Seymour Horne Spencer (1888-1959) Autobiography

Autobiography of
Seymour Horne Spencer

I was born, I was told at 4 am July 16th, 1888 in the two-story brick home of my parents situated on the Southwest Corner lot of Center street one block East of the main or business street. I was the eleventh child, sixth son and have a younger brother. Perhaps the early hour of my birth has influenced my appreciation of the early morning and made it less hard for me to arise early.

George Boardman Spencer
My father, George Boardman Spencer, suffered a severe case of small pox when upon his mission in Switzerland. This disease was so bad that his spirit left his body for a time and those attending him thought him dead. His spirit came to Utah and mingled with a group of people entering Temple Square. He was pushed to the fringe of the group; came up against the fence or wall of the enclosure. Here he seems to have been told that his earth life was unfinished and he must return and take his body. When his spirit reached his body in very brief time he found them preparing the body for burial. He stated it was repulsive for him to reenter his body and also painful, perhaps like starting the early type Ford after a cold night. The disease left deep pock marks on father's face so he thereafter wore whiskers. I never saw him when he did not have long, gray whiskers.

My mother, Leonora Taylor Horne, was small of stature weighing normally about 92 pounds. She had lost through sickness and accident five children, including a pair of twins, prior to my birth. When I was nine my older sister Leonora died after a long illness. My mother was a very particular housekeeper and devoted mother. During most of my life at home there were chiefly boys there. My mother, therefore received little help. I remember her darning our stockings at night by the light of coal oil lamps while we boys got our school lessons or listened while father read us stories from the Youth's Companion.

Some week-end nights we played Little Casius or Five Hundred or Euchre. When the Church advised against playing cards we adopted Rook. Even now my three brothers, their wives and I enjoy an evening in such game once a month. I credit the freedom of my brothers and sisters and I from bad habits to our 'home nights.' We prefered to be home than elsewhere although in the Spring time we had delightful 'Run Sheep Run' games with the Hoge and Parrot boys and others.

My chief childhood sickness was scarlet fever when I was out of my mind for some time during which interval my mind wanderings were very fanciful. One childhood experience I never forgot was a very painful fall I had from a tall pretty mare called Deud which father had and which my brother Joseph let me ride from the corral to the house and which he thoughtfully led under the clothes line which caught me under the chin and took me off the horse on my head. We usually had a straw stack and father allowed us to play 'Bunker Hill' with our pals on this stack. Perhaps the stock didn't enjoy the straw but we surely did the game. The Hoge boys joined us in this sport.

We always had family prayers in the morning prior to breakfast. We took our turn in being mouth. We were early taught to pray individually. We had the habit of attending our priesthood, Sunday School and Sacrament meetings.

We were rather limited economically as children and as we grew older mother usually supplied us with the necessary fifty cents for dance tickets. Our money supply was increased later as we would get outside employment. We were taught to pay our tithing from our earnings.

Our meals at home were usually a not elaborate but substantial. Various cooked cereals with milk and fruit for breakfast; eggs, potatoes in various forms with boiled meat at times and pancakes for noon meal, eaten generally hurriedly as we hurried to school during most of the year; our supper consisted almost always of bread and milk with syrup, honey or fruit as desert. Occasionally we had lumpydick when we could persuade mother to make it and sometimes corn bread.

I remember chiefly Sylvia Broomhead and Oliver Dunford as my elementary teachers and Brothers Walter Durrant, Daniel Thousander, Le Grande Humphery, a Miss Richards, Prin. Richard Haag, Roy A. Walker in H. Sc. I especially liked my Civics Class in High School which Prin. Ernest Bramwell taught. He made it very interesting. I have never forgotten the national nominating Convention he arranged. The whole school took part. I was head of the delegation from Pennsylvania and voted its 48 votes for Wm. J. Bryan.

