Speedys visit Devil’s Backbone State Park

Clarksville, Iowa newspaper July 24, 1930, “Mr. and Mrs. Harve Speedy and family and Miss Laura Wubbena spent Thursday at the Devil’s Backbone state park near Strawberry Point.”

Backbone State Park was dedicated in 1920, Iowa’s first state park. It’s named for the “steep and narrow ridge of bedrock cut by a loop of the Maquoketa River and forming the highest point in northeast Iowa – the Devils Backbone”.

Devil's Stairway at Backbone State Park

The 1920 dedication by Senator Byron Newberry: Everyone on the streets seems late for … a conference, meeting, luncheon. Hurry is stamped in the wrinkles of the American face. Parks let us look at things in leisure & give us a better view of life. Through parks we give health, build character, make use of leisure and build for future greatness. (Condensed)

Harve, Philippa and family would have driven about 2 hours, in a car, a 1920-30s model big enough for 2 parents, 6 kids and a friend. Philippa was 38 years old, Harve was 47. Children’s ages were Elizabeth age 13, Richard 11, Marjorie 9, Norma 7, Ivadell 5, Clair 3 years old.

In the same Clarksville, Iowa newspaper July 24, 1930, Harve’s brother Ernest Speedy’s family had a vacation in Clear Lake, Iowa. Philippa’s aunt and uncle Nettie and George Flood and family had visited George’s daughter Edith Flood Rathbone and her family at Sumner, Iowa.



William Speedy b. 1783

William Speedy 3rd great grandpa on RootsMagic tree.

William Speedy was born in 1783 in Pennsylvania. His parents aren’t known. He probably grew up in Pennsylvania then left for Ohio where he fought in the War of 1812.

Speedy, William on War of 1812 roster

War of 1812 Roster

On April 13, 1823 he married Elizabeth Glenn. He and Elizabeth had 6 sons Thomas, John, James, Clark, William and Manford. The Speedys lived in Jefferson County, Ohio near the Ohio River. William’s farm in 1850 had 100 acres of improved land, 100 acres of unimproved land, a cash value of $1000 and $200 worth of tools and machinery. Livestock on the farm included 5 horse, 2 milking cows, 2 cattle, 20 pigs valued at $450. the farm produced 500 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels bushels of Indian corn, 20 pounds of Irish potatoes, 300 lbs of butter, 8 tons of hay and 3 bushels of clover seed.

William was a widow in 1850, his wife Elizabeth and her dad Thomas Glenn died in the cholera epidemic in Ohio. By 1856 William’s younger sons Clark and Manford were in Shell Rock, Iowa living with Thomas Hall, son of Mary Glenn Hall- Elizabeth Glenn Speedy’s sister. William joined his sons in 1870 and lived with Manford and his family in Iowa. William died in 1872 he was 83 years old.

William is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Shell Rock Iowa. One of 7 Speedys in that cemetery. Annie Coates Speedy, 1st wife of Manford, their 4 children who died young Bertha, Blanche, Eda and Julet and Clark Speedy, son of William, brother to Manford.

Andrew and Manford Speedy cousins

William Speedy is somehow related to Allen Speedy born in Ireland or Scotland in about 1726. I haven’t found any records showing this connection only my DNA results which show Allen Speedy’s descendants as ‘half 4th cousins’. Allen Speedy b. 1726, a cousin or uncle of William Speedy, were both living in Pennsylvania and then in Jefferson County, Ohio. Allen Speedy had a son Andrew, 13 years younger than William, photo shows Andrew Speedy’s family. The 1820 census in Jefferson County Wisconsin shows Allen and William Speedy as neighbors.


Annette Speedy b. 1868

Annette Speedy 2nd aunt on RootsMagic tree

Annette Constance Speedy was born in 1868 in Shell Rock, Iowa, the 4th child of Manford and first wife Ann Coates Speedy. Ann with Annettes oldest 2 siblings had died by 1869, so Annette, age 2 on the 1870 census  lived with her dad Manford, older brother Oscar, and grandpa William Speedy; her grandma Fidelia, aunts Juliet, Mary and uncle Edwin Coates. 8 people Speedys and Coates, ranging from 2 years to 80 years old in the home. By 1873 Manford married Elizabeth Stewart and they had children, three sons, three daughters. Annette, at some point moved in with Mary Jane Stewart and her husband Henry Wagonseller Royer in Bristow for a few years. Henry and Mary Jane had 4 sons. While living in Bristow Annette met then married Sherman Grove on August 1, 1889. Henry and Mary Jane were witnesses on Annette’s marriage record. The marriage was in Manford and Elizabeth Stewart Speedy’s home.

