native son of
San Jose and a member of one of the old and honored families of
California, James A. Spencer is well known in business circles of the
city as an expert well borer, having successfully followed that
occupation for the past twenty-three years. He
was born August 28, 1865, of the marriage of James C. and Frankie E.
[Laird] Spencer. In 1853 the father
started across the plains for the West and for three years he followed
mining at Nevada City, Nevada, after which he came to California,
settling at McCartysville, now known as Saratoga, in Santa Clara County. He purchased a small ranch near the town,
devoting his attention to its improvement and operation and also
engaging in hauling soda water from the Congress mineral springs to
Santa Clara, the roads in those days often being is [sic] such
condition that it was necessary to convey the soda water on pack mules. Mr. Spencer was a native of Columbus, Ohio,
while his wife was born in Illinois, and when eight years of age she
came to California by the Isthmus route. In
1871 they became residents of San Jose, where the father engaged in
teaming contracting, and also hauled wood from his ranch at
McCartysville to this city and to Santa Clara. In
his later years he became foreman of the John Tully ranch of 1,600
acres and acted in that capacity for twenty-five years.
He passed away in 1920, but the mother is still living and is
now seventy-six years of age. In their
family were eight children, five sons and three daughters.
James A Spencer acquired his education in the public schools of San Jose and when sixteen years of age he started out in life for himself, but in order to better prepare himself for a commercial career he took a business course. For a few years he was employed on ranches and then accepted a position as foreman of a construction gang employed by the Bay City Water Company at Coyote, California. For ten years he was thus active and the next three years were spent as chauffeur for the secretary of that company. In 1898 he embarked in the well-boring business, in which he has since continued, and his services are in constant demand. The excellence of his work is indicated in the fact that patronage comes to him unsolicited. He never allows the smallest detail of his task to be slighted and is thoroughly reliable and conscientious in all business transactions. He has confined his operations to the Santa Clara Valley and has put down wells for the Herbert Packing Company of San Jose, the Richmond & Chase Packing Company, also of this city, the Braslan Seed Company at Gilroy and numerous wells at Edenville and other parts of the valley.
In San Jose, on March 8, 1890, Mr. Spencer married Miss Mary Frances Warren, a native of Saratoga, California, and a daughter of A. T. and Fannie Warren, who passed away during her girlhood. Her father was associated with Ransom Wilkes in the operation of a sawmill at Long Bridge, the plant being run by water power. Mrs. Spencer acquired her education in the schools of Ben Lomond and Boulder Creek and by her marriage she has become the mother of three children. Oscar P. is assisting his father in business. Dorothy Florence married Chester C. Clevenger of San Jose, who is also interested in well drilling with his father-in-law, and they have two children, Dorothy and Betty. Francis Warren, the youngest of the family, is likewise engaged in business with his father. Mr. Spencer give his political allegiance to the republican party and fraternally he is identified with the Foresters of America. He has never been afraid of hard work, realizing that success is gained only at the cost of earnest labor and persistency of purpose, and that he is a man of strict integrity and moral worth is indicated by the high esteem in which he is held by those among whom his life has been passed.