“We all come from the past,
and children ought to know what it was
that went into their making.”
The following book by Diana Spencer’s brother, Charles Spencer, the ninth Earl of England, chronicles the story of his Royal family. It may be of interest to Spencer families and anyone related to the Spencers. I had been told by my mother and my sister Mary Spencer that this book showed how we were related to this royal line. Recently I have done some fact checking, and the fact is, if we are related at all, it’s so far back as to be debatable.
The Spencer Family Hardcover – November 4, 1999
by Charles Spencer (Author)
29 customer reviews
An insider’s history of the Spencer family, this book tells the family’s story from the sheep farmers of the 16th century through the Civil War and then the relationship with the Marlboroughs, on through the 19th century when the third Earl was one of the architects of the 1832 Reform Bill, to recent years and the death of Princess Diana. In the last chapter, Charles Spencer writes about his own views of the family’s history and what hopes he has for the future.</div> <em></em>
The Spencers: A Personal History of an English Family
4.4 out of 5 stars
Enjoyed reading about the many characters in this ancient noble family; so many of them, both male and female, involved themselves in the politics of their time; many held high public office, almost all acquitting themselves well; only a few rakes and wastrels, and one or two solidly eccentric characters as well as a fair share of meddling elders.
Charles Spencer’s style is inviting and accessible. The book is a painless way to get an intimate view of moments in history that are family-centric. My only criticism is that he backed away from examining his father and his family (Diana), deferring to discretion when it came to looking at the contentious divorce of his parents.
Sounds like a great fiction romance novel, but no. This book is well written and researched history of the English Spencer Family from their earliest beginnings up to Princess Diana.
In reading this book, there are heartbreaking romances, political power plays with a few executions, inheritance of vast estates and wealth and the loss thereof to amaze you like no fiction could. This history of a pivotal aristocratic family reveals how it was enmeshed with the Churchill (Duke of Marlborough) and Cavendish (Duke of Devonshire) families and gives personal information about many historic figures. I highly recommend it for scholarship, history, immersion in the periods, and as good a read as a historical fiction. Except of course it’s not fiction but life.
Surprisingly well written and very interesting however a big black mark to Amazon for (yet again ) excluding the photographs present in the paper version and not even so much as a single family tree to help remind one which John ,Robert or Sarah fits in where.
Interesting history book and easy to read. Holds your attention though it does get a little “preachy” at the end. I would recommend it as a summer read.
The current Lord Spencer is the late Princess Diana’s brother, the one who mouthed off to the Queen at Diana’s funeral. His eloquent, albeit blistering, eulogy made me want to read this. Alas, it is rather dull: This earl did that and the next earl did this … nothing really noteworthy.
The Spencers were an enormously influential family of blue bloods that included the Churchills. There was a lot of history that he just glossed over.
Remembering back to Di & Charles wedding, I recall several saying that the Spencer family was more English than the Windsors. This book explains the contributions of the family over the centuries. While I may have mixed feeling about the current Earl (Di’s brother who is so famous due to his speech at her funeral), the book is well written and quite interesting.
I was hoping for less chronology and more narrative. Needed a bit more insight to the key figures.
It’s ok. I guess I was expecting something more exciting. It was rather dull and slow reading. I am sure if you are truly interested in the heritage of the Spencer family you will enjoy it. I just needed more to keep me engaged to continue reading it. I couldn’t finish the book.
A famous sports figure, Eddie LeBaron, I’m proud to say, is part of my extended family. You can find him by using your search engine, Wikipedia, etc. He was a war hero, and also a Star in the NFL at 5-foot- seven! Years ago, in the public library, I found and enjoyed reading a well-written and interesting biography about him, though
Years ago, in the public library, I found and enjoyed reading a well-written and interesting biography about him, though I’m not even a sports fan. I came away feeling so very proud of my cousin, Eddie LeBaron! He is a success story — a true hero who overcame many difficulties to become the sports star he had dreamed of being and much more.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Edward Wayne LeBaron, Jr. (January 7, 1930 – April 1, 2015) was an American football quarterback in the 1950s and early 1960s in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football for the College of the Pacific. He also was an executive vice president of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Born in San Rafael, California, LeBaron graduated from Oakdale High School in Oakdale, northeast of Modesto.
LeBaron enrolled at the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in Stockton as a 16-year-old. He played college football for the Tigers under Amos Alonzo Stagg and Larry Siemering from 1946 to 1949, lettering all four years and achieving All-American honors as a senior. The Tigers registered an undefeated season (11–0) in 1949, led the nation in total offense (502.9 yards a game), and set an NCAA single-season record of 575 points. LeBaron was a two-way, 60-minute player, as a quarterback on offense, safety on defense, and punter on special teams. He also played one year of baseball for the Tigers as a catcher.
He left the school after re-writing many of the football records: career touchdowns (59), touchdowns in a season (23), longest punt (74 yards), most yardage off interception returns in a game (119), most times leading the team in total offense (3).
He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980, into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2004 and was a charter inductee into the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in October 2010.
LeBaron was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps reserves while in college and served as a lieutenant in the Korean War after graduation. He was wounded twice and was decorated with the Purple Heart. For his heroic actions on the front lines, he was awarded the Bronze Star. Due to his diminutive size, 5 feet, 7 inches, and leadership skills from his military service, he was sometimes known as the “Littlest General”.
In 2008, he was inducted into the U.S. Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame.
Washington Redskins (first stint)
LeBaron was selected in the tenth round (123rd overall) of the 1950 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins, but had to leave training camp to perform military service during the Korean War. At 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), he was one of the shortest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL.
He returned to the NFL in 1952 after a two-year commitment to the United States Marine Corpsas a lieutenant, when he was discharged after being wounded in combat. He replaced future hall of famer Sammy Baugh in the starting lineup after the fourth game and received All-Rookie honors at the end of the season. The next year he was limited with a knee injury and also shared the starting position with Jack Scarbath.
