It has been before stated in the columns of The Beaver that during the first Legislature of Upper Canada, from 1792 to 1796, Hazelton Spencer, J.P., represented Lennox, except Adolphustown, Hastings and Northumberland. The two latter counties at that time were mere outlying districts, with but very few inhabitants. As Mr. Spencer was a man of a good deal of prominence among the pioneers of this county and numbers of his descendants are now among our much respected citizens, we give some fuller particulars in regard to his history than have been already furnished. For these we are much indebted to his grandson, Rev. Canon Spencer, of Kingston, Clerical Secretary of the Synod of the Diocese of Ontario, and his granddaughter, Mrs. Julia Phippen, of Conway, South Fredericksburgh. Such records give us better ideas of the class of earnest, intelligent and loyal men who pioneered this county, and from whom its loyal descendants of today are descended. Their memories are well worth cherishing.


   He was born at East Greenwich, Rhode Island, August 29, 1757. Of course it was then a British colony. He was the eldest son of Benjamin Spencer, who about ten years later moved to Vermont, where he had received a grant of land upon the Winooski (or Onion) River. Benjamin Spencer became a Justice of the Provincial Court of Vermont, and at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary war, he was elected a member of the Provisional Assembly or Congress, charged with the duty of deciding the course which the Province should take in relation to the rebellion. He was an uncompromising British loyalist, and soon found himself in hopeless minority; he was obliged to flee for his life in consequence. Feeling at that time ran very high. He took refuge with the army of Gen. Burgoyne, the British commander at that time, and died at Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, shortly after the celebrated battle of Bennington, which was fought 16th August 1777.

   About that time young Hazelton Spencer, then about twenty years of age, attached himself to the "King's Royal Regiment of New York," a regiment that played a very important part in many of the bloody scenes of those days. He was a volunteer, and it was not long after that his name appeared at the foot of an old American "List of the Prisoners with the rebels of the King's Royal Regiment of New York," signed by "J. Valantine, Adjutant." His name subsequently appears a number of times and in various capacities in the "Haldimand Papers" which contain so many important records of those times. Among the rest his name appears among the "Officers recommended to His Excellency, General Haldimand, for promotion in the Second Battalion of the King's Royal Regiment. Later on occurs the name of "Lieutenant Hazelton Spencer" whose length of service was stated to be seven years.


   At the final disbanding of the Regiment, in 1784, Hazelton Spencer came to this country, in company with a large number of his former comrades, and took up land and settled in "Third Town", or Fredericksburgh, on the shores of Bay of Quinte, west of what is known as Conway, and about on the farm now owned by Mr. Henry Vandyck. There the most of his after days were spent, and there he died and was buried, beside his wife and some of their children. In about 1787 he married Miss Margaret Richards, by whom he had a large family. The baptismal records of a number of their children appear in the register of the Rev. John Langhorn, now published in the papers of the Ontario Historical Society, Vol. 1, and also in the parish records of Kingston. The record of his burial in 1813 also appears in the Langhorn record.

   The sons were Benjamin, John, Hazelton, Richard and Augustus, the daughters, Margaret, Julia, Anna, Cecilla. They were nearly all born in Fredericksburgh and some of them spent all their days there. Benjamin, the eldest, inherited the estate, as the father died suddenly and intestate. John was a physician; he practiced and died at Carleton Place. He was father of Rev. Canon Spencer. James went to Massachusetts, where he died. William resided in Fredericksburgh, and was the father of Mrs. B.C. Lloyd, of Camden, and the late Hazelton Spencer, who lived for years in this county and died at Trenton a couple of years ago. Of the daughters, Margaret married a Mr. Conger, Cecelia, a Mr. Werdon. Julia married Mr. John Sloan, a well known resident of South Fredericksburgh years ago. She was the mother of Mrs. Richard Phippin and Thomas Sloan, now both well known residents near Conway. Of the other many descendants we have no record at our disposal.



   As we have already stated, Hazleton Spencer was elected to represent Lennox in the First Legislature of Upper Canada. That Legislature consisted of 16 members of the Legislative Assembly and 7 members of the Legislative Council, and was first convened at Newark - now Niagara - by Governor Simcoe, the first Lieut. Governor, on the 17th of September, 1792. Joshua Booth, of Ernesttown, was his associate, representing Addington and Ontario, which consisted of the Islands of the Bay and Upper St. Lawrence.

   He sat during only one Legislature from 1792 to 1796, and was then succeeded by Timothy Thompson, a neighbor, who represented the county in several legislatures, and of whom there will appear in these columns later on. We have no particulars in regard to that election, whether there was any opponent, or where it was held. It is probable, however, it was held somewhere on the Front of Fredericksburgh, as there were no settlements of much importance then in any other part of the electoral district.

