Nelson Spencer

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Nelson Spencer
Spencer pictured c. 1931
MLA for Vancouver City
In office
MLA for Medicine Hat
In office
Preceded by Charles R. Mitchell
Succeeded by Perren Baker
William Johnston
Personal details
Born (1876-12-07)7 December 1876
York County, New Brunswick
Died 30 September 1943(1943-09-30) (aged 66)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Political party Conservative

Nelson Charles Spencer (7 December 1876 – 30 September 1943) was a merchant, provincial level politician from Alberta, Canada, and a lieutenant colonel with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) in World War I.


Spencer was born in York County, New Brunswick,[1] to Amelia Caroline (née Price) and William Spencer,[2][3] and raised at Bloomfield Ridge, Stanley Parish.

Spencer first served in municipal politics as a Tory party Mayor of Medicine Hat, Alberta.[4]

Nelson Spencer was an Orangeman,[5] and in 1910 belonged to Carnduff, Saskatchewan, Loyal Orange Lodge No.1561 where he served as the County Master for that jurisdiction. Later he transferred to 'Medicine Hat' L.O.L. 1549.

Spencer was elected to the Alberta Legislature in the 1913 Alberta general election. He defeated Liberal cabinet minister Charles R. Mitchell in an upset victory by 10 votes. Mitchell would be the only cabinet minister defeated in that election. Spencer would be acclaimed in the 1917 Alberta general election under section 38 of the Elections Act that stipulates an incumbent member involved in active overseas duty with the Canadian Forces in World War I would be automatically returned to his district without being contested. Spencer retired from the Legislature after two terms in office.

Spencer belonged to the 21st Alberta Hussars prior to the Great War of 1914–1919. During the war he was given command of the newly created 175th 'Medicine Hat' Battalion and appointed to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. This unit was later broken up as its members were required to reinforce other units at the front. He commanded the 31st 'Alberta' Battalion from October 6, 1918, to December 1, 1918. For his war service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, and after the war he returned to the militia as commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, the Alberta Regiment in Medicine Hat.[6]

Spencer ran for a seat in the Canadian House of Commons as the Conservative candidate in a by-election in the Medicine Hat federal electoral district held after the death of Arthur Lewis Sifton. Spencer was badly defeated in a landslide by Robert Gardiner.

After his electoral defeat, Spencer moved to British Columbia and ran in the 1928 British Columbia general election. He was elected in the riding of Vancouver City and spent one term in office for the British Columbia Conservative Party. Spencer later ran as an independent for Mayor of Vancouver after losing the Non-partisan Association nomination in 1937.

Spencer was married to Martha Alberta Kennedy (15 June 1878-21 June 1958).[1] He died in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada at the age of 66,[2] and is interred at Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby, British Columbia.


  1. ^ a b "Officers' Declaration Papers: Nelson Spencer". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  2. ^ a b Death Registration: Nelson Spencer, 1943-09-631378, Vital Statistics Agency, Ministry of Health, Province of British Columbia 
  3. ^ "1891 Census of Canada: Province: New Brunswick; District: York; Sub-district: Stanley; Household Number: 67". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  4. ^ Rea, James Edgar (1997). T.E. Crerar: A Political Life. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7735-1629-8. Retrieved 2007-08-12. 
  5. ^ Orange Lodge 1654
  6. ^ "Lieut. General Sir Henry Bustall will inspect the militia forces of Alberta". The Calgary Daily Herald. January 7, 1922. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 

External links[edit]

Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Preceded by
Charles R. Mitchell
MLA Medicine Hat
Succeeded by
Perren Baker
William Johnston