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George Whistler Spencer

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Born in the city of Philadelphia, Pa., on March 8, 1854, the childhood and youth of George W. Spencer, one of the representative and progressive ranchmen of Canyon Springs Prairie in Weston County, Wyo., were darkened by the dense shadow of the Civil War, which deprived him of both parents and left him to the care of strangers when he was ten years old. His parents were George and Mary A. (Benedict) Whistler, also Pennsylvanians by nativity. The father was a bricklayer by trade and his peaceful industry was broken up by the call for volunteers to defend the integrity of the Union and he enlisted in 1861 as a member of Co. K, Ninety-first Pa Infantry, serving in the field until he was sent home on account of injuries received in the South, and on March 1, 1864, he died from those injuries in a military hospital in Philadelphia. Twelve days later, on March 13, 1864, his widow followed him to the spirit land, leaving her son George, then ten years old, to the care of his uncle, Stephen Spencer, of Indianapolis, Ind., who adopted him and gave him his name. There the sorrowing orphan found a comfortable home and attended school until 1868 when his uncle removed to Newark, N.J., and he continued his education in the schools of that city. At an early age he left school and went to work in a hat factory in New York City. In 1870 he came to Cheyenne, Wyo., and engaged in a commission business, hauling his goods, which consisted mainly of garden vegetables, from Colorado with his own teams. His business was extensive and profitable and in its exacting requirements he found pleasant occupation and the basis of his present financial independence. From 1878 to 1880 he was at Omaha, Neb., dealing in hogs for the packing houses of that busy emporium. In the autumn of 1880, after working a few months in New Mexico for the Rio Grande Railroad, he located on a homestead in Rooks county, Kan., and farmed it until June, 1891, when he came to Wyoming, intending to locate on Canyon Springs Prairie, but was unable to establish the fact that he had not proved up on his Kansas claim he took up his present ranch twenty-five miles north of Newcastle, which has since been his home and the recipient of his energetic labors. It consists of 200 acres of superior farming and grazing land and yields abundant harvests of cereals and hay and supports a fine herd of cattle, besides being a center of comfortable hospitality for all who come that way. Mr. Spencer was married in Cheyenne on December 20, 1876, with Miss Hattie Allen, a native of Iowa and a daughter of William and Charlotte (Sams) Allen, a sister of Mrs. Josiah E. Strong of this county, more extended mention of her parents being made in the sketch of Mr. Strong on another page of this volume. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer have three children, Bertha W., now Mrs. P. W. Shaffer, Martha W and Lizzie W. now Mrs. H. G. Ackley. In politics Mr. Spencer is a Republican, but no partisan zeal narrows his vision in matters which affect the welfare of the community, for he is eminently broadminded, progressive and enterprising.

Transcribed from the book "Progressive Men of Wyoming" by A.W. Bowen & Co., by Ken Honda. Thanks Ken.

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