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A Genealogy History of John Speed and Catherine Stewart

A Genealogy History of John Speed and Catherine Stewart

and Their Descendants


Compiled by H. Charles Speed, Jr.

August 12, 2001



This is a narrative summary of my personal genealogy research to date on both the ancestors and descendants of the marriage between John Speed and Catherine Stewart in 1774. Most indications are that John Speed was the son of William Speed of Anson County, North Carolina. This is not yet proven, however. In fact, they may have been brothers or related in some other close manner. I visited Richmond County, North Carolina in the summer of 2001 and found numerous deed references where William Speed and John Speed owned land relatively close to each other in this county. Research on this relationship continues.


On September 29, 1765, John Speed witnessed a deed in Anson County, North Carolina (Richmond County was later formed from Anson County.) Again, on August 7, 1767, John witnessed another deed there and is mentioned in numerous Richmond County, North Carolina court cases. 


Some of the first references of William Speed living in Anson County, North Carolina  occur in 1772. On October 14, 1772, Barnaby Skipper deeded 150 acres to William Speed. In October 1779, William Speed and John Speed were also one of several hundred signers of a petition in Anson County, North Carolina to have the county divided into two counties with the Pee Dee River the dividing line.[1] On October 23, 1779, a law was passed dividing the county thus creating Richmond County.[2]


According to Charles S. Speed, author of Call of a Distant Drum, William Speed of Anson County, North Carolina appears to have had four children. He felt that there were three sons and one daughter. John Speed, of whom I am a descendant, was born in ca 1750. The second son was Robert Wages Speed born ca 1763 who married Elizabeth Martin. There is much more genealogical history found on the families of these two children than the remaining two. The third child he mentions in his book was a daughter named Elizabeth Speed who married Zachariah Martin of North Carolina. Zachariah and the Elizabeth Martin who married Robert Wages Speed, were brother and sister. The author also felt that the youngest son was William Terrell Speed. He was apparently named after his father.[3]


As noted in the History of Anson County, (1750-1976), a Major Speed, who seems to have been William Speed, was in the Anson County, North Carolina Regulators at the time of the American Revolution. According to this publication, he was captured and confined in May 1780 to a dungeon in Camden, South Carolina as a prisoner of war. William appears to have died there as evidenced by the March 28, 1782, Richmond County, North Carolina Court Order in which he died without a will. This order appointed as administrators, Zack and Elizabeth Speed Martin.


There is some question, however, as to whether or not William Terrell Speed, the son of William Speed of Anson County, was this Major Speed or if the elder William Speed was, in fact, the “Major Speed” who was captured by the British and taken to Camden, South Carolina in 1780 and later died there.


The reason for this question arises from a detail examination of the estate settlement of Major William Speed in March 1782 in Richmond County Court, North Carolina. In this court hearing,  Elizabeth Martin (then noted as the current wife of Zachariah Martin) is also noted in the record to be the former widow of the late Major William Speed. Those present and shown qualified as administrators of the estate are Zack Martin and Elizabeth Martin, John Speed and Robert Speed. This would certainly imply that Elizabeth was not William Speed’s daughter, but instead, his wife. She appears to have married Zachariah Martin sometime after William Speed’s death.


The later sale of the estate of Major William Speed mentions several of the buyers as Captain John Speed and Robert Speed. There is never any mention of another William Speed present or as a buyer at the estate sale.


John Speed, the eldest son of William Speed, was first married to Catherine Stewart who was the daughter and first child of Patrick Stewart and Elizabeth Menzies to be born in America. Her father and mother immigrated along with Patrick's brother, William Stewart, from Laird of Ledcreich, Perthshire, Scotland in 1739 as referenced in the Stewart family bible. In 1740, Patrick Stewart received land grants in Bladen County, North Carolina. In 1756, he was granted land on Harnett's Branch and in 1763, at Brown's Marsh, all in Bladen County.[4]


Catherine Stewart was first married to William Little of Edenton, North Carolina in 1764. They had one daughter, Elizabeth Little, who married Morgan Brown in 1784. Catherine's second marriage in 1774 was to John Speed of Anson County (later in 1779, this part of Anson County was  named Richmond County east of the Pee Dee River), North Carolina.[5] From early records of St David’s Parish in Cheraw, SC, which is just twenty miles south of Rockingham, Richmond County, NC, John Speed is listed in 1778 as a vestryman of the parish.[6]


