Stephen Spence, b. October 29, 1800 NC Territory, married Martha Hooper, daughter of James Hooper, in 1818 either in Wilkes County, NC. Their first child, James, was born there the following year, in 1819. About 1820 Stephen and Martha and several families, including Martha's Father, James Hooper and at least three of her siblings, brothers; James Jr., Moses and a sister, Jane who married William Davis later, moved to East Tennessee.
Stephen and Martha show up in the 1830 census in Blount County, Tn. 1830-35. They moved on down the Tennessee River to Rhea County, six miles East of Dayton, Tn. in the Frazier Bend of the Tennessee River and Mud Creek area by 1838. They remained there for life.
It was from their farm that a large band of Cherokees began their Trail of Tears march to Oklahoma. There were large patches of reeds in the Mud Creek and the Indians spent some time weaving baskets to use on the trail West.
Stephen Spence volunteered for the Seminole Indian War, his second son John b. 1823, volunteered for the Mexican American War in 1846. After John returned from Mexico (he walked all the way back from Tampico) he soon married Tennessee Virena Knight in 1850. They moved to Howell County, Missouri in the winter of 1855-56, arriving in January 1856. John's sister, Elizabeth, had married Thomas Jefferson Hale in Rhea County, Tn. and they had moved about 1850 to Randolph County, Arkansas.
Thomas and Elizabeth moved back to Rhea County about 1860 to help Stephen and Martha through the Civil War. Stephen and Martha lost two sons, Benjamin Franklin and Stephen, Jr. and two Sons-in-laws were captured by the Union Army in the Civil War. About 1870 Thomas and Elizabeth moved West to Howell County next to brother John.
John was conscripted by the Union Army and taken to the Rolla, Mo. area. He escaped from them and came back to farm at night and hid out all day for the duration of the Civil War... fought off the bushwackers (may have joined them) and raised the rest of his family.
Three masked men tried to rob John at his farm one dark night, (after he had sold a herd of cattle) on November 1, 1890 (John was 67). John jumped back into a dark bedroom and pulled out his bowie knife (fighting against a baseball bat and clubs) and went to work on them. He wounded one so badly that he died two days later in jail after capture, wounded another so badly that he barely escaped (captured later) and put the third man to flight. He too was captured later. John was a tough, determined old bird.