Richard Anthony (b.9-1-1817–d.5-27-1845) and Ann Almy (née Tarbox, 2-13-1823–d.11-24-1904) Spencer
Richard Anthony, the first son of Richard Anthony (“Deacon”) and Roby (née Tarbox) Spencer, married Ann Almy (née Tarbox) on September 18, 1842. She was the daughter of Hiram and Eunice Tarbox. According to “Spencer Genealogy”, printed material in E.G. library, the couple was “married in New York City”. Richard died at age twenty-seven and left one child, Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah) , who was born in Versailles, Connecticut. She had just turned one year old when her father died. The child was raised in East Greenwich with the extended Spencer family. Audrey Mae (née Spencer) MacDonald, the carrier of the Spencer oral tradition, had no knowledge why Richard Anthony’s daughter was born in Connecticut and not East Greenwich. East Greenwich had been the birth place of all Spencers since 1679 when the first English baby born in East Greenwich was a Spencer!
According to Audrey Mae’s gravestone numbering system, Richard Anthony’s gravestone in the Spencer family cemetery is between his father, Richard Anthony’s (“Deacon’s”) gravestone number six and his daughter, Anna Maria’s (pronounced Mar-eye-ah’s) gravestone number eight.
According to Audrey Mae’s map diagram, Richard Anthony’s gravestone is Gravestone Number Seven. Richard Anthony and Ann are Audrey Mae’s, John Edward’s (“Ed”)’s, and Edith Anna’s great-grandparents. He is a seventh-generation Spencer in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Using her Smith-Corona typewriter in the 1980s, Audrey Mae typed the following mini-biography of Richard Anthony Spencer:
Richard Anthony, the son, was given the same name as his father. The father, Richard Anthony (“Deacon”) Spencer (b.5-11-1798 d.12-19-1889), was always referred to as “Deacon Richard” whereas the son was always referred to as “Richard Anthony” (b.9-1-1817–d.5-27-1845).
Richard Anthony died when he was only twenty seven years old but Audrey Mae (née Spencer) MacDonald, the carrier of the oral tradition in the Spencer family, did not know how he died. Dying young was quite unusual as the Spencer men had longevity. Multiple sources have Richard Anthony’s place of birth as East Greenwich,R.I. and his place of death as New York City. However, more research is needed as to the cause of death and why he was in New York. What is definite is that Audrey Mae’s gravestone numbering system has Richard Anthony’s gravestone as Gravestone Number Seven in the Spencer family historical cemetery. Audrey Mae had no knowledge of her great grandfather visiting, marrying, living or dying in New York.
Audrey Mae (née Spencer) MacDonald wrote mini-biographies of all the people buried in the Spencer Family Cemetery. Audrey Mae spelled the name of her great-grandmother, Anna Maria, as Anna Mirah because that was how the name Maria was pronounced (Mar-eye-ah) at that time in history:
Anna Maria (pronounce Mar-eye-ah) was raised in East Greenwich with the extended Spencer family. She and her father’s younger sister, Esther Amanda (née Spencer) Briggs (aka Aunt Mandy or E.A.B.), were raised like sisters as they were only eight years apart. Esther Amanda was the youngest child of Richard Anthony (“Deacon”) and Roby.
Audrey Mae’s oral tradition was that Richard Anthony’s spouse, Ann Almy, was a “high flyer and she couldn’t be bothered with raising children”. In 2001 Audrey Mae retold web author that Ann Almy “went off to New York, Boston…She was a high flyer…”
Website author’s reflections: What alienated Ann Almy from the rest of the Spencers? Was it her free-spirited longing for a glamorous, easier city-life over being a hard-working farmer’s wife? (The great-grandson of Ann Almy would eventually sell the farm and move to the village. One of the reasons for selling the farm was so his wife would not have to do so much work, not only feeding the family, but feeding the hired hands.) Farm life was labor intensive. Was Ann Almy a self-centered, care-free irresponsible mother who did not have her family’s interest at heart or was she just not cut out to be a hard-working, Yankee farmer’s wife and home maker? Spencer descendants may never know what Ann Almy’s motives were. After-all, life on those Rhode Island farms was difficult, strenuous work for both men and women and not all people are cut out for that hard-working Yankee life. However, this does give us much data for a great novel, movie or TV series. Move over, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Roots, and Downton Abbey. The fact that Ann Almy’s father-in-law was a stanch, upright, church-going, strick, probably legalistic Yankee steeped in church work may have been a bit much for Ann Almy. Since his eldest son died at age 27 while they were in New York, one could understand why Ann Almy would not meet with the approval of the church-going austere Yankee society. Why were Ann Almy and Richard Anthony in New York in the first place? If for no other reason, it makes a great story.
Although she was born in East Greenwich, Ann Almy, apparently, lived outside of Rhode Island for much of her life. She lived fifty-nine years longer than her first husband, Richard Anthony, who was Audrey Mae’s, John Edward’s (“Ed”)’s, and Edith Anna’s great-grandfather.
Ann Almy’s second husband, Joseph Briggs was a rich man from Connecticut and they lived in a beautiful home in Connecticut. Joseph Briggs asked his stepdaughter, Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah) to name one of her sons after him and he would give her $50.00. Apparently there was a good relationship between stepfather and stepdaughter as Anna Maria (Mar-eye-ah) named her second son, William Joseph Briggs Spencer. Therefore, the son of John Johnson Spencer and grandson and great-grandson of the Richard Anthony Spencers has Joseph Briggs’ name but has no blood relation to Joseph Briggs.
William J.B.(aka William Joseph Briggs) Spencer is Audrey Mae’s, Edith Anna’s, and John Edward (“Ed”)’s father. William always went by the signature William J.B. Spencer and many descendants do not even know what J.B. stands for.
Richard Anthony and his daughter, Anna Maria (pronounce Mar-eye-ah) are buried in the Spencer family cemetery (aka E.G.No.9) on Middle Road. Richard Anthony’s wife, and the mother of Anna Maria (pronounced Mar-eye-ah), Ann Almy (née Tarbox) is not buried in the Spencer family cemetery. Ann Almy (née Tarbox) Spencer (aka Ann (née Tarbox) Briggs), although born in East Greenwich, R.I., died in Norwich, Connecticut. Website author does not know where she is buried.
For more information on the Spencer historical cemetery on Middle Road in the northwestern area of East Greenwich, see spencerhistoricalcemetery.org.
“Spencer descendants, if you have any additional information on Richard Anthony and Ann Almy (née Tarbox) Spencer (aka Ann Almy (née Tarbox) Briggs), please add a comment to this web site and the web site editor will add this to the site. Thanks!”