John Speed is listed in numerous Anson County and Richmond County deeds and abstracts from 1756 to 1786. He and Catherine had four children.[7] The eldest was a son named James Stuart Speed born 16-March-1775. The different spelling of the Stewart-Stuart name from time to time was the result of different political feelings toward Britain during this period. This is the Speed line from which I am a descendant. A family bible shows his birth and death.[8] The second child was a daughter named Sarah (Sally) Speed born ca 1777. Sally married a prominent North and South Carolina man by the name of William Pegues and resided in the Cheraws District of South Carolina. The youngest two daughters were Catherine Speed who was born ca 1779 and her younger sister, Martha Speed, who was born ca 1781. Catherine married Elihue Winborn and Martha married William Michael.[9]


After Catherine's death in ca 1789, John Speed married a second time to Elizabeth (Vosburg?) in ca 1789. This marriage produced six children. There were three boys and three girls. By order of age, these descendants were John Mack Speed, born ca 1789, Rebecca Speed, born ca 1793, Mary (Polly) Speed born ca 1796, Elizabeth Speed, born ca 1799, Wages Ormand Speed, born 05-August-1803, and the last  being Edward Bryant Speed, born ca 1806.[10]


John Speed was a captain and later a lieutenant colonel during the American Revolutionary War and served in the Richmond County, North Carolina Militia (formerly part of Anson County). Captain John Speed was wounded at the Battle of Stono Ferry, South Carolina on June 20, 1779. Stono Ferry was about eight miles west of Charleston on James Island in the Stono River. The State Records of North Carolina found in the North Carolina Archives reflect that Captain Speed of the North Carolina Militia was listed as wounded in the “Return of the Killed, Wounded, and Missing in the Action of Stono Ferry, 20th June 1779.”  In the North Carolina Archives, there are two Revolutionary War pension applications for veterans who served under Captain John Speed. From these and other archive records, it was learned that Captain John Speed served under Colonel Thomas Crawford.[11]


On April 21, 1784, John Speed took his seat in the North Carolina General Assembly representing Richmond County. He is listed in the 1790 U.S. Census of Fayette District of Richmond County, North Carolina. John Speed died 18-February-1806. His obituary  was published in the early North Carolina newspaper, "The Raleigh Register": "Died in Richmond County, on the 18th ult. of the smallpox, Colonel John Speed, a respectable citizen, who has frequently represented that county in the General Assembly of this State." The North Carolina Archives records reflect that James Stewart Speed was the administrator of his father's estate in Richmond County.


In an October 1808 Richmond County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions court action, the following heirs of Colonel John Speed, deceased, are mentioned: "James S. Speed, William Peques in right of his wife Sarah (Sally), Elihue Winbourn in right of his wife Catherine, William Michael in right of his wife Martha, who are of full age, and  John M. Speed, Rebecca Speed, Polly Speed, Elizabeth Speed, Wages Speed, who are infant children, and of whom Elizabeth is guardian."


A review of the Richmond County Court records following the death of Colonel John Speed seems to indicate some financial and family strife that began to occur in the years following Colonel John Speed’s death in 1806. These court actions are noted:


1. 1807 (July Term) A judgement entered for Abraham Harper against the estate of John Speed was again brought to Court in March 1809.


2. 1809 (August Term) James S. Speed vs Elizabeth Speed and Moses Knight


3. 1809 (September Term) A judgement for McFarland and Ellis vs James S. Speed, William Pegues and (wife) Sally, Elihue Winbourn and (wife) Catherine, William Michael and (wife) Martha Patsy.


4. 1809 (September) A judgement for Archibald McNeil vs James S. Speed and H.W. Covington.


5. 1809 (September to December) Philip Horn vs James S. Speed, Serving Administrator; Elizabeth is guardian of named children, heirs at law of deceased John Speed, who are John M. Speed, Rebecca Speed, Polly Speed, Elizabeth Speed, and Wages Speed.


On 1-July-1812, Elizabeth Speed, widow of Colonel John Speed sold all her land in Richmond County to William Thomas. It appeared from records of the U.S. Land Office at Suitland, Maryland that Elizabeth Speed purchased land in Greene County, Alabama on 26-July-1824 (certificate no. 1767, Cahaba, Alabama Land Office). She was shown in the Greene County, Alabama 1840 U.S. census.


Land records show that Colonel John Speed's son, James Stewart Speed, migrated to Montgomery County, Tennessee with cousins from his mother's Stewart family. Montgomery County, Tennessee Court Minutes: January term 1812 (Vol. 4 1811-1813, pg 41) show James S. Speed allowed by the Court to keep the ferry on the Red River formerly owned by James Hambleton. On page 201 of the same court records, James Speed's wife, Nancy Hinson Speed, was allowed to keep the ferry on the Red River with bond of $2000 held by James Stewart (James Speed's cousin) and James Hambleton. James Stewart Speed's cousin, James Stewart (son of William Stewart who was an uncle to John Speed's wife, Catherine) had moved earlier to Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee in 1797.


