An American Journey
The Genealogy of the Curbow-Montoya Family
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Richard Spencer1794 - 1851 (57 years)
Spencer Family - England to America
Taken from - Utah, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 16 - Graves Along the Trail for the Gospel's Sake 1851
EDITED BY BLAINE SPENCER OF PAYSON, UTAH:
In the month of October 1794, the fourth child [a son] was born to William Spencer and Hannah Witton of Woodhouse Lane, in the Parish of Slaidburn, Yorkshire , England . He was preceded by a brother John [christened the 1st of March 1789], Jane [christened the 17th of April 1791] and William [christened the 11th of November 1792]. The new child was called Richard* [christened the 5th of October 1794], and little did the family know then that Richardís destiny would take him across the waters to a new land. Nothing more is known of his childhood, except that a brother George [christened the 10th of April 1796] followed him in sequence to the family. All were christened at the St. Andrews Parish in Slaidburn. On the 26th of October 1808, George was buried in the St. Andrews Churchyard, at the age of twelve.
Richard was a husbandman/farmer, and at the age of twenty five he married Mary Earnshaw, the daughter of Thomas Earnshaw and Elizabeth Taylor, of Cocklake House, Dalehead, in the Parish of Slaidburn on the 13th of November 1819. Mary was twenty years old at the time. On the 20th of February 1820, their first child [a son called George] was christened at the St. Andrews Parish. They must have had to move about to find employment, as the next two children, both girls, were born at Burton in Kendal, Lancashire, England, where their father worked as a clogger. The eldest was named Elizabeth, which was later shortened to Bethey. Her birth date was listed as the 6th of October 1821, and her christening was on the 4th of November 1821. Next, Hannah was born on the 18th of September 1823, and christened on the 2nd of November 1823. These girls were named for their grandmothers: Elizabeth for the maternal grandmother, and Hannah for the mother of Richard. Ann, the next in line was born on the 2nd of October 1826 and christened the 26th of November 1826 at Waddington. Sarah Jane and Martha Orissa followed at Tosside being christened at the Houghton Chapel on the 22nd of February 1828, and the 29th of September 1829. Then came William [christened on the 21st of March 1832], whom they named after Richardís father. After William came Richard [christened the 20th of April 1834] and John** born on the 29th of August 1835** and christened the 11th of October 1835. Matthew came next being christened on the 29th of October 1837; all four boys were christened at the Waddington Parish in Yorkshire . On the 22nd of December 1838, Mary Spencer, the mother of this large family was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints [popularly known as the Mormon Church], by a missionary sent to England in the early days of the Church, named Joseph Fielding. This event was to change the lives of the family forever. Converts were persecuted in those days, so the family moved to Clitheroe, in Lancashire County , where Rachel, the eleventh child was born on the 18th of December and christened the 23rd of December 1839. A year later an epidemic claimed the lives of William and Matthew, on the 23rd of May 1840, and the 24th of Oct 1840, respectively. They were buried side by side at the churchyard in Waddington. George, who was apprenticed to a couple of old bachelors (by the name of Henry and Thomas Heaton) at Dalehead near Slaidburn, presented much concern and sadness for the family when they decided to immigrate to America. Richard, the father, walked forty miles [round trip] to get his son to leave with them, but the bachelors persuaded him to remain with them. In return, he was to inherit their property at the event of their death (George did receive half of the property; the other half was given to what appears to be an illegitimate child of one of the brothers and the house keeper). This must have been a very difficult decision for the family to make, not expecting to see George again.
Sunday the 7th of February 1841, they boarded the ship Sheffield at Liverpool and sailed for America . 235 Saints, under the leadership of Hiram Clark, were aboard as steerage passengers. The ship Sheffield , of which R. King Porter was master, arrived in the port of New Orleans in the State of Louisiana on the 13th of March 1841. Richard was listed on the shipís log as 45 years, Mary 40, Bethey 18, Hannah 15, Ann 13, Jane 11, Martha 9, Richard Jr. 6, John 4**, and Rachel infant.
They no doubt took a boat up the Mississippi river as far as Illinois . (It was here that Elizabeth married George Muck, a native of Pennsylvania , on the 29th of October 1843. Soon after the birth of her first child she died. Her husband then married Jane at Oquawke , Illinois , on the 25th of October 1846.)
The twelfth child of Richard and Mary, a son whom they name Jacob Hyrum, was born on the 5th of November 1845*** , at Hancock County, Illinois . From here they traveled to the Huntsfield branch at Pottawattami County, Iowa , where they made temporary homes at Kanesville (Kanesville is now called Council Bluffs). It was at Kanesville (now Council Bluffs), where Richard, the father, was thrown from his horse and killed on the 22nd of August 1851.
Many hardships were endured, but Mary [as a widow] came across the plains with her seven remaining children in 1852, with the Ninth Company, under the leadership of Captain Thomas C.D. Howell. They settled in Payson , Utah County, Utah . Jane with her husband George Muck and Martha went on to California , but Ann, Rachel, John, Richard Jr. and Jacob Hyrum married and stayed in the vicinity of Payson until their deaths. Mary died at the home of Jacob Hyrum (at Clinton , now called Birdseye) in about 1889/1890 at the ripe old age of 90 years and was buried at Payson City Cemetery.
All the family played a part in the colorful settlement of the West.
*Richardís christening record does not have him being given the first or middle name of George. He may have adopted it later in life, but that was the name of his younger brother.
** Johnís headstone has his birth year as the 29th of August 1836, but church records show him being christened on the 11th of October 1835 so this birth date is a year off, he also would have been a year older when he boarded the ship. It also shows him having the middle name of Henry, but his christening record does not have it recorded there, so this is something he added at some time during his life.
*** Jacobís headstone has his birth year as the 5th of November 1841. However, the Payson ward record found on BYU FHL film # 26401 near the end of the reel shows him being born on the 5th of November 1845. Also the 1860 census shows that he was 15, and the 1880 census shows that he was 35. So it appears that he was born in 1845, not in 1841.
Note: Some facts, places or dates were added or changed in 2006 by Blaine H. Spencer to make them more accurate, but all the stories that were put together were left the way they were written or punctuated to make them more fun to read.