No. 13 Melissa

no-13-huldah-mellissa-spencer-another-photoAccording to Audrey Mae’s artistic cemetery map diagram and her gravestone numbering system, Melissa’s gravestone is Gravestone Number Thirteen.  Audrey has an arrow drawn from Melissa’s name to Roby Ella’s name (No. 12 gravestone) to show that Melissa and Roby Ella are sisters with the same parents.  Using her Smith-Corona typewriter in the 1980s, Audrey Mae typed the following mini-biography of Melissa, an eighth-generation Spencer in East Greenwich, Rhode Island:


It is quite unusual to die on the same day and month that you were born. So Audrey Mae pointed this out that 81 years after Melissa’s birth, she died on that same day and month eighty-two years apart.

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The name on Melissa’s gravestone is Huldah M. Spencer. She was obviously named after her grandmother Huldah but Audrey Mae knew she was always called Melissa. Melissa was named after her father’s grandmother, Huldah (No.1) who died in 1832, fifteen years before Melissa was born. An interesting note is that she was named after her father’s grandmother and her sister was named after her father’s mother.  (One wonders today–2013–what was the name of their mother’s mother and their mother’s grandmother.)

According to Audrey Mae, Melissa’s father is Joseph Jason (No. 9) who is the fifth child of Richard Anthony (“Deacon”) (No. 6) and Roby (née Tarbox) (No. 5) Spencer. Melissa’s mother is Celinda Kettelle.  (Another spelling for Celinda is Selinda with an “S”.  More research needed.)

Celinda Kettelle was Violet Kettelle’s great-aunt. Violet Kettelle (2-22-1912–6-4-2004) was a Spencer historian who carried on the work of Esther Amanda (née Spencer) Briggs (1-21-1835–6-2-1929).  Esther Amanda (“Aunt Mandy”) was the first Spencer historian known to descendants.

Cousin Violet, as Audrey Mae called her, was the first woman to enter Penbroke College, the coordinate women’s college for Brown University, in Rhode Island. Violet taught school in Vermont for most of her long career. (glossary of On retirement, Violet returned to her family home on north side of Middle Road in East Greenwich, R.I., to the east of the Spencer family cemetery. Violet spent her retirement years at her family home on Middle Road and Audrey Mae (3-19-1912–3-11-2007) would often visit Violet on the Kettelle farm. Audrey Mae wanted all her daughters to know cousin Violet who was also a woman before her time.

Violet had said that she could no longer visit her own family historical cemetery as the brush had grown up and concealed the graveyard.  It became too difficult or impossible for her to any more find it, never mind visit the cemetery.

According to Audrey Mae, Gravestones Number ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen are the children of Joseph Jason (No. 9)  and Celinda (née Kettelle) Spencer.  Melissa (No. 13) is the second born of Jason Joseph and Celinda’s five children who are buried in the Spencer Family Cemetery. See below:


According to Audrey Mae,  Augustus Burnside (gravestone No. 24) is also a child of Joseph Jason and Celinda and therefore another brother of Melissa’s in the Spencer Family Cemetery.  Augustus Burnside died as a child of three years.ams-24-august-burnside-joseph-jason-celinda-young-child

Spencer, Johnson, Tarbox, and Kettelle descendants, if you have any additional information on Huldah “Melissa” Spencer, please add a comment to this web site and the web site editor will add this to the site.  Thanks!”