William Spencer was born in 1797 (or perhaps 1799) in Cheraw, Chesterson Co. SC. He married Margaret Dixon Montgomery on April 23, 1823 in Monroe Co., Mississippi.
Chapter VI: ANTEBELLUM DAYS
The JUDGE WILLIAM SPENCER HOME is the next home on the Chickasaw trail deserving mention. Judge Spencer was a native South Carolinian who came to Chickasaw country about the time Rev. T. C. Stuart opened his mission at Monroe. He first resided in that neighborhood and was a ruling elder in Monroe Presbyterian Church soon after the organization in 1825. He attended a presbytery at Unity, a country church five miles east of Tupelo in 1833. His grandson, Holly, who is an elder in the Pontotoc Presbyterian Church, attended a presbytery in the same church in 19833.
In 1850 Judge Spencer bought this house from John A. McNeal which was built in 1836. It is a one story structure. The lumber that was used in the house was hand hewn and whipsawed from lumber cut on the place. The shutters and doors are made by hand and one of the mantels, built in 1836, is hand-carved. Set on a hill midst old oak trees, the house has a mellow and attractive appearance. It is in an excellent state of preservation.
It was raided by the Yankees during the War between the States, and an interesting incident of the raid is told: The Bissingers, who came to Pontotoc from Philadelphia, lived during this time at the old Richard Bolton place, about an eighth of a mile up the trail to the end of the road. One day Mr. Bissinger went down to the Spencer's in a great state of excitement and told that the Yankees were coming. In his hand he carried a can of gold, which he and Mr. Spencer buried. After the surrender Mr. Bissinger dug up his gold and found it to be a can of sugar.
After the war A. H. Spencer, son of Judge William Spencer came home to look after the family; Tom had been crippled and Robert had been killed at Vicksburg. In the 1870's A. H. bought the place from his father and owned it until his death, December 5, 1913. In his will the home was left to Holly Spencer. Judge Spencer was one of the first probate judges of Pontotoc County.
Chapter IV: FLORA
THE SPENCER OAKS on the Spencer place, are a little more than a mile southwest of Pontotoc. Three generations of the Spencer family have occupied this old home, and each of them has appreciated the majesty, comfort, and sentiment attached to oak trees.
The Spencer place is near the Old Chickasaw trail that led from the southwest in a northwesterly direction to the Chickasaw bluffs. The trail followed a ridge route that terminated in the level stretch of flatwoods and was a favorite route of the Indians because of the shady dales it passed through and the close proximity to spring water in the adjoining hollows.
As the region was delectable to the red man, it was also esteemed by the white successors to their beautiful country. The homes of our first settlers were built along this ridge, but the Spencer home alone shelters the posterity of the original settler. Storms and fire have wrought less disaster in this section than any part of Pontotoc. Vandalism and commercialism have also resisted the urge to ravage and destroy in this general neighborhood and, besides the Spencer Oaks, there are some fine specimens of oak, hickory, chestnut, and walnut trees to be seen in the immediate vicinity. (Holly Spencer, Pontotoc, Miss.)
Excerpted from "Father" Stuart and the Monroe Mission, by E. T. Winston (Meridian, 1927)
From Chapter IX "Romantic Sketches"
JOHN A MURRELL—One of the most noted outlaws and blood-thirsty murderers that ever lived was John A. Murrell. He originated the saying that "dead men tell no tales," and heartlessly put into effect his favorite maxim upon those who were so unfortunate as to become his victims.
Murrell had a genius for organization, and among his practices he used the "mantle of Christ to serve the devil in." Itinerant revivalists were common in those days, and it was a favorite practice of Murrell to worm himself into the good graces of some isolated Christian community, secure permission to conduct a revival, which he proceeded to do with all the unction and fervor of the old-time revivalists, while his cut-throat companions committed their depredations in the neighborhood, stealing negroes, household goods of value, or sought out hidden hoards of wealth while the people were gathered at the meeting place to hear the word of God preached by the high-priest of Satan, to it—Murrell.
Now "Father" Stuart was entirely guileless and unsuspecting in his nature. So when a soft-spoken stranger approached him with an offer to conduct a revival of religion, he readily assented to the proposition.
But of course the matter was laid before the church session, and the stranger introduced to the elders. They were about to grant the desired permission when "Judge" William Spencer, who had been peering at the rambling revivalist for some time, decided that he didn't "like his looks," and so interposed an objection. The offer was declined.
Later Judge Spencer received a letter recalling his attention to the revival incident and commending him for his good sense and honest purpose in preserving the integrity of his church. The communication was signed by John A. Murrell. (54-55).