Calgary Stampeders (WIFU)
In 1954, the Western Interprovincial Football Union (a predecessor of the Canadian Football League) raided the NFL talent to improve its level of play. LeBaron signed with the Calgary Stampeders along with his Redskins teammate Gene Brito, because his college coach Larry Siemering was named the team’s head coach. He registered 1,815 passing yards, 8 touchdowns and 24 interceptions during the season. He also played defensive back and punter. He decided to return to the NFL at the end of the year, after the team fired Siemering.
Washington Redskins (second stint)
On December 9, 1954, he re-signed with the Washington Redskins. In his seven seasons with the Redskins he started 55 of a possible 72 games at quarterback (he played in 70 of those 72 games). He was also the primary punter for his first three seasons with Washington (punting 171 times for a total of 6,995 yards in five seasons). He was the league’s top-rated quarterback in 1958. He announced his retirement to focus on his law practice at the end of the 1959 season.
After not being able to participate in the 1960 NFL draft during their inaugural year of existence, the Dallas Cowboys traded their first round (#2-Norm Snead) and sixth round (#72-Joe Krakoski) draft choices in the 1961 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins in exchange for LeBaron, convincing him to come out of retirement to become the franchise’s first starting quarterback. He started 10 of 12 games in 1960, with rookie Don Meredith and Don Heinrichstarting the other two. He also scored the Cowboys’ first-ever touchdown in their first exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers, on August 6 in Seattle. He set a record for the shortest touchdown pass in league history, with his throw to receiver Dick Bielski from the 2-inch line against the Redskins on October 9, 1960.
LeBaron started 10 of 14 games in 1961, with Meredith starting the other four. He only started five games in 1962, splitting time with Meredith. He started the first game of the 1963 season, but was replaced permanently by Meredith for the rest of the season.
He retired at the end of 1963, after playing 12 seasons, throwing for 13,399 yards and 104 touchdowns and being selected for the Pro Bowl four times in 1955, 1957, 1958, and 1962.He is the shortest quarterback to ever be selected to the Pro Bowl. He was also known as an elusive scrambler and great ball-handler.
LeBaron became a football announcer for CBS Sports after his NFL career, and worked as an announcer from 1966 to 1971. He had obtained a law degree during his off-seasons from football, and practiced law after his football career. He was also the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons from 1977 to 1982 and executive vice president from 1983 through 1985.LeBaron was an avid golfer and continued to play golf in his retirement. He died of natural causes on April 1, 2015.
Documentary about Ervil LeBaron and his cult
(*Some books about Uncle Ervil LeBaron — in public libraries and bookstores)
THE TRUE PROPHET is an independent film written and directed by Scott Hillier and executive produced by…
NOTE: This movie was planning on its release in 2014. It was never released due to lack of funding. But there is some information here that may very well be of interest to you. For example, on this Website there are some of Ervil’s writings and more. Must see.
A number of books have been published and more than one movie has been done on Mother’s brother, my infamous Uncle Ervil LeBaron. He is now known as “Evil Ervil,” and “The Mormon Manson.” I knew, respected, and loved him till I came to realize, many years later, what a manipulator he was — and before he went off the deep end with his sociopathy and psychosis.
The “Prophet of Evil” is an especially well-done film produced years ago. It portrays a poignant part of this serial killer’s life. I love how brilliantly Brian Dennehy played the part of my Uncle Ervil.
But no film can possibly portray the depth of suffering, damage, and lunacy this personality-disordered megalomaniac caused in the lives of all he touched — especially his family and his brainwashed, true-believing followers, not to mention his around sixty children.
You may get the film from wherever you get movies and see the portrayal for yourself. I, myself, will be telling my experiences with my Uncle Ervil down the line in my memoir blogs. You may also read books written about him.
See “Media” and also “Media on Extended Family, Friends and Fundamentalist Cults” in my Menu bar for other books, Book Reviews, and films I may not have listed in this blog. Wikipedia and other Who’s Who sites relate a short history of him also — as well as a short history of many of my other infamous, as well as famous LeBaron and other extended family members and relatives.
For example, you can find in Wikipedia a short biography of my great-great Uncle, Joel Johnson (brother of my great-great grandfather Benjamin F. Johnson) who helped found some of Utah’s first Townsites. And wrote 800 hymns for the Mormon hymnal, during the time of Joseph Smith. Two of these hymns are still in the modern Mormon hymnals. The beautiful “High on the Mountain Top” is one of them — and to this day is still one of mine and Mormonism’s favorite hymns.
Another outstanding relative is my a-number-of-places-removed-maternal great-grandfather, Dr. Francis LeBaron. He was the first of the LeBarons in the United States — brought to America around 1668 by his nurse to save his life, it is said, “because he was part of the French royalty,” or/and his parents were members of the Huguenots, so went into hiding and may eventually have been killed.
I took the following material off the Internet. It needs some editing. I presently do not have time to do the work it would take:
|Dr Francis LeBaron
||Aug. 9, 1668
||Aug. 8, 1704
Francis LeBaron was a doctor from France. There are unconfirmed family stories that he
was son of the persecuted Huguenots. One Story has him being handed over to a childless doctor, Louis Pecton of Bordeaux, and being
instructed that if his father did not return in one year he was to raise the child as his own and teach him the family trade, for his mother had been killed and his father’s life was in danger. He was just an infant. This would
explain how he became a doctor.Louis Pecton raised him and on his death bed
in 1693 he told Francis of his true identity. It is said that he also gave him a golden cross that was his mother’s. And it is said that he adored it and never took it off but wore it concealed under his clothing and was buried
with it. As far as is known, Francis never revealed his true identity to anyone.
Another story goes that after Louis’s death, Francis became involved with a French privateer. And it is known that he left France aboard a privateer ship.
The ship ran aground in Buzzards Bay in the fall of 1694. This was during the later stages
of King William’s war with Louis XIV of France. The French crew was captured by the colonists. Francis became separated from his shipmates.
Some stories have him being hidden by his future wife Mary Wilder, while others have him
being left behind because he was sick — or both.
