Source: Book of Biographies. Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Chenango County, N.Y. Buffalo, N.Y.: Biographical Publishing Company. 1898.

The following Chenango County, New York residents had strong family ties to Montgomery County, and De Witt Fredenberg was born in the Town of Root. We hope researchers tracing families who moved on "West" into the state out of the Herkimer County will find their bios useful and interesting.

Personal information published in books of this type was provided by the persons being profiled, and it was common for the submitters to pay to be profiled in these books. The information below was submitted to the compilers 105 years ago. It is subject to error in recall, family legend, misinterpretation by the compilers, or exaggeration. On the other hand, these books are terrific sources of information taken from family documents and Bibles that may no longer exist. All information - dates, locations, names - should be verified by other sources. Spellings of names and locations are as in the original book and will not be changed within the body of the original text. Submission of additional or more accurate information about the two men profiled or their relatives is most welcome, to post at the end of this listing.

DE WITT FREDENBERG, a prosperous and enterprising merchant of Beaver Meadows, town of Otselic, was born January 5, 1835, in the town of Root, Montgomery County, N.Y. He is a son of Abram F. and Rosanna (Colepaugh) Fredenberg. The Fredenberg ancestry originally came from Holland, while that of the Colepaughs came from Germany, thus two branches of the sturdy Teutonic race were united in the Fredenberg family.

Abram F. Fredenberg was a native of Schoharie County, N.Y., where he passed his early days. When a young man he moved to Montgomery County, where he remained until 1839, when he moved to Plymouth, Chenango County, N.Y. His occupation was that of a laborer, which he followed all his life. He was joined in Hymen's bonds with Miss Rosanna Colepaugh, who was reared in the vicinity of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Mr. and Mrs. Fredenberg both reached the age of seventy-two before passing to their eternal rest. They were the parents of the following children: Serena, deceased, was the wife of John W. Bennett, of Montgomery County, N.Y.; Walter, deceased, was a resident of Monroe County, N.Y.; George, deceased, was a stone mason, of Wayne County, N.Y.; Elizabeth and her husband, Cyrus Bennett, make their home at Binghamton, N.Y.; William, deceased, was a farmer of Plymouth; Eli, deceased, was a stone mason of Howard, Mich.; De Witt, who died in infancy; De Witt, our subject; and Mahala, who was married to Bennett Simons of Smyrna, this county, and is now deceased.

De Witt Fredenberg received his education in the district schools, after which he engaged in farming. He followed agricultural pursuits until he was about twenty-four years of age, when he went to Erie County, Pa., where he sold and repaired saws of all kinds as a means of earning a livelihood. He remained there for six years, and in 1868 came to Beaver Meadows, town of Otselic, where he again engaged in the saw business. In 1887 he embarked in commercial pursuits; he conducts a general store and carries a full line of groceries, dry goods ready-made clothing, hardware and crockery. He handles the very best of goods and the stock invoices at $1,000.00. He has made a reputation for himself as an honest and straightforward business man, treating all alike, and he now enjoys a large trade, which yields him the comfortable income of $6,000.00 per year.

Mr. Fredenberg's first wife was Miss Fannie Robbins of Plymouth, by whom he had four children, whose names are as follows: Alice May, who died in childhood; Seldon, who also died in childhood; Lillian, who died in infancy; also an adopted daughter, Ellen, who died at the age of fourteen. On October 22, 1886, he married Mrs. Eliza A. (Ray) Tallett, a sister of Congressman Ray of Norwich, and the widow of the late Daniel Tallett. Daniel Tallett was born in the town of Otselic, Chenango County, N.Y. He was a son of Henry and Glysara (Church) Tallett. He followed farming as an occupation, and was very successful. April 2, 1867, he was united in marriage with Miss Eliza A. Ray, and they became the parents of one child, Charles H., who is a farmer and painter of the town of Otselic. Mrs. Fredenberg is a woman of more than ordinary business ability, and has held public office; June 25, 1889, she was appointed postmaster of Beaver Meadows, and filled the office with credit. She is a faithful member of the Baptist Church. Mr. Fredenberg sides with the Prohibitionists politically, and believes that liquor is the curse of our country; he was formerly a Republican, and for four years was a justice of the peace.

