No. 49 George Rathbun

no-49-gorege-rathbunAccording to Audrey Mae’s artistically designed cemetery map and Audrey Mae’s gravestone numbering system in her Spencer Historical Family Cemetery, George Rathbun’s gravestone is Gravestone Number Forty-Nine and his spouse Roby Alice (née Spencer) Rathbun’s gravestone is Gravestone Number Forty-eight. Using her Smith-Corona typewriter in the 1980s, Audrey Mae typed the following mini-biography of George Rathbun, who was a Veteran.  To honor his military service, Audrey Mae places a USA flag by his gravestone Number Forty-Nine on her artistically designed Spencer family cemetery map.


(update:  The date of birth on George’s gravestone inscription is August 26,1838.)

Bruce MacGunnigle – 35

George Rathbun married Roby Alice (née Spencer), an eighth-generation Spencer in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.  Roby Alice has the same first name as Roby (née Tarbox) Spencer (Gravestone No. 5), the spouse of Richard Anthony (“Deacon”) Spencer (Gravestone No. 6). Audra Eleanor is the first daughter of “Deacon” and Roby Spencer and Roby Alice is a daughter of Audra Eleanor (Gravestone No. 53) and Benjamin Spencer (Gravestone No. 54).

Roby and George’s children in the Spencer Family Cemetery:


George Rathbun “enlisted in the Seventh Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers and served until the close of the war.”

George Rathbun and his brother’s military service records:

rathbun-george-and-john-marry-alice-and-evelyn-spencerGeorge was in the Seventh Regiment Rhode Island Volenteers and his brother, John, was in the Twelfth Regiment Rhode Island Volenteers. According to Audrey Mae’s gravestone numbering system in her Spencer Family Historical Cemetery, their gravestones are 49 and 58. The two Rathbun brothers, (George–Gravestone No. 49 and John— Gravestone No. 58) married the two Spencer sisters, (Evelyn –Gravestone No. 57 and Roby Alice–Gravestone No. 48).

Article about the Rathbun brothers who married the Rathbun sisters:


According to the above article on the Rathbone (sic) genealogy, the Spencer sisters are the daughters of Benjamin (gravestone No. 54) and Audra (gravestone No. 53).

Audrey Mae’s daughter, Crystal, met one of the Rathbun descendants who gave her copies of the above articles.

There is no doubt that this ninth recorded cemetery in East Greenwich, Rhode Island was recorded as the Spencer Family Cemetery. However, two Spencer sisters married two Rathbun brothers and all four of their gravestones are located by the front gate. Unfortunately, a woman’s birth name is not on her gravestone; only a married name has traditionally been carved on a gravestone.

Because of sloppy research done by the Veteran’s administration, this Spencer Historical Cemetery (E.G.No.9) was recorded in Veteran Records as Rathbun cemetery.  This error was because Roby Alice’s husband’s, Veteran George Rathbun, relatively large modern gravestone just happened to be by the front gate. “so they (Veteran’s group) probably poked their head over the gate and read the first gravestone and ignored the sixty some other gravestones.” There are two Rathbun veterans and six Spencer veterans in the Spencer Family Cemetery. 

This error, plus the removal of the No. 10 on Audrey Mae’s ancestors’s other cemetery,(, greatly grieved Audrey Mae. She felt–and she was– the link that connected the Spencer history in East Greenwich area of Rhode Island to the modern day Spencer descendants in Rhode Island, as well as California. These websites carry out her and her sister Edith Anna’s desire to keep the Spencer ancestral history alive in the modern day descendants and in all future descendants from Rhode Island to California and in between.

A bit of irony is that Audrey Mae is buried in a large cemetery in Coventry, Rhode Island called the Rathbun Cemetery, corner of Washington Street and Knotty Oak.  Audrey Mae wanted to be buried where her parents were buried. Her parents were buried in that cemetery because the cemetery was (and is) a perpetual care cemetery located next to their Church, the Knotty Oak Baptist Church. The web site author knew this cemetery to be called the Knotty Oak Cemetery, but recently was told that the section where Audrey Mae and her family of origin is buried is called Rathbun.

Spencer and Rathbun descendants, if you have any additional information on George Rathbun, please add a comment to this web site and the web site editor will add this to the site. Also, Rathbun and Spencer descendants, if you can get the Veteran’s group to correct their mistake and name the Spencer Family Cemetery correctly, Audrey Mae’s, Edith Anna’s and John (“Ed”) Edward’s children will be forever grateful.  😆 Thanks.”