Speedy, Annette and Sherman Grove 1889 marriage

“Sherman Grove and Miss Nettie Speedy were married last Thursday at the home of the bride near Allison. The young couple are well known here, Miss Nettie having lived in WW Royer’s family for several years, Sherman having grown from boyhood to manhood here is known to be very industrious, upright young man. They have the best wishes of all who know them.”

Annette and Sherman had eight children, they named their first son Manford. During certain years the State of Iowa had to issue ‘Delayed Birth Records’ because of a mix up in record keeping and those born had to supply proof of birth and a witness. Annette’s brother Harve was a witness on these records, uncle to Annette and Sherman’s kids. In 1903 Annette and family left Bristow for Springbrook, Wisconsin, about 50 miles south of Lake Superior. They settled in Earl, Wisconsin. Then and today the  Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad runs straight through the town https://spoonertrainride.com/

Annette came back to Allison for visits and for her dad’s funeral in 1914.  In 1915 her sisters Eva and Ethel with their husbands took an auto trip to Wisconsin. Annette died September 3, 1935 the Clarksville newspaper carried her obituary. Her sisters Eva and Ethel attended the funeral. Annette and Sherman are buried in Earl Cemetery in Earl, Wisconsin.

Source, Clarksville (Iowa) Star newspaper
1889 Aug 8 page 5 of 8 column 4 mid way, Annette and Sherman marriage
1903 Mar 12 page column 1 mid bottom, Annette moves to Springbrook WI.
1916 Jul 20 page column 2 mid top, Eva and Ethel visit Annette
1935 Sep 19 page 5 of 8 column 6 mid way

John Speedy b. 1825

John Speedy 3rd great uncle on RootsMagic tree

John was the 2nd son of Thomas and Elizabeth Glenn Speedy, the older brother of Manford Speedy. John was born in 1825 in Jefferson County, Ohio. He grew up on a farm. On March 8, 1855 he married Jane Foulks, a sister of his his older brother Thomas’s wife. John and Jane farmed and had 4 kids. The 1850 US agricultural census shows John Speedy’s farm: 40 acres of improved land, 18  acres of unimproved, $1650 cash value of farm, $ 85 cash value of machinery,  2 horses, 5 cows,13 sheep, 5 pigs, $ 250 value of livestock; produced 200 bushels of wheat, 300 bushels of Indian corn,  200 bushels of oats, 158 lb. of wool, 20 lb. of Irish potatoes, 200 lb. of butter, 2 tons of hay.

In 1863 John was 38 and was drafted or signed up for the Civil War. He fought with the Ohio 157th Infantry Company K, he was a Private. The 157th Infantry reported to Columbus, Ohio for duty on May 15, 1864, one of the’ Hundred Days’ Men’. The infantry went from Columbus, Ohio to Baltimore then on to guard Fort Delaware on the Delaware River south of Philadelphia. A Major Eames wrote, “Our journey from Columbus to Baltimore was tedious but full of interest. All along the route we were saluted with cheers and smiles and waving of handkerchiefs and flags from early dawn to long after sunset. Never in all my campaigning have I seen anything to compare with those manifestations of rejoicing for the promptness of the 100 day men of Ohio”. At Fort Delaware the soldiers were guarding Confederate prisoners of war. When not on duty John probably watched ships sailing and fished. “The heavy shipping traffic on the Delaware River was a source of fascination to the farm boys from Ohio, who would sit and watch the steamers, side-wheelers, ironclads and fishing boats for hours”. Fort Delaware is where John died. He and 9 others died from disease. 

