An American Journey
The Genealogy of the Curbow-Montoya Family
Curbow Collage
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Historical records appear to indicate that the surname Spencer is a very ancient family name from England. Several historians have suggested that the Spencers came into England from France. The Spencer surname is said to have come from the French word despencer meaning to dispense goods or to be a steward of goods. In England, the origin of the surname Spencer can be traced directly to Robert d'Abbetot who is listed as Robert le Dispenser, a tenant-in-chief of several counties in the Domesday Book of 1086. Robert was possibly one of the Norman knights who fought alongside William the Conqueror in the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

I focus my Spencer research primarily on these individuals and their families:

Richard Spencer - Richard Spencer was born in 1794 in Slaidburn, Yorkshire, England to William Spencer and Hannah Witton. He married Mary Earnshaw in November of 1819. Once the family was converted to Mormonism they began making plans to sail for America. They arrived at the Port of New Orleans in March of 1841. Sadly, Richard never saw the Salt Lake Valley as he was killed in an accident involving a horse in August of 1851. His widow Mary, with children in tow, made the trip across the Great Plains with the Third Company and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 27 Sept 1852. She settled with her children in Payson, Utah where she lived out her life and attained the ripe old age of about 89 years. She is laid to rest in Payson City Cemetery.

John Henry Spencer - John was born August of 1835 in Waddington Parrish, England. He came to America with his parents and later made the trip to the Salt Lake Valley with his mother and siblings. John Spencer practiced polygamy and had two wives. His first wife was Jerusha Kibbe Brunson Elmer. His second wife (from whom I descend) was Lucy Lodica Elmer. Between the two wives, John Henry Spencer had 24 known children. It has been told that John mastered the Indian language and was an interpreter for the white Mormon settlers for many years. John Henry Spencer died in August of 1891 in Indianola, Sanpete County, Utah, and is laid to rest in Payson City Cemetery.

George Francis Spencer - George Spencer was born in June of 1870 in Payson, Utah. He was a farmer and a sheepherder by trade. He married Sarah Elsie Gardner in October of 1897 in Indianola, Sanpete County, Utah. Although the details are unknown, it is believed that the couple may have divorced or separated. Sarah died young at only 42 years of age. In his later years George was disabled and lived at the home of one of his sons. George Francis Spencer died at the age of 73 years in April of 1944. Both he and Sarah are laid to rest in Payson City Cemetery.

Pearl Eva Spencer - Pearl - my grandmother - was born in September of 1914 in Payson, Utah, the youngest child of George Francis Spencer and Sarah Elsie Gardner. Pearl's mother died when she was only eleven years old; accordingly, her sister, Mary Lodica Spencer (Aunt Marie to us), played a large role in Pearl's upbringing. Pearl met Jose Celestino Montoya while working for her sister Marie in Bingham Canyon. The couple married in Salt Lake City on 5 Jan 1933. They had six children. Tragically, Pearl was killed in a car accident (along with her daughter Juanita) on 18 July 1949 in Ogden, Weber County, Utah at the age of 35. This Spencer genealogy is dedicated to Pearl's memory - the grandmother we never got to know.

In connection with the above-referenced names, I have also done a good bit of research on the following collateral family lines:

Elias Gardner (1807-1890) and his wife Amy Pritchard.
Hyrum King Elmer (1816-1909) and wife Lucina Elmer
Alvis Houston Patterson (1826-1899) and wife Martha Fillmore.

This website was launched in June of 2011. I am busy incorporating 5,000+ pieces of media, which includes many stories, documents and pictures of our Spencer (and related) ancestors. If you don't find what you are looking for, please check back often or feel free to contact me - chances are that I may have something on your ancestor. Should you wish to contribute any information or media to this genealogy database you can feel free to contact me or alternatively you can upload a photo and/or a document directly to this website. Additionally, I have written a good bit on the Spencer family on my blog which you can access at If you are researching any of these Spencer family or related lines, I would love to hear from you.