By Stephen D. Bowling
Samuel “Buddie” Spicer was born to Roger and Julia Ann (Jett) Spicer on August 16, 1866, on the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River in Breathitt County. Buddie was one of more than 19 children that Roger produced before his death in 1901 at 82. The Spicer family has been one of the first settlers in the Middle Fork area. They owned large tracks of land, including the home where Samuel was “born and raised in,” built in 1819 by his grandfather.
Buddie inherited and purchased many large river bottoms and established his homeplace at the old family site after marrying Polly “Pop” Davidson in 1865. He and Polly had eleven children but lost several before they reached adulthood. By 1892, Buddie Spicer reported owning 200 acres on the Middle Fork with two mares, twelve sheep, ten hogs, five pounds of tobacco, 500 bushels of corn, 500 acres of woodland, and 30 acres of corn standing in the field.
“Uncle Buddie” as he was known around the county, worked his land for many years. He was known as a successful timberman, farmer, and businessman. About 1907, he installed and operated the Booneville to Hyden Telephone Exchange from a room in his home near the mouth of Canoe. Buddie Spicer was known around the Middle as the “Telephone Man” for more than 38 years. Many people in the area would call Buddie Spicer to catch up on the news and to share their own.
The old Spicer home, which still stands, was one of the primary stops for travelers in the Canoe and Crockettsville communities and has been described as the “landmark” of the area. The man who met them at the door was described as a “genial, hospitable man” who “welcomed all who came to his home and, few people passed his way who left without a cheerful visit with him.”
Buddie was a frequent visitor to Jackson and was well-known in the business community. He continued to work the land and his telephone business until a severe cold hit him in early December 1944. For four months, he was sick and could not seem to recover. He was visited by several physicians who diagnosed the troubles with his heart as “simple dropsy,” but analysis later identified a serious value issue. He struggled to recover but died at 5:30 a.m. on March 12, 1945. Uncle Buddie was 78.
Sam (Buddie) Spicer was born August 16, 1866, and died March 12, 1945, at the age of 78 years, six months and 26 days. On June 8, 1885 he was married to Polly Davidson.
A unique fact of his life was that he was born, lived throughout his life and died in the same house. He was laid to rest in his home cemetery, about 300 feet from his home, where also lie his father, mother, and many other of his relatives.
Mr. Spicer’s great-grandfather came from England many years ago and settled in North Carolina where he died.
Three of his four sons, Sam, Bennie and Wash came to Kentucky in the year 1817, the fourth, Hardin, remaining in Carolina. Sam had three sons, one of whom, Roger, was the father of Buddie.
Six children were born to the union of Buddie and Polly Spicer; Lizzie, Green, Letcher, Julia, Nannie, and Kash. Of these three survive: Letcher, a veteran of World War I, who is presently a patient in the veterans’ hospital in Lexington; Julia, who resides with her mother at the old home place, and Nannie who lives at Canoe.
At the time of his death, Buddie Spicer had in his possession and old anvil which his grandfather, Sam Spicer, hauled on a sled with a yoke of oxen from North Carolina in the year 1817.
Just before his death, Buddie said it had been a long time since he had seen his mother, who died when he was but eight years old. We hope that they are in Heaven at rest together now.The Jackson Times, Thursday, April 5, 1945, page 8
The body was taken to Jackson and prepared by the Ray and Blake Funeral Home. Services were held at the Spicer home near Canoe on Wednesday, March 14, 1945. Family and friends buried “Uncle Buddie” on the hillside near his parents and other relatives and overlooking his family home. The cemetery today is known as the Buddie Spicer Cemetery.
© 2023 Stephen D. Bowling