Audrey Mae SpencerSpencer Historical CemeteryHenry Straight / William Spencer Family Cemetery
Vaughn Historical CemeterySpencers of East Greenwich, RI

(1) East Greenwich Historical Cemetery No. 9, called the Spencer Family Cemetery, is located on the south side of Middle Road, one hundred and forty one feet to the west of Partridge Run  [Four Spencers are also buried in the original cemetery (aka Straight,  StraightSpencer , Over-back, No. 10, No. 510, No. 84) located one thousand, three hundred and eighty three feet to the south of E.Greenwich Historical Cemetery No.9 and east of the adjoining wall]

(2) The initials J.B. in William J.B. Spencer stands for Joseph Briggs, the second husband of Wm. J.B.’s maternal grandmother, Ann Almy (nee Tarbox) Spencer.  Joseph Briggs gave $50.00 to Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah) his stepdaughter to name her son after him.

(3) Sappho, an ancient Greek poet, was born on the island of Lesbos. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BC.  The bulk of her poetry, which was well known and greatly admired throughout antiquity, has been lost, but her reputation has endured through surviving fragments.

(4) Libby Prison was in Richmond, Virginia.  After the war, the building was moved piece by piece to Chicago, Illinois as a tourist attraction, but the venture failed, according to The Richmond News on the internet.

(5) Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah) was Audrey Mae’s paternal grandmother. Audrey always referred to her grandmother as Anna Mirah (aka Myriah).  An outside explanation of Maria being pronounced as Mar-eye-ah is in a book, “Play It As It Lays” by Joan Didion.

(6) Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) is a genetic disease that could have its origin from distant cousins who marry, which was a common custom in those days.   In the long run, close intra-family marriages weakens family lines whereas diversity strengthens family lines. The CMT Association in Chester, Pennsylvania has as “Our mission: To generate the resources to find a cure, to created awareness, and to improve the quality of life for those affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth.  Our vision: A world without CMT.”

(7) The four babies, Taylor, Loren, Madison and Jordan, were born to Janet Gauvin Messier’s daughter in law.  Crystal, as part of her Church’s mission, helps the mother every Wednesday morning.  The quads are now three years old; all healthy, beautiful children. Crystal has become attached to the children and they to her. Janet was Heather’s good friend in junior high school;  Janet and her brother and sister are the owners of Alpine Nursing Home in Coventry.

(8)  The tall boots that Charles Vaughn always wore caused Audrey to wonder later in life whether he had CMT and used the boots as leg and ankle braces. There is no way to substantiate this assumption, as boots were common footware at that time in history.

Charles and Lydia Edith Vaughn’s homestead is by Route 2 and Division Road in East Greenwich. Charles and Lydia Edith Vaughn were Audrey Mae’s maternal grandparents.

(9) The distance between RISD and 742 Washington Street in Coventry, R.I. where Audrey lived was around fifteen miles.

(10) Baby pigs are shoats.

(11) Aunt Jeannie was not a blood relative, but we all called her aunt because she was so great to all of us.  Her name was Jeannie Campbell.  Her husband was killed in a train accident returning from the World’s Fair in 1939, I believe.

(12) Aunt Jeannie Campbell and sons, Addy and Dick,  lived next door to the west when we lived on East Greenwich Avenue.  Aunt Jeannie also had a son, named Franklin who died young. We as children never knew him.

(13) Grandpa is Wm. J.B. Spencer, Audrey’s father.

(14) CMT Logo  — See Appendix

(15) The companion transit chair is used instead of a wheel chair with two large wheels.   The companion transit chair has four small wheels and, therefore, ideal for a “companion” to push you.  However, Audrey loved to just push her chair with her feet while seated in her chair. The companion chair is very light weight and folds up easily to put in a car..

(16) The obituary in the newspaper does not seem to be correct.  Georgia National Park at Andersonville has no record of a John Johnson Spencer at Andersonville confederate prison.   We know he was at Libby Prison and at Belle Isle prison in Richmond, Virginia. He was in the battles that were around Pa and Va.  We have no other records of him going further south.

(17) Unfortunately, the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was part of the slave trade with Africa.  Although small in number, black people from Africa were kept as slaves.  They were mostly in South County on small plantations where the terrain was not as hilly as the rest of R.I.  Many of these men were used to build the stonewalls in R.I.   Unlike much of the South, the slavemasters in Rhode Island took great pride in trying to have the best dressed slaves in the area.

(18) Grandma is MaryJane (nee Vaughn) Spencer, Audrey’s mother

(19)  Music sheet of Solomon Levi

(20) There was a student that graduated [1960 from J. F. Deering High School] with Heather whose last name was Bedard.  Mother and I met his brother at Alpine Nursing Home when the brother was visiting his parent at Alpine. Mother told him that she knew the Bedard sisters in Arctic when she was a child.  Bedard said that there used to be a street in Arctic that was called Bedard, but they did not know how that name originated and he did not know anything about the Bedard sisters who mother had met.  The street most likely was named after the Bedard sisters [family] that owned the store in Arctic.

(21) Cudgel, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “a short heavy club”.

(22) Crystal, Audrey’s second daughter, emailed me to say the following: “the man who killed the pigs was old man Irons.  His daughter Isabelle Irons went to Shepherd of the Valley Church.  She was about 85 years old in 1970.  She never married. I remember when he came to the house and shot the pig, Pinky.  Pinky was a big fat pink pig…so cute. Vaughn was a baby in the crib in the back room.  We were supposed to stay in the room, so we wouldn’t see what was going on; but you know me, I had to peek.  I looked out the window and saw the pig fall down.  I remember crying.  You and Deardra were there too [but you two didn’t peek!].  I never knew that we ate the pig. Thank God!  I can remember it like it was yesterday.

(23) Audrey would always end with I love you dear, so when she would say I love you Heather dear, I would feel extra special.

(24) Douglas MacDonald  stated that Grandpa MacDonald’s mother’s birth name was Conlon.

(25) Solomon Levi was a song

(26) Having five daughters and only one son able to help the father on the farm would have created great financial hardship because women did not work outside the home on the farm. It is understandable why they were land rich but money poor. [Heather’s opinion]

(27) The Straight/Spencer Historical Cemetery (aka Over Back Cemetery) in East Greenwich, R.I was *registered, recorded and checked in October 2001 by Heather MacDonald with the assistance of John Sterling, a commissioner, appointed by the Rhode Island Governor, on the Rhode Island Historical Cemetery Commission.

Henry Straight and his family and slaves and the four Spencers were buried in this Over Back Cemetery, as the Spencer decendants referred and still refer to this cemetery.  Mary (nee Manchester) Spencer buried her husband, William, and son, Richard, when they died of smallpox in October of 1777 while the younger son, John, was fighting in the American Revolution. Years later, John buried his mother Mary and sister Elizabeth in the Over Back (aka Straight/Spencer) Cemetery. [Before Audrey Mae’s father died in 1969, Audrey promised him that she would care for the Over Back Cemetery.  Before, Audrey died in 2007, Audrey’s daughter, Heather, promised her that she would record and care for the Over Back Cemetery where the four Spencers are buried.]

When Middle Road came through, the Spencers began the new cemetery currently called the Spencer Family Historical Cemetery # 9 in East Greenwich, R.I.  The new cemetery on the south side of Middle Road is located 1,383 feet to the north of the “Over Back Cemetery” (aka Straight/Spencer Cemetery).

* as recorded in the East Greenwich Library’s special computer program on historical cemeteries

(28)  Earnshaw’s in E. Greenwich, R.I. is a gift shop…and Earnshaw in Wickford is now Brook’s Drugs.