I realized quickly that I’d have to “think outside the box” to learn about my ancestors. I LOVE to interview people, and listen to stories about "the older days" when life seemed a little slower and simpler. I study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try to help preserve memories people share with me. This blog is ad free, so it's easier to focus on sharing stories. Feel free to sign the guestbook, or join the FaceBook group. Even if we aren't related by DNA, I'd still love to hear about your research efforts and family stories. I am interested in posting (to this blog) stories relevant to the Mecklenburg-Brunswick families.

13 March 2009

James Speed, Newman Dortch's father-in-law

Many people assumed and wrote that John Speed was the father of Sarah Speed that married Newman Dortch. But I found a chancery case: Mecklenburg, VA Chancery case: Moss vs. Dortch 1829-001 box 257. In this case, it specifically states that James Speed is father of four children:
1-Martha Moss, the wife of Nathaniel Moss
2-Sally Dortch, wife of Newman Dortch
3-Elizabeth Speed, not married
4- Mary Dortch wife of Lewis Dortch
James Speed willed his house to Newman Dortch and Sally Speed. They moved into the house in Sept 1821 by consent and request of James Speed. And they made improvements to the house for James.
I went to the courthouse and there was no will for James Speed any more, even though it was referenced in the chancery. I went to Library of VA state archives and it was not there. So without seeing this chancery, you would never have known that James Speed at one time had a will. And this is the only record that shows this family that I can find.
I also discovered there were a few James Speeds. One was a Revolutionary War soldier, from Mecklenburg VA, and settled in Kentucky. There is a letter he wrote to the governor posted on the LVA website. There is another James Speed in Charlotte County, VA, the county just to the west of Mecklenburg. Many people assume that the James Speed in Mecklenburg went to Charlotte, then onto Kentucky. But I made a chart side by side showing the places I found 4 James Speeds. Many assume they are the same person, but I think it's four separate people. At least 3 people. I made a chart of what records I found each year, to see if there was any overlap. I went to LVA to pull some wills to try to prove whether they were the same or different people. And there was no relationship info stated. So still searching for info, and still have lots of questions. In the meantime, I wanted to post this chancery info that very few people have seen, so the info doesn't stay wrongly posted or lost. I am convinced and can prove that my James Speed is not the one who went to battle, or the Charlotte James Speed. Or the early Mecklenburg James Speed showing up on records. But about 10 years after the earlier James Speed moved to Kentucky, I think my James Speed shows up. I don't know if he is related or not to the other Speeds in Mecklenburg. There was a will in the courthouse that just vaguely said "I will some land to my cousin James Speed." I don't know if my James Speed is the cousin? Still searching. I am posting this plat. I have asked several "old timers" and we don't know what "courthouse road" was. The courthouse is in Boydton, but there isn't a road with that name. If you click on the picture you can see it full screen. Note the plat is sideways. But if you look closely, below the drawing, there's an "S" for South, even though it looks like part of the drawing. -I am temporarily unable to load the plat. I will try again soon. -Julie


Anonymous said...

Is it possible that this James Speed in not the father of Mary Speed who married Lewis Dortch, but the sister of James Speed?

Julie Cabitto said...

Thank you for asking about James Speed. I cannot find hardly any documentation for these earlier Speeds. So I am grateful if anyone even recognizes them! I rechecked the chancery. This chancery was very specific, listing spouses names. It said specifically "James Speed was the father of Martha Speed that was married to Lewis Dortch." So I don't believe James could be her brother. Questions are good, and cause one to ponder documentation again. So ask away with any more questions you may have!

Scott Pennington said...

Interesting blog. James Speed Moss is my direct ancestor. Here's a link to an Ancestry.com census document, which shows James Moss as the head of household and his wife and children; one of whom is Rufus Moss, my 2nd great grandfather. http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=7163&iid=4268794_00412&fn=Jas+S&ln=Moss&st=r&ssrc=pt_t6997587_p-1016861943_kpidz0q3d-1016861943z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgPLz0q3dpid_m1&pid=39257166
Feel free to stay in touch: LawOffices@ScottPennington.com

Tara said...

So glad to see your research about Sarah Speed and Newman Dortch. My grandmother is Alma Speed Dortch. Her grandfather is Jasper/OJ Dortch and his grandfather is Newman Dortch. I have seen your notes on familysearch.org. I'm curious if it is really Sarah or if it is Sally Speed, as you mentioned in the chancery case.
I have a lot of interest in her since my grandmother was named after her and would love to have my facts straight!
Thanks, Tara (taramatagi@hotmail.com)