm.


Mary E. (nee Harrington) Spencer

Mrs. Mary E. (née Harrington) Spencer, wife of William Augustus Spencer, January 25, 1903. “This woman took our grandfather’s clock and high daddy chest that was never to leave the house (Spencer family).” Audrey Mae (née Spencer) Mac Donald’s quote.

William J.B. Spencer  was sent at age 12 to live with his great-uncle’s family, William and Mary (née Harrington) Spencer, and to work the land with his great-uncle. William J.B. was to inherit the land, as his great-uncle had no male heirs. There was no love lost between great-uncle and the young nephew, and oral history portrays the uncle as a very mean man. (Web site author’s note: The fact that there was fifty years difference in their ages, I’m sure, was a factor.  Web site author regrets never asking her grandfather, Wm. J.B. about his feelings and thoughts at this time in his life.  Wm. J.B., born in 1878, died in 1969.)

With this agreement, it appears that William J.B. was then disinherited from his own family of origin land as that land–Spencers Corners– was to be divided between his older and younger brother.

To this day when some aware younger descendants walk by the great-uncle’s gravestone, they kick it.  On admonition from an older person, the young person’s response was “Well, Grandma did it”!

Another descendant, age 63, on reading this webpage said “so that is why I never mow or care for that walled off northwest corner section within the cemetery.  That is where William J.B.’s mean uncle is buried!  As a kid I was taught to leave that higher elevation section alone.  As an adult I often wondered why, but yet I never mowed the grass or pulled weeds in that small corner of the graveyard.  My earliest recollection of mowing lawns and landscaping was the historic family cemetery.  That was the first time I learned how to use a lawn mower.”