At this time Plymouth had no surgeon and Francis, being a surgeon, performed a successful operation. Since he
was willing to settle in Plymouth, the settlers petitioned the govenor to keep him. And it was done.
There is a book written by Mrs. Jane Goodwin Austin whose great-grandfather Nathaniel Goodwin married Lazarus’ widow Lydia. The book is called “The Nameless Nobleman.” It is fictional but is said to be the story of Dr. Francis LeBaron (dated 1876).
LOUIS PECTON had been a surgeon in the French armies. As popular prejudice would not allow of dissections in civil life, and as Harvey’s discoveries were written in English, few French practitioners then knew as much of their profession as did the old women who acted as nurses, or the barbers who monopolized the use of the lancet. In his army practice, young Pecton had abundant opportunity for dissections and for making the acquaintance of English surgeons.
When, therefore, he went to take possession of his patrimony in a suburb of Bordeaux, he was a surgeon of far greater skill and knowledge than was common in that day. He had married some years before. The parents of the parties had arranged the match, the bride and bridegroom knowing or caring little about each other, as was customary.
On settling down at Bordeaux, it was with a sort of agreeable surprise that the young couple found themselves exceedingly well mated, and proceeded to fall in love with each other.
Pecton practiced medicine, mainly from a sense of duty. His property was enough to support him, so that the fees, which he rigidly exacted from the rich, were systematically distributed among the poor.
One dark night, in 1668, the worthy doctor’s surgery was visited by a stranger of commanding appearance, but in humble apparel. In reply to the puzzled look of the former, the stranger pushed aside his hair, pointed to a little star-shaped scar above is temple, and said:
“Yes, my dear Pecton, your unspoken guess is right. But keep your seat. If you want to show me respect, do it by serving me. My life is sought, and so is that of my infant son. You know by whom! Mine he will yet have, but you must save that of my now motherless boy. He will reach your house to-night with his wet-nurse.
“Let him pass as your son till he grows up, Then tell him what you think will be for his good. Educate him well and see that he is trained to martial exercises. Then teach him your own noble calling. Two hundred Louis-d’ors will come with him to meet the expenses. He has been baptized as “Francis.” Honor him by giving him your own honest surname. And if he never knows any other, he will be far happier than if he bore his father’s historic title.
“Finally, rear him as a good Catholic. And teach him to wear this cross constantly, and to have it buried with him. It may lead, in happier times, to his identification.”
So saying, he handed the doctor a small but richly chased gold cross attached to an embroidered ribbon. A long, whispered consultation followed. The result was that the doctor, after conferring with his wife, accepted the trust imposed, but declared that the little stranger should take the place of his own deceased darling. And should be made his heir, unless reclaimed by his father.
The stranger sadly replied: “No! My double benefactor, that will never be. If I am alive, you shall hear from me in just one year. If you do not, you may know that I no longer live.”
The stranger departed. The doctor never heard of him again. The child arrived mysteriously and the family adapted itself to its new circumstances without attracting outside attention. Soon after, they moved to the opposite side of the city, among strangers, who neither knew nor cared whether little Francis Pecton was the son of his nominal parents or not.
At twenty-one, Francis had a fine education as the times went, and his training had been such as his father had requested. He was the embodiment of health and good spirits, the only grief of his life having been the recent death of his supposed mother. His guardian had given him rare instruction in surgery, and had abandoned his medical practice to him, which the young man was following up with enthusiasm.
In 1693, when Francis was twenty-five years old, Dr. Pecton lay on his death-bed. In a long, last interview he revealed to his ward such portion of his history as he knew. Soon after, he departed, leaving Francis heir to his little estate. The latter, now doubly an orphan, never recovered his former light-heartedness — largely because of something he had learned from the doctor which cast a shadow over his spirit for life. His hereditary cross seemed now doubly precious to him, and was seldom long out of his hand.
At length, his old home becoming insupportable, he invested a part of his funds in the city. A part he distributed among the poor of his neighborhood. With the rest, he bought a share in the privateer L’Aigle. Then, assuming the name of LeBaron, as surgeon of his ship, he started out to fight the battles of Louis XIV against William and Mary.
Like most privateers, L’Aigle won many ignoble victories and made some very gallant failures. At length, in 1696, while running along the New England coast, she took a look into Buzzard’s Bay, and being caught there by a south-west wind, she never looked further.
To bear up was impossible and to bear away was destruction. She came to anchor but soon the storm tore her loose and drove her upon the west coast of Falmouth. Her crew all landed safely, but the inhabitants gathered about them with extremely hostile indications. They had mistaken L’Aigle for a pirate, and were disposed to exterminate her crew at once.
After some hours of threatening, Major Bourne, a magistrate, arrived and took command. By his order, the Frenchmen were received as prisoners of war and were finally started on the route for Boston. When they came to march, it was found that the surgeon of the ship was not among the prisoners. He had landed with the crew, and had evidently escaped inland. Some of the people, first agreeing that the fugitive must be a spy, and therefore not entitled to quarter, started in pursuit.
A few miles northward stood a large, rambling house, in which Edward and Elizabeth Wilder had lived and died, and where their children now lived. The morning after the shipwreck, Mary Wilder was at home alone. Her brother and his wife were away for the day, and she was spinning flax and singing psalm tunes in the big, old kitchen. Suddenly a ragged, drabbled, excited young man rushed into the house and in broken language asked her to protect him. Her good sense and her woman’s heart roused her to efficient action. She took the fugitive to the garret and, taking up the loose boards of the floor, exposed a deep space, bounded by the stout wooden ceiling of the room below.
A few mats and sacks were thrown in, some food was provided, and Mary went to watch for the searchers. At length they appeared, examining every bush and hiding-place, far and near. Mary sent her captive into his place of refuge, and then, replacing the floor, she spread some bedding over the spot and lay down.