We had our morning and evening chores of feeding, watering the horses and cows. During the winter we carried hay across the corral, not always too easy to cross, to the old stable and of cleaning the droppings from the stable. Father did most of the sawing and chopping of the log wood Herbert and I had hauled from the canyons in the Summer. We sometimes carried the wood into the two wood boxes, one in the kitchen and one in the dining room. Occasionally we enjoyed a fire upstairs in the little box stove. During the winter months our upstairs bedroom became pretty cold. Often in the morning ice had accumulated along the turnback of the bedclothes from our breath.

Of all outside games I liked baseball best. In our boyhood days I usually caught or pitched, though we sometimes shifted positions. I always liked 'Run Sheep Run' our Spring clean-up game. I have already referred to it. I have always been light of weight so participated little in Basket Ball. I did High Jump and Pole Vault in High School.

My earliest and main boyhood friend was Ernest Parrott. His home was two blocks below (East) of ours. We were often in each others homes and lots. He was subject to epeleptic fits and when he would fall in such he fell awfully hard. He died in one of these in early manhood soon after he had married his deceased brother Henry's wife. He fell face down in their chickenhouse and smothered in the dirt of the floor. Milford Faylor of Bloomington and Morris Low of Paris were my chief High School boy friends. During my early and youthful life I was particularly shy of the girls, admiring them mostly at a distance. In the Grades I particularly admired Mary Roberts and dared to take her to a show or two. In High School Gertrude Rich and Laura Richards as also Mary Wright were uppermost.

As I came down Fielding Hill after accepting a speaking assignment to the students in Assembly after coming from College I particularly noticed a short, plump girl who came down ahead of me and turned across the street south to the Clara Stuckie home where she was boarding. A few years later when I began teaching Seminary in Montpelier Sarah Sophronia Quayle and I were thrown together. Our courtship was rather short and we were married in the Salt Lake Temple Mar. 13, 1925.

I was made to know as we went through the temple that I would not have her too long. After her conception of our fifth baby, Margaret Joan, and during the nine months of her carriage of the baby she constantly affirmed she would die after the birth of her baby. She did so June 8, 1936 when the baby was three weeks old. Her death has been the saddest experience and greatest loss of my life. She was the finest of wife and companion. Our lives blended beautifully and five children were born to us.

At the time of the mother's death our children ranged in age from three weeks to ten years. They have always been loving and fine, quarreling as natural at times but very loyal to each other and to their parents. They were bright and gifted especially in music. Each plays one or more musical instrument. They have been a comfort, joy and blessing as they grew and even now when all married.

Our first home was purchased before our marriage. It was in Montpelier. We lived happily in it until one year after my wife's death, 1937 when I was transferred to Fillmore, Utah as Seminary Principal there. There we lived in the home I purchased from Glen Kenney. There are many memories tied to this cement brick home; sickness, pets, games, pals, friendships. For the past five years renters have occupied the building. All of the 'quintette' finished grades and High School there. All were prominent in their school work. Three of the girls were 'Girl Staters' and Norma was elected Governor and represented the Utah Girl Staters in Washington D. C. There, too at High School all the girls met their husbands. Bob, the only son, met his wife, Audrey Sparks, in a choice place-the Tabernacle and Temple Square. Last Friday night, June 6th, 1958 my youngest daughter, Joan graduated with honor from B Y U B. S. Degree.

The family had an annual trip while living in Fillmore. Money given the children for their grades obtained in school supplied urge to attainment and spending money for the trips. The trips were mostly to 'Uncle Herb's' in the known and loved Bear Lake County, Idaho. We enjoyed greatly these trips and my brother Herbert and his fine wife seemed always glad to see and entertain us. We unitedly thank them for their generosity and hospitality. We also visited at Aunt Ella's (my wife's sister and her husband J. Vern Dunn) and also at their, the childrens Grandmother-Elizabeth Quayle, later and now Elizabeth Austin who lives at Idaho Falls. Ella and her mother were always thoughtful and kind to my motherless children. I attach only praise and gratitude to 'Aunt Ella' and her mother. There was never any mother-in-law stigma in my case. May God bless her now in her aging years.

