Samuel Spencer, a Georgia native, was the first president of the Southern Railway and one of the country's railroad leaders. Founded in 1894, the Southern Railway Company controlled over 4,500 miles of track across the South. To keep the equipment repaired, the company built a large repair shop in Rowan County in 1896 and named the location Spencer. It is the only one of North Carolina's railroad towns named for a railroad man. Turner discusses three decisions Spencer made in early life and how they affected North Carolina.