George E. Spencer

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George E. Spencer
George E. Spencer - Brady-Handy.jpg
United States Senator
from Alabama
In office
July 13, 1868 – March 4, 1879
Preceded by Benjamin Fitzpatrick
Succeeded by George S. Houston
Personal details
Born (1836-11-01)November 1, 1836
Champion, New York
Died February 19, 1893(1893-02-19) (aged 56)
Washington, D.C.
Citizenship  United States
Political party Republican

Bella Zilfa Spencer

May Nunez Spencer

Attorney politician

Military service
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch Union Army


Unit 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment (Union)
Battles/wars American Civil War

George Eliphaz Spencer (November 1, 1836 – February 19, 1893) was an American politician and a U.S. senator from the state of Alabama.


Born in Champion, New York, Spencer was the son of Gordon Percival and Deborah Mallory Spencer. He educated at Montreal College in Canada. After relocating to Iowa he engaged in the study of law. He married English author Bella Zilfa in 1862.[1]


During the Civil War, Spencer enlisted as a captain on October 16, 1862. While serving on the staff of Brigadier-General Grenville M. Dodge, he requested a transfer to the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment (Union), a volunteer regiment made up of Southern Unionists, which did not have a permanent commander. Receiving a promotion to colonel, he led the regiment from September 11, 1863 till his resignation on July 5, 1865.[2]

After the war, Spencer returned to Alabama to practice law. His wife died of typhoid fever in 1867. For a time he served as register in bankruptcy for the fourth district of Alabama.[3]

Elected as a Republican to the United States Senate upon readmission of Alabama to the Union, Spencer served from July 13, 1868, to March 4, 1879.[4] He was appointed a commissioner of the Union Pacific Railroad with help from his previous leader, Major-General Dodge. In 1877, he married prominent actress "May" Nunez, the niece and namesake of one-armed Confederate General William Wing Loring. The couple then spent two years on a ranch in Nevada tending to mining interests before settling in Washington, DC, about 1880.[5]


Spencer died in Washington, D.C., on February 19, 1893 (age 56 years, 110 days). He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.[6]


  1. ^ "George Eliphaz Spencer". 1st Alabama Cavalry. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "George Eliphaz Spencer". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "George Eliphaz Spencer". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "George Eliphaz Spencer". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "George Eliphaz Spencer". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "George Eliphaz Spencer". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Alabama
Served alongside: Willard Warner, George Goldthwaite, John T. Morgan
Succeeded by
George S. Houston
Notes and references
1. Because Alabama seceded from the Union in 1861, seat was declared vacant from 1861-1868 when Benjamin Fitzpatrick withdrew from the U.S. Senate.