Speedy, John in 157th Ohio Infantry

John Speedy, 157th Ohio Company K




Thomas Speedy b. 1823

Thomas Speedy 2nd great uncle on RootsMagic tree

Thomas was the oldest brother of Manford Speedy. Thomas was born in 1823 in Toronto, Ohio on the Ohio River bordering West Virginia. On May 30 1850 Thomas married Sarah Foulks and they stayed in the same area. Thomas and his brother John Speedy married Foulks sisters. Thomas married Sarah and John married Jane. Thomas and Sarah named a middle son Manford.

In 1863 Thomas was part of the Civil War draft registration. His age, 20-45, made service mandatory. Exceptions were given to: the only son of a widow, the son of infirm parents, or a widower with dependent children. This 1863 draft coincided with Gettysburg and the New York City Draft Riots (part of the Gangs of New York movie plot). Thomas was most likely a Union soldier in the Civil War, haven’t found a record yet.

US Civil War Draft Registrations Records 18631865(4)

On the 1860, 1870 and 1880 US censuses Thomas is a farmer. On the 1870 census and on his death record he’s also a wagon maker.

Ohio county death records 1840-2001. Thomas Speedy is 4th on the list
At FamilySearch.org Ohio County Marriages 1789-2013, Thomas Speedy and Sarah Foulks 1850 marriage
U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865

Manford Speedy b. 1838 sheriff

Manford Speedy b. 1838 in Jefferson, Ohio 2nd grandfather, on RootsMagic tree

Speedy, Manford photoManford Byron Speedy was a pioneer in Butler Center, Iowa. Butler Center is no longer around, UNI has it’s full history here a part of an Iowa Prairie site project. MB’s name is with the pioneers settled in 1856, that’s 10 years after Iowa became a state.

Manford ran for Sheriff and was elected in 1877, newspaper articles document the race and who ‘should be made the victim of slander and abuse this fall.’
1877 Jul 5 Page 3 of Butler County (Iowa) Press, column 2 mid bottom.
Mr. MB Speedy  and Mr. G Van Vlack of Shell Rock town­ship, desirous of being candidates for  county office this  fall, and think­ing there is no hope but for one of them called a primary election for last Saturday at which the voters of the township were to decide which one of them should be made the victim of slander and abuse this fall.

September 1877 Manford was endorsed in the local newspaper, a ’tower of strength’. 1877 Sep 13 Page 4 of Butler County (Iowa) Press, column 3 

In October 1877 Manford ‘called’ not on the phone but in person at the newspaper offices ‘MB Speedy one of the straight men on the straight Republican ticket for Butler county called last Saturday and exchanged ideas with us on the political topics of the day. Glad to see him’.
1877 Oct 4 Page 4 Butler County (Iowa) Press, column 1 mid top


Results for Sheriff in 1877 are in: History of Butler and Bremer counties, Iowa, a free ebook at HathiTrust, the snapshot shows Manford elected Sheriff and brother in law J W Stewart elected as Superintendent of Schools

Ethel Speedy b. 1880

Ethel Speedy, 2nd great aunt  on RootsMagic tree.

Ethel was born 8 July 1880 in Butler County, Iowa. On the 1895 Iowa census Ethel age 17, her dad Manford 55, mom Elizabeth Stewart Speedy 43, siblings Eva 20, Harve 11 and Ernest 6 years old live in the Jackson Township of Butler County. And under one roof they respect 3 religions: Manford is Baptist, Elizabeth is Methodist, Eva and Ethel are Congregationalist.

3 religions

“Iowa State Census, 1895,” database with images, FamilySearch

Also on the census Ethel is a teacher, she Ethel taught at Walnut Grove in 1904 and at Belle Plaine in 1908.  November 25, 1909 Ethel married LeRoy Mead. Herman Wild, husband to Ethel’s sister Eva is witness to the marriage. The Meads stayed in Allison, Iowa for a while then moved to Marengo, Iowa. Roy Mead was a clothing clerk then an insurance salesman. From Ethels’s obituary, before her death she was at the University of Iowa hospitals. Her sister Eva and husband Herman Wild and her brother Harve and wife Philippa Mockford ‘had been with her much of the time since then.’ Ethel died on May 30, 1939. Ethel and Roy Mead are buried at Allison Cemetery.


