Joseph Spencer, farmer, Frazeysburg, Ohio. Among the well-known pioneer settlers of Muskingum county, Ohio, the Spencers deserve honorable mention, for not only are they classed among the first settlers, but they have ever been respected and esteemed citizens. Mr. Spencer's grandfather, Joseph Spencer, was a native of Maryland, of English descent, and was a shoemaker by trade. He was the father of five children: Foreman, Edward, William, Sarah and Gracie (who died in Maryland). Grandfather Spencer came to Ohio in early life, after the death of his first wife, and after her son, Foreman, had made a start, built a home and married. He lived with his son until his death, when seventy-five years of age. He was a member of the Baptist church and was well thought of by the old settlers. His son, Foreman Spencer, was born in Maryland, September 1, 1784, secured but a limited eduction, and there learned the trade of a tanner and shoemaker. He was one of the first settlers of Muskingum county, Ohio, emigrating there, it is believed, about 1800 or 1801, with a family by the name of Tanner, the descendants of whom are now residing in Zanesville. Mr. Spencer fist built a log cabin and here resided for a number of years. He had entered his land, but had no money to pay for it. He had a horse, and having some time in which to pay for his land, he mounted that animal and with some provisions and a sack of oats, he visited Virginia to borrow $100 of an uncle. He received the money and returned in time to save the land, consisting of 160 acres. He again returned to Virginia and married Miss Dorothy Wiseman of West Virginia, on the Little Kenesaw river. The fruits of this union were eight children, all of whom lived to maturity: Wilson, Foreman, Owen, Wiseman, Harriet, Joseph, Elizabeth and Minerva. Mr. Spencer was a great worker and cleared his land of the heavy timber with which it was covered. For many years his nearest neighbor was ten and fifteen miles away, except one family that lived where the covered bridge now is, near Frazeysburg, and he used to go ten miles to a log rolling. He used to go to the falls of Licking river for his grist of meal, horseback, and hitch his horse to the branches of the beech trees, waiting sometimes all night to get his grist ground, and sleeping under the trees. On his way home, he would frequently miss his cabin, although near it, on account of the thick foliage of the trees. Here he labored hard, endured all the privation of pioneer days, and gradually made a fine farm. He cared very little for hunting and did not waste his time that way, well knowing that the farm was the road to success. He used to wrap up his children and lay them under the beech trees while his wife would gather brush to keep up a fire so that he could see to grub up the bushes with his mattock. In this way he worked and delved until he finally owned 600 acres. His sons, as they grew up, greatly assisted him, which he repaid by giving them land. Mr. Spencer built a brick house before 1817, and this was the first brick building in that county. There were none at Nashport, Irville or Frazeysburg at that early day. He got out the timber on his own land, burned the brick on his own farm and they are in excellent condition to this day, He built the house by piece meal and the walls are still standing in good condition. Mr. Spencer gave an acre of land to build the Old School Baptist church on, and this still stands and is occupied by them. The land where Shannon now stands belonged to Mr. Spencer, who founded the town and which at one time had a general store; a physiciian, and all the different trades were represented. He was the first tanner in this township, or in this part of the county, beginning the business soon after coming here and continuing it for many years. the money he made in that way assisted him in paying for his land. He was very careful and economical, and the household clothing was all raised, spun, woven and made upon the farm. He used to go Taylor's salt works for salt, paying several dollars per barrel. His faithful wife died at the early age of thirty-seven. She was an Old School Baptist in her religious belief and a devout woman. About fifteen years afterward Mr. Spencer married the widow of Jesse Crannell, formeraly a Miss Margaret Evans, and to them was born one child. Mr. Spenser was one of the foremost men of the township and took an active interest in its advancement. After rearing his children and giving land to each, he sold his property in Ohio, and went to New York city, where he took passage on a sailing vessel for San Francisco. From there he went to Portland, Ora., and settled thirty miles from that city in Williamette valley on new land which was then a wilderness, and here Mr. Spencer again made a new home in a new country. During the period of the great Civil war about 1861 and 1862, his daughter, Harriet Baxter, with her husband (John Baxter) and seven children went to Oregon and settled in the home of Mr. Spencer, who was now an old man, and who lived about eight years afterward, dying at the age of eighty-six years. He left a handsome property of over 300 acres in the Willamette valley. Mr. Spenser was very energetic and a good business man, depending more on his business management and not so much on hard work the latter part of his life. He was honorable and upright and his word was as good as his bond. His son, Joseph Spencer, was born in Muskingum county, Ohio, July 8, 1823, and received but a limited education. At an early age he began assisting his father to clear the home place, and worked with untiring industry on the same for years. At the age of twenty-four he married the daughter of Chaney and Sarah Mendenhall, one of the pioneer settlers of Jackson township, coming from Virginia at an early day. To Mr. and Mrs. Spencer was born one child, Jesse J., who is now a married man with two children and is living in Kansas on a farm. After his marriage Joseph Spencer lived with his father until he was thirty-one years of age. His wife died three years after marriage, and six years later, at the age of thirty-one, he married Miss Martha Bail who bore him four children, all of whom lived to grow to maturity: Foreman, William H., Thomas C., and Flora A. After his marriage, and in 1855, he moved to his present farm which his father had given him and which consisted of 128 acres. To this he was added from time to time until he now owns 328 acres, besides having given his sons 120 acres in Jackson township. Mr. Spencer has been successful in farming , and is one of the substantial men of the county. He holds membership in the Presbyterian church and has been trustee of the same for some time. He takes a decided interest in educational matters and has been school director. In politics he is a republican. He has lived all his life in this township, is well known, and is a temperate, moral man. He made a trip to Oregon and Washington territory in 1888 and was much pleased with the Williamette valley.


Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, Ohio: Chicago, 1892: The Goodspeed Publishing Co.