William (b.4-4-1723–d.October 1777) and Mary (née Manchester, b.12-19-1719–d.9-8-1784) Spencer
William was the third son of William and Elizabeth (née Rice) Spencer. William and Mary Manchester were married on August 2, 1744. Mary was the daughter of John and Mary Manchester. William and Mary had five daughters and two sons, and were the first Spencer family on the Spencer homestead on Middle Road (current day location around Partridge Run area) in the northwestern area of East Greenwich. The Spencers farmed this land for one hundred and seventy-two years. (The map below is of a later date when a descendant of William, a William A. Spencer, was farming the land.) Audrey Mae, John Edward and Edith Anna were the last Spencer children on the farm. Audrey Mae, born March 19, 1912, was the last Spencer baby born on the Spencer homestead. Descendants, today, still have the deed and still refer to the land as the Spencer Homestead.
William (and Mary [née Manchester] Spencer) purchased this land which, at that time, included the Straight family cemetery. Two different quotes from local historian, Violet E. Kettelle are “William Spencer Jr. bought this house and land of Joseph Burlingame in 1750.” and “On April 16, 1750, William Spencer bought the farm from Burlingame.” Web site author does not know how the Burlingame name is related to Henry Straight name. The cemetery located within this homestead land at the time of the sale has been called by multiple names, such as the Straight family cemetery, the “over back” cemetery, the East Greenwich historical cemetery No. 10, the East Greenwich historical cemetery No. 510, the Straight/Spencer historical cemetery andthe East Greenwich historical cemetery No. 84.
William and Mary (née Manchester) and their older son, Richard, and oldest daughter, Elizabeth, are the only Spencers buried with the Henry Straight family in the Straight cemetery, which was the original cemetery on the homestead. William and Mary (née Manchester) Spencer, their elder son, Richard, and their eldest daughter Elizabeth are buried on the west end of this cemetery. William and Richard died of smallpox in October of 1777 (while the second son, John, was fighting in the American Revolution) and were buried in the existing cemetery on their land purchased in 1750. Seven years later when Mary (née Manchester) died, she was buried there next to her husband. Thirty-seven years later when Elizabeth (aka Mrs. Thomas Shippee, Jr.) , the eldest daughter, died of scarlet fever, she was buried next to her brother Richard in the Straight cemetery.
This original cemetery later became known as the “over back” cemetery. Seven generations of William and Mary (née Manchester) Spencer’s descendants are buried in the newer cemetery, E.G. No. 9, down by Middle Road. The “over back” cemetery is located 1,383 feet south, over the stone wall and back from the Spencer family cemetery (aka E.G. No.9) on Middle Road and just west of Partridge Run. The “over back” cemetery is on the east side of the adjoining stonewall connecting the two cemeteries.
Following are sections of two pages from the The Rural Roads in East Greenwich, In the Teens and Twenties of 1900, Their Farms and Owners, With Some History. Writer is Violet E. Kettelle. Illustrator is Beverly Conde. Editor typist, Lisa MacDonald Blanchette, published the book in 1983.
Henry Straight is listed on the Founders Stone as an Early Settler of East Greenwich, whereas Henry Brightman and John Spencer, William’s great-grandfather, are listed as Founders, as well as Early Settlers of East Greenwich. Seventy-three years later, it was “Founder” John Spencer’s great-grandson, William Spencer, spouse of Mary (née Manchester), who would purchased the colonial land of the Henry Straight family in western area of East Greenwich (1750).
Audrey Mae, John Edward (“Ed”), and Edith Anna descend from William and Mary (née Manchester) Spencer’s sixth child and surviving son, John Spencer. John is the younger son who was fighting in the American Revolution when William Spencer, John’s father, and Richard Spencer, John’s elder brother, died only a few days or weeks apart in October of 1777.
Spencer descendants, if you have any additional information on William and Mary (née Manchester) Spencer, please add a comment to this web site and the web site editor will add this to the site. Thanks!”