David Spence was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on October 24, 1798. He came to Monterey on October 11, 1824 on a vessel from Lima, Peru.
He became a clerk for William Hartnell, and later opened his own shop in Monterey. He married Adelaide Estrada in 1829. She was the daughter of Mariano and Isabel Estrada, natives of Monterey.
Spence acquired Rancho Encinal y Buena Esperanza on the Salinas plains.
He subsequently became alcalde of Monterey, Judge of First Instance, and a member of the state legislature.
He died in Monterey on February 18, 1875.
- Clark, Donald T., Monterey County Place Names (Kestrel Press, Carmel Valley, 1991).