Soon the hunters arrived and examined the house. In the garret they found Mary tucked up on the floor, with her head bound in a towel, and a bowl of sassafras tea by her side. They tried to explain their errand, but she was “so sick” she would not listen. Ransacking the rest of the premises, they went on their way. That night Mary won her sister-in-law over to her side and they two soon coaxed young Edward Wilder to help protect the fugitive.
In the course of two weeks, the latter was well nigh forgotten by the outside world. Major Bourne, who had been consulted by the Wilder’s, volunteered to go with LeBaron to Boston, and ask that he might live in Falmouth, on parole, until exchanged. Early one morning Major Bourne, with Wilder and LeBaron, crossed on horseback to Scusset Harbor, in Sandwich, where a boat at once started for Plymouth. At the latter place the prisoner was turned over to the selectmen who at once put him in care of Major Bourne until a convenient craft should be sailing to Boston.
There was then no surgeon in Plymouth, and there was a very serious case of disease requiring treatment. LeBaron volunteered to perform the operation. His knowledge and skill so impressed the people that the selectmen procured his discharge as a prisoner from Lieut.-Gov. Stoughton, and persuaded him to settle in Plymouth.
Dr. LeBaron’s first use of his freedom was to revisit Falmouth, and bring back Mary Wilder as his wife. How much of his history he told his wife was never revealed by her, beyond what is here recorded. To other people he said nothing. It was only known that he considered himself the victim of an official conspiracy, defrauding him hopelessly of his hereditary rights.
But while this feeling made him ready to abjure his native land and all connected with it, he held steadfastly to his religion, wearing his golden cross night and day, and providing that it should not be removed at his death. Many of his new neighbors were greatly troubled that their should be a devote’ of Rome and this fact much injured his influence.
Indeed, he was often charged with a lack of cordiality and sociability. But the poor found him a true follower of the noble-hearted Pecton. For them, his gentlest manners and most earnest efforts were ready. The remnants of his French property were reclaimed and formed into his private charity fund. When his survivors opened his will, they found that he had bequeathed the town of Plymouth ninety acres of land for the same purpose.
The prosperous complained of his brusqueness, but the weak and friendless blessed the sound of his approaching footsteps. With them, he was never impatient or indifferent, though they were sometimes ungrateful to him. With the aged, he was tender, as they reminded him of his adopted father and mother.
Especially was he affected when, in 1699, he soothed the last moments of Mary Allerton Cushman, who as a girl of ten years had landed from the Mayflower, and now at the age of 90 was the sole survivor of that immortal company. That the orphan of Bordeaux should have been, by such mysterious ways, brought to perform this duty, filled LeBaron’s soul with awe.
Eight years of this new life passed quietly away. Then, at the early age of 36, the exile made his last journey. The visitor to Burial Hill in Plymouth may still see the gravestone which Mary Wilder had to import from England. On it he may read: HERE LYES Ye BODY OF Mr FRANCIS LEBARRAN, PHYTICIAN WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE AUGUST Ye 8, 1704, IN Ye 36 YEAR OF HIS AGE.
A third of a century afterward, loving hands laid Mary Wilder by the side of her long-lost husband. Her son had then, for many years, been his father’s successor as “the beloved physician” of Plymouth. Her grandson was fitting himself for the same high position when his turn should come.
All in this country who bear the name “LeBaron” are of this stock. So are many more, who, through intermarriages with the descendants of Bradford, Standish, Alden, Howland, and Southworth, bear widely different names.
Few of them know of the romance which surrounds their French ancestor. None of them can unravel its mysteries. One of the number has herein told all that he can learn of the matter and it amounts to little more concerning its hero than this family link:
Mary Wilder Waite (1668 – 1737)Children:
James LeBaron (1696 – 1744)
Lazarus LeBaron (1698 – 1773)*
Francis LeBaron (1701 – 1731)Calculated Relationship Inscription:
HERE LYES Ye BODYOF Mr FRANCIS LEBARRAN PHYTICIAN WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE AUGUST Ye 8. 1704. IN Ye 36 YEAR OF HIS AGE
My flesh shall slumber in the ground.
His a-number-of-places-removed-granddaughter, Author Jane Goodwin Austin, wrote a history about him, “The Nameless Nobleman.” I bought the book on Amazon.com a few years ago, as well as other books written by her.
Another book I found years ago in the Public Library was written, I believe, by my Uncle Ben LeBaron’s son, George LeBaron — if I remember his name, and other facts correctly. (If you’re reading this and I am wrong in my data, would you please advise me in my “Comments” section?)
He told of his experiences earning his Physician’s license and Medical degree at the prestigious Harvard Med School, no less. I say “no less” because if you knew what he grew up under, your sentiments would be the same! He had to be strong and brilliant to do this!
One of Uncle Ervil’s amazing daughters, Author-Speaker-Blogger-and Life Coach, Anna LeBaron, has also written a book. It is about her life growing up in her father’s dangerous and crazy cult — which she ran away from when she was 13!
Her memoir, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” was released March 21, 2017. It’s in the public library, in audiobook, eBook, and print versions. You can order it, now, on Amazon.com and other sites. Check out her Website at AnnaLeBaron.com.
These two above photos are of my cousin Anna LeBaron.
By Stephany Spencer: My Book Review of my cousin Anna LeBaron’s Memoir: “The Polygamist’s Daughter”
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., I was honored with a complimentary ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of cousin Anna LeBaron’s bravely written book, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” published March 21, 2017.
Regarding Anna’s Memoir, I was disappointed she didn’t tell us more about her miscreant father, “Evil Ervil,” (the murderous “Mormon Manson”). Also wish she had gone more into the details of her “running away from home.” (I would not have cared if the book were longer!)
As it was, her book said very little about her colorful father. And her “running away” was simply to call her married sister to take her in — a sister within walking distance, no less. Still, I have to give her credit for having had the sense and courage to run away at the tender age of thirteen, no less! For having run away, she might even very well have been killed by the cult she is fled!
Even so, in essence, her book was milquetoast for me, in comparison to what was really going on in her family and father’s violent cult that drove her to flee the abusive and corrupt lifestyle. However, I realize she was between a rock and a hard spot when it came to relating this treacherous past.
