Portrait from the Official Manual of Missouri, 1905-06.
As 2016 slowly winds to a close we return to Missouri to examine the life and political career of Krat Cecil Spence, a three-term member of that state's house of representatives during the early 1900s. Possessing a truly unique first name (he happens to be the only "Krat" I've located thus far), Spence had served as Prosecuting Attorney for Stoddard County, Missouri prior to his election as a state representative.
One of twelve children born to John Alexander and Cynthia (Leathers) Spence, Krat Cecil Spence was born in White County, Illinois on February 12, 1872. His education occurred at the Northern Indiana School and after a period of studying law was admitted to the Illinois bar. Little is known of Spence's early life in Illinois, and by July 1895 he had relocated to Bloomfield, Stoddard County, Missouri.
Following his resettlement, Spence established a law practice in Bloomfield and around 1900 won election as Prosecuting Attorney for Stoddard County. He would serve four years in that post and in 1904 received the Democratic nomination for state representative. In November of that year, Spence would defeat Republican nominee Ralph Bailey by a vote of 2,271 to 2,095 and took his seat at the start of the 1905-06 session.
Described by the Official Manual of Missouri as being "one of the best orators on the floor" during the 1905-06 legislative term, Spence was also remarked as having an interest in good roads and was an "active committee worker", serving on the house committees on Criminal Jurisprudence, Roads and Highways, and Elections. Interestingly, this session of the Missouri legislature proved to be one of the most unusual in terms of oddly named representatives, with Pross Tid Cross, Abra Claudius Pettijohn, Emelius Pope Dorris, Goldburn Hiram Wilson and Littleton T. Dryden joining Krat C. Spence at the Missouri capitol!
Reelected to the legislature in 1906, Krat Spence would serve one further term in the Missouri legislature (being reelected in 1908) and during this final term served on the committees on the Clerical Force, Revision, Roads, and Highways. After leaving the state house Spence returned to practicing law and in 1917 was an organizer of the Stoddard County Bar Association, of which he would serve as vice-president.
Krat Cecil Spence died at age 51 in Bloomfield, Missouri on September 5, 1923. He had married sometime prior to his death to Ms. Fannye E. Lockhart (1878-1959), who would later remarry to Dr. Tolman W. Cotton. Both Spence and his wife were interred at the Bloomfield Cemetery.
Portrait from the 1909-10 Official Manual of Missouri.