Biography of Robert C. Spencer
Audubon County, IA Biographies

It is generally acknowledged that journalism is one of the most important factors in twentieth century life, exerting as it does an influence in practically every department of society. This relation is just as actual and potent in the smaller cities and towns as in the large cities, and he who directs the policy of a newspaper or wields the pen which gives expression to that policy, exerts a control over local thought and action that is not equalled by any other profession. Among the newspaper men of Audubon county who have, by their progressive attitude toward local affairs, contributed in a definite measure to the welfare of the community, is the gentleman whose name appears above, who is successfully publishing the Audubon Advocate, in addition to his duties as postmaster of the city of Audubon. He is not only a successful editor and publisher, but is one of the most efficient and accommodating postmasters that the city has ever had.

Robert C. Spencer, son of William and Esther (Osborn) Spencer, was born in Jasper county, Iowa, on October 13, 1872. His father was a native of West Virginia and his mother was born in the old Buckeye state. William W. Spencer was born in 1842 and died in 1897. He was the son of William Spencer, who moved to Indiana from his birthplace and there resided a while, but later migrated to Jasper county, Iowa. He was married in Jasper county and came to Audubon county in the spring of 1881.

William Spencer was a soldier in the Union army during the Civil War and served for three years and three months in the Fiftieth Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He responded to President Lincoln's first call for troops to serve three months, and at the expiration of his first enlistment he signed the roster for three years longer. He fought under General Rosecrans and his record as a brave soldier was an enviable one, of which his sons and daughters have the right to be proud. William Spencer settled in Hamlin township when he came to Audubon county and bought a farm of two hundred and eighty acres, on which he spent the rest of his life. He was the father of five children, namely: Madison, a farmer residing north of Audubon city; Albert, proprietor of a farm near Audubon; Robert C., with whom this chronicle is directly concerned; Charles, a citizen of Audubun; Mrs. Arabelle Siemsen, wife of C. F. Siemsen, a resident of California The mother of these children departed this life in 1899.

Robert C. Spencer received his early education in the district school of the neighborhood in which the family resided. After completing the courses afforded by the local school he studied for two years in the National Normal and Business College at Glidden, Iowa, and was graduated from this institution. He taught school in his home county for four years, or terms, and was elected to the office of county superintendent in 1897, entering upon the duties of that position on January 1, 1898, and serving for one term.

Upon the expiration of his term as county superintendent of schools, R. C. Spencer purchased a half interest in the Audubon Advocate, or rather, while he was still serving his term as county superintendent he formed a partnership with J. A. Graham in the ownership of the Advocate. Four months after this partnership became an actuality, Mr. Graham retired from the editorial management of the newspaper, and S. C. Curtis became a third owner in the enterprise, which has since been conducted under the name of R. C. Spencer & Co. The Advocate is one of the flourishing business institutions of Audubon county and an ably edited and influential newspaper, which reaches practically every home in the county.

Robert C. Spencer is a member and a ruling elder of the Presbyterian church and contributes of his time and means to the support of this denomination. He is fraternally connected with the Modern Woodmen of America and the Knights of Pythias. He was married on September 13, 1899, to Clara Hansen, of Audubon, a daughter of Ivor P. Hansen, to which union two children have been born, Arnold H., born in 1901, and Roland E., born in 1904.

Mr. Spencer is a Democrat in politics and stands high among the leaders of his party. For the past seventeen years he has taken a very active part in Democratic politics and has served as chairman of the county central committee. During the campaign and election of 1908 he was the candidate of his party for Congress and made a good race for the position. He served eight years as mayor of the city of Audubon and it can be said of him that he made a faithful and conscientious public official and in every way possible enhanced the reputation of the city. He was a strong advocate for public improvements during his term as mayor, and when he left the office the city was in excellent shape in every way. He received the appointment of postmaster of Audubon and took up the duties of that office on August 16, 1913. He is faithfully performing the duties of this office and is serving the public in a thorough and painstaking manner, which is a characteristic of his nature - to do everything he undertakes to the best of his ability, and to give the best service he possibly can give. Mr. Spencer is naturally gifted with those attributes of character which go far toward raising him in the esteem of his fellow citizens and enhancing his great personal popularity. He is genial, kind and obliging, ever ready to do a friend or acquaintance a favor, and is held in high regard throughout the county.

History of Audubon County, Iowa
Its People, Industries and Instutions
H. F. Andrews, Editor
B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Indianapolis - 1915

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