Connected with the leading mercantile establishment of Bellevue and standing as a foremost citizen of Clay county is the worthy subject of this biographical review. Esteemed as a citizen, loved as a man and faithful as a neighbor and friend, he is the architect and builder of his own situation and the modest part he has taken in the material and moral advancement of his community reflects the character of the man and adds strength to the municipal and social fabric.
Orphaned in childhood and dependent upon filial guidance and support, Langdon S. Spivey began life in earnest before his twentieth year, humbly but honorably, and in whatever business or calling his interests have been centered he has pursued as open and upright course. His life exemplifies the trite adage that “right is might and will prevail,” regardless of the tempting rewards offered by opportunities to do wrong. Nature endowed him with strong industrious tendencies, as if supplementing his disadvantages of childhood environment, and a strong physique and a warm heart have done the rest. Work was food for him in youth and it seems to have no equivalent as a factor in the satisfactory experience in approaching age.
Mr. Spivey is a native of Alabama, where in Green county his birth occurred September 8, 1864. His father, George B. Spivey, was a farmer and wagon maker and died two years after our subject’s birth at forty-four years of age. The latter went into Alabama from North Carolina when a young man and in Green county married William Melton‘s daughter Mary. In 1857 Mrs. Spivey brought her family to Texas and settled near Dresden, in Navarro county, where she passed away in 1865. Her oldest child, Ann, died in Texas in 1857, and her second, Paola P., passed away in Navarro county in 1890; George B., her third child died at San Antonio in 1875; Alva V. survived until 1864; Alice is the wife of A. S. Howard, of Amarillo; David F. resides in Navarro county, and Langdon S. complete the family. P. P. Spivey served in the Confederate army in the rebellion, Polenac’s division, Spaight’s regiment and Captain Phanly’s company, and George B. served on Galveston Island. After the mother’s death the oldest son hired a cook and kept the children all together and it was under his guidance that our subject reached the years of maturity.
Langdon S. Spivey was limitedly educated in the rural schools, and as he grew was assigned an acre of land by his brother to cultivate, the proceeds of which were to supply him with school books and the like. He made the old home his own until after his marriage, but started his career in business at nineteen years of age. His first work was as a clerk in a general store in Dresden, where he served about seven months, when he withdrew to travel with an invalid brother over Texas in search of the latter’s constitutional relief, but when the brother died our subject returned to the home farm and attended a private school one season, in Corsicana, and the following year he made a crop with his guardian brother. In the autumn he entered another general store in Dresden for a short time, when, February 2, 1876, he married and began married life as a farmer on a portion of the family home. He remained there until 1881, when he engaged in the grocery business in Corsicana. A year later he exchanged this business for a farm and was identified with its cultivation until April, 1890, when he came to Clay county and established a hardware and implement business in Bellevue.
The firm of which Mr. Spivey is the junior partner is styled Melton & Spivey and has existed as such since its founding in 1890. As it has grown in extent and importance it has become identified with the cattle industry, and in 1896 they transferred this branch of the business to Foard county, where their ranch of some eight thousand acres is stocked with some twelve hundred head of stock and beef cattle. Their mercantile establishment is one of the largest of its character in Clay county and its presence here is one of the important factors in attracting trade to Bellevue.
Mr. Spivey married Leah, a daughter of W. B. Melton, who brought his family to Navarro county, Texas, from Searcy county, Arkansas. In this latter locality Mrs. Spivey was born in December, 1858. Mr. and Mrs. Spivey’s marriage was productive of the following issue: Nora, wife of C. L. Ford, of Bellevue, with children Hugh and Robert; Mattie, Mrs. G. A. Ritcher, of Taylor, Texas, with children, Albert and Wilbur; Miss May, a graduate of the public schools, one year a student in Southwestern University at Georgetown and a graduate of the Scarritt Bible Training School, of Kansas City, is preparing for missionary work in Japan; Ruth, Hubert, James and Pascal complete the interesting family.
Mr. Spivey is prominent in local Odd Fellowship, having been a member of the grand lodge and the grand encampment. He is a Democrat, and, aided by his Christian companion, has brought their children up in the fear of the Master and as members of the Methodist church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 517-518.