James Stewart's older brother Duncan Stewart had joined his brother to settle in Montgomery County, Tennessee. He became quite wealthy and served as a member in the early Tennessee legislature. In 1803, part of Montgomery County was set off and named Stewart County in Duncan Stewart's honor. Colonel Duncan Stewart, as he was called, moved to Wilkinson County, Mississippi in 1808 and later became Lieutenant Governor of the State.


James Stewart Speed and his wife, Nancy Hinson Speed, had eight children. Their names were  Katherine Speed, born 16-October-1804, William Washington Speed, born 20-December-1805, James J. Speed, born 07-July-1807, Sarah Speed, born 25-September-1809, Nancy Speed, born 07-May-1812, Elizabeth Speed, born 30-September-1814, and Charles Stuart Speed, born 04-March-1817. Charles Stuart Speed was my great, great grandfather.[12]



Stewart Family Clan


The early history of the Speed and Stewart families indicates a closeness and strong link during the late 1700's in the old Cheraws District of North Carolina. The link between these two families became bonded by marriage between John Speed and Catherine Stewart who was the widow of William Little (m. 25-December-1764). John and Catherine were married at St David’s Parish, South Carolina in 1774.[13] Their only son was James Stuart Speed who was born in 16-March-1775.[14] As noted above, these two families would, in part, move to Montgomery County, Tennessee at a time when the history of our young country was beginning to rapidly change.


Before telling that story, it is fascinating to know a little of the origins of our Stewart-Stuart families and their Scottish heritage. Catherine Stewart’s father was Patrick Stewart son of Alexander Stewart of laird of Ledcreich, Balquhidder Parish, Perthshire, Scotland. Alexander was, in turn, the son of General Patrick Stewart of Ledcreich, an officer in the armies of Kings Charles I, Charles II, and James II, kings of Scotland and England. Because of the financial expense endured by General Patrick Stewart in support of these kings, his properties were diminished significantly. During the latter part of the 1600's and early 1700's, civil wars and battles continued to be waged in support of a Scottish monarch who held deep Scottish roots. It was this political pressure and the economic pressures of decreasing land in relation to an increasing population that probably motivated Catherine’s father, Patrick Stewart, and his brother, William Stewart, to migrate to Wilmington, North Carolina near the Cape Fear river in 1739.[15]


Along with approximately 300 other Scottish citizens, they formed a settlement at Brown’s Marsh on the Cape Fear river of North Carolina.[16] In 1740, Patrick received a grant of land on the Cape Fear river in Bladen County. In 1756, Patrick had a grant of land on Harnett’s Branch and in 1763, at Brown’s Marsh, both in Bladen County. After learning that the Scottish pretender to the English thrown, Charles Edward Stuart (Bonny Prince Charles), was defeated by English King George II at the battle of Culloden, Patrick knew there was nothing to return to Scotland to claim since it was the practice of the times to relentlessly prosecute those who had been supportive of Prince Charles in his effort to take the crown.


It was on 18-January-1763 that Patrick had his son, Charles, wrote down his genealogy for future descendants to know.[17] The will of Patrick Stewart of St David’s Parish in the Cheraws District of North Carolina, dated 8-May-1772, divided his property among his wife, Elizabeth, son James, daughters Catherine Little and Margaret Caraway, and his grandson Charles Stewart Caraway. The executors were Catherine Little and Alexander Gordon.[18]


The interesting story of Patrick Stewart’s genealogy is that he indicated that he and his family were descendants of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland. This lineage can be seen by double-clicking here.



The Western Migration


Following the close of the American Revolutionary War, North Carolina set aside several thousand acres of land on the North Cumberland River in middle Tennessee as a military reservation. Some soldiers were issued military land warrants amounting to 640 acres to several thousand acres as compensation for their services.[19]


In 1794, Duncan and Charles Stewart, sons of William Stewart and nephews to Patrick Stewart (the two Stewart brothers who arrived at Wilmington, North Carolina in 1739), arrived in middle Tennessee. Duncan and Charles were knowledgeable in surveying and were soon surveying land along the Cumberland and Red Rivers. It is assumed that they made their surveying base in Clarksville (in Montgomery County), Tennessee. Duncan began to quickly see the potential and began to buy land in middle Tennessee from Revolutionary War veterans who were not interested settling in this new western frontier. Duncan first owned two plots each with 640 acres each and ultimately owned up to 30,000 acres of land.[20]


