William X. Speck
From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing
biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.
WILLIAM X. SPECK, Jr., has the honor of being a native of Henderson County. He was born on the old homestead
September 11, 1850, and now resides on section 4, township 11 north, range 4 west. His father, William N. Speck,
Sr., who is numbered among the honored pioneers of this locality, is a native of North Carolina, born August 10,
1823. Throughout his business career he followed farming, but in 1884 laid aside business cares and afterward lived
a retired life. He was numbered among the self-made men of the county, for by his well-directed efforts, his
enterprise and perseverance, he acquired the capital which later enabled him to spend his declining days free from
toil and labor. He came to Henderson County in the spring of 1837, and was therefore one of its oldest settlers.
Securing a tract of wild land, he transformed it into rich and fertile fields, and the once barren prairie was made
to bloom and blossom as the rose. He also lived in Warren County, Ill., for four years, and on the discovery of
gold in California, he crossed the plains to the Pacific Slope, where he remained for eighteen months engaged in
mining. He then returned to Henderson County, in 1851, where he remained until his death, which occurred March 18,
The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Sarah A. Rice. She married Mr. Speck, and they became the
parents of five children, but four of the number died in infancy. Mrs. Speck having died, the father was afterwards
again married, his second union being with Miss Olive Sewel, by whom he had two children: Lura C, at home; and
Carrie, now the wife of A. Marshall, of Hopper's Mills.
We now take up the personal history of Mr. Speck, who has spent the greater part of his life in Henderson
County, and is widely and favorably known within its borders. His education was acquired in the district schools of
the neighborhood, which he attended through the winter season. He early began work upon the home farm and was thus
employed until twenty-eight years of age. In 1881 he went to Georgia, spending four years in that State, but since
his return to Henderson County in 1885, he has made his home continuously in this neighborhood.
On the 24th of April, 1883, Mr. Speck was united in marriage with Miss Sarah Dearth, a daughter of Neal and Mima
(Maples) Dearth. Their union has been blessed with two children, both sons: Robert W. and Walter C. Mr. Speck votes
with the Democratic party, but has never sought or desired political preferment. He holds membership with the
Methodist Church, and is a man of sterling worth and strict integrity, whose upright life has won him the high
regard of his many friends throughout the county.