MARSHALL D. SPENCER, M.D. The Spencer family, which is one of the oldest and best known in Chenango County, is of French origin, and formerly spelled the name La Spincier. The Spencers in the United States are supposed to be descended from three brothers, who came to this country in colonial times, but the first authentic history we have of the branch to which our subject belongs is of Jonathan Spencer. It is thought he was a native of Montgomery County, N.Y., and was born March 17, 1744. In the fall of 1778 or 1779, he, with his oldest son, Orange, the grandfather of our subject, moved to Otsego County and took up his home in Unadilla, where the two were the first settlers, and erected the first cabin on what is now Spencer Street. They returned to Montgomery County at the end of the summer, where they remained until after the cold winter months had passed, when they, accompanied by the rest of the family, set out for their new home. They placed their possessions on sledges, which were drawn by oxen from the Mohawk River to Cooperstown, where they stopped long enough to build a bateau, upon which they put their belongings, and floated down the Susquehanna River, until they reached the mouth of the Unadilla River; they pushed the bateau up the river for about three miles, when they disembarked and took possession of their cabin. There they lived in true primitive style, having no neighbors but the Indians, who were still unfriendly to white men. The family, of course, encountered many hardships, as they were obliged to divide their scanty stock of provisions with the Indians, in order to keep peace; as a result they brought a famine upon themselves, and for weeks at a time they had no bread on the table, and the children often went to bed hungry. However, after some years spend in hard work and patient toil, better times began to appear; other settlers came into the vicinity, and their home, so long one of privation and want, became one of plenty and comfort. Jonathan Spencer was a soldier of the Revolutionary War. His first wife was formerly Ruth Mudge, who was born in December, 1747, by whom he had four children, namely: Rev. Orange, born July 3, 1765; Amos, November 11, 1767; Jonathan, December 4, 1772; and Micah, February 12, 1780. He was again married July 23, 1781, to Miss Martha Keach, and reared eight children, whose births were as follows: Nathaniel, February 12, 1782; Elisha, May 24, 1784; William, July 1, 1787; Francis, November 6, 1789; Mercy, April 9, 1796; Barzilla, May 9, 1798; Asher, January 2, 1800; and Solomon, July 11, 1803. Mrs. Spencer was one of the best of wives and mothers, and just the kind of woman needed to struggle through the hardships of the times in which she lived. She was a woman of remarkable bravery, as is shown by the following: When the Indians, led by the noted Chief Brant, made a raid in the vicinity of the settlement, and the men were away fighting, the frightened women sought refuge in old Fort Plains (sic), and she stood guard. She came from a family well known for their bravery and fighting ability. James Keach, one of her brothers, in a raid on Johnstown, during the Revolution, captured the suit of clothes in which Sir William Johnson was knighted. When a band of Tories made a raid on the home of her sister, Margaret Burch, in search of Mr. Burch, the redoubtable pioneer woman met them half way and repulsed them with a red hot poker. Another sister, having been driven from her home in the Wyoming Valley, fled across the country on foot, carrying an infant son in her arms.

Rev. Orange Spencer, better known as Elder Spencer, was born in Montgomery County, N.Y., but when he was about fourteen years of age, he moved to Unadilla with his father; remained there until 1840, when he went to Jamestown, where he resided the remainder of his life. His life was devoted to the cause of Christianity; he was a minister, and promulgated the doctrines of the Baptist Church. He founded the Baptist Church at Masonville, where he was pastor for a number of years. He was a man of many virtues, and did much toward the advancement of the morals of the communities in which he lived. He reared a family of four sons and two daughters, whose records are as follows: Philomelia, who became the wife of John Fry of Unadilla; Gilbert, who lived in North-East township, Erie County, Pa., and followed farming until his death; Orange B., late a farmer of Oneida County, N.Y.; Cena, who married Peter Loop, a farmer of North-East township, Erie County, Pa.; and Gaius L., the father of our subject. Mr. Spencer died at the advanced age of seventy-eight years, January 15, 1843.

