Biography of Spencer Sharp

Spencer Sharp, the well known horticulturist of Montrose, Baldwin. county, Ala., was born in Wood county, Va., October 23, 1809, and is a son of Spencer and Ann (Arnold) Sharp. The father was also a native of Wood county, born February 13, 1762, was reared a farmer in the Blue Ridge mountains, and in the latter part of the Revolutionary war was old enough to take an active part, and was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. He was married in his thirty-first year, continued to farm in the Blue Ridge until within a few years of his death, when he moved to Ohio, where he passed from earth in 1851, noted for his up-right life and honest methods in his business transactions. Mrs. Ann (Arnold) Sharp was born in eastern Virginia, September 22, 1772, was married when twenty-one years of age, and. became the mother of eleven children, all of whom reached maturity. All are now deceased, save Spencer Sharp, whose name heads this sketch, and one daughter. The mother died in 1816. It will be seen that the parents were born the subjects of King George III., and that the father was old enough for compulsory attendance at state church and the unwilling reading of its catechism.

Spencer Sharp, the gentleman with whom we at present have most to deal, was reared a farmer, but on reaching his majority sought other employment for a livelihood. He first engaged as a teamster for the Ohio canal company, but at the end of four months became tired of the life and turned his attention to the trade of a carpenter and joiner, which he acquired in due course of time; but, being of a somewhat frail constitution, he found the work too laborious and was compelled to relinquish it. For several years he followed various lighter occupations until 1839, when he came south with a Capt. Tatem, and for a year worked as carpenter on his boat. Miscellaneous occupations then employed Mr. Sharp’s time until 1846, when he located on Mon Louis island, in the southeast end of Mobile county, and engaged in orange culture, being the first to try the experiment in Alabama. As the fruit was propagated from the seed, it took eleven long years of patient waiting before Mr. Sharp realized a substantial reward. He resided on Mon Louis island thirty years-the last twenty of which were passed in comparative ease. In 1879, he set out a grove of 3,000 orange scions for Capt. Frank Stone, near Montrose, but repeated frosts neutralized the venture. Mr. Sharp still continues his residence with Capt. Stone and has entire charge of the latter gentleman’s interests. Mr. Sharp has never married, nor affiliated with any church or secret society; he is a democrat in politics and cast his first presidential vote for Martin Van Buren and the last for Grover Cleveland.


Memorial record of Alabama : a concise account of the state’s political, military, professional and industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people.. Madison, Wis.: Brant & Fuller, 1893.

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