Orson Cornelius Spencer

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Orson Cornelius Spencer

Birthdate: (53)
Birthplace: West Stockbridge, Berkshire, Massachusetts, USA
Death: October 15, 1855 (53)
St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Place of Burial: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel Spencer, Sr. and Chloe Spencer
Husband of Catherine Cannon Spencer; Martha Spencer; Mary Spencer and Margaret Spencer
Ex-husband of Mary Jane Burn Davies and Eliza Ann Dibble
Father of Howard Orson Spencer; Catherine Read Spencer; Ellen Curtis Clawson; Aurelia Read Rogers; Catherine Curtis Young and 4 others
Brother of Augustine Spencer; Sophia Spencer; Theron Spencer; Daniel Spencer, Jr.; Selecta Spencer and 5 others

Managed by: Richard Frank Henry
Last Updated:

About Orson Cornelius Spencer

Wikipedia Biographical Summary

"...Orson Spencer (March 14, 1802 – October 15, 1855) was a prolific writer and prominent member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in several highly visible positions within the church and left an extensive legacy of theological writings. Orson Spencer is one of the examples William Mulder cites of highly educated people becoming Mormons during the time of Joseph Smith, Jr...."

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Spencer

The following information was found in an online book, "Life Sketches of Orson Spencer and Others and History of Primary Work", by his daughter, Aurelia Spencer Rogers.

My father, Orson Spencer, was born on the 14th of March, 1802, in the town of West Stockbridge, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Daniel Spencer and Chloe wilson Spencer, next to the youngest of eleven children and one of twins, the other twin being a girl. My grandmother, not being able to take care of both the children, gave the little girl into the care of the nurse, who while sleeping very soundly one night, laid upon the babe and caused its death.

At the age of fourteen my father had a serious sickness which nearly cost him his life. It was caused by bathing when too warm in cold water. Being an adept at running and jumping, he had been engaged in those exercises, and at that time failed to use the precaution of cooling off before entering the cold water. In that way he contracted a severe cold, which brought on typhus fever, from which he did not recover for nine months. This fever ultimately settled in his right leg, causing lameness for life.

Thus unfitted for any active pursuit, he was educated fr the ministry. Proving an apt scholar, he graduated with honors, first at Union College, State of New York, in 1824; and again in the Theological College at Hamilton, New York, in 1829. On the 13th of April, 1830, he married Catharine Curtis, who was born in Canaan Center, New York, March 21, 1811. She was the daughter of Samuel and Patience Smith Curtis, the youngest of thirteen children. After their marriage, my parents moved to the town of Deep River, Connecticut, where my father labored as a Baptist Minister, receiving a salary which kept his family comfortable.

While living there, three children were born to them. Catharine the eldest, was named for my mother, and died when two years old. The second was named Ellen Curtis. The third child (the writer of this humble narrative,) was named Aurelia Reed, for a young lady friend of the parents. (I still have in my possession, a little red covered Testament, which she gave me as a keepsake.

Sometime after my birth, my parents moved into the suburbs of the town of Middleflield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, my father continuing to labor in the ministry. While we lived there, three more children were added to the family. The first of these, Catharine, was named for Catharine Read, sister of Aurelia. The fifth child was named Howard Orson. The sixth child and second son, George Boardman, was named in honor of a missionary friend. sister Ellen wanted him named Edward, but father objected saying he would be called "Ed." H did not like nick-0names, and would never allow us children to nick-name each other.

My earliest recollections are of living in Middlefield in a large two story house, facing east. The ground on the north side of the house rose gradually, and when one of those terrific snow storms, prevalent there in the winter season, came on, the snow would drift so high that we could step from the upper window out on to the frozen snow bank. Afterwards, when a thaw came, the streets would be flooded with water.

When the roads were in this condition, a man who lived at our house would take Ellen and me, one on each arm, and carry us to the school house, which was in the town, about half a miles from our home. Children in those days were sent to school at an earlier age, I think, than they are now. For Ellen, when seven years old could "spell down" a whole school of nearly grown boys and girls. We went to school through the week, and on Sunday the horse was hitched to the buggy, or sleigh, and we were carried to church, where we must sit very quiet during the services.

I remember having been told that God lived in Heaven, above us. So one day I went out doors and looked up into the sky, thinking I might see Him walking among the clouds. And I was quite disappointed, that He did not make Himself visible.

One thing I remember very distinctly; that although my father could not work at hard physical labor, as most men could, he would saw and split up wood, partly for exercise, as his time was mostly taken up in studying and writing. I can remember seeing the nice shed filled with wood, expressly for my mother's use. This convenience father always managed to have wherever we moved.

Children are apt to notice what "father and mother" do, thinking they are about perfect. This is, perhaps, what often causes a young man, after marriage, to tell the wife how "mother did," thinking no other way half so good. This course, however, is very unwise unless done in great kindness.