In 1796, Tennessee became the 16th state in the Union. Tennessee County of which Clarksville was a part, was divided into Montgomery and Robertson Counties with Clarksville the county seat of Montgomery County. The name Montgomery honored John Montgomery, who was a founder of Clarksville as well as a renowned Indian fighter and Revolutionary War Leader.[21]


After 1798, more and more of the Stewart, Speed, Brantly, and Brown family members from Bladen,  Anson and Richmond Counties of North Carolina began moving to the Montgomery County area of Tennessee. They resided in the Wells Creek area and around the West Fork of the Red River at Fletcher’s Branch and Barrow Springs. These areas were closer to settlements like Clarksville and Palmyra but with still great concern for Indian attacks. Both Duncan and Charles Stewart became active in state politics serving in the General Assemblies from 1801 to 1807, representing Robertson and Montgomery Counties.[22]


After the death of John Speed on 18-February-1806 in Richmond County, North Carolina, his estate was handled by his son, James Stuart Speed over the next several years. In January, 1812, Montgomery County, Tennessee Court Minutes (Vol.4, 1811-1813, p.41, p. 201) show where James Stuart Speed was allowed to keep the ferry on the Red River. The record further showed that the ferry was formerly owned by James Hambleton. This gives some credence to a Speed family legend that at one time the family operated several ferries. Even after James’ death in December, 1816, the same court records show where his widow, Nancy Speed, was allowed to keep the ferry on the Red River with bond of $2000 held by James Stewart (James Speed’s cousin) and James Hambleton.


It would appear that during this time the Speed family  was involved in moving goods commercially up and down the Red River. The early years of the 1800's were progressive ones, chiefly devoted to the building of roads, railroads and bridges.[23] 


The land holdings by the Stewart brothers, Duncan , Charles, and James Stewart, appeared to be in the area of the Red River. The Stewart Clan Magazine mentions that when the three Stewart brothers moved to Montgomery County, Tennessee, Charles Stewart “bought Jan. 20, 1797, of William Jones 1000 acres of land on the West fork of Red River. He sold 800 acres of this tract Oct.20, 1800, to James Stewart.”[24]


All indications are that the family of Nancy Speed, widow of James Stuart Speed, raised her young family for a period of years by running the ferry and possibly farming. The 1830 Montgomery County, Tennessee census shows Nancy Speed as the head of a household with two males, one between twenty and thirty years of age and one between fifteen and twenty years of age. Another son, James Speed, was shown to be a head of household also living nearby with two males, one between ten and fifteen years of age and one under five years of age. The male between ten and fifteen appeared to be black.


Sometime before the 1850 census, Nancy Speed, the widow of James Stuart Speed, moved in with the family of her son, Charles Stuart Speed. Charles had moved to Weakley County, Tennessee sometime between 1841 and 1850. The 1850 Weakley County census showed Charles (age 33) , his wife, Martha (age 32), a twin son and daughter, Mary and George (age 4), a son, Robert (age 5), and Charles’ mother, Nancy (age 65).


Unfortunately, Charles Stuart Speed died on 26-August-1856 leaving his wife, Martha, to raise five children. Twins Mary (called Puss) and George were eight years old, son Robert was five years old, Henry Lewis (called Lute) was three years old, and the youngest son, Charles, was ten months old. This left Martha Cowell Speed with a formidable task in raising their young family alone. Charles was buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery located across from the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church south of Martin, TN at the intersection of Troy Road and Pleasant Hill Road. This was quite near the old Speed farm between Troy Road and Mud Creek just west of Hwy 45E.


Although this early history does not reveal much of the detail of how they managed to survive, letters from cousins described how several related families by marriage would share a closeness and live within a close proximity of each other.[25] Just as the Stewarts, Speeds, Brantlys, and Browns intermarried and supported each other in their move from North Carolina to Montgomery County, Tennessee, so too did the Speeds, Cowells, Waggeners, Coles, and Baldridges in their move from Montgomery County to Weakley County.


There were Speed family stories that the Speed brothers and their cousins farmed and worked at cutting timber to supply railroad ties for the new railroads crossing through Tennessee on their development west. In the early 1850's, the citizens of Weakley County sought a railroad connection to the nearby Hickman and Obion Railroad which ran north and south through Union City, Tennessee to Hickman, Kentucky. In1873 the connections with the Central Illinois Railroad and the Nashville and

Northwestern Railroads were completed.[26]


On 24 August 1877, Henry Lewis Speed married Ada J. Waggener. Family records indicate that Ada died shortly after that during childbirth. Neither mother or child survived.


