Biography of Calvin M. Spencer

Calvin M. Spencer, a well known Emporia business man and citizen, is head of the firm of Spencer & Baltz, proprietors of the New Process Steam Laundry, one of the two leading laundries of Emporia. Both are expert men at the business, and by extensive remodeling and equipment have made their plant in fact and in name a place of service, and consequently their patronage is not confined to the City of Emporia, but their work is distributed all over that part of the state.

The Spencers are an old American family, and it is said that they originated in Normandy, whence the first of the name went to England along with William the Conqueror. From England the descendants came to America in colonial times. John Quincy Spencer, grandfather of the Emporia laundryman, was born in Ohio in April, 1825, grew up and married in that state, and about 1853 went to Iowa, where he was an early settler and where he followed farming until late in life. He died near What Cheer, Iowa, in July, 1902. He was a Quaker or a member of the Friends Church, and reared a whig he afterwards adopted republican politics. The maiden name of his wife was Mary Ridgway, who was born in Ohio in February, 1825, and died near What Cheer, Iowa, January 11, 1903. Their four children were: George, a retired farmer at Whittier, Lynn County, Iowa; Elizabeth, who died in What Cheer in 1902, unmarried; Adnah; and William, a farmer at Emporia.

Adnah Spencer, father of Calvin, was born near Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1857. Later his parents moved to the northeast part of Mahaska County, Iowa, where he grew up and received his education and was a farmer there until in 1881 he married at Dexter, Iowa, the home of the bride, Miss Alice Mills. She was born in Indiana in 1857 and died at Emporia in the spring of 1911. After his marriage Adnah Spencer lived in Earlham, Iowa, eight years. In 1889 he moved to What Cheer, in Keokuk County, where he was an actitve farmer for seventeen years. In the fall of 1906 he came to Emporia, where for a few years he was in the laundry business, until he sold his interests to his son and son-in-law, the firm of Spencer & Baltz. He is now living practically retired at Emporia. He and his wife were parents of eight children: Calvin M.; Mary, who died in infancy; Edith, wife of Henry Baltz, of the firm of Spencer & Baltz; Sina, wife of D. C. Harrison, who is principal of schools at Tampa, Kansas; Chester, a farmer at Neosho Rapids, Kansas; Edward; employed in a store at Tampa, Kansas; Barclay, a student in the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia, and also pursuing a course in journalism; and Russell, who died at the age of five years.

Calvin M. Spencer was born at Earlham, Madison County, Iowa, December 5, 1882, and was quite young when his parents moved to Keokuk County. He attended the public schools of that county and was also a student in the Friends Seminary at What Cheer. Leaving school in 1902, Mr. Spencer followed farming until 1906, when he came with his parents to Emporia. For a time he was employed by the Emporia Gazette and then for two years was with the Martin Steam Laundry. In that way he became familiar with the laundry business, and in 1909 he and his father and Mr. Brunt bought the E. A. Garlick laundry. Later Mr. Spencer and his brother-in-law, Mr. Baltz, acquired all the interest, and under their management the laundry is known as the New Process Laundry, located at Merchant Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues. As progressive business men they have added fifty feet to the rear of their original lot, and have introduced extensive equipment of machinery and added a dry cleaning department, and it had been their constant ideal to give the best possible service.

In political matters Calvin Spencer is an independent. He is a member of the Friends Church, in which he was reared, and in fact is a birthright Quaker. In 1911, at Emporia, he married Miss Nina Reider, daughter of Nathaniel and Alice Reider. Her father is in the electric shoe manufacturing shop on Commercial Street. Mr. and Mrs. Spencer have one child, Ernest LeRoy, who was born May 23, 1913.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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