Spier Spencer

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Captain Spier Spencer (c. 1770[1] – November 7, 1811[2]) was an Indiana militia officer who commanded a company of mounted riflemen known as the Yellow Jackets at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Spencer County, Indiana was named in his honor.

Biography[edit]

A native of Virginia, Spencer moved to Kentucky with his parents. He married Elizabeth Polk, daughter of Capt. Charles Polk, in Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky on January 18, 1793. Spencer and his wife moved to Vincennes, Indiana. In 1809 Spencer was appointed by Governor William Henry Harrison as the first sheriff of Harrison County, Indiana. He moved his family to Corydon and served in that office until his death.[3]

Spencer and his wife ran "The Green Leaf Tavern," in their large log home on Oak Street. Governor William Henry Harrison and Lieutenant Governor Ratliff Boon stayed there when they came on official business, as did delegates to the 1816 Indiana Constitution Convention.

When tensions between the settlers and the Native Americans became serious, Spier Spencer organized a Harrison County mounted militia company known as the "Yellow Jackets" for their uniforms. They would engage in a campaign against the Shawnee Indians under Governor Harrison. Spencer was seriously wounded in the head and thighs during the November 7, 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe. As he was being carried to safety, he was struck and killed by another musket ball.

Spencer's death was described by General Harrison in his report to the secretary of war on the 18th of November:

"...Spencer was wounded in the head. He exhorted his men to fight valiantly. He was shot through both thighs and fell; still continuing to encourage them, he was raised up, and received a ball through his body, which put an immediate end to his existence..."

Spencer and his men were praised for their bravery by General Harrison.

Captain Spencer is the namesake of counties in Indiana and Kentucky[4] as well as the town of Spencer, Indiana, the seat of Owen County.[5]

Spencer's widow continued operating The Green Leaf Tavern. When she married William Boone, she changed the name to the "Billy Boone Tavern". However, the marriage was short lived and she divorced Boone in 1829.

References[edit]

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