Sunny South Guards

Military Flag Presentation Ceremony


The following Florida Veteran is being honored in this project:


1901.jpg (9969 bytes)

Age at enlistment: 15

Born:  July 1, 1846 in what is now Pasco County

Parents: William Samuel SPENCER (b: 23 May 1811 in Savannah, Georgia) and
Emily Amanda KENDRICK

Died:  May 6, 1901

Final Resting Place:  Oaklawn Cemetery, downtown Tampa, Florida

Married: 1. Elizabeth Parrish; 2 Mary Gardnier SPENCER


  1. Laurens V.

  2. William C.

  3. Thomas K. Jr.

  4. Elizabeth

  5. Pearl

By the time of the War, his father had moved the family to Hillsborough County.

Enlisting at 15, (making him the youngest member of the unit) as a bugler, along with his older brother, John E. Spencer.  He was discharged for being under age.   With martial spirit he re-enlisted, this time as a blockade-runner.  He was captured by the enemy and languished in Fort Lafayette, NY, a military prison for seven months. 

As soon as he was released, he was off again in Capt. John T. Lesley's Company of the Cow Cavalry in Co. B of Munnerlyn's Battalion.  He was the last man in the Confederate service of the State of Florida, having been sent with dispatches and not returning until twenty days after the surrender. 

*"After the war, he and his brother, John E. Spencer, reestablished their late older brother William's newspaper, the "Florida Peninsular". Six years after John's death, Thomas sold the paper to the Republicans and in 1876 started another paper, the "Sunland Tribune" which became the Tampa Tribune. "

T.K. was a member of Hillsborough Camp #1, Confederate Veterans in 1891.

He was Hillsborough County Sheriff from 1893 - 1901.  As Sheriff, Spencer planned and began the work that stands as one of the monuments of his official career - a system of good roads.  Spencer named the first black deputy sheriff, Levin Armwood.  (Armwood High School was named after Levin's daughter, Blanche).   Under U.S. President Cleveland's first administration, Spencer was Collector of Customs.

Because of illness, Spencer retired from public life on January 1, 1901, and was in fact, seriously ill with LaGrippe, which developed into pneumonia. He died at the age of 56. In accounts from his obituary, it was noted that "no citizen had done more for the upbuilding of Tampa as he, and he gained the respect and love of its citizens." 

Spencer's  descendants reside in the Tampa Bay area to this day.   Spencer was honored when a chapter of the Children of the Confederacy (Thomas K. Spencer Chapter #947) was named after him.


*Hartman & Coles, Biographical Roster

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