JAMES C. SPENCE is a dealer in agricultural implements of Carbondale. He has by fair and honest dealing, and courteous treatment of his customers, secured a liberal patronage. While his well-directed efforts, his industry and enterprise have gained for him a comfortable competence.
Mr. Spence has the honor of being a native of Jackson County, his birth having occurred in Makanda Township, May 5, 1853. A sketch of his father, William Spence, appears on another page of this work. In the usual manner of farmer lads, our subject spent the days of his boyhood and youth. He was educated in the district schools of the county, to which he had to walk a distance of two and a-half miles each day. He began business for himself at the age of nineteen years, operating a farm in his native township. He was thus employed for two years, when he returned home and engaged in the operation of the home farm for a period of seven years. His next home was on section 6, Makanda Township, where he carried on agricultural pursuits until 1889, when he determined to engage in commercial business and came to Carbondale.
Here Mr. Spence formed a partnership with Henry Crawshaw, and they began business as dealers in farm implements, opening a store on the south side of the square. Their trade has constantly increased until it has now assumed extensive proportions. In connection with farm machinery, they handle grass seed, hay, lime, cement, etc., and deal to some extent in live stock. They are now assignees for a harness store which is being closed out. Mr. Spence was also interested in the Carbondale Real Estate and Loan Company. He helped to organize the same, and served as its Treasurer for a time.
In 1878, Mr. Spence was united in marriage with Harriet M. Winchester, daughter of the Rev. Russell and Mary (Fowler) Winchester, of North Carolina. Her father was a minister of the Baptist Church. Mrs. Spence is a native of North Carolina, and a prominent member of and an active worker in the Methodist Church. To our subject and his wife were born six children, of whom five are yet living: Viola, Bertha, Gracie, Mamie and Edith. The eldest daughter, though only thirteen years of age, holds a second-grade certificate.
Mr. Spence is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has served as Senior Deacon. He also aided in the organization of the Farmers' Club. The cause of education finds in him a warm friend and he has served as a member of the School Board. He exercises his right of franchise in support of the Democratic party, takes an active interest in all that pertains to the growth of Democracy, and has frequently served as a delegate to the conventions of his party.
Extracted 22 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 473.
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