Biography - THOMAS H. SPENCER
The subject of this sketch has been a lifelong resident of LaSalle county, and has long figured as one of the prominent and highly respected farmers of Otter Creek township, his post-office being Richards.
Thomas H. Spencer was born on his father's farm in this county, April 16, 1846, of English parentage. James Spencer, his father, was a native of Lancashire, England, born in 1808, son of Harrox and Mary (Hounsworth) Spencer, the former a mechanic who lived and died in Clitheroe, England. At the age of eighteen years James Spencer came to America. For a few years he worked at his trade, that of blacksmith, in Rhode Island and New York, and in 1840 came west to Michigan, settling at Romeo, where he was subsequently married to Miss Mary Billsborough, a native of Pendleton, Lancashire, England, and in 1843 they removed to LaSalle county, Illinois, and settled on a farm in Otter Creek township, where the subject of this sketch now lives. They became the parents of five children, namely: Thomas H.; Peniath, wife of William Sexton, of Carroll county, Iowa; Mary, deceased wife of J. R. Brehman, of Otter Creek township; James R., a Union soldier of Company F, One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was killed in the battle of Hartsville, Tennessee, at the age of nineteen years; and one that died in infancy. The mother died in 1858 and the father survived her until 1878, when he died, at the age of seventy years. He was a successful farmer all his life, and politically was a Democrat, having filled at different times several township offices, including those of township supervisor, treasurer of the school board, and justice of the peace.
Thomas H. Spencer, who was reared on his father's farm and was educated in the district schools and the Ottawa high school, has all his life been engaged in farming. He has a pleasant rural home, located six miles northeast of Streator, where he owns one hundred and sixty acres of fine land and carries on diversified farming, making a specialty of raising fine stock.
Mr. Spencer was married January 2, 1870, to Miss Carrie Leach, of Brooklyn, New York, daughter of John and Anne (Billsborough) Leach, both now deceased. Mrs. Spencer was born at Hudson, New York, and educated at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer have had six children, five of whom are living, namely: Mary, wife of Reece Snedaker, of Alta Vista, Kansas; James B., of Otter Creek township, LaSalle county, Illinois, married Miss Clara Sandrey; Mabel, wife of William J. Stevenson, of Grand Rapids township, LaSalle county; and William E. and Elmer D., at home. Their third born, John R., was killed in an accident, when fourteen years old.
Until the past few years Mr. Spencer was a Democrat, but now affiliates with the Republican party. The official mantle of the father has fallen gracefully to the son. Like his father, Thomas H. Spencer has served acceptably in several local offices. He was township clerk five years and president of the school board five years, and at this writing is filling the office of justice of the peace. Fraternally, Mr. Spencer is a Mason, having membership in Streator Lodge, No. 607, F. & A. M.; Streator Chapter, No. 168, R. A. M.; and Ottawa Commandery, No. 10, K. T.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 54-55.