Speed: Covington County, Mississippi
It is not known which is the fore father of our line of Speeds, as there are some gaps that have not been proven yet.
Next, we find a William T. Speed who died in 1782. He had a son, Robert W. Speed, born October 26, 1763, in North Carolina, and died in 1826 in Abbyville, South Carolina, and married Elizabeth Martin. They were the parents of William Wages Speed, Sr. who was the first Speed to come to Covington County, Mississippi.
William Wages Speed, Sr. was born January 24, 1783, in South Carolina, and died August 28, 1833 in Covington County, Mississippi. In 1799 he married Sarah Lawrence in South Carolina, and all their six children were born in South Carolina. In 1822 William Wages Speed, Sr. and wife Sarah, came to Mississippi. Their two daughters married their South Carolina sweethearts. Rachel Ann married Robert Craig and remained near her Lawrence grandparents. Elizabeth married James Lewis Jolly, Jr. They settled in Indiana. The oldest son, William Wages Speed, Jr.* remained in South Carolina for five more years before coming to Mississippi.
*author’s note: Family lore relates that William Wages Speed, Jr. was the illegitimate son of William Wages Speed, Sr. and that the senior Speed claimed his son and gave the child his name, and helped support him. Documents that are in the author’s possession lists William Wages Speed, Jr. as the legitimate son of both William Wages Speed, Sr. and Sarah Lawrence Speed. The youngest three sons, William Leroy (Lawrence), James Monroe, and Benjamin Robert, came to Mississippi with their parents.
The Speeds brought their Negro slaves who went by the surname of Boothe (later spellings dropped the “e”). Sarah Lawrence Speed had been willed by her father, “a likely Negro girl between the age of fifteen and twenty”. It is not known how many slaves they brought, but the 1840 census shows that Sarah Speed (W. W. Speed, Sr. died in 1833) owned seven slaves one male adult, one female adult, and three male and two female children. The Covington County tax roll values the slaves at $500 each. In 1841, Sarah Speed was taxed for a clock valued at $15.