Thomas Sharp Spencer

Thomas Sharp Spencer

Written by Jay Guy Cisco
From Historic Sumner County, Tennessee

Retyped for the page by Diane Payne and Danene Vincent

     Thomas Sharp SPENCER, called the "Chevalier Beyard of the Cumberland Valley," was a native of Virginia, and a bold, daring hunter, who at an early day went to Kentucky in search of adventure. From Kentucky he came to what is now Tennessee, in 1778, with a party of hunters, who made their camp at Bledsoe's Lick. After a time all of the party returned to the settlements except SPENCER and one other, whose name is given in some of the histories as HOLLIDAY in others, as elsewhere stated in this story as DRAKE. He was a man of gigantic size and great physical strength, and never knew meaning the meaning of the word fear. Many stories are told of his prowess and of his adventures with the Indians, and if they were all collected they would fill a volume which would read more like romance than fact. He helped to build the first cabin, make the first clearing and plant the first corn in Middle Tennessee. He was a nephew of that Judge Samuel SPENCER, who issued the warrant for the arrest of John SEVIER for high treason in 1788, and who was killed by a turkey gobbler.
     In 1794 SPENCER made a journey to Virginia to collect some money that was due him from an estate. Returning, he was shot from ambush by Indians, at what is now called Spencer's Hill, in Van Buren County. The seat of justice of that county was so named in his honor. So, also, were Spencer's Creek and Spencer's Lick.
     After the death of SPENCER, the body of land containing 640 acres, lying one mile south of Gallatin, and known to this day as "Spencer's Choice," passed to the ownership of his brother, William, and his sister, Elizabeth. The latter purchased her brother's interest, and then sold the entire tract to David SHELBY, who, in 1798, built the stone residence still standing and occupied by A. P. HOWISSON, the present owner.

An interesting story about Thomas Sharp Spencer can be found on the Interesting Sumner Tidbits link, called Legands Surrond Life of Early Settler.

Return to Sumner County, TN Family Album

Return to Sumner County Main Page