Saturday, December 7, 2013
GIDEON LAWTON SPENCER
UPDATE - These two photos have been claimed and are going home!
At an antique show in West Palm Beach, Florida, I found these two photos which appear to have been taken around 1880. At first I thought they were of the same child because the faces are identical, but upon closer inspection, I could see that the older of the two children has longer, curlier hair. Only one photo (younger child) had any sort of identification on the back, so it is a small miracle that I actually bought both photos. Had I come across the elder child later in the same box, I might have not given her a second glance since she had no identification. Thank heavens they were right together!
I was convinced these two were related, so I bought them both.
The back side of both photos shows the same photographer's studio in Pawtucket, RI, but the younger child's photo bears the following inscription:
It says "G. LAWTON SPENCER, 1 year 2 months old". With a name and location, the search was on.
By the end of the day, both children were identified. The younger child, whom I originally thought was a girl, is actually a young boy. He is Gideon (also called George) Lawton Spencer (born 1879), named for his illustrious grandfather of the same name. His year-older sister is Gertrude Spencer.
The grandfather (1803-1892) was a near life-long resident of Pawtucket, serving in several important roles, including President of the North Providence Bank.
The parents of these two children are Frank Gideon Spencer (1847-1922) and Lucy Maria Lawton. Frank served as a bank clerk for a time, but by 1887 was the Assistant Superintendent at the P & W railroad.
The 1901 Liber Brunensis Yearbook for Brown University, in Providence RI, shows a pupil named George Lawton Spencer (class of '04) as a member of Beta Theta Pi and the Yachting Club.
Young Gideon married Hazel Hunsley in 1917 and had two daughters, Lucy and Nancy. The 1930 Census for East Greenwich township, RI, shows he was working as a Naval Architect. He lived a long life, dying in 1957.