I, an old veteran of much of that history, also realize that if she were totally up front, it would possibly compromise her present and future — and her amazing success in surviving her malevolent past.
Her father is my mother’s brother. And was my husband’s buddy for ten years — so I knew him well … as well as you could know a devious man like my Uncle Ervil LeBaron for whom I had felt love and respect, till he went off the deep end in his psychopathy.
Now I feel mostly pity and shame for my insane, sociopathic, revengeful, zealot uncle who, nonetheless, had a lot of people convinced he was a prophet.
To better understand that whole scenario, read “Cult Insanity” by Irene Spencer;” “Prophet of Blood,” by Ben Bradlee, Jr. and Dale Van Atta. And “The 4 O’clock Murders,” by Scott Anderson.
To further understand this whole bizarre crime family scene, also check Wikipedia and other online Info about Ervil LeBaron, including my Website Menu bar under “Media About my Family, Friends, and Mormon Fundamentalist Cults.” And “Famous ‘n’ Infamous Relatives of Mine.” You could, as well, watch the excellent film, “Prophet of Evil,” starring Brian Dennehy.
Getting back to Anna LeBaron’s Memoir, “The Polygamist’s Daughter,” everyone in the LeBaron Colony in the 1960’s saw how Uncle Ervil went about preaching and “doing missionary work, ” indifferent toward his nine neglected children he bore by his first wife, bipolar Aunt Delfina.
These indigent kids were left to roam the streets, starving, and unkempt — not to mention his fifty or more other deprived and abandoned children he bore by his thirteen other wives!
So it hurt to the quick to hear, firsthand, in Anna’s Memoir how it felt for her to be so badly neglected and used by her non-empathetic, uncaring, sense-of-entitlement, narcissistic father!
But when I then read how his unloved and abused daughter Lillian died, I grieved for days. She was one of Aunt Delfina’s children whom I had helped look out for while I lived near them in the LeBaron Colony in Mexico before I escaped the cult in 1967 at age twenty-one.
Lillian was only around five or so, then. And I don’t believe Anna had been born yet. But I had lived across the street from her jolly mother with the beautiful singing voice, Aunt Anna Mae. And had taught her older siblings in my Colonia LeBaron preschool I started in my home at age fifteen.
Therefore, though I wish Anna had gone more into depth, I’m proud of her efforts and the work she put into writing and publishing what she did of her Life Story. I’m sure her tragic memories were anything but easy to put into print.
For me, her story really picked up in the latter part where she began to shoot from the hip. I especially found it enlightening and helpful when she went into detail about how she overcame a bout of deep depression.
I benefited, also, when she told of her epiphany that gave her a new lease on life — a greater purpose for living. She is presently a Life Coach. And works to help improve the world — just the opposite of what her father did!
Though her father preached that he was “Here to set the house of God in order, to prepare it for the second coming of Christ,” in reality, he did just the opposite of everything he preached and claimed!!
Like her father, she is bright, a writer, and a leader. Unlike her father, she exhibits integrity, sanity, empathy, and a loving, giving spirit. So my hat goes off to Anna! She has come a long way, made a lot of good choices, and overcome a lot. I look forward to her next book — when she feels safe to actually “tell all.”
My Uncle Joel LeBaron’s daughter, Ruth Wariner, wrote a bestselling Memoir, “The Sound of Gravel,” published February 2016. It’s available on Amazon.com or wherever you get books. It’s also in audiobook and print in public libraries.
The following essay is my Book Review of “The Sound of Gravel,” a Memoir by Ruth Wariner, a first cousin of mine.
(“Wariner” is Ruth’s mother’s maiden name. My mother’s brother, my Uncle Joel LeBaron, was Ruth’s father.)
By Stephany Spencer:
In the past year, I’ve read once and listened three times to my cousin Ruth Wariner’s best-selling book/audiobook, “The Sound of Gravel.” It has gotten higher ratings from me with each new read or listening to it. So I’ve found it pays to read or listen to a book more than once!
With my first read, I deemed the book “Not what I expected.” I grew up much the same way she had, so I had preconceived notions of what it was and should be about. It took listening to it a second time, as an audiobook, to be able to say:
“You go, cousin Ruth! It’s a well-written Memoir that should be read, as well as listened to, at least two times by everyone who thinks Mormon cults are “Just people exercising their freedom of religion.”
This well-scripted book gives you some idea of what “people just exercising their freedom of religion” do to the kids born into these Mormon fundamentalist cults! I should know: I grew up in and then escaped, 50 years ago, this same LeBaron cult Ruth grew up in!
People who grow up in abusive and traumatizing childhoods often split and revert into themselves when anything goes wrong in their life. I’ve learned from the late Dr. David Viscot that feeling sorry for one’s self is a form of splitting. Traumatized people do this so as to try to protect themselves, and to better handle a bad situation. However, it only leads to depression.
Thanks to Ruth’s Memoir, she’s taught me to replace bad situations with the song and mantra: “Count Your Blessings.” I grew up singing this song. But I didn’t realize, till I read Ruth’s book the third time, that this is what I needed to do, more than anything, to keep a good spirit with me and thus avoid depression, negativity — and splitting from myself by feeling sorry for myself in the face of bad situations (like aging, for example!) that I was experiencing or going through.
Now, whenever dark clouds threaten to rain on my sunshine, I quickly remember to say and sing “Count your blessings!” For there are no end of blessings that have been bestowed upon me in my life, despite all the bad things I’ve also survived.
I grew up singing this song, just as my cousin Ruth had. But I had not been taught the lesson Ruth’s mother, Kathy, taught her when she constantly and quickly always reminded her daughter Ruth to “count her blessings” — no matter how bad things were!!
