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Maurice L. Spencer

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Maurice L. Spencer

Huntington County Volunteer (View posts)
Posted: 9 Nov 2000 5:00AM GMT
Classification: Biography
Edited: 23 Jun 2001 9:50AM GMT
Surnames: Spencer, Lee, Lancaster, Coole, Best, Doak, Brookover, Guffin
From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 274-276

From Quaker stock comes Maurice L. Spencer, of the well-known Huntington law firm of Spencer, Branyan & Spencer.

His grandparents, Neal and Elinor (Lee) Spencer, were natives of Pennsylvania, their parents before them having been among the followers of Willim Penn. They owned a farm near Belair, Maryland, where both died, the former at sixty-seven, the latter at eighty-four.

William L. Spencer the father of our subject was a native of Harford county, Maryland, where he grew up as a farmer. In 1833 he followed the star of empire westward and landed in Wayne county. He was yet a single man, and settling at Richmond remained there for some years. Finally he took up farming and engaged at that until 1844, when he purchased land in Dallas township, Huntington county. The land was heavily timbered, but the elder Spencer cleared it and dwelt on the place until the time of his death, May, 1891, at the age of eighty-eight years. In politics a Republican and in religion a Quaker, he was highly esteemed by all who knew him. For several years he was a trustee of the township and could have held other offices but decined the honor.

The mother of our subject was also a Quaker. Hannah Lancaster was a native of Harford county, Maryland. Her parents were both Quakers and her grandfather, Aaron Lancaster, was one of the original Penn party. Hannah Lancaster lived in Maryland until 1839 when her future husband came back from his new Indiana home to claim her. She died on the farm in Dallas township in January, 1878, at the age of sixty-eight years. She left a husband and four children, three out of a family of seven having died in youth. Joseph and William A. both died at the age of twenty-two and Matilda died at the age of eighteen. Those remaining are J. Edward, a farmer living in Wabash county; Charles, who is on a farm in Kansas; Maurice, the subject of this sketch; and Mary E., wife of V. M. Coole, who died in 1884 at the age of twenty-eight, leaving two sons. Maurice L. Spencer was born in Richmond, Wayne county, March 6, 1843, and his boyhood days were spent amid rural surroundings. He showed himself unusually bright in his studies at the country schools and at the age of seventeen was teaching in the district schools. He did this for two years, and in March, 1865, ran away from home and enlisted in the service at Nashville. He was made clerk in the construction department, as he was too late to be mustered into active service in the field. His family strongly opposed his going to the war and in the fall of 1865 he was discharged at Chattanooga and returned home to again teach school.

For two years he was an instructor at Roanoke Seminary and for two or three years more taught in Clear Creek township. He was appointed school examiner in the spring of 1871 and served until the spring of 1874, when he resigned. He had been reading law for several years with the aim of making that his life work. A couple of years were spent studying with Judge Townsley, at Great Bend, where he was admitted to the bar in 1876. He at once located at Huntington, forming a partnership with his brother-in-law, D. R. Best. In 1878 he was associated with Rev. Henry Bridge and soon afterward became a partner with James C. Branyan and C. W. Watkins, both later judges of the circuit court. In 1882 the latter retired from the firm. In 1891 Mr. Spencer took his son into the firm, and it is now Spencer, Branyan & Spencer.

In December of 1867 Mr. Spencer was married to Elmira Best, a native of Clear Creek township and a daughter of James C. and Jane (Doak) Best. She died at the age of twenty-seven years in October, 1873. In March, 1878, Mr. Spencer was again married, this time to Miss Blanche Brookover, daughter of G. W. and Eliza J. Brookover. Her father was a native of Brown county, Ohio, but her mother, whose maiden name was Guffin, was a native of Kentucky. Her father died in 1874 but her mother is still living here. The family came to this county in 1855 and her father was one of the most prominent men of Warren township. Mrs. Spencer was born in Brown county but came to this county at a very tender age. Three children were born to Mr. Spencer by his second wife. They are Herbert B., a graduate of the Indianapolis Law School, who is now associated in the office with his father; Edith, aged sixteen is at home; and Paul W., a young lad, is attending school.

Mr. Spencer is a Republican, inheriting that party loyalty from his father. He is considered one of the leading attorneys of the Huntington county bar, and has made a success of life, no matter how we measure it. Though not a church member he has been a trustee of the Presbyterian church for ten years, his wife being a very active member.

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