Following Martha Cowell Speed’s death in 1872, it appears that the four brothers and one sister stayed near Martin, Tennessee in Weakley County until the late 1870's. They all then moved to Denton County, Texas and are  shown in the 1880 census for Denton County. A notation in the census indicates that George Speed, Mary Speed’s twin, had died a year earlier. Living in one household at that time was Henry Lewis Speed (my great grandfather), his sister, Mary Speed, and youngest brother, Charles Speed, along with deceased George Speed’s widow, Anne Lewis Speed, and their daughter, Florence Speed, and Anne’s mother, Martha Lewis. In this census, Henry’s occupation is shown as farmer. Anne’s occupation is shown as housekeeper and Mary Speed is shown as assistant. Robert Stuart Speed and his wife, Cally Burgess Speed, were living in Denton County as a separate household.



During the 1880's, life for this Speed family was changing rapidly. Henry Lewis Speed married Lucy Florence Abbott on 13-January-1884 in Denton County. Henry or “Lute” as his brothers and sister called him had been married before back in Weakley County to a cousin by the name of Ada J. Waggoner. She had died sometime in the 1870's of child birth and the child did not survive. Henry and  Lucy Florence Abbott were married by Sylvestor Mosaly, a preacher and new husband to Henry’s sister, Mary, having married just a year before on 11-March-1883. During 1884, Robert Stuart Speed moved his family to Fort Worth, Texas where they lived until around 1890. Robert and his family then moved to Washita County, Oklahoma where they homesteaded at the time of the Oklahoma land rush. Charles Speed never married and died in Denton or Dallas County on 16-July-1889. Little is known about how he died or where he is buried. Nothing is known of whatever became of George Speed’s widow, Anne Lewis Speed, and their daughter, Florence Speed.


There are a number of interesting family stories about Lucy Florence Abbott Speed’s mother and father. Lucy’s mother, Lucy Catherine Wallace was born in Alabama on 1-April-1834. She was first married to a millwright by the name of B. A. Drake in 1856. They had five children, three boys and two girls while living in Alabama. After he died, Catherine loaded her five children into an oxen covered wagon and, according to family legend,  moved her family to Dallas County during the Civil War. There she met a Confederate soldier by the name of Ephihorn Aaron Abbott. Catherine became pregnant and had a daughter she named Lucy Florence Abbott (my great-grandmother). Catherine had always told her daughter that Abbott was captured during the war and died in a Union prisoner of war camp. From years of family research, no Speed family researchers have been able to verify Abbotts’ internment or death. Catherine later married a man by the name of McFarland with whom she had one son, Benjamin McFarland. Following her husband’s death and for years later until her death, the family affectionately  called her “Granny Mac”.


Back in Weakley County, Tennessee, other related Speed family cousins moved into Independence County, Arkansas and remained there through the turn of the twentieth century. Those and other Speed lines descending from William Speed of Anson County, North Carolina are shown in Appendix A. This includes the very large and famous Speed families of Covington County, Mississippi.



The Migration Toward Cheap Land


During the 1880's, Henry Lewis Speed and Lucy Florence Abbott started their family with their first  son, Charles Griffin Speed born  in Elzabethtown, Denton County, Texas born on 16-February-1885. Over the next ten to twelve years, the family grew in number and moved from Denton County to Baylor County and to Archer County each time pursuing better farm land at cheaper prices. The other children born during this time were Clara Lavina Speed born 16-October-1887 and died as an infant on 9-August-1888, Edward Lewis Speed (my grandfather) born 26-July-1889, Mable Florence Speed born 8-February-1892, and Mary Bulah Speed born 4-December-1894. Each child was born in a different location as the family migrated west. Clara was born in Denton County, Edward was born in Argyle, Denton County, Mable was born in Baylor County, and Bulah was born in Archer City, Archer County. Baylor and Archer Counties are located south of Wichita Falls, Texas.