At first, this seemed like a silly thing to consistently say, in the face of all the mire and dire adversity Ruth and her family constantly lived with. But now I realize Ruth’s mother, Kathy, had learned from her upbringing a good lesson that she then passed down to her own children:
Counting one’s blessings chases out negativity and depression, or feeling sorry for oneself. And supplants it with positivity, action, and being in control: the best prescriptions for surviving any bad situation.
Thank you, Ruth, for passing this lesson on to me — along with many other lessons you have taught through your outstanding memoir — your valuable gift to the world.
*I’ve posted below the words to this Thanksgiving song, in case you want to sing it too. (The music can be found online, by looking up the title of this song, if you don’t already know it).
Count Your Many Blessings
1- When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
2- Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by
3- When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
4- So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
By Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1897
“Shattered Dreams” and “Cult Insanity” by Best-Selling Author Irene Spencer/ AKA: Irene Kunz LeBaron, at IreneSpencerBooks.com. Her books are also in audiobook form. (Irene is my Aunt, through marriage, as is Rebecca Kimbel, Irene’s half-sister.)
*Note: I took the picture featured on Irene’s book cover,”Cult Insanity.
“Uncle Ervil LeBaron is holding my eight-year-old daughter, Asenath Marie Tucker, the little girl in the yellow dress. I took this photograph before I had any idea of the psychopathic, maniacal activities my mother’s brother, my Uncle Ervil, was up to.)
“His Favorite Wife,” by Susan Ray Schmidt/ AKA: Susan Ray LeBaron (Another Aunt of mine, her Memoir reads like a novel. My family is mentioned in it.)
One of my favorite books on the subject of my relatives and my past is the following book, written by a very talented writer,
Aunt Susan Ray Schmidt.
(I took care of her for five days when she was around nine years old (Long before she married my Uncle Verlan LeBaron, of course, and thus became my aunt) while her parents were out of town, and we were still living in Colonia LeBaron, Chihuahua, Mexico).
Doris Hansen and Rebecca Kimbel also each interviewed Authors Irene LeBaron Spencer (See: IreneSpencerbooks.com) and Susan Ray Schmidt (see her website). Both are my Aunts.
Aunt Rebecca Kimbel and Doris Hanson also interviewed, on their TV and YouTube sites, other relatives and friends of mine from my days in the cult — people such as my cousin, Carolyn Jessop, a memoirist who wrote the bestselling,”Escape,” and other books.
Also, check out Aunt Rebecca Kimbel’s excellent and adamant speech on YouTube’s TED-X Talks. (In around only 18 minutes, she did a genius presentation on all the main issues to do with Mormon cults, including White slavery.
See also (on Good Reads) her novel, “A Savage Wild,” published in 2013. I have yet to get and read it
See the film: “The Childbride of Short Creek.” It was on YouTube, among other places, the last time I checked. (My sisters were interviewed by the writers of this film, to get Info for their Script.)
“Banking on Heaven“ is a Documentary my cousin Laurie Allen (Mother’s brother, Uncle Wesley’s granddaughter) and her cohort, Dot Reidelbach, created. (It gives a good overview of life as a Mormon fundamentalist female in Short Creek, Arizona, and Hilldale, Utah.
I went online a few years ago and ordered a copy of their DVD. I don’t know if you can find it on YouTube or the Internet now. But give it a try.)
My Spencer family line may or may not be related to England’s famous poet Edmund Spenser. The jury is still out on this.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Edmund Spenser (; 1552/1553 – 13 January 1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognized as one of the premier craftsmen of nascent Modern English verse, and is often considered one of the greatest poets in the English language. He was deeply affected by Irish faerie mythology, which he knew from his home at Kilcolman and possibly from his Irish wife Elizabeth Boyle. His genocidal tracts against Gaelic culture were war propaganda. His house (ruins remain) was burned to the ground during the war, causing him to flee Ireland.
Edmund Spenser was born in East Smithfield, London, around the year 1552, though there is some ambiguity as to the exact date of his birth. As a young boy, he was educated in London at the Merchant Taylors’ School and matriculated as a sizar at Pembroke College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge he became a friend of Gabriel Harvey and later consulted him, despite their differing views on poetry. In 1578, he became for a short time secretary to John Young, Bishop of Rochester. In 1579, he published The Shepheardes Calender and around the same time married his first wife, Machabyas Childe. They had two children, Sylvanus (d.1638) and Katherine.
In July 1580, Spenser went to Ireland in service of the newly appointed Lord Deputy, Arthur Grey, 14th Baron Grey de Wilton. Spenser served under Lord Gray with Walter Raleigh at the Siege of Smerwick massacre. When Lord Grey was recalled to England, Spenser stayed on in Ireland, having acquired other official posts and lands in the Munster Plantation. Raleigh acquired other nearby Munster estates confiscated in the Second Desmond Rebellion. Some time between 1587 and 1589, Spenser acquired his main estate at Kilcolman, near Doneraile in North Cork. He later bought a second holding to the south, at Rennie, on a rock overlooking the river Blackwater in North Cork. Its ruins are still visible today. A short distance away grew a tree, locally known as “Spenser’s Oak” until it was destroyed in a lightning strike in the 1960s. Local legend has it that he penned some of The Faerie Queene under this tree.
In 1590, Spenser brought out the first three books of his most famous work, The Faerie Queene, having travelled to London to publish and promote the work, with the likely assistance of Raleigh. He was successful enough to obtain a life pension of £50 a year from the Queen. He probably hoped to secure a place at court through his poetry, but his next significant publication boldly antagonised the queen’s principal secretary, Lord Burghley (William Cecil), through its inclusion of the satirical Mother Hubberd’s Tale. He returned to Ireland.
By 1594, Spenser’s first wife had died, and in that year he married Elizabeth Boyle, to whom he addressed the sonnet sequence Amoretti. The marriage itself was celebrated in Epithalamion. They had a son named Peregrine.
In 1596, Spenser wrote a prose pamphlet titled A View of the Present State of Ireland. This piece, in the form of a dialogue, circulated in manuscript, remaining unpublished until the mid-seventeenth century. It is probable that it was kept out of print during the author’s lifetime because of its inflammatory content. The pamphlet argued that Ireland would never be totally “pacified” by the English until its indigenous language and customs had been destroyed, if necessary by violence.
