Bio: Ayer, Emma – Celebrates 104th Birthday (6 Feb 1974)


Surnames: Ayer, Raabe, Lehman, Whitford, Roosevelt

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

On February 6, 1974 Mrs. Jonas (Emma) Ayer, a resident of Spencer for well over half a century, celebrated her 104th birthday at Hopewell Nursing Home, Sumter, South Carolina, where a party was given by her grandchildren. Her 79 year old son, Henry Raabe, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, attended the festivities.

Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lehman, had emigrated from Germany to Hustisford, Wisconsin, where she was born and named Emma Louis. Following her marriage to August Raabe, they lived on a dairy farm until they sold it and bought a hotel, the National House, in Spencer. They operated the hotel until his death in 1911. Mrs. Ayer had four sons in Naval Service during World War I.

Later she married Jonas Ayer, who operated a tavern here for many years.

Mrs. Ayer also reared two grandchildren, Pat and Joan Whitford, who had been orphaned in early childhood. Both attended Spencer schools. Pat, a good student and fine athlete, lost his life in a drowning accident during the summer of 1951. Joan graduated from Spencer High School in 1952 and went on to graduate from Wisconsin State Teacher’s College at Stevens Point.

In 1956 Mrs. Ayer sold her Spencer home and went to Marshfield to live with Joan, who was teaching there. Following Joan’s marriage, Mrs. Ayer accompanied the young couple to their new home in Sumter, S.C., where she continued to live with them.

When in South Dakota in the 1930’s, Mrs. Ayer recalls shaking hands with President Franklin Roosevelt. While in Spencer she was active in her church and in the American Legion Auxiliary. We remember her beautiful handwork in knitting and crocheting, which she continued to do in a more limited amount until a year ago. When in her 90’s she still worked in her vegetable and flower gardens.



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