In one of the letters written to Uncle Charlie (Charles Griffin Speed) by his distant cousin from Weakley County, John Andrew Cole, he referred to the western migration to Texas as “that Texas fever”.[27] The Oklahoma land rush in the 1890's caused a large number of the Texas farmers and settlers to move to Oklahoma for the promise of free land and the opportunity to make a new life for themselves. Henry Lewis Speed’s brother Robert Stuart Speed had already homestead near Cordell Oklahoma in the early 1890's. It would seem all but certain that he encouraged his brother “Lute” to  join his family in the Washita County, Oklahoma area for the opportunity of homesteading. It may very well have been the death of his brother Robert on 14-December-1894 that prompted Henry Lewis Speed even more to move to Washita County. Robert had been hauling freight by wagon during a particularly cold winter in 1894 when he caught the flu and ultimately died. He and other members of his family are buried at Hatchet Cemetery in Washita County.This left Robert's son, Charles Homer Speed to head the family.


In 1897, Henry Lewis Speed is shown in land records to have homesteaded on land near Cordell, Oklahoma in Washita County.[28] His last and youngest child, Esther Catherine Speed, was born 24-October-1899 in Cordell. Henry Lewis Speed lived there for approximately ten years when he sold his farm and homestead for $1,600 on 18-March-1908 and moved his family to Clarendon, Texas.[29]


I grew up listening to stories my grandfather, Ed Speed, would tell about life on the Oklahoma homestead. I actually remember a trip we made back to the old home place with my father and my grandfather where a hand dug water well still supplied the best tasting cool well water I can remember having. This was in the early 1950's and there was still evidence of the old farm house as well as an old root cellar.


One comical story he told to us by my grandfather about digging the well was that he had been sent into Cordell on his bicycle by his father to bring back a few sticks of dynamite to use in deepening the well. My grandfather picked up the two sticks with fuses separate and proceeded to ride back to the farm. My grandfather was terribly nervous about handling the explosives and about half way home, he hit a hole in the dirt road which threw him off of his bike and sent the dynamite flying through the air and landed in the adjacent field. It so shocked my grandfather that he jumped up, left his bike and the dynamite, and ran the rest of the way to the house afraid the dynamite was going to explode any minute. After his father went back with him and retrieved the explosives, he explained to his son that it was not going to explode without the help of a fuse or a detonator.


Back at the well digging project, Henry Lewis Speed decided to use the smallest of his two sons for lowering into the hole already dug and setting the dynamite and lighting the fuses. Uncle Charlie was the oldest but he was also the smallest of the two sons. My grandfather, Ed Speed, was a tall and spindly kid while Charlie was shorter and lighter. Their father then lowered Charlie down into the hole and pulled him back as quick as he could after Charlie had lit the fuses on the dynamite. Fortunately, Uncle Charlie lived to tell this story and be kidded for being the smallest and therefore the one selected for this dangerous job.



The Slow Change in Family Occupations



The family story on what caused Henry Lewis Speed to move his family from Washita County, Oklahoma to Clarendon, Texas is somewhat unclear. Henry Lewis Speed’s son, Edward Lewis Speed, made a trip with a few of his local friends around 1906 to Clarendon, Texas by train for the town’s fourth of July celebration. The story was that Ed found the town booming with activity and returned home after the celebration to tell his father about the opportunity of buying lots and building homes for sale. In 1907, Henry Lewis Speed was able to sell his homestead for what was then a good profit and moved his family to Clarendon. He built a home only a few blocks from the train station terminal. For the next several years he and his sons bought several residential lots around the town.


It was at this time that the Henry and his sons began to phase out of farming slowly and become more active in construction business. Our family has some old photographs showing Henry and his sons moving houses using long teams of mules and of construction sites where they were laying the corner stone to a newly constructed building. Although they continued to do some farming, construction was becoming the family’s chief source of livelihood.


From the early 1900's until the early 1930's, Clarendon was experiencing tremendous growth and prosperity. The original Clarendon town site was several miles to the northwest on the Canadian River where it had been nicknamed “Saints’ Roost” because of it’s citizens’ religious piety. However, as the railroad began construction of it’s new lines to the southeast of  old Clarendon, the town was moved to take advantage of the economic prosperity generated. There were restaurants, bakeries, drug stores, banks, dairies, and all of the support commercial ventures necessary to a growing western town. Weekends were a big event with everyone including cowboys from local ranches coming into town to visit and shop with the local citizens and merchants.


On 21-March-1917, Henry Lewis Speed died at his home. He had been suffering from a bad flu weeks earlier but had decided to get up out of bed to prepare his garden for spring seeding. Soon he was back in bed experiencing a relapse of the illness. When it became apparent that he was taking a turn for the worse, Henry called his family to his bedside. My grandfather, Ed Speed, always told us the story of how his father made him promise that he would marry and have sons. He was deeply concerned that his Speed line would end without male descendants to carry on the name. At the time, Ed’s brother, Charlie  was married to Mary Eugenia Moore and had two daughters, Edith Clara Speed born 26-July-1910 and Catherine (Kitty) Leota Speed born 20-October-1912. Years later, my grandfather Ed would get tears in his eyes when he would tell this story and he would be emotional about how his only son, Homer Charles Speed, had three sons to carry on his Speed line.


