William Wages Speed, Jr.
On November 5, 1822, William Speed, Jr., for $175 bought from John Wisner, “…one certain plantation and tract of land containing 150 acres”, in Pendleton District, S.C. the land “bounded as follows: beginning on a post oak corner, at the head of Big Creek, then a conditional line down the Beaver dam to a stated corner, in the branch is Joseph Duck’s line, thence on the same line to a black oak corner, thence partly south on same line conditional corner, betwixt Roger Murphy and Adams to a black oak corner, on a conditional line between Slatter and said Adams along the same line to a post oak corner, thence a conditional line to a sweet gum corner on Big Creek, thence up said creek to the beginning…”
The deed was witnessed by Benjamin Duckworth, who signed with a capital “B” for his mark. Benjamin Duckworth was the father-inlaw of William Speed.
William Wages Speed, Jr. married Keziah Duckworth on October 18, 1821. They lived on their South Carolina property for several years, then came to Mississippi early in 1827, along with a wagon train, made up of 32 wagons, reported as being headed for Texas. W. W. Speed, Jr. was reported as being the leader of this particular wagon train.
After crossing the Leaf River in Covington County, Mississippi, the party camped for a night on the place that is now owned by George Junior Booth, but was patented on November 25, 1825, by Keziah Speed’s father Benjamin Duckworth.
Their belongings were transported in hogsheads. These were packed with seeds, food, clothing, bedding, tools, and small utensils. The hogsheads kept their belongings dry, and could be floated across rivers too deep to ford.
Speed was using Durham cattle for his wagon team, a bull named “Ole Joe”, and a steer named “Ole Jerry”. During the night, Ole Jerry ate a poison vine, and was found dead the next morning. Therefore, the Speed’s settled here with Mrs. Speed’s parents, the Benjamin Duckworths. while William Speed and a slave returned to South Carolina for more stock cattle.
The young Speed family lived with the Duckworths for a while and helped with the clearing, crops, and garden. Then the Speeds moved out near Williamsburg. Later they moved to what became known as the “Joe Speed place” south of highway 84. Then W. W. Speed, Jr. received a patent for eighty acres of land from the United States on January 5, 1841. Family lore relates that the Speed family lived on the land for several years before fulfilling the patent requirements. A two-storied log house was built on this “Home Forty” (SE 1/4 of the SE 1/4 section 28, T9N, R15W) in the 1820’s by a Mr. Thomas Ates. The house was well constructed from “heart” pine hewn logs, and ceiled with hewn boards. It stood for about 160 years, and was torn down in November, 1985, to provide a house cite for William Speed’s great-great-granddaughter, Jeri Vaughn Ellzey.
The other forty acres of land that was bought at the same time (SE 1/4 of the NE 1/4 sec 33, T9N, R15W) was south of the house, but not adjacent to the first forty. These two forties were separated by a forty. Also, on January 5, 1841, the oldest son of William Speed, Felix Washington Speed, homesteaded forty acres that had the head waters of Station Creek for a Western boundary. On May 2, 1859, William Speed homesteaded 320 acres on Station Creek. Then he bought a small 15 acre tract, and the forty acres from Felix Washington Speed, for a total of 455 acres.
Felix Washington Speed moved his family to Texas. Two of the Speed children, Benjamin Franklin with his wife, Lavinia Pickering, and Rachel Mahala Speed with her husband, John Ben Pickering, had large forms south of William Speed’s, but not adjacent to his. The other Speed children moved on to other near-by communities. Most of the land adjacent to that belonging to William Speed, Jr., remained unclaimed until years later when it was homesteaded by his Spell grandchildren.
On October 25, 1827, William Speed paid his first taxes in Covington County, Mississippi. He was charged for owning one slave, and for poll tax for himself, for a total of $1.12 1/2. From 1829 until 1841, he was taxed for money that he had loaned for interest, varying from $100 to $200. By 1841, he was paying tax on 50 head of cattle. However, he never was listed as owning a watch, clock, pleasurable carriage, or a Bowie knife. (These items were taxable.) Slaves were always valued at $500 each. Family lore states that William Speed “never turned anyone away from his door for a nights lodging, and always took care of the travelers and their horses without charge.”