   The Addington election was held, we believe at Bath.

   It would be interesting to know by what means he made his journey to the seat of government at that time, unless it was made by sailing vessel or open boat, along the Lake shore, it must have been by horse-back, through an almost unbroken wilderness, almost all the way from Carrying Place, at the Head of the Bay, round the head of the Lake, where the city of Hamilton now stands, attended by an Indian guide. That was the route travelled by some of the M.P.P.'s and Government officials for years later than that time.



   Hazelton Spencer also had considerable experience in military service in this Province. In 1796 two battalions of Royal Canadian volunteers were formed. Of the first battalion J. Delongueil was the Lieut.-Col., and Louis DeSalaberry was Major. Of the second John Macdonell was Lieut.-Col., and Hazelton Spencer Major.

   From about 1797 to 1803 Maj. Hazelton Spencer was commandant of garrison at Kingston. - then a very important position. He lived in the Government House there and occupied the Government pew in St. George's church. There are still traditional accounts of the exchange of civilities between the two important Government officials; -the Commodore of the Fleet stationed there, and the Military Commandant. Those were days of strict military discipline; one of the penalties then inflicted by the Commandant for breaches of discipline by his soldiers was to require the man convicted to attend church with his tunic turned wrong side out!

   At the time of Major Spencer's residence in Kingston Mr. John Strachan, then a young man from Scotland, was a resident there and taught a private school, principally the sons of the Hon. Richard Cartwright. A close intimacy and a warm personal friendship sprang up between them. Mr. Strachan, it may be remembered, though a Presbyterian then and a strong Calvinist, in creed, and at one time a candidate as pastor of a Presbyterian congregation at Montreal, later on became a member of the Church of England and was the first Anglican Bishop in this Province. Major Spencer was a strong anti - Calvinist, and it is said there was many a tilt between the young Divinity student and the Commandant on theological points.

   The old Church Warden's Register at St. John's church, now at Bath, records that at the vestry meetings for years Hazelton Spencer was appointed a Church Warden of St. Paul's church, Fredericksburgh. During all of Rev. John Langhorn's time, and for years after, we believe, they were both of the same parish. Mr. Spencer was a church warden there at the time of his death.



   It has been before mentioned in these columns that, for years, the Government appointed a County Lieutenant for each county in the Province. Whether their duties included somewhat those of the Sheriff and County Attorney of today, or just what they were, we are not very clear. Mr. Spencer was appointed to that position for Lennox in 1804, which was we believe, the time the first appointments were made. For the entire Midland district, the County Lieutenants were as follows:

Frontenac, (including Kingston), Hon. R. Cartwright.

Lennox, Hazelton Spencer.

Prince Edward, Archibald Macdonell.

Hastings, John Ferguson.

   Of his end Rev. Canon Spencer writes as follows: "it was probably the excitement of the exercise of the duties of his office, on the breaking out of the American war of 1812 that brought on the illness of which my grandfather died, somewhat suddenly in February, 1813, at the comparatively early age of fifty-five. My father, (Dr. John), who had just acquired his profession and received an appointment as Surgeon to a Regiment, was unable to reach home in time to see him alive. It was probably due to the suddenness of his death that he died intestate; so that under the law of primogeniture then in force all real estate went to the eldest son. This caused a scattering of the family in consequence of which there is no well preserved family tradition.



   There died at Picton on the 16th of February, Miss Matilda Spencer, at the ripe age of nearly 91 years, the last survivor of one of the earliest and most respected of the pioneer families of Prince Edward County. Her father, Cory Spencer, was born in East Greenwich, R.I., in February, 1760, and may have been a brother of Hazelton Spencer. We have heard a family tradition to that purport. He was a U.E. Loyalist and came to Canada, landing on the Bay shore, near where the town of Picton now stands. The writer well remembers the comfortable old homestead as it stood years ago, and the venerable and much respected lady just deceased and other members of that well known family. They were a leading family among the Quakers in Prince Edward. The Picton Times writes of her; "Her reminiscences of olden times were most interesting. During summer Miss Spencer's flower-garden was admired by all. She may be called the pioneer florist of Picton, and in the early days of agricultural and horticultural societies of Prince Edward she was one of their greatest prize winners."

   We have heard it stated that the inventors of the "Spencerian system' of writing and of the well known Spencerian steel pens today, are also members of that family. The Spencers are yet a well known and prominent family in Rhode Island.