Thursday, June 4th, 1908


Thursday, February 4th, 1904

Newspaper snapshots from the Clarksville (Iowa) Star, Digital Archives of the Clarksville Public Library.

Oscar Speedy b. 1867

Oscar Alexander Speedy 2nd great uncle on RootsMagic tree.

Speedy, Oscar in Stockton California

Oscar’s parents were Manford and first wife Ann Coats Speedy. Ann died of typhoid fever in 1869, Oscar was 2. His 2nd mom was Elizabeth Stewart Speedy. Oscar grew up in Butler County, Iowa. He attended school and lived on a farm. By 1888 at age 21 he was out west in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California. He was first a miner then an engineer at the Stockton Jackson Baths, mineral baths. “The facility included twelve bath houses for private parties, a clubhouse for entertaining and a grand stand for musical concerts. The thirteen acre resort destination also featured lawn areas with picnic tables and barbecue pits, and even a small zoo and a scenic railway.” Article by Alice Van Ommeren, 2014 . The baths ended in the 1940s.

Speedy, Oscar Stockton, CA

Jackson Baths in Stockton California

Oscar is on the California Voter Lists in 1888 and 1892, not yet found on a census in California. ON voter lists Oscar is described “5′ 10″ dark complexion, hazel eyes, brown hair”.

He is not mentioned in his dad Manford’s 1914 obituary so may have died before 1914, not sureUpdate Fall 2019, Oscar Speedy has a Find a Grave memorial with details. At Find a Grave: Oscar A. Speedy is buried in Block 27N, Row G, Lot 164. He died in 1895, he was 28 years old. There’s no grave marker or death certificate, details. Burial information was provided by Cathleen Boccia, an employee of the Stockton Rural Cemetery, memorial created by “lawman on 29 Jun 2019”.


Manford Byron Speedy gets a telephone 1903

Our telephone exchange has enlarged somewhat recently, new ‘phones being put in the residence of M.B. Speedy, H.C. Parsons and E.J. Davis.

Manford Byron Speedy (2nd great grandfather) was born in 1838 Ohio, to William and (probably) Elizabeth Glenn Speedy. Manford is a family name given to a cousin Manford Homer Speedy and 2 of Manford’s grandsons as a middle name. In 1856, age 18, Manford left Ohio and is in Shell Rock, Iowa. In 1864 at 26 he marries Ann Eliza Coats and they have three children. Typhoid fever takes Ann and the youngest daughter’s life around 1869. In 1870 Manford is living with his Coats in-laws, his father William and his and Ann’s children. In 1874 Manford marries Elizabeth Stewart and they have 5 children.

The 1870 Agricultural Census shows Manford’s farm production: 160 total acres, 120 acres tilled, 14 acres of grassland, 3/4 acre of potatoes, 3 acres of apple trees. He had 8 milk cows, produced 700 lbs of butter, had 8 other cows with 4 calves dropped, 112 swine and 50 poultry. This poultry produced 250 dozen eggs for the year. 5 cord of wood were also produced.

Manford was known as MB and considered a noble pioneer in the Shell Rock and Allison areas of Butler County, Iowa. He was involved in local politics, he was a sheriff, farmer, general store owner and livestock buyer.

So anyway, Manford had a lot going on. Then in 1903 when he was 64 years old he gets a phone. This was such a big deal it was posted in the local newspaper. We talk about virtual reality in the 21st century. What was it like for Manford, calling on a ‘phone for the first time? His son Oscar was in San Joaqun, California , an engineer at the mineral baths in Stockton. Because the $ costs would have been pretty high I’m guessing they connected through one phone call if at all. But what was it like that instant he was speaking into a machine and could hear his son who he hadn’t seen or heard for years, what was it like to finally connect? Something would have changed, Manford and Oscar’s sense of reality forever altered, or not.



(Ancestry sources are $, FamilySearch.org offers an explanation on their wiki, these schedules are not at the NARA, I checked.) Ancestry.com. Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880. Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date:  2010

“Allison news.” The Iowa (Greene) Recorder. 10 February 1903. The Digital Archives of the Greene Public Library. http://greene.advantage-preservation.com/ : 2017.