About that same time in Washita County, Oklahoma, Robert Stuart Speed’s, family remained in Oklahoma and continued to farm. In addition to farming, however, Robert’s  son, Charles Homer Speed, began building large barns for area farmers. Charles was the only remaining male sibling in his family since his older brother, Edward Arthur  Speed,  had been earlier kicked in the head by one of his prize racing horses and died of a brain hemorrhage in 1906.


Around the 1920's, Charles sold their family’s homesteads and also moved to the Clarendon area. Although Charles Homer Speed, Edward Lewis Speed, and Ed’s brother, Charles Griffin Speed did some construction work together, they never formed an official partnership. Charles Homer Speed eventually moved to Amarillo, Texas which was also booming at the time and became a skilled carpenter in the construction business. Charles Homer Speed had married Clara Alice Vickers in Port, Oklahoma in 1904 and had three daughters, Vera Rama Speed born 1-November-1904, Ruby Lee Speed born 2-November-1906, and Virginia Alice Speed born 5-June-1909. Although all three daughters did marry, none had any surviving children.


During the 1920's and 1930's, My grandfather, Edward Lewis Speed and his brother, Charles Griffin Speed did form a construction partnership for a time and built a number of new homes and businesses in the Clarendon area. It was a time of growth in terms of families and their business. Although I am not sure of the exact time, the two brothers eventually went on their own separately.


My grandfather, Ed Speed, met and married Bertie Hardin, daughter of Eugene Hardin and Ellar Spears on 28-October-1915, almost one and a half years before Ed’s father’s death in 1917. They had two children, my father, Homer Charles Speed born 13-October-1921, a daughter, Ella Gene Speed born 26-October-1925, and a third daughter, Betty Ann Speed born 18-September-1934. My grandmother’s Hardin family line was quite interesting in it’s own right. The Hardin family line will be covered under a separate section of this narrative.


Henry Lewis Speed’s three daughters all married in Clarendon between 1915 and 1919. The oldest, Mable Florence Speed met and married a man who worked for the railroad by the name of Harty Andrew Colvin. The story told was that Harty and another friend spotted Mable and another young girl picking cotton in a field along side the railroad track. Both of the boys went over to meet them and soon became acquainted. Mable and Harty were married 13-October-1915 in Clarendon, Texas. Since Harty’s job for the railroad was as a construction Section Foreman, he moved the family a great deal following his work through the Texas Panhandle and into Oklahoma. Mable and Harty had four  sons and two daughters. They were Lewis K. Colvin born 15-December1917, Delina Clara Colvin born10-July-1920, Ralph Lukie Colvin born 29-May-1923, Robert (Bob) E. Lee Colvin born 3-November-1925, Ivy Mae Colvin born 6-May-1929, and Van (Sonny) Boy Colvin born 20-February1932. Harty and Mable’s  son, Robert Colvin and Clara Colvin, have written their own accounts of how those times were for him and all of his siblings while growing up. Their stories are attached as Appendix B to this narrative.


The next oldest daughter, Mary Bulah Speed, married Perry Woodson Turner on 15-April-1919 in Clarendon. Bulah and Perry had known each other from the homesteading days near Cordell, Oklahoma and possibly before that time. Bulah was born in Archer City, Texas and Perry was born in Seymour, Texas which were areas very close to where both families were farming south of Wichita Falls, Texas before homesteading in Washita County, Oklahoma. Their migration paths west during that time period were amazingly similar. Bulah and Perry had five sons born in the 1920's. They were Lester Henry Turner born 8-January-1920, Wesley Woodson Turner born 13-September-1921, Charles Edward Turner born 16-October-1923, Perry Raymond Turner born 8-August-1927, and James Dale Turner born 6-December-1929. Perry and Bulah remained in farming in the Clarendon area and during the 1930's and 1940's moved his family to Dalhart, Texas where he continued to farm. They all eventually moved to California.


The youngest daughter, Esther Catherine Speed, married Clifton Henry Ingram on 2-March-1917 in Clarendon. They had two sons and one daughter. They were Bobbie Clifton Ingram born 19-April-1921, Billy Speed Ingram born 7-March-1925, and Beverly Joanne Ingram born 11-March-1935. Sometime close to 1923, Esther and Clifton had moved to Los Angeles, California where their son, Bobbie, and daughter, Joanne, was born. They moved at that time because they didn't feel they had much of a future in Clarendon and the state of California was booming.