I have often thought, when remembering my father's way, if boys were taught when a load of wood is brought home, to use their spare time in sawing, splitting and piling it up in some convenient place, secure from storm, it would save many a woman much work and worry over getting a meal of victuals.

While we lived in Middlefield, I used to get up in my sleep, so I was told, and walk around the house. Sometimes I would go and sit on a bench behind the stove as if warming myself. My parents did not care ot waken me, not knowing what the consequence might be; so would lead me back to bed as quietly as possible. This occasional sleep walking continued until I was twelve years old, when I was cured of it entirely; how, will be explained farther on.

Among my early recollections, one thing comes distinctly to my mind. While playing in the barn with other children, I happened to fall through an opening in the hay loft to the ground. Striking on my stomach, the breath was knocked out of me. I was picked up and carried to the house, where I soon recovered. But I was petted that night in particular and placed in baby's high chair at the supper table. That fall might have been partly the cause of my stomach trouble in later years.

In the year 1840, my uncle, Daniel Spencer, came from West Stockbridge, which was about one day's journey, to make us a visit, and preach Mormonism, or more properly speaking, the true gospel of salvation, which he had received, and unto which he had been baptized. Like every true Latter-day Saint, he wanted others to know about it, as well as himself.

In talking with my father and mother, he must have told them of the youthful Prophet, Joseph Smith, of seeing the Father and the Son in vision; of the Angel Moroni, who told him where he was to find the records from which the Book of Mormon was translated; and many other things which agreed with the doctrines of Christ in former days.

My parents could not reject the Truth, although father held back a little at first perhaps for the sake of argument. They sat up late every night during the few days my uncle stayed, conversing upon the principles of this new doctrine which was to make such a change in their future lives; when one evening my mother said looking at my father, "Orson, you know this is true!" He felt to acknowledge it, and they both shed tears, feeling the influence of the Holy Spirit in their midst. Soon after, they were both baptized.

The next consideration was how to gather with the Saints who were then settling in Nauvoo, Illinois. Father must give up his means of making a livelihood, meet the scorn and derision of old friends, etc. But once convinced that he was right, nothing could turn him from his purpose. He accordingly took steps to dispose of his private property, in which was a library of choice books. He settled up all business accounts, and in the Spring of 1841, started for west Stockbridge, the place of his birth, and where his parents still lived.

While stopping at Grandfather Spencer's, Ellen and I went one day with some little girls to visit their school, which was about a mile off. It seemed that on this day our parents had concluded to go to Uncle Hyrum Spencer's, four miles farther on their journey. They waited until after the usual hour for school to close, then went without us, leaving word that we should be sent on in the morning. We had been persuaded to stop and play by the way, coming from school. After reaching home, however, and finding that we were left, no words can describe my feelings. Grandmother could not make me understand that we were to go to our parents in the morning, for I supposed that they had gone out west, the place they had told us so much about; so I cried as if my heart would break, and nothing could pacify nor quiet me, until I fell asleep through exhaustion. Ellen being older and having more judgment, did not feel so badly, but I learned a lesson from that experience, which was, to go straight home from school. We were sent to my uncle's the next day, where my parents stayed for a few months, preparing for their journey to Nauvoo. Uncle Hyrum had also joined the church. He had a large family, mostly girls; the eldest of whom took charge of the house, as his wife had died some time previous.




Orson Spencer (March 14, 1802 - October 15, 1855) was born in West Stockbridge, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He was the son of Daniel and Chloe Wilson Spencer.

As a boy Orson Spencer suffered from delicate health but was fortunately endowed with a brilliant mind. Realizing Orson's potential as a scholar, his older brother, Daniel, financed his advanced education. At the age of fifteen Orson entered Lenox Academy near his home. In 1819 he entered Union College at Schenectady, New York.

Spencer excelled as a scholar, and graduated with honors and an A.B. degree from Union College in 1824. He then attended the Theological College at Hamilton, New York, where in 1829 he was valedictorian of his graduating class.

Orson Spencer chose a career as minister in the Baptist church. In 1830 he married Catherine Cannon Curtis and they became the parents of eight children.

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Orson Cornelius Spencer's Timeline

March 14, 1802
West Stockbridge, Berkshire, Massachusetts, USA
May 13, 1802
West Stockbridge, Berkshire, Ma
May 13, 1802
West Stockbridge, Berkshire, Massachusetts
May 13, 1802
West Stockbridge, Berkshire, MA
May 13, 1802
West Stockbridge, Berkshire, Massachusetts, USA
May 13, 1802
West Stockbridge, Berkshire, Ma
October 6, 1831
Age 29
Saybrook, Middlesex, Connecticut, USA
November 21, 1832
Age 30
Saybrook, Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States
October 4, 1834
Age 32
Deep River, Middlesex, Connecticut, USA