In 1598, during the Nine Years War, Spenser was driven from his home by the native Irish forces of Aodh Ó Néill. His castle at Kilcolman was burned, and Ben Jonson, who may have had private information, asserted that one of his infant children died in the blaze.
In the year after being driven from his home, 1599, Spenser travelled to London, where he died at the age of forty-six – “for want of bread”, according to Ben Jonson – one of Jonson’s more doubtful statements, since Spenser had a payment to him authorised by the government and was due his pension. His coffin was carried to his grave in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey by other poets, who threw many pens and pieces of poetry into his grave with many tears. His second wife survived him and remarried twice. His sister Sarah, who had accompanied him to Ireland, married into the Travers family, and her descendants were prominent landowners in Cork for centuries.
Rhyme and reason
Thomas Fuller, in Worthies of England, included a story where the Queen told her treasurer, William Cecil, to pay Spenser one hundred pounds for his poetry. The treasurer, however, objected that the sum was too much. She said, “Then give him what is reason”. Without receiving his payment in due time, Spenser gave the Queen this quatrain on one of her progresses:
I was promis’d on a time,
To have a reason for my rhyme:
From that time unto this season,
I receiv’d nor rhyme nor reason.
She immediately ordered the treasurer pay Spenser the original £100.
This story seems to have attached itself to Spenser from Thomas Churchyard, who apparently had difficulty in getting payment of his pension, the only other pension Elizabeth awarded to a poet. Spenser seems to have had no difficulty in receiving payment when it was due as the pension was being collected for him by his publisher, Ponsonby.
The Shepherd’s Calendar
Title Page of a 1617 Edition of The Shepherd’s Calendar printed by Matthew Lownes, often bound with the complete works printed in 1611 or 1617.
The Shepherd’s Calendar is Edmund Spenser’s first major work, which appeared in 1579. It emulates Virgil‘s Eclogues of the first century BCE and the Eclogues of Mantuan by Baptista Mantuanus, a late medieval, early renaissance poet. An eclogue is a short pastoral poem that is in the form of a dialogue or soliloquy. Although all the months together form an entire year, each month stands alone as a separate poem. Editions of the late 16th and early 17th centuries include woodcuts for each month/poem, and thereby have a slight similarity to an emblem book which combines a number of self-contained pictures and texts, usually a short vignette, saying, or allegory with an accompanying illustration.
The Faerie Queene
The epic poem The Faerie Queenefrontispiece, printed by William Ponsonby in 1590.
Spenser’s masterpiece is the epic poem The Faerie Queene. The first three books of The Faerie Queenewere published in 1590, and a second set of three books were published in 1596. Spenser originally indicated that he intended the poem to consist of twelve books, so the version of the poem we have today is incomplete. Despite this, it remains one of the longest poems in the English language. It is an allegorical work, and can be read (as Spenser presumably intended) on several levels of allegory, including as praise of Queen Elizabeth I. In a completely allegorical context, the poem follows several knights in an examination of several virtues. In Spenser’s “A Letter of the Authors,” he states that the entire epic poem is “cloudily enwrapped in allegorical devises,” and that the aim behind The Faerie Queene was to “fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.”
Spenser published numerous relatively short poems in the last decade of the sixteenth century, almost all of which consider love or sorrow. In 1591, he published Complaints, a collection of poems that express complaints in mournful or mocking tones. Four years later, in 1595, Spenser published Amoretti and Epithalamion. This volume contains eighty-nine sonnets commemorating his courtship of Elizabeth Boyle. In “Amoretti,” Spenser uses subtle humour and parody while praising his beloved, reworking Petrarchism in his treatment of longing for a woman. “Epithalamion,” similar to “Amoretti,” deals in part with the unease in the development of a romantic and sexual relationship. It was written for his wedding to his young bride, Elizabeth Boyle. The poem consists of 365 long lines, corresponding to the days of the year; 68 short lines, claimed to represent the sum of the 52 weeks, 12 months, and 4 seasons of the annual cycle; and 24 stanzas, corresponding to the diurnal and sidereal hours. Some have speculated that the attention to disquiet in general reflects Spenser’s personal anxieties at the time, as he was unable to complete his most significant work, The Faerie Queene. In the following year Spenser released Prothalamion, a wedding song written for the daughters of a duke, allegedly in hopes to gain favour in the court.
The Spenserian stanza and sonnet
Spenser used a distinctive verse form, called the Spenserian stanza, in several works, including The Faerie Queene. The stanza’s main meter is iambic pentameter with a final line in iambic hexameter (having six feet or stresses, known as an Alexandrine), and the rhyme scheme is ababbcbcc. He also used his own rhyme scheme for the sonnet. In a Spenserian sonnet, the last line of every quatrain is linked with the first line of the next one, yielding the rhyme scheme ababbcbccdcdee.
Though Spenser was well read in classical literature, scholars have noted that his poetry does not rehash tradition, but rather is distinctly his. This individuality may have resulted, to some extent, from a lack of comprehension of the classics. Spenser strove to emulate such ancient Roman poets as Virgil and Ovid, whom he studied during his schooling, but many of his best-known works are notably divergent from those of his predecessors. The language of his poetry is purposely archaic, reminiscent of earlier works such as The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer and Il Canzoniere of Francesco Petrarca, whom Spenser greatly admired.
Spenser was called a Poets’ PoetJohn Milton, William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Lord Byron, and Alfred Lord Tennyson, and others. Among his contemporaries Walter Raleigh wrote a commendatory poem to The Faerie Queene in 1590, in which he claims to admire and value Spenser’s work more so than any other in the English language. John Milton in his Areopagitica mentions “our sage and serious poet Spenser, whom I dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas“. In the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope compared Spenser to “a mistress, whose faults we see, but love her with them all.”
and was admired by
A View of the Present State of Ireland
In his work A Veue of the Present State of Irelande (1596), Spenser discussed future plans to subjugate Ireland, the most recent rising, led by Hugh O’Neill, having demonstrated the futility of previous efforts. The work is partly a defence of Lord Arthur Grey de Wilton, who was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland in 1580, and who greatly influenced Spenser’s thinking on Ireland.
