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

Posts Tagged Aunt Mandy

19 June 2002

Heather: How did you know so much about your ancestors?

Richard Anthony (“Deacon”) Spencer


Audrey: Aunt Mandy, Deacon Richard Anthony’s daughter, told and wrote down much of the Spencer family history. She put a date on every paper. I remember my grandfather, John Johnson Spencer living in our household when I was a child.

The house on Spencer’s Corner (the corner of Division Street and Crompton Road in East Greenwich, Rhode Island) descended to Deacon Richard (Richard Anthony “Deacon”) and then to his descendants. This house on Spencer’s Corner was where John Johnson and Anna Maria* Spencer’s three sons – William J.B.** Spencer, Alfred Ernest Spencer and Richard Augustus Spencer- were born.

William J.B. Spencer (Audrey’s father) was sent as a young boy to live and work the farm with his great-uncle Gus (William Augustus Spencer) at the Spencer Homestead on Middle Road. Uncle Gus had no sons, so William J.B. Spencer was to inherit that homestead on Uncle Gus’s death. Uncle Gus died when Aunt Edith (Edith Anna Spencer, Audrey’s older sister) was two years old. Uncle Gus was a mean man; Violet’s grandmother hated him so. Violet’s mother married John Jason Jolly who was William J.B. Spencer’s favorite great-uncle; John Jolly (Jason) Spencer was a perfect man.

*Anna Maria was Audrey Mae’s paternal grandmother.  The name Maria was pronounced Mar-eye-ah at that time in history. Audrey would spell her grandmother’s name as Anna Mirah (aka Myriah) because that was how it was pronounced and actually written in some legal documents.  Audrey was surprised to find out later in life that her grandmother’s name was actually Anna Maria.
**The initials J.B. in William J.B. Spencer stands for Joseph Briggs, the second husband of William J.B.’s maternal grandmother, Ann Almy (née Tarbox) Spencer.  Joseph Briggs gave $50.00 to his stepdaughter Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah) to name her son after him.
4 July 2002

Heather: Tell me again about my great-grandmother, Anna Maria [Anna Maria Spencer] and my great-grandfather, John Johnson Spencer.

Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah) Spencer


Audrey: Richard Spencer, (Audrey’s paternal great,great-grandfather) and Roby (née Tarbox) had seven children. Their youngest child was Esther Amanda (née Spencer) Briggs (aka Aunt Mandy) and their oldest child was Richard Anthony*.  Richard Anthony died at age 27 when his child, Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah) was only a year old.  The Spencers raised Anna Maria so she grew up with Esther Amanda as they were only eight years apart. They grew up like sisters.
*There are two Richard Anthony Spencers so the father was always referred to as Deacon Richard and his son was always called Richard Anthony.  This website distinguishes between the two by Richard Anthony (“Deacon”) Spencer  as the father and Richard Anthony Spencer as the son.
23 October 2002

Heather: What do you remember about Anna Maria’s mother?

Audrey: Anna Maria’s mother, Ann Almy Tarbox Spencer, was kind of a nut, a high flyer. She was always going places and gallivanting around. When Richard Anthony Spencer, Anna Maria’s father died at age twenty-seven years, Richard Anthony’s sister Audra took care of Anna Maria (pronounced Anna Mar-eye-ah). Richard Anthony’s sister, our Aunt Mandy, and Anna Maria were good friends as there was only eight years difference in their age.
11 December 2002

Heather: How are things?

Audrey: Brenda had the fluid drained. Sharon and Amy were up from Florida. They invited Amber to spend a week with them in Florida. Spencer is OK. Julie lives on Amanda Street. Isn’t that great. The name of her street reminds me of Aunt Mandy.

20 December 2003

H: What was your mother like?

Aunt Mandy, Aunt Rachael, MaryJane Vaughn Spencer and child Edith Anna

She always had a nose in a book. She more or less educated herself. We had an old fashioned locked desk where there were two or three shelves full of books. I remember the one room schoolhouses. They were like little boxes over the hill.

Aunt Mandy was a teacher. Bible was her lesson. Aunt Mandy was the ancestor that saved post cards. I have two handled baskets here with post cards. I was going to college when Aunt Mandy died. You go straight down toward East Greenwich and that was where Aunt Mandy’s house was. The house is gone now.

1 February 2004

Heather: I read John Johnson Spencer’s obituary and it said he was a prisoner of war at Andersonville, Georgia. Do you know anything about that?


John Johnson Spencer

Audrey: I only know that he was at Libby Prison and I am sure he was there. I never talked with my grandfather. He was an old man with a long gray beard. Ed (John Edward Spencer), my brother, would talk with him. I was quiet. I was busy with art, my own privacy. I don’t remember speaking with Aunt Mandy (Esther Amanda Briggs) and she lived with us. Grandma (MaryJane Vaughn Spencer) and aunt Mandy were great at cutting articles out of newspapers. They would cut out articles about kings and queens, etc. I remember a snuffbox —snuff up the nose was a habit. All rich people had a diamond snuffbox, which was just the thing. Aunt Mandy, she had dates in a bag.

(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 Pennsylvania and Virginia.  Spencer family oral history has him going no further south and we find have no other records of him going further south.)
28 August 2004

Heather: Hello, Mother. How are you today?

Audrey: It is a beautiful day today out here. It is nice and warm. Doug visited and he looks good. He and Vaughn are going (to Nova Scotia) because Doug is looking up the geneology of the MacDonalds. Of course, we had aunt Mandy write all about the Spencers before she died.

28 August 2004

Heather: Did aunt Mandy (Esther Amanda [née Spencer] Briggs) write this geneology when she was older?

Audrey: I don’t know how old she was when she started or whether someone before her had started this. I know she kept it going.

28 August 2004

Heather: Didn’t aunt Mandy live with Grandma when she was aged?

Audrey: Yes, Mother took care of a lot of persons. She took care of Grandpa’s mother, Anna Maria, (when Anna Maria was aging.) Anna Maria had (a medical condition) where liquid would run off her legs because of all the years she stood in front of that hot old fashion stove, cooking and canning every summer. She would can every summer all summer. She would can all of the crops that Richard grew in the garden and send them all to Richard.  …  and Grandma (Mary Jane [née Vaughn] Spencer) bandaged Anna Maria’s (pronounced Mar-eye-ah’s) legs daily and took care of her.