In the obituary (included below), Orson Spencer writes his wife's name as Catherine Curtis Spencer. In their daughter Aurelia Spencer Rogers' book, LIFE SKETCHES OF ORSON SPENCER, Aurelia spells the names of her mother and sisters as Catharine. On this memorial we have left her name as her husband, Orson Spencer wrote it in the published obituary.
Daughter of Samuel Allen Curtis and Patience Smith
Catherine married Orson Spencer, 13 Apr 1830, in Middlefield, Hampshire, Massachusetts
There is no evidence that Catherine Curtis Spencer had the middle name "Cannon". She never signed her name that way. She signed her letters to her sister: C C Spencer
Referring to her name: Catherine Curtis
The name Catherine Cannon Curtis Spencer first showed up on the old Ancestral File. Since that was the first database widely disseminated by the church, the name quickly caught on. But there is no evidence that the middle name had any basis in reality.
For those reasons, I have suggested the removal of Cannon from this record.
Thank you for you consideration.
Stephen D. Robison
CATHERINE CURTIS SPENCER'S OBITUARY
by her husband, Orson Spencer
Printed in the Millennial Star in England
"Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord."
Said the martyred Joseph, as he was about to go to the place of his assassination, "Who, that knows anything of eternity, is afraid to die?"
Jesus, the King of Saints, made but a short though a glorious work on the earth; but he was not idle or indifferent to the welfare of our race after his death. The apostle Peter tells us that he pushed his benevolent enterprise of salvation, immediately after his death, among the abodes of departed spirits. Others, who hold under him the keys of the same priesthood, are suffered to be removed as he was, to the same field of labour. "I go to prepare a place for you."
Departed Saints are doubtless co-workers with Him in preparing places for those that follow. Many of the Latter-day Saints have changed their sphere of labour; the writer of this article has been bereaved, during the last twelve months, of the friends and companions of early days, with whom he often took sweet counsel, and with whom he fondly hoped to pass through the rugged vicissitudes of time. But they are gone, and he is left for a little season, bereaved of the counsel of his senior brother, Hiram, and of the companion and wife of his youth, Catherine Curtis Spencer.
The former died in the latter part of July last, near the age of forty-seven, at Soap Creek, and was buried at Pisgah. The labours incident to, and consequent upon the expulsion of the Saints from Illinois, brought him to the grave. But he had lived long enough in the church to prove his fidelity to the cause of righteousness, and diligence in building it up. Of him the prophet Joseph once said, in view of his willingness to be used in the service of the Saints at all times. "Brother Hiram is always ready."
His death doubtless gave occasion to the report of the death of the writer of this article, which found its way into the first number of the STAR, volume nine.
Catherine C. Spencer died on the 12th of March 1846, at Indian Creek, near Keosaqua, Iowa territory, at the age of thirty-five years, wanting nine days. In one month from the time of her departure from Illinois to the wilderness, she fell a victim to the cares and hardships of persecution.
The youngest daughter of a numerous family, brought up in affluence, and nurtured with fondness and peculiar care as the favourite of her father's house; her slender, though healthy frame, could not endure the privation of sleep and rest, and the inclemency of the winter season (the thermometer below Zero for ten days). The change from the warm rooms of brick and plaistered walls, to that of mere canvas ceiling and roof, floored with snow and icy earth, was too much for her fragile form to endure.
When, through unforeseen hindrances in travelling, there was no place where sleep could visit, or food suited to the demands of nature could be administered to her or her six little children (from the age of thirteen and under), she would cheer her little innocents with the songs of Zion. The melody of her rare voice, like the harmony and confluence of her many virtues in her mind, contributed on that memorable epoch of the church, to render her the glory of her husband, and the solace and joy of her children.
When asked if she would go to her distant friends that were not in the church, who had proffered comfort and abundance to her and her children, she replied, "no, if they will withhold from me the supplies they readily grant to my other sisters and brothers, because I adhere to the Saints, let them. I would rather abide with the church, in poverty, even in the wilderness, without their aid, than go to my unbelieving father's house, and have all that he possesses."
Under the influence of a severe cold, she gradually wasted away, telling her children, for time to time, how she wanted them to live and conduct themselves, when they should become motherless, and pilgrims in a strange land.
To her companion she would sometimes say, "I think you will have to give me up and let me go."
As her little ones would often enquire at the door of the wagon, "how is ma'? Is she any better?' She would turn to her husband, who sat by her side endeavouring to keep the severities of rain and cold from her: "oh, you dear little children, how I do hope you may fall into kind hands when I am gone."
A night or two before she died, she said to her husband, with unwonted animation, "A heavenly messenger has appeared to me to-night, and told me that I had done and suffered enough, and that he had now come to convey me to a mansion of gold."
Soon after, she said she wished me to call the children and other friends to her bedside, that she might give them a parting kiss, which being done, she said to her companion, "I love you more than ever, but you must let me go. I only want to live for your sake, and that of our children."
When asked if she had anything to say to her father's family, she replied emphatically, "Charge them to obey the gospel."
The rain continued so incessantly for many days and nights, that it was impossible to keep her bedding dry or comfortable; and, for the first time, she uttered the desire to be in a house. The request might have moved a heart of adamant. Immediately, a man by the name of Barnes, living not far from the camp, consented to have her brought to his house, where she died in peace, with a smile upon her countenance, and a cordial pressure of her husband's hand about an hour previous.
Many tributes to her memory, from the Twelve, and other distinguished friends, expressive of her worth and the amiableness of her life, have been communicated to the writer, which conjugal relationship forbids me to insert, but which are still a comfort to the bereaved in his pilgrimage through mortality.
Though prepossessing in her manners, her confiding and generous mind always made permanent the friendship that she once obtained.
Her unceasingly affectionate and dutiful bearing to her husband, and her matronly diligence in infusing the purest and loftiest virtues into the minds of her children, not only exemplified the beautiful order of heaven, but made the domestic circle the greatest paradise of earth.
Said a member of the high council, after her death, who had often observed her in the temple of the Lord, where she loved to linger and feast on the joys of that holy place, "I never saw a countenance more inexpressibly serene and heavenly, than hers."
"Oh! She was young who won my yielding heart,'
Nor power of genius nor the pencils art
Could half the beauties of her mind portray,
E'en when inspired; and how can this my lay?
Two eyes that spoke what language ne'er can do,
Soft as twin violets moist with early dew.
In sylph-like symmetry her form combined,
To prove the fond endearments of the mind,
While on her brow benevolence and love
Sat meekly, like to emblems from above,
And every thought that had creation there,
But made her face still more divinely fair."
Her remains were conveyed to the city of Nauvoo, and there, after a few neighbours had wept, and sung, "Come to me; will ye come to the Saints that have died," and expressed their condolence to the deeply afflicted husband, buried in the solitude of the night, by the side of her youngest child that had died near six months before.
The writer does not mourn for his dead as those that die without hope, knowing they are taken from many evils to come.
He desires to dedicate the above faint sketch to his children, now in the wilderness, for the testimony of Jesus, lest time should obliterate from their young and tender minds the recollection of her person and some of her virtues, and thereby perpetuate the memory of the just, while that of the wicked shall rot. He desires God rest upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. –Ed. [Orson Spencer]
1802–1855 (m. 1830)
Gravesite Details Buried next to her infant daughter, Chloe