Tragedy came to our happy home three weeks after the birth of Joan, when my beloved wife left us June 8, 1936 to help in a higher realm. Since her conception of this child she had known her passing would follow its birth. She could not be dissuaded from this feeling, although she was wholly normal during its carriage. Strangely also the child was born crying. We loved our wife and mother and certainly missed her much.

In August 1937 as stated above we moved to Fillmore, Utah. Joan and I left residence in Fillmore Sept. 18, 1954 she to attend the Agricultural College, I to live in Salt Lake City.

Name in Full: Seymour Horne Spencer
Father's Name: George Boardman Spencer
Mother's Maiden Name: Leonora Taylor Horne
When Born: 16 July 1888
Where Born: Paris, Bear Lake, Idaho
When Blessed: 24 July 1888
By whom: George Boardman Spencer
When baptized: 6 August 1896
Where baptized: Paris, Idaho
Baptized by: Hyrum T. Humpherys
When Confirmed: 6 August 1896
By whom: George Boardman Spencer
Ordained a Teacher by: Jas. S. Poulson, 6 Nov 1907
Ordained a Seventy by: C. W. Penrose, 11 Dec 1910
Ordained a High Priest by: George F. Richards, 24 Aug 1920
Married to: Sarah Sophronia Quayle, 13 Mar 1925 in the Salt Lake Temple by Elder George F. Richards
Endowed: Salt Lake Temple, 12 Jun 1918
Sealed: Salt Lake Temple, 13 Mar 1925 to Sarah S. Quayle
Patriarchal Blessing by: Richard S. Horne and Peter S. Brunson 14 Apr 1915
Special Appointments: Presidency Stake MIA, Stake Supt. Sunday Schools, Montpelier Stake; Stake S. S. Supt'y. Millard Stake, also High Council there.

Finished grades 1-6 in Public Schools of Paris, Idaho. Sylvia Broomhead and Oliver C. Dunford were two of my Elementary School Teachers. Completed grades 7 and 8 in the Fielding Academy, Paris, Idaho. Was 8th Grade Valedictorian. Took High School in Fielding Academy, finishing in Spring of 1909 having to wait one year for 3rd and 4th years of work to be given.

While a boy in Elementary School I was taken by my parents on the train to visit relatives in Salt Lake City. My mother's father, Joseph Horne, met us at the depot with a surrey pulled by one horse. As we were driving along the road the horse stepped on the end of about a four-foot-long board. The other end came up and hit the horse in the nose. He stopped suddenly. I went over the dashboard and down between his rear end and the surrey. Father got out of the vehicle in fear for my safety. He found me crawling from the back end of the carriage. I was unhurt.

I took the State Teacher's Examination in 1909 in the County Court House of Paris, Idaho with some of my fellow High School girls of whom there were five. This class was Fielding Academy's first graduation class. There I was the first male graduate of the Fielding Academy. I passed the State examination well and taught my first school in my home town. I had sixty-three 4th and 5th grade students. I almost literally sweat 'drops of blood' that first year. My second year of teaching was in Bennington, Idaho. I was principal of the two-teacher school. I boarded at the home of Bro. and Sr. J. G. Merrill. Their son married the lady teacher at the end of the school year. I subsequently taught in the Paris Public Schools in the new building. I was the Principal of the school the last year or two. I began my college study in the Fall of 1915. My younger brother Edwin was a Senior at the U. of U. while I was a Freshman. I received my A. B. Degree in the Summer of 1922 after two years of resident work and two or three Summer Schools. I was elected Sup't. of Schools of Bear Lake County, Idaho in Nov. 1917. Alfred A. Hart, the former Superintendent filled the first few months of my term. I served in this office for four years, 1918-1922. I was also Prin. of the Public Schools of Paris, Idaho my last or 4th year as Supt. In all I taught 5 years in the Grade Schools. Pres. Edward G. Rich of the Montpelier Stake suggested I take the Seminary Work there. Adam S. Bennion, then LDS Commissioner of Education was willing. Part of my first year as the Seminary Teacher in Montpelier I was also County Supt. of Schools. I taught in the Seminary 17 years in Monteplier and was then transferred to Fillmore, Utah.

