William James Spence was my paternal grandpa’s paternal grandpa. In other words, he was my second great-grandfather. He was called Jim.
Grandpa Jim was born on 31 October 1847 to Robert Spence, Jr. and his wife, the former Miss Matilda J. Moore. According to my records, he was the second oldest of what appears to be about fifteen children. Wow!
On his death certificate, which would be considered a secondary document for his birth information, it was stated that he was born in Anderson County, South Carolina. However, other records have indicated that he was born in Laurens County, South Carolina, and some say somewhere in Georgia. The death certificate also says that his birth date was 30 October 1846. It seems that I have some sorting out to do! (Georgia Bureau of Vital Statistics)
He was a soldier for the Confederacy serving in the Twenty-sixth Cavalry and Thirty-second Battalion, Cavalry. He was sixteen years old when he enlisted in 1863. (NARA) It was indicated in other records that he was in the SC Co. C, Palmetto Sharpshooters and that he enlisted at age 15 in August 1863. Either way, that was a mighty young age to be going off to war. You do what you have to do.
He and his wife Mary A. Fleming Spence were the parents of at least ten children, one of which was my great-grandpa Carl Candler Spence, the father of my grandpa, William Howard Taft Spence.
Grandpa Jim died on 28 October 1923. The primary cause of death was chronic endocarditis and the secondary problem was chronic nephritis. He is buried at Oak Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Comer, Madison County, Georgia.
Some of the discrepancies make me wonder if I have found records on two different men named William James Spence that just happened to end up in the same area. Further research will be necessary to prove or disprove information found up to this point.
Georgia Bureau of Vital Statistics. Death Certificate. 28 October 1923.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). "Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers." Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Confederate Organizations, compiled 1903-1927, documenting the period 1861-1865. Vol. Catalog ID: 586957. Roll: #186.