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Fillmore History

The Spicers Come to Fillmore

From a Narrative by Mollie Spicer Duncan (Mother of Lowell Duncan)

The first Spicer to come to Missouri was Carlton Webster Spicer, son of William and Nancy Paddock Spicer of Jefferson County, New York. He was educated in New York State, graduated from New York Medical College, and became a licensed physician. He married Carolyn Rachel Carver, born in Elice, Chautuaqua County, New York, April 6, 1833. She moved with her family to Wisconsin in 1843. She was married to Dr. Spicer in Zanesville, Wisconsin October 20, 1856.

In May 1857 Doctor and Mrs. Spicer decided to go to Pikeís Peak by wagon. The wagon was drawn by oxen. They left Zanesville in May stopping along the way for rest periods. They stopped at Cedar Rapids and Omaha, which were just a few small villages of scattered houses on the prairie along the river. Mrs. Spicer related that it was mostly a pleasant trip with nice weather. At Omaha they were told so many discouraging stories about crossing the plains they decided to go south. They stopped on the Round Prairie in September; fall was upon them . They were so pleased with the beauty of the country they decided to stop and make it their home. They camped on a hill just east of the village of Newark. The hill is now called Gilmore Hill, it was known in earlier years as Berry Hill. (Dale Messick now lives on the hill.) The village was first called Newark and later to be named Fillmore.

Mrs. Spicer rested beside the wagon in her little rocking chair and some friendly people came to welcome her and her husband to the community. Dr. Spicer traded his wagon and oxen for the second lot east of the public well. There was a small log cabin on the east part, back from the street. The story goes that he had only 50 cents and a supply of food after the purchase. They quickly became useful citizens. He began practicing medicine and obtained the Post Office.

William Spicer brought his family from New York state to Andrew County on the urging of Dr. Spicer. William was a carpenter and cabinet maker by trade and with the help of his sons built a house for Dr. Spicer.

The house they built was on the southwest corner of the block. It was a  quite large two story house and he also had his office in it. Dr. Spicer placed a big rock on the street close to the front door of his office to be used by riders to mount their horses. (Could this be the large rock now in the flower bed in front of the Masonic Hall?)

There were no children born to Dr. & Mrs. Spicer. In 1885 a friend George T. Bryan requested them to take two of his children. He was leaving Fillmore and left in their care Kate (10 years old) and Charley (3 years old). They kept the children, giving them all the love and care of parents. Charley died Sept. 12, 1907. Kate married Dr. Ira Williams, a Fillmore product, and lived in Maitland, Mo. She lived to be quite elderly.

Dr. & Mrs. Spicer were frugal and soon acquired land and other businesses. In turn, they became quite wealthy and at one time were the largest taxpayers in Andrew County.

Dr. Spicer was ready and willing to attend the sick. The weather never too bad or the roads too muddy. The doctor was a large man and he had a special cart or buggy built which was just large enough for one.

After a bout with cancer, Dr. Spicer died August 5, 1896. A Dr. Birch took care of him during his illness. Spicer claimed that Dr. Birch was a much better doctor than he, if he would only leave liquor alone. While he cared for Dr. Spicer the liquor was locked up, and Birch was given a drink only each morning.

Dr. and Mrs. Spicer had planned to build a new house in the center of the block. After his death she still wanted to build a modern house and she did so. She lived a number of years to enjoy her house. The house was last owned by Elmer & Myrtle Floyd. It burnt on January 4, a cold winter night in the late 1950ís. (This was the birthday of both of the Floyd children.) The Masonic Hall now stands where the house once stood.

Mrs. Spicer lived almost nineteen years after her husbandís death. She passed away July 21, 1913.

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