Union County Illinois Genealogy Trails
Contributed by great-great-great-granddaughter Anna Newell
Photo provided by Darrel Dexter
Daniel and Rebecca Chapman Spence
Daniel Spence was born July 20, 1794 in Surry County, North Carolina, the son of David and Mary Ann (McElyea) Spence. Daniel married Rebecca Chapman, daughter of Daniel and Charity Chapman, June 2, 1812 in Robertson County, TN. She was born March 18, 1795. Daniel and Rebecca were pioneers in Union County having come here around 1819.
Daniel served in the War of 1812. In his application for pension in 1871 he stated he was drafted in Capt. Cronk's Co., afterwards 2nd Regiment of TN militia of General Caroll's Division, at Robertson Co., TN in Nov 1814 and honorably discharged at Reynoldsburg in Apr 1815. He served as a private and participated in the Battle of New Orleans. When Daniel and Rebecca came to Jonesboro in 1819 it was a settlement of only a few log cabins, a store and a blacksmith shop. There was quite a trade between the Indians and the pioneers, selling furs and trading for coffee, molasses, gunpowder and whiskey. Mr. Spence was a pioneer Methodist preacher and one of the founders of Methodism in Southern Illinois. He and his brother, Rev. Thomas Spence, who also came to Union County from TN in 1828, established the first Sunday School in Anna. The Methodist Episcopal Church in Anna was organized in the fall of 1856 by Rev. Willoughby and held services in the public schoolhouse until 1857 when a frame church was built. Daniel and Rebecca were among its first members.
Mr. Spence had in his possession at the time of his death an ivory headed walking cane which was supposedly cut from a tree near the tomb of George Washington at Mount Vernon by his old friend, John S. Hacker, who was the first United States Senator from the State of Illinois. Mr. Spence prized his walking cane so highly that he stipulated that it should always be kept by one of his family that bore the name of Spence.
Daniel and Rebecca had sixteen children and lived to see 51 grandchildren and 71 great-grandchildren. Their known children were: Nancy, Meredith William, Joseph M., Eleanor M., Elizabeth Matilda, Louisa Melissa, Isaac L, Rebecca Jane and Milly Lorena. Nancy married David L. Davis. Meredith married Hazy Maria "Mary" Davidson and had fifteen children. Joseph first married Catherine Lyerle and second married Susan A. Williams. Elizabeth married first Caleb Davis and second Samuel Timberlake. Eleanor married Elias V. Wingate. Isaac married Elizabeth T. Williams. Louise married James Freeman. Rebecca married first Richard E. Waldo and second Isham C. Taylor. Milly married first John Robinson and second John Hollenbeck. Daniel died Dec. 2, 1875 and Rebecca died Aug 20, 1876. They are buried in the Cedar Grove Cemetery near Anna.
Daniel was described in "Pioneer Sketches of Union County, Illinois," in 1868 by Dr. Sidney S. Condon, as a high-minded, spirited man, well respected by all the old settlers and those of the present day. At age 74 he was said to be blest with good health, a clear head and pretty strong robust constitution. When he came to the State it was almost a wilderness, abounding in bears, deer, panthers, wolves, wildcats and small game.