Edwin Spencer 1 Oct 1824 - 16 Apr 1886
Hannah and Edwin must have heard the gospel preached in England, for Edwin gained a testimony and was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 7 Apr 1849, but Hannah did not accept baptism at this time. Their first three children were born in England.
They emigrated to American in 1855. Edwin came first and found work in Philadelphia. His wife and three children came over on the ship “Tuschurora”. They continued to Utah by ox team in 1861 in an unidentified company. Their first home in Salt Lake Valley was on the site where the City and County Building now stands. They also lived at Union Fort. They eventually had nine children. Hannah was baptized on the 28th of November 1861 and both Hannah and Edwin were endowed and sealed in the Endowment House on 7 December 1861.
Hannah and Edwin moved to Enterprise, Morgan, Utah before their son Jedediah was born there in June 1867. Edwin Spencer lived the law of Plural Marriage, marrying more than one wife. Harriet Eastham Rodgers and Edwin were married in October of 1867. We do not know what Hannah’s feelings were about Edwin taking a plural wife. Harriet Eastham Rodgers Spencer died in January 1870.
In 1871, Hannah and Edwin answered a call to move to Randolph, Rich, Utah, to help settle that new community. The first group of settlers, who had been called by church authorities, arrived to start a settlement in the Bear River Valley of Utah from St. Charles, Idaho in 1870. When the town of Randolph was first laid out, the sage was so tall that being able to see a horse and rider out in the sage was difficult. There was so much tall sage that the mothers feared their children would get lost. By the spring of 1871, when Hannah and Edwin and their family, along with their married son Orson John Spencer and his family, arrived in the new settlement, some of the sage had been cleared and Randolph was “a live town” with a post office, a cobbler, a blacksmith, and a shingle and saw mill. Sometime in the early season of 1871, a log meeting house was finished. The building had a shingled roof and was eighteen by twenty-four feet. This log building served as an amusement hall, a school house, and a place of worship.
By the end of 1871, ninety families resided in the rapidly growing community of Randolph, but by 1873 the LDS church historian recorded that “a great many of the settlers got discouraged because of the frosts and went away.” In 1877 the number of local families had dipped to a low of fifty-one. It was said by some “None but a Mormon could live in such a cold place.” J. Golden Kimball, an early settler in the northern part of Rich County, described the climate as one in which there were “nine months of winter and three months late fall.”
Weather conditions in the area were so severe that in August of 1883, when President John Taylor and his party were in Randolph for a conference visit, after the conference services were dismissed and many had left the building, President Taylor came to the door and called the people back. Raising his right hand he said, “In the name of Jesus Christ I not only bless you, but I bless this land for your sustenance.” Before this, crops had been killed by early or late frosts and sometimes both. For thirteen straight years, the settlers had been unable to have a fully developed wheat crop because of the frosts.
Despite the severe weather, Hannah and Edwin Spencer did not move from Randolph. They were among the settlers who came and stayed. They bravely faced the hardships of pioneer life in Randolph and because of faith and hard work, they became successful.
On April 11, 1882, Hannah’s husband Edwin accepted a call to serve a mission in his native land. When the mission call came, Hannah and Edwin still had three unmarried children to provide for, but they had the required faith that allowed Edwin to leave home and family and go back to England to fulfill the mission call. He was the first missionary to leave from the Randolph Ward. While Edwin was in England, their son William helped Hannah run the ranch.
Edwin was not well when he returned from his mission and only lived about three years after his return. In a will recorded six days before he died, Edwin left “all of his real and personal property with all its interests and rents pertaining thereto to his beloved wife Hannah for as long as she lived.” In the will Edwin stated that he was not well but that he was of sound mind. He died on the 16th of April 1886 in Randolph, Rich, Utah and was buried there. Edwin was sixty one at the time of his death. Hannah was fifty seven.
Sources: DUP Files – Orson John Spencer’s history, written by Marilla Lund Spencer, Fanny Spencer Searcy, and Mary Spencer Tyson.
DUP Files – Hannah Wadle Spencer’s history, written by Patricia J. Pennington.