Robert Alexander Spice
(Copied from an article in the Oconto County, Wisconsin Military Museum, author unknown)

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Robert Alexander Spice, of Oconto, Wisconsin, belonging to G.A.R. Post No. 74, was born in Quebec, Canada, October 7, 1844. He is the son of Thomas and Ann/Jane (Logan) Spice. He came to Wisconsin and obtained employ in a saw mill and as a lumberman near Oconto, where he enlisted when he was 17, June 19, 1861, in Company H, 4th Wisconsin Infantry for three years. The company was first known as the Oconto "River Drivers" and on its organization, Joseph F. Loy was made Captain. The regiment left the state July 15th, going to Baltimore, where they arrived on the second day after Bull Run while the excitement was still at it's height.

They camped at the Relay House and guarded the railroad communications for a time and were detailed for a brief service on the eastern shore of Virginia. They returned to Baltimore and in February, 1862, joined Butler's command and in the spring went to Ship Island, suffering greatly from confinement on the transports, and went thence to participate in the bombardment of Forts St. Phillip and Jackson, and afterwards went up the river and were engaged in the destruction of the Jackson railroad. They went next to Vicksburg where they were employed in the construction of the famous "cut off." The regiment went next to Baton Rouge to fight in that action and remained there some time, performing military duty. They were next assigned to the Teche expedition and went to Berwick City, and were in camp Bisland, when Mr. Spice was taken sick, passed about six weeks in the hospital at New Orleans and rejoined his regiment at Baton Rouge. The reconstruction of the regiment into cavaly had taken place and afterwards the command was engaged in scouting, picketing and other military duty.

 In May, 1864, Mr. Spice re-enlisted and took his veteran's furlough. He went to Morganzia and afterwards to Clinton, where he was in action, went back to Baton Rouge and in October and November was again in skirmishes at Clinton. In November he went to West Pascagoula, Miss., and returned to Baton Rouge. He was in the cavalry movement to the vicinity of Mobile and went thence through Alabama to Eufaula, where information was received that the rebellion was at an end; they returned to Vicksburg after 70 days in the saddle. During that time they were on short rations most of the time, receiving about a pound of meal daily and sometimes only parched corn.

They expected to be discharged at Vicksburg, but were sent to Texas where they were stationed at San Antonio and Mr. Spice was sent with an expedition against the Indians and remained in Texas until the Spring of 1866 when he returned to Wisconsin and received honorable discharge. While at Olive Branch, La., he was on picket. The rebels decoyed a squad into an ambush and Mr. Spice received a severe fall. The locality was a mud hole and when his horse fell, the reserve of mounted men tumbled on top of him and he was severely injured in his back, from which he still suffers.

On returning to Wisconsin he located on a farm on which he built a house which was afterwards burned. He is still a resident on the place and was one of the charter members of the Grand Army Post at Oconto. He was married October 17, 1866 to Emma Collins (Emily Mary Collins, born August 28, 1849 - March 30, 1920 ), of Oshkosh. They had 13 children.

Nelson Robert Spice (1867 - 1868)
Edwin Robert Spice (1869 - 1871)
Delbert Robert Spice (1871 - 1921)
Sarah Lilly (Nov. 26,1872 - Jul 1879)
Olive Myrtle Spice Whitcomb (1874 - 1893)
Clara A. Spice Trepanier (1876 - 1953)
Erna Melvina Spice Fifrick (1880 - 1965)
Mary Elizabeth "Mamie" Taylor Cook (Jun. 14, 1883 - Jan 1969)
Nellie M Spice Kinziger (1885 - 1967)
Emily L Spice Kinziger (1887 - 1941)
Robert (Feb. 22,1887 - stillborn)
Laura Elsie Schaetz (March 8, 1888 - Oct. 24,1966)
Mollie Elizabeth Spice Hassenfelt (1894 - 1984)

Robert Spice was described in the Commemorative Biographical Record, as one of the thoroughly reliable businessmen of Oconto County. In politics, he was a staunch Republican, and served as a supervisor of Oconto Township, a school board member. He was instrumental in organizing the reunion of the county, which was first held at his home. In his lifetime, he witnessed the entire development of Oconto County. He is an honored pioneer, from one of the oldest families of Oconto County.

Robert and Emily died 2 days apart over Easter weekend in 1920. Emily died on a cold, rainy day, March 30, 1920. Robert was also near death and did not know of his wife’s death. He died on April 2, 1920. He was honored as a Civil War Veteran with a flag draped casket and volley of gunfire by old friends from Company M. After a lifetime together, Robert and Emily Spice are buried side by side with many of their children in the first row of Evergreen Cemetary, Oconto, Wisconsin.

The Spice Family - 1890
(L to R) Back row standing : Mary Spice Taylor Cook, Erna Spice Fifrick, Laura Spice (Landy's mother), Nellie Spice Kinzinger, Emma Spice Kinzinger. Front row seated: Clara Spice Trepanier, Robert Alexander Spice, Molly Spice Hassenfelt, Emily Collins Spice, Adelbert Spice.

Thomas Spice (Robert's father) served in the Civil War as a private in Co A, 16th Regiment of U.S. Infantry. He fought in the battles of Shiloh and Antietam. He was shot in the left elbow joint on December 31, 1862 at the Battle of Stone River, Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was given a disability discharge on March 20, 1863. Thomas returned to live in Delavan,Wisconsin, where he filed his claim for an invalid pension. It was determined that he suffered from a total disability and a pension of $8.00 per month was granted to Thomas Spice for his service in the Civil War. This seems like a small payment for the price he paid. Thomas Spice, a native of England, left his job and mother-less family to fight for his country. This dedication probably changed his life, and the lives of his children, forever.

The Spice Girls

For more on the "The Spice Girls of Little River and Their Ancestors" click HERE.


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A special thanks to Peggy Oberbeck and the Oconto County WIGenWeb Project for the photos.

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