Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his October 25th column, he looks at the history of the name Spencer.
Will Spencer’s team win the state championship? Fans find out Monday.
“All American,” a television drama about high school football players in Los Angeles, starts its fourth season then. Starring Daniel Ezra as Spencer James, it’s based on the life of NFL linebacker Spencer Paysinger (born 1988). Last season’s cliffhanger ended with Spencer’s team running onto the field to face Beverly Hills High.
Spencer is an English surname meaning “dispenser,” the official on a noble estate who disbursed provisions. All estates had a spencer, so it’s a common surname. Almost 140,000 Americans bore the last name Spencer in 2010, ranking it 199th.
Noble English Spencers trace their ancestry to Sir John Spencer, a wealthy livestock trader who purchased the Althorp estate in 1508.
King Henry VIII knighted him in 1519. One of his descendants married a daughter of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough. The surname changed to Spencer-Churchill, and the family spawned British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965).