Charles Francis Spencer, one of the most prominent lawyers of the city of Topeka, has resided in Shawnee county since the spring of 1857, when he came to Kansas from Greenwood, Johnson county, Indiana, where he was born June 22, 1854.
Mr. Spencer's father was George Washington Spencer, who came to Kansas as a free-state settler in the spring of 1856 and located at Topeka. He was born Jan. 4, 1817, in the State of New York, near the Hudson river. His father's name was Randall Spencer, and the family was of English descent. His mother's maiden name was Amy Stillman, from Rhode Island. Previous to coming to Kansas, George W. Spencer had lived in Indiana and Michigan. On coming to Kansas he purchased lots in the city of Topeka and a farm about six miles south of that city, on what is now the Burlingame road. He lived on this farm several years, including 1860, the year of the drought. About the year 1868 he purchased a farm, about seven miles east of the city where he lived several years. The Santa Fe railway station of Spencer is located on this farm and took its name from Mr. Spencer. In addition to farming, Mr. Spencer was also a contractor a part of the time he lived in Kansas. He was coroner of Shawnee county one term and was elected and served three terms as county commissioner. During the Civil war he was in the service of the United States government, most of the time with Indiana regiments in the Indian Territory. He died at Rich Hill. Mo., Jan. 6, 1881, and was buried in the Topeka cemetery.
George W. Spencer was a man of sterling worth and had the highest standing for integrity. He was public spirited and was always disinterested and unselfish in his relation to public affairs and his dealings with others. He bore a prominent part for many years in the early history of Shawnee county and the city of Topeka.
The mother of Charles F. Spencer was Mrs. Ann Spencer. Her maiden name was Ann Cozine Brewer and she was born Nov. 12, 1833, near Harrodsburg, Ky. Her father's name was Abraham Vanorsdal Brewer and his family came from Holland. Her mother's name was Delilah Rice and she was of Irish descent. Mrs. Ann Brewer Spencer was married to George W. Spencer, at Greenwood, Ind., in April, 1852, came to Kansas in the spring of 1857, and lived in or near Topeka most of the time until her death Jan. 1, 1911, at Kansas City, Mo., where she was then living with her daughters. Her remains are buried in the Topeka cemetery beside those of her husband. Mrs. Spencer was the mother of eleven children. She was one of the typical pioneer women of Kansas and experienced many of the trials and hardships incident to life in the early days of the state, and especially during the Civil war. During this war she lived most of the time with her children, at the southeast corner of Sixth and Quincy streets and at the time of the Quantrill raid on Lawrence, alone with her children, she experienced the terrors of the night following when it was reported that Quantrill and his gang were on their way to Topeka. Mrs. Spencer was noted for her strong intellect and retentive memory and her sweet and uncomplaining disposition. She discharged faithfully the various duties of life and died loved and revered by her relatives and friends.
Charles F. Spencer was educated in the common schools of the city and county, including the Topeka High School; studied law in the office of A. H. Case, and was admitted to the bar of Shawnee county in 1878. Upon his admission to the bar he commenced the practice of his profession, and with the exception of the two years he served as county clerk has been engaged in continuous practice in Topeka ever since his admission.
In the earlier part of his life Mr. Spencer was a Democrat and as such was nominated and by a large majority elected as county clerk of Shawnee county in 1883 over his Republican opponent. He served one term and was one of the two Democrats first elected to a county office in Shawnee county. In 1889, upon the establishment of the Metropolitan Police System, he was appointed by Governor Humphrey as the Democratic member of the board of police commissioners of the city of Topeka, was reappointed in 1891 and served two terms, during which time his associate members of the board were Dr. F. S. McCabe and P. I. Bonebrake. In 1893, when the Democratic party became quite fully allied with the Populist party, Mr. Spencer became and has ever since been a Republican. In 1901 he was elected city attorney of the city of Topeka on the Republican ticket, was re-elected in 1903, and served four years. He was one of the charter members of the Saturday Night Club, and also of the Fortnightly Club, and is now a member of the latter. He is a member of the Kansas State and Shawnee County bar associations, has always been a prominent member of the Society of Old Settlers of Shawnee county, and is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka.
As a public official Mr. Spencer discharged his duties with unusual ability and fidelity, and without fear or favor. As a lawyer he has been an industrious student, and his strongest point perhaps is soundness of judgment. He has always had the confidence of the court and the respect of his associates at the bar. In his practice he has stood out against questionable or fruitless litigation and contention and has been persistent in keeping people out of litigation. He has been a hard and conscientious worker in behalf of his clients and has had large experience and practice in business involving corporations, real estate law, titles, wills and settlement of estates.
Mr. Spencer's tastes are literary. He has always been a student, and his reading and study have covered an extended field in literature. His standing as a member of the bar and as a man of integrity and honor is of the highest order. His most intimate associates have been people of the best rank, socially and intellectually.
In 1884 Mr. Spencer was married to Miss Belle Alexander, daughter of the late Col. W. D. Alexander, who, as a veteran of the Civil war, went to the front as captain of a company in the famous One Hundred and Tenth Ohio infantry and served with that regiment during most of the war. He served as a member of the legislatures of Ohio and Kansas and was one of the most respected citizens of Shawnee county at the time of his death which occurred at Tokepa[sic] June 28, 1899.
Mr. and Mrs. Spencer have a son, William Alexander, now grown to manhood, a graduate of the Topeka High School and Washburn College and a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.Pages 649-651 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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