Speed: Earliest Known
John Speed of England, the historian, geographer, and antiquarian, was born at Farrington, in the County of Chesire in 1552. He is buried in the chancel of the church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. He was married for 57 years to a wife named Susanna. They had 18 children – 12 sons and 6 daughters. It is not known who his parents were.
One of his sons was also named John, born in 1595. He was a medical doctor. He died in 1640. He left two sons, John and Samuel. Samuel was a minister and died January 22, 1681. The other son was also a medical doctor and moved to Southhamptom to practice medicine. James Speed, from whom it is believed that the Speeds in America are descended, was a son of this Dr. John Speed, grandson of Dr. John Speed, and great-grandson of John Speed, the historian.
James Speed was born September 28, 1679. He left Southhampton and came to America about 1695 when he was 16 years of age. He settled on the south side of the James River, Virginia. At the age of thirty-two, he married Mary Pulley on September 6, 1711. She was 18 years old. He died March 15, 1719, aged 39; she died June 3, 1733, aged 40. Both are buried in Surrey County, Virginia.
They had four sons: James, born June 16, 1712; John, born February 5, 1714; William T., born February 19, 1716; Thomas, born February 28, 1719. Only John and William lived to maturity. It is believed that William had no children. This John Speed, the second son of James Speed and Mary Pulley, lived in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He married a widow named Mary Minetry Taylor, on October 6, 1737. They were married 45 years, when she died July 1, 1782. He died March 8, 1795.
John Speed and Mary Taylor had seven sons and four daughters: John, born August 3, 1738; James, born March 4, 1740; Henry, born March 28, 1742; Sarah, born February 14, 1743; Lewis, born January 25, 1745; Martha, born August 11, 1748; Joseph, born May 27, 1750; Lucy, born April 11, 1752; Mathias, born June 18, 1754; son, died young; Mary, died young. It is believed by some that all the Speeds in this country are descended from these nine children. Each is considered as the head of a branch of the family. Four of the brothers, John, James, Lewis, and Mathias, served in the Revolutionary War. James was wounded but recovered. Lewis was wounded and died of his wounds.