Dr. Gaius L. Spencer was born in Unadilla, Otsego County, N.Y., where he received his primary education. He then began the study of medicine with Dr. Kolby Knapp of Guilford, and was licensed to practice by the Delaware County Medical Association in 1817. He immediately began to practice at Triangle, where he remained the rest of his life; he was the first physician in the town, and soon acquired a large and lucrative practice; he was one of the leading physicians of the county, being a member of the Broome County Medical Association. He was bound in wedlock with Miss Lucy Cady, a native of Norfolk, Conn.; she was a daughter of Ami Cady, and was born January 27, 1796. This union resulted in the birth of six children, who are as follows: Caroline M., who was the wife of John W. Blakeslee, deceased, and later the wife of William Baldwin, also deceased; Erasmus S.D., a farmer of the town of Greene, who died August 13, 1896; Dr. Herschel D., late a physician of Afton, Chenango County, was born August 4, 1823, graduated from the Pittsfield Medical College, Pittsfield, Mass., in 1848, and died July 27, 1857, at South Bainbridge, where he was practicing for a number of years; Dr. Cyrenius D., born December 4, 1825, was also a graduate of the Pittsfield Medical College, in 1849, and began the practice of medicine in West Cornwall, Litchfield County, Conn., where he remained four years, after which he was located in Gilbertsville, Otsego County, until 1870, when he removed to Binghamton, where he now resides; Lawrence H., born September 20, 1827, died December 5, 1890, was a traveling salesman of Binghamton; and Marshall D., our subject. Dr. and Mrs. Gaius L. Spencer were faithful members of the Congregational Church. The Doctor was a man whose long residence endeared him to a large circle of friends, and his reputation as a physician, gained by his 35 years' active work in Triangle, reached far and near. His aid was ever ready at the first call of distress, and his death, which occurred June 18, 1852, was a cause of universal mourning, and was brought about by an accident, while he was at the zenith of his prosperity. He was performing an autopsy, when in some manner he received a wound from the needle, which resulted in blood-poisoning, which terminated fatally. The talent for ministering to the sufferings of their fellow-men appears to have been an inherited one, as three out of five sons studied medicine, and gained enviable reputations.

Dr. Marshall D. Spencer, our subject, received his primary education in the public schools of his native place; then entered the office of his brother, Dr. C.D. Spencer, studying medicine with him, and with his father, until the death of the latter, when he went to Litchfield, Conn., and studied with Drs. Beckwith and Seymour of that place. Later, in 1854 and 1855 he attended lectures at the University of New York. At this time he was compelled to discontinue his studies, as his health was giving way under the strain. In 1859, the Broome County Medical Society granted him a license, and in the same year he began practicing in the village where he now resides.

On the 12th of August, 1855, Dr. Spencer was united in matrimony with Miss Mary E. Dodge, daughter of Avery Dodge, a manufacturer of medicine, formerly of Coventry, this county, later of Triangle, Broome County. This union was blessed by the birth of two children: Elwyn L., born October 28, 1857, studied medicine with his father, and graduated at the Buffalo Medical College, in February, 1882, and is now a successful practitioner of Windsor, Broome County, N.Y.; May E., born September 27, 1864, died May 8, 1874.

Dr. Spencer is a very successful physician, his income being about $2,500.00 a year. He is especially successful in his treatment of diseases of the lungs, and of pneumonia, in consequence of which his services are in great demand, particularly in those cases. He still keeps up the reputation his father had before him, of being a physician of superior merit, and of one who thinks that every case upon which he is called to attend is well worth his best efforts, and no pains are spared to alleviate the sufferer, be he rich or poor. This characteristic of ever being ready to aid a fellow sufferer has been noted in the Spencer family from the first, for Jonathan Spencer, when he settled in the wilds of Otsego County, divided his frugal fare with unfortunate neighbors. This trait in his great-grandchildren has been the means of binding them closely in the affections of their fellow men, and it is no surprise to find Dr. Spencer's name most prominent in all social circles. He is a member and ex-president of the Chenango County Medical Society, also a member of the State Medical Society. He is a member and ex-secretary of Oxford Lodge, No. 175, F. & A.M.; member and ex-scribe of Oxford Chapter, No. 254; member and medical examiner of the A.O.U.W. of Guilford. He has always been a Republican, having cast his first vote for John C. Fremont, and for each presidential candidate on the Republican ticket since. His time is so fully occupied with his professional duties, that he has had little time to devote to political life. However, his friends prevailed on him to allow his name to be placed on the ticket for coroner, fifteen years ago, when he was elected by an overwhelming majority, and so well did the man suit the office that he was continued in that office for four terms. Both he and his most excellent wife are attendants of the Congregational Church, of which they are members. Their names have long been identified with all the best interests of the village.

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Created: 10/24/03
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