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J. K. Spence Railroad Passes

Identifier: MS-1051

  • Staff Only

This collection consists of two railroad passes issued to Rev. J. K. Spence. The first pass is non-transferable and allows the holder to ride on the Memphis & Charleston Rail Road Co.'s lines free of charge until January 1, 1869. The item's reverse lists subjects and conditions of use.

The second pass is a clergyman’s reduced fare permit issued to Rev. John K. Spence by the East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia Railway System in 1893. It notes that Spence was living in Goodwater, Alabama when the pass was issued and states that he is entitled to travel at the clergyman's rate until December 31, 1893 unless the pass is revoked sooner. The back of the card lists the railroad lines that make up the East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia Railroad system as well as subjects and conditions of use.


  • 1869-1893

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder)


This collection consists of two railroad passes issued to Rev. J. K. Spence. One pass was created by the Memphis & Charleston Rail Road Co. and the other comes from the East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia Railway System.

Biographical/Historical Note

Rev. John Knox Spence (October 27, 1843-December 20, 1893) was born in Kershaw district, South Carolina. He moved to Alabama as a child and lived there for the majority of his life, with the exception of a short stay in Georgia. In 1862, Spence enlisted in the Confederate Army as a Private in Company I of the 37th Alabama Infantry, commanded by Colonel James F. Dowdell. Spence was one of the color guards of his regiment. He was present at the siege of Vicksburg, where he was surrendered by Gen. Pemberton. Spence was soon afterward paroled and exchanged, and on rejoining his company was promoted to corporal and ordered to support Gen. Johnston. While on the top of Lookout Mountain, he received a wound in the shoulder, breaking the collar bone. After he recovered, Spence went on to participate in the Atlanta campaign and was afterward ordered to Mobile, and then to North Carolina.

After Spence returned from the war, he worked in journalism at the Chambers Tribune. After a year he sold his interest in the Tribune to his partner, and going to Greensboro, Georgia, with Rev. W. C. Bledsoe, began publishing the Herald. Spence remained there until 1868, when he sold out and went to Pickens County, Alabama. There he worked as a farmer, school teacher, and clerk until 1886. He also held the position of tax assessor from 1880 to 1882, his term being cut short by the legislature. In 1883, he received a calling from God and began private study for ministry in the Presbyterian Church. In 1885, he was moved to lead a group of churches near Marion, Alabama, and after a year he was called to an appointment near Anniston where he remained for five years. In 1890 he moved to Goodwater, Alabama, where he had charge of a group of churches. He continued to preach in Goodwater until his death.

Spence married Kittie Duncan on July 13, 1871, near Bridgeville, Pickens County, Alabama. They had no children before her death, and Spence married Sarah E. Stanton on January 1, 1874 in Warsaw, Alabama. The couple had three children, Lillie Laura (Spence) Borden, William G., and Mary (Spence) Pope.


This collection consists of a single folder.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA