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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 of America
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Bella Zilfa Spencer (her death)
May Nunez Spencer
Profession Attorney
politician
rancher
miner
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Branch/service Union Army
Rank Union Army colonel rank insignia.png Colonel
Union Army brigadier general rank insignia.svg Bvt. Brigadier General
Commands 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment
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 who also served as an officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Biography

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. During the Pike's Peak Gold Rush he briefly relocated to Colorado where in November 1859 he founded the town of Breckenridge. He married English author Bella Zilfa in 1862.

Career

During the American Civil War, Spencer enlisted as a captain on October 16, 1862. While serving on the staff of Brig. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge, he requested a transfer to the 1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment, 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 until his resignation on July 5, 1865.

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.

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. He was accused of corruption and rewarding supporters in the legislature with patronage positions.

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.

Death

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

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