Tag Archives: John Henry Spencer

Lydia Alveretta Spencer

Lydia Alveretta Spencer was the fifth child born to John Henry Spencer and Lucy Lodica Elmer, and she was my great grand aunt.  Lydia was born in Payson, Utah on 21 May 1873.  Sometime around the time that Lydia turned four years old, the family relocated to Sanpete County, where she spent her childhood.  On 1 Jan 1899, at the age of 25, Lydia married John Wesley Tidwell. 

Lydia Alveretta Spencer Tidwell - from the collection of Blaine Spencer

 John Tidwell was born 22 January 1861 in Pleasant Grove, Utah County, Utah to William Nelson Tidwell and Mary Elizabeth Reynolds.  John had previously been married to Mary Rosetta Gardner, another of my great grand aunts from the Gardner family line, who died in 1892. 

John Wesley Tidwell - from the collection of Blaine Spencer

By the time the 1900 census had been enumerated, both of Lydia’s parents were dead.  She was with her husband in Sanpete County, and their first daughter Bertha had been born.  Her younger brother Elmer Bert Spencer is living with the family.  Lydia’s father’s “other” wife, Jerusia Spencer is living nearby with her minor children. 

 When we find Lydia and John in the 1910 census, we see that they have relocated their family to Marysville, Freemont County, Idaho.  Lydia tells the enumerator that she has given birth five times and that three of the children are living: 

1.   Bertha Tidwell (1900-1989 – married Howard Lawson White Craven);
2.   Teresa (1906 – ?);
3.   Lydia Lodica (1909-1998 – did not marry);
4.   Thomas Elmer Tidwell was born 1903 in Utah and died 1909 in Idaho; and
5.   Vera Tidwell was born 16 Jan 1908 in Idaho and died that same day; and

By 1920 the couple has added another daughter, Effie (1911 – ?). 

Lydia and John owned their own farm – and we can always find John Tidwell listed as “farmer” on the census records.   

By the time the 1930 census rolls around – John Tidwell continues to have a house full of women!  The family is still present in Marysville, Idaho.  Lydia is 56 years old; John is 69.  They state that they own their own home worth $500 – and that it is not a farm.  John lists his occupation as farm laborer.  Also in the home are Bertha, age 30 and Teresa, age 25 – both state they are married – but no husbands are with them in the census.  Younger daughters Lydia Lodica,, 20 and Effie, 18 are also in the home. 

John Wesley Tidwell died seven years later at the age of 76.  He is laid to rest in the Pineview Cemetery in Ashton, Freemont County, Idaho. 

Lydia Alveretta Spencer Tidwell lived another 25 years.  She died at the age of 89 on 18 Dec. 1962 in Ashton, Freemont County, Idaho.   She is also laid to rest in Pineview Cemetery.

Lydia Alveretta Spencer Tidwell - Pineview Cemetery


Posted by on February 26, 2011 in Spencer


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John Henry Spencer – Mormon Pioneer

John Henry Spencer is my great great grandfather. 

John Henry Spencer

John Spencer was born in 1835 or 1836 in Waddington, Yorkshire, England.  He was the son of Richard Spencer and Mary Earnshaw – the ninth of eleven known children.     His parents joined the Mormons in 1837 – and a few years later the family decided to make the journey to America.  On 7 Feb 1841, the Spencer family sailed for America from the Port of Liverpool on the ship Sheffield.  After six weeks at sea, the Spencer family landed at the Port of New Orleans on 13 Mar 1841. 

Log Book of the Ship Sheffield – Spencer

From there the Spencer family journeyed up the Mississippi River and joined the Mormon settlement at Kanesville (now Council Bluffs, Iowa).  It was there that Richard, John’s father, was killed while riding on horseback 22 Aug 1851.    

John Spencer made the trek across the plains with his mother and siblings and arrived in Utah in 1852 with the Third Company under Captain Thomas C.D. Howell.  The party left Kanesville, Iowa (consisting of 200 people) on 7 Jun 1852.  They arrived in Salt Lake City on 27 Sept 1852. 

It was here that John met and married Jerushia Kibbe Elmer on 4 Jul 1858.  John’s brother, Richard, married Lucy Lodica Elmer on that same day.  Sadly Richard died just 10 days later. On his death bed he asked John to marry his widow and raise a family for him.  Accordingly, John and Lucy Lodica were married on 7 Oct. 1860. I should remind you here that the Mormons practiced polygamy – and John had two wives – Jerushia and Lucy.  Lucy Lodica Elmer was my great great grandmother.  John Henry Spencer was the father of 24 children, 14 by his first wife and 10 by his second wife.   Both wives had children the same year in seven instances. Six of the children died in infancy.   

According to the various oral family stories about John Spencer, he was said to have mastered the local Native American languages and was an interpreter between the pioneers and Indians for many years.  He was appointed by his church to preside over the “Indian Mission” in Skull Valley in 1877. 

Territorial Case File

Later in life, John was arrested for practicing polygamy (unlawful cohabitation).  He was sentenced to four months imprisonment and required to pay court costs.   

John Henry Spencer died on 20 Aug 1891 in Indianola, Utah of “black jaundice” – an old medical term for bacterial infection of the liver.

Sarah Elmer, his sister-in-law described him this way:
He was a man of splendid character and integrity.  He taught his boys and girls to be good citizens and helpful friends.  He accepted all the principles of the Gospel and tried to live them as consistently as he could under the trying times in which they lived.  He was a kind, patient husband and father to his family and a truthful friend as I knew him and I knew him well, or even better, than any other relatives.  He was fair and just in all his dealings.

John Henry Spencer is laid to rest in Payson City Cemetery in Payson, Utah County, Utah.  He shares a headstone with his wife Lucy Locia Elmer Spencer. 

Richard Henry Spencer - Payson City Cemetery

I  would like to thank my distant cousin, Blaine Spencer of Payson, Utah for getting me started on the Spencer genealogy.


Posted by on January 1, 2011 in Spencer


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