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James Speed


You will find James Speed and his family and his brother Stephen Gartin Speed and his family listed in the 1870 and 1880 Census for Frio County and their acreage listed in the Tax poll and some of them in the cemetery list. I just found them last week - it is a wonderful website. I have not found another one so helpful.

Dr. Thomas Speed (a horse and buggy Dr.) and his wife Lucinda Gartin Speed brought their family to Texas from Washington Co., Kentucky. "He died in 1862 in Texas." I found this bit handed down - "James Speed organized a regiment (company) of Union sympathizers around Castronville, Texas during the Civil War - apparently after Texas secedded, as he could not take them out by the way of Texas ports. The went out by way of Mexico. He was a Captain in the northern army and later was made Major for always afterwards was referred to as Captain Speed"

Stephen and James became cattle ranchers (the Frio County tax poll calls them Stock raisers) located near Moore in Black or Blanco Creek. James married Margaret Walker McMahon from Sabine Co., Texas (Their family also had a cattle ranch) January 31, 1860.

I really know very little about James except my dad told how he heard from his grandmother that her husband would drive the cattle up the Chisholm trail and be gone for a year at a time. I believe that he was referred to as a Judge. Another relative is sending me info on some stories about cattle drivers where James is listed. My grandmother told about catching wild turkey's for Christmas dinner. She talked about surviving a scarlet fever epidemic and that at least two of the siblings died during it. She also told about walking into the pantry ( or whatever they called the place where they stored food and having a centipede land on her shoulder and by luck she brushed it off so it didn't bite her. They mentioned a severe drought in Texas in the late 1880's that was so bad they had to feed the cattle prickly pears.

The story goes that after James was killed there was a fire on the ranch and they moved to town. His wife paid off the debts on the ranch and hired a rail car to take her and her family and belongings to Wilcox, Arizona where other relatives lived. I have been hoping to find ways to learn more about their life in Frio. I think they were Masons.


Note: Anyone having additional information about the Speed Clan from Frio County, TX please contact Kathy Ayers the contributor of this information.