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Biography of Judge John W. Spencer

Judge John W. Spencer, deceased, one of the pioneers of Rock Island County, was born at Vergennes, Vermont, July 25, 1801. His parents, Calvin and Ruth (Hopkins) Spencer, were natives of the New England Colonies. The father of Judge Spencer was born in Bennington, Vermont, and his mother near Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and were descended from the Puritan English. They reared four sons and a daughter, John W., being the eldest. At this writing the first and second generations here mentioned are long since gathered unto their fathers, and only the grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren remain to perpetuate names made honorable in the earliest history of our county. From the two families united by the marriage of Calvin Spencer and Ruth Hopkins, in the very beginning of the past century, many noble men have sprung-men who have adorned alike the pulpit and the state; and if it were possible in the space at our command to trace the genealogy of the Spencers and the Hopkinses from the days when some of their ancestors were enforcing in a judicial capacity, the quaint old laws that forbade travel on the Sabbath except in a pious going to and from the Church of God, laws that allowed no whistling or other boisterous conduct on that sacred day; laws, indeed, that forbade “ye good man ye kissing of his wife on ye Sabbath day “if it were possible, we say, to follow the history of those families from their periwigged “squire-archy” down to the death-bed scene at Rock Island, February 20, 1878, from whence the spirit of John W. Spencer took its flight, the...

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