James L. Spenser. Mr. Spenser is a native of Hartland, Livingston County, Michigan, where he was born January 25, 1853. He is a son of Olympus Spenser, who is a native of Cayuga County, N. Y., was born in 1818. He was a farmer by calling and came to Michigan in 1836, locating in Genoa Township, Livingston County, where he lived for several years. He subsequently removed to Hartland Township where he lived a few years and returned to Genoa Township where he purchased a farm. In 1866 he removed to Fenton and there lived unto the fall of 1886 when he removed to Linden where he still lives.
Mr. Spenser, Sr., held various local offices in Genoa Township in an early day. He is of old Dutch stock, his father being the Rev. Asa Spenser, who was a Baptist minister and died about 1834. Our subject’s father has cleared and improved a great deal of land in Michigan and until within a short time has been a most energetic worker. His wife prior to her marriage Miss Laura Jacobs. She was born in 1825 and still survives. She is of Welsh stock.
The original of our sketch is the elder of two children who were bon to his parents, the younger being George R., who is a farmer in Deerfield Township, Livingston County. James L. remained upon the home farm until thirteen years of age and during that time received a district-school education. After the removal of his parents to Fenton he attended the public schools there and later entered the State Normal School at Ypsilanti in 1873; he graduated in 1876, completing the English course and having also taken two years of the classics. He taught his first school at the age of eighteen years and continued teaching for nine years, giving four terms to district school, three years in Linden and two and a half years at Flushing. He worked his way through State Normal. After starting out at eighteen he taught four months of winter school and alternated his teaching with his study as best he could.
In 1880 Mr. Spenser purchased a drug store at Linden, having picked up the drug trade at odd times. Since then he has been steadily engaged in the business. Our subject was married August 1st, 1878, his bride being Miss Ella Webber, who was born in Bedford, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. She is a daughter of Charles ad Henrietta (Rice) Webber, of New York and Ohio respectively. They came to Michigan about 1865 and now reside in Linden where he is recognized as a first class veterinary surgeon. On child L. Zoe, was born to our subject and his wife, June 26, 1879. Mr. Spenser is a Republican in his party affiliations and has eve been actively interested in local politics. He had been a delegate to county, State and district conventions. He has held various offices having been School Inspector, Township Superintendent and Village Clerk. In the fall of 1884 he was elected County Clerk of Genesee County and re-elected the following term. He was president of the village of Linden in 1890.
He of whom we write was admitted to the bar in November, 1888, and was appointed attorney for the village of Linden but does not practice enough to make a business of it. Socially Mr. Spenser belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has filled all the chairs in the subordinate lodges. He belongs to the Knights of the Maccabees and in his church relations both he and his wife are Presbyterians. Our subject devotes the greater part of his attention to his business as a druggist, and is also interested in the settlement of certain estates. He also does an insurance business and is a popular Notary.
Source: Chapman Brothers. Portrait and biographical record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola counties, Michigan. Chicago: Chapman brothers, 1892.