The goal of this piece was to show that Ireland was in great need of reform. Spenser believed that “Ireland is a diseased portion of the State, it must first be cured and reformed, before it could be in a position to appreciate the good sound laws and blessings of the nation”. In A View of the Present State of Ireland, Spenser categorises the “evils” of the Irish people into three prominent categories: laws, customs, and religion. These three elements work together in creating the disruptive and degraded people. One example given in the work is the native law system called “Brehon Law” which trumps the established law given by the English monarchy. This system has its own court and way of dealing with infractions. It has been passed down through the generations and Spenser views this system as a native backward custom which must be destroyed. (Brehon Law methods of dealing with murder by imposing an éraic, or fine, on the murderer’s whole family particularly horrified the English, in whose Protestant view a murderer should die for his act.)
Spenser wished devoutly that the Irish language should be eradicated, writing that if children learn Irish before English, “Soe that the speach being Irish, the hart must needes be Irishe; for out of the aboundance of the hart, the tonge speaketh”.
He pressed for a scorched earth policy in Ireland, noting that the destruction of crops and animals had been successful in crushing the Second Desmond Rebellion (1579–83), when, despite the rich and bountiful land:
“‘Out of everye corner of the woode and glenns they came creepinge forth upon theire handes, for theire legges could not beare them; they looked Anatomies [of] death, they spake like ghostes, crying out of theire graves; they did eate of the carrions, happye wheare they could find them, yea, and one another soone after, in soe much as the verye carcasses they spared not to scrape out of theire graves; and if they found a plott of water-cresses or shamrockes, theyr they flocked as to a feast… in a shorte space there were none almost left, and a most populous and plentyfull countrye suddenly lefte voyde of man or beast: yett sure in all that warr, there perished not manye by the sworde, but all by the extreamytie of famine … they themselves had wrought'”
List of works
- Iambicum Trimetrum
- 1569: Jan van der Noodt’s A Theatre for Worldlings, including poems translated into English by Spenser from French sources, published by Henry Bynneman in London
- 1579: The Shepheardes Calender, published under the pseudonym “Immerito”(entered into the Stationers’ Register in December)
- Axiochus, a translation of a pseudo-Platonic dialogue from the original Ancient Greek; published by Cuthbert Burbie; attributed to “Edw: Spenser” but the attribution is uncertain
- Daphnaïda. An Elegy upon the Death of the Noble and Vertuous Douglas Howard, Daughter and Heire of Henry Lord Howard, Viscount Byndon, and Wife of Arthure Gorges Esquier (published in London in January, according to one source; another source gives 1591 as the year)
- 1609: Two Cantos of Mutabilitie published together with a reprint of The Fairie Queene
- 1611: First folio edition of Spenser’s collected works
- 1633: A Vewe of the Present State of Irelande, a prose treatise on the reformation of Ireland, first published in James Ware’s Ancient Irish Chronicles (Spenser’s work was entered into the Stationer’s Register in 1598 and circulated in manuscript but not published until it was included in this work of Ware’s)
- Edmund Spenser, Selected Letters and Other Papers. Edited by Christopher Burlinson and Andrew Zurcher (Oxford, OUP, 2009).
- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie-Queene (Longman-Annotated-English Poets, 2001, 2007) Edited by A. C. Hamilton, Text Edited by Hiroshi Yamashita and Toshiyuki Suzuki.ge Faculty of English website, retrieved 24 September 2009
- Croft, Ryan J. “Sanctified Tyrannicide: Tyranny And Theology In John Ponet’s Shorte Treatise Of Politike Power And Edmund “Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.” Studies in Philosophy, 108.4 (2011): 538–571. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 8 October 2012.
- Johnson, William. “The struggle between good and evil in the first book of ‘The Faerie Queene’.” English Studies, Vol. 74,
- Maley, Willy. “Spenser’s Life.” The Oxford Dictionary of Edmund Spenser. Ed. Richard A. McCabe. 1st Ed. 2010. Print.
- Rust, Jennifer. “Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.” Saint Louis University, St. Louis. 10 October 2007. No. 6. (December 1993) p. 507–519.
Joel Johnson is my great-great-uncle, brother of my great-great-grandfather Benjamin F Johnson.
My Uncle Joel LeBaron is my mother’s brother and my Great–great Uncle Joel Johnson’s namesake. I was utterly amazed to see how much my Uncle Joel LeBaron even looks like his Great Uncle Joel Johnson – especially in the cheeks, nose, mouth, and jaw areas! (He resembles his namesake more than any of my mother’s other six brothers!!)
Great-great uncle Joel Johnson is, among other things, famous for such well-known and beloved Mormon hymns as “High on the Mountaintop.” It can still be found in modern Mormon hymn books. And is still one of my favorite hymns.
Great-great Uncle Joel Johnson wrote around 800 hymns for the Mormon church. He also helped found some of Utah’s Townsites.
The following I borrowed from Wikipedia for your convenience. But there is also more on him and his history that you can find if you do various online searches:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“High on the Mountain Top” is an 1850s hymn written by Latter Day Saint hymn writers Joel H. Johnson and Ebenezer Beesley.Originally named “Deseret”, it is hymn number 5 in the current LDS Church hymnal.
The lyrics to the hymn were written by Johnson in 1853, five years after Brigham Youngpreached on Ensign Peak as the Mormon pioneers first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.Even though Johnson’s journal contains more than 700 hymns, “High on the Mountain Top” is his most notable contribution to LDS music.
In 1854, Beesley composed music to accompany Johnson’s poem. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir adopted Beesley’s rendition and it has since become one of the choir’s standard numbers.
The hymn has five verses and centers on the theme that God has restored the gospel to the earth.