Henry Lewis Speed’s sister, Mary (Aunt Puss) Speed Mosaly, and her husband, Sylvestor Mosaly had moved to Los Angeles, California following their sons in 1918. Aunt Puss and Sylvestor’s two sons were Charles Mosaly born in Denton County, Texas on 24-March-1885 and Earl Mosaly born in Denton County on 20-March-1887. The family had moved earlier to San Antonio, Texas in 1913 where Earl Mosaly met and married Canadian born, Sarah (Sadie) Hambleton on 29-October-1913. They had three daughters. They were Mammie Elizabeth Mosaly born 26-November-1917, Doris Esther Mosaly born 16-July-1919, and Ruth Sarah Mosaly born 2-July-1923.


 I have heard stories of how Ed and Charlie Speed would make the long road trip from Clarendon with their families to visit the Mosaly cousins in Los Angeles, California during the middle 1920's. Sylvestor Mosaly died in California on 7-January-1924 and Aunt Puss died there on 4-February-1929. Their son Charles never married. He also moved to California with his brother Earl. Earl worked for thirty years for the City of Los Angeles in the public works department and retired there. Over the next forty years the Speed family in Clarendon kept close contact with their sisters and cousins living in California.




[1]William L. Sanders, Secretary of State, The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Josephus Daniels, Printer to the State (1890), Vol. IX, pp. 1260-1263.

[2]Charles S. Speed, Call of A Distant Drum, Arlington, VA, 1986, p. 14.

[3]Ibid.,  p. 15.

[4]John Bennett Boddie, Historical Southern Families, Vol. XIV, pp 10-20.

[5]Ibid., p.11.

[6]Brent H. Holcomb, Saint David’s Parish, South Carolina Minutes of the Vestry 1768-1832, p 22.

[7]Charles S. Speed, op. cit. ,  p. 15.

[8]Copy of Family Bible Page in possession of H. Charles Speed, Jr.; 6110 Elmhurst Rd, Amarillo, Texas 79106-3540.

[9]Charles S. Speed, op. cit. ,  p. 15.

[10]Ibid., pp. , 24-27.

[11]Ibid., pp. , 16-17.

[12]Copy of Family Bible Page in possession of H. Charles Speed, Jr.; 6110 Elmhurst Rd, Amarillo, Texas 79106-3540.

[13]Stewart Clan Magazine, Olathe, Kansas, G. T. Edison, Vol. 12, No. 11, May 1935, p.122.

[14]Copy of Family Bible Page in possession of H. Charles Speed, Jr.; 6110 Elmhurst Rd, Amarillo, Texas 79106-3540.

[15]Stewart Clan Magazine, Olathe, Kansas, G. T. Edison, Vol. 34, No. 6, December 1956, pp. 177-179.

[16]Stewart Clan Magazine, op. cit., p. 122.

[17]John Bennett Boddie, Historical Southern Families, Vol. XIV, pp 10-20.

[18]Stewart Clan Magazine, op. cit., p. 122.

[19]Bryan Saunders, The Life of Duncan Stewart, Houston County Printing, Erin, Tennessee, 1997, p. 15.

[20]Ibid., pp., 15-16.

[21]Eleanor Williams, “History of Montgomery County Tennessee”, http://www.tngenweb.usit.com/montgomery/

[22]The Life of Duncan Stewart, op. cit., pp., 21-22.

[23]“History of Montgomery County Tennessee”, op. cit.

[24]Stewart Clan Magazine, March 1957, Volume 34, number 9, p. 191.

[25]Letter dated July 11, 1934 from Cousin John Andrew Cole (b. 6-June-1847) to Cousin Charles G. Speed; and Letter dated June 3, 1934 from Cousin W. (Billy) O. Waggoner (b. 1848) to Cousin Charles G. Speed; copies in possession of H. Charles Speed, Jr.; 6110 Elmhurst Rd, Amarillo, TX  79106-3540.

[26]Virginia C. Vaughn, Weakley County, (1983) and Martin Centennial 1873-1973, by the Martin, Tennessee Centennial Committee (1973)

[27]Letter from Cousin John Andrew Cole, op. cit.

[28]Washita County, Oklahoma land records, Elaine Kautz, County Clerk, Cordell, Oklahoma, Book 6, page 185.

[29]Ibid., Book 18, page 395.