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Flowers left for John Spencer
John Canfield Spencer, b. 3 Jan 1788 Hudson, Columbia County, NY; d. 15 May 1855 Albany, NY m. Elizabeth Scott Smith, daughter of James Scott Smith. She was b. 1797. John Canfield Spencer is my 5th cousin, 4 times removed.He was a representative from NY, and Secretary of War. John Canfield Spencer attended Williamstown College, MA, but graduated from Union College, NY, in 1806. He subsequently studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1809. Spencer began his law practice in Canandaigua, NY, and within two years had become a master of chancery. From that time on he held a number of important local civil offices, including post-master of Canandaigua, country district attorney, and county assistant attorney general. He was elected as a Democrat to the Fifteenth Congress in 1817, and during his term headed investigations into the questionable affairs of the Bank of the US. Between the years 1820 and 1828, he served in both the state house of representatives and the state senate. In 1827, the governor of New York appointed Spencer to revise the statutes of the state. Two years later he was appointed special prosecuting officer in the investigation of the abduction of William Morgan, a Mason, but in 1830 lack of funds forced his resignation. Just prior to settling in Albany, NY, he was again elected to the state legislature. In 1839, he joined the Whig party and became New York's Secretary of State. In 1841, President John Tyler appointed him to his cabinet as Secretary of War. His alliance to President Tyler caused the Whigs in the Senate to reject his nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1844. He remained Secretary of War for two years and then became Secretary of the Treasury, but after a year resigned in opposition to the annexation of Texas. He then retired from politics to resume his private law practice; his last major case was the successful defense of the president of Union College, Dr. Eliphalt Nott, against charges of misappropriation of college funds. Ref: The Spencer Family, American Genealogical Research Institute, Heritage Press, Inc., Washington, DC p. 92-93. He first went to Williams College, entered Union as a junior and was graduated 1806 at the head of his class. He studied law and was adm. attorney of Superior Court, May 1809. He settled in Canandaigua, NY, where he was postmaster in 1814; in 1817 was elected to Congress, was President John Tyler's Secretary of War. Removed to Albany in 1836. On 5 Feb 1839, was appointed NY Sec't of State and Supt. of Common School and continued in office until 1842. He was granted the degree LLD. by Union College, 1849 Ref: Mrs. Flora S. Clark, Spencer Genealogy, Albany State Library, Albany, NY From Tocqueville and Beamont's interview with John Canfield Spencer "-an eminent lawyer, postmaster, district attorney. Congressman, and Speaker of the New York Assembly, who would later become Secretary of State (New York) and serve in President Tyler's Cabinet successively as Secretary of War and Secretary of the Treasury."* ...Q. To what do you attribute the religious tolerance which reigns in the United States? A. Principally to the extreme division of sects (which is almost without limits). If there were but two religions, we should cut each other's throats. But not sect having the majority, all have need of tolerance. Moreover, it's a generally accepted opinion, in which I concur, that some sort of religion is necessary to man in society, the more so the freer he is. I have heard it said that in France the temptation was strong to abandon all positive religion. If that is true you are not, even with your spirit of liberty, near to seeing free institutions establish themselves among you, and you cannot hope before the next generation. Q. In your opinion, what would be the best way to render to religion its natural empire? A. I believe the Catholic religion less apt than the reformed to accord with ideas of liberty. However, if the clergy were entirely separated from all temporal power, I cannot but believe that with time it would regain the intellectual influence which naturally belongs to it. I think that to appear to forget the church, without being unfriendly to it, is the best way and even the only way to serve it. Pursuing this policy you will see public education little by little falling into its hands, and the youth will with time adopt a different attitude.... Ref: 1810 census of village of Canandaigua, NY. ----------------------------------------------------------------- --------------- SPENCER, John Canfield, 1788-1855 ----------------------------------------------------------------- --------------- SPENCER, John Canfield, (son of Ambrose Spencer), a Representative from New York; born in Hudson, N.Y., January 8, 1788; was graduated from Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., in 1806; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1809 and commenced practice in Canandaigua, N.Y.; served in the War of 1812; Judge Advocate General in 1813; postmaster of Canandaigua, N.Y.; assistant attorney general for western New York in 1815; elected as a Republican to the Fifteenth Congress (March 4, 1817-March 3, 1819); was not a candidate for renomination in 1818; member of the State assembly in 1820 and 1821, and served one year as speaker; served in the State senate 1824-1828; special attorney general to prosecute the abductors of Morgan; again a member of the State assembly in 1831 and 1832; secretary of state of New York in 1839; appointed Secretary of War by President Tyler October 12, 1841, and served until March 3, 1843; Secretary of the Treasury March 3, 1843, to May 2, 1844, when he resigned; nominated by President Tyler to the United States Supreme Court on January 9, 1844, but was rejected by the Senate; died in Albany, N.Y., May 17, 1855; interment in Albany Rural Cemetery.
- Dana Spencer
 Added: Dec. 18, 2010

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