In 1925 I married Sarah Sophronia Quayle, the oldest daughter of Wm. and Elizabeth Dayton Quayle. Our five children, Helen Jean, Robert William, Norma, Beth and Margaret Joan were all born to us during my teaching in Montpelier. About three weeks after the birth of Joan my wife died.

I had served as President of both my Deacon's and Teacher's Quorums and also Secretary of my Seventies Quorum. Asa Athay was the Senior President. He was also Chairman of the Draft Board - World War One - and I was its clerk. I was sent by the Board to Camp Lewis, Washington on a call for a limited service man.

I served as a teacher in the Second Ward Sunday School from 16 years of age until I was sustained as First Counselor to Morris D. Low in the Bishopric of that ward. I held this office four years until moving to the Montpelier Stake. There I served four years as a counselor to Pres. Clarence L. Wright in the Stake YMMIA. I then served a similar time as Stake Supt. of Sunday Schools in that Stake. I was called and set apart Mar. 19, 1931 as Bishop of the Montpelier Third Ward and was so serving when transferred to Fillmore, Utah Seminary Aug 1937. Elders David A. Lewis and Edward Grospean were my counselors in the Bishopric and Elders Truman Rigby and John Teuscher the ward clerks. Elder Rigby served only a short time when moving elsewhere to do Elementary Teaching.

In Fillmore, Millard Stake, I acted first as Secretary to the Stake Adult Aaronic Priesthood. I then served four years as Second Assistant to Brother Arthur Taylor in the Millard Stake Sunday School Superintendency. I then served about seven years in the Stake High Council of Millard Stake.

I moved to Salt Lake City Sept. 18, 1954 having retired from Seminary Teaching in the Spring of 1953. My youngest daughter Joan finished High School in Millard High in the Spring of 1954. In Salt Lake City I boarded first 1250 E. So. Temple, then at 166 W. North Temple, then had an apartment at 453 E. 4th So. and then at 164 No. 2nd West. From Nov. 11, 1954 my membership was in the 17th Ward of the Salt Lake Stake. I served there as teacher of the High Priests Class from Jan to June 15, 1955. I was teacher of the Special Interest Class in the 17th Ward Nov. 1955 until June 1956 and from Sept. 1956 until Oct. 1957. I also acted as 2nd Counselor to Ova A. Harreson in the Genealogical Committee of the Salt Lake Stake for two years. Moved to my basement apartment 428 Williams Ave. Liberty Ward, Liberty Stake in Oct. 1957. Was first asked by Bro. Bohm to act as teacher in the High Priest Class and later as a Ward Teacher and Chairman of the Ward Genealogical Committee. Elders Wallace Burnham and Henry Thomason as my counselors and John Proctor as secretary.

My places of dwelling in Salt Lake City have been: 1st week with Bob and Audrey at 216 S. Green Street, thence I boarded a few months at 1208 East S. Temple in the University Ward; thence I boarded at 166 W. North Temple in the 17th Ward; subsequently I lived at the Wheel Motel. East on 4th So. where Joan lived with me for a few weeks; I subsequently rented an upstairs apartment at 164 No. 2nd W. from Claude Russell. I stayed at this place two years and worked again in the 17th Ward as Teacher of the Special Interest Group in the MIA. Occasionally I led the High Priest class and the Gospel Doctrine Class. In August 1957 I purchased a Duplex at 424-428 Williams Avenue where I had a basement apartment made and where I now live, June 1958.

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