Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The American Revolution: Eight Generations Ago

"During the American Revolutionary War, almost every able-bodied man, who was not a part of the Continental Army, joined their local Milita to help protect the settlement in which they lived. Such was the case for Jacob Speck. On July 21, 1780, General Horatio Gates was at Camden, South Carolina commanding a force of 3,200 troops of which Jacob was a part of. The British general, Lord Charles Cornwalis, was also there with an army of 2,100. Even though Gates had Cornwalis outnumbered, most of the americans lacked experience and training. The North Carlina Militia had never been tried. Gates was advised NOT to go into battle under the circumstances. But, he ignored the warning.

Just before dawn on August 16th, the British troops opened the battle as the right flank fired volley's into the militia regiments, causing a significant number of casualties. When the remaining militia looked up, they saw British troops advancing toward them with their bayonets drawn. The militia did not have bayonets to counter the attack. As panic began to spread, most of the militia fled before the British regiments reached them. General Gates was among the first to run. Within a matter of minutes, the whole rebel left wing had evaporated. When the smoke and dust from the cannon volley's cleared, laying among the dead on the battlefield was Jacob Speck. My ancestor, George Speck, never knew his father, but I am reminded that God never closes one door without opening another. Before his death, He had allowed Jacob to plant the seeds that would produce many future generations of Speck family members, including me."
- Randy Speck

Son of:
Glenn Darrell Speck
Birth: 4 Jun. 1938, Overton Co., TN
Death:  29 Jun. 2003, Clinton Co., KY
Burial: Memorial Hill Cemetery, Clinton Co., KY
Married to: Glenda Boles
Birth: Feb. 1939, Clinton Co., KY


Son of:
Cecil Speck
Birth: 22 Apr. 1917, Overton Co., TN
Death: 8 Feb. 1986, Jefferson Co., KY
Burial: Memorial Hill Cemetery, Clinton County, KY
Married to: Dimple Means, 22 May 1937
Birth: 8 Mar. 1918, Overton Co., TN
Death:  22 Feb. 1986, Clinton Co., KY
Burial: Memorial Hill Cemetery, Clinton Co., KY


Son of:
Obed Speck
Birth: 11 Jan. 1888, Overton Co., TN
Death:  30 Oct. 1950, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Ledbetter Cemetery, Overton Co., TN Married to: Josie L. Ledbetter, 1910
Birth: 21 Mar. 1892, Overton Co., TN
Death: 27 Apr. 1936, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Ledbetter Cemetery, Overton Co., TN


Son of:
James Wiley Speck
Birth: 2 Dec. 1859, Overton Co., TN
Death:  9 Jul. 1941, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Liberty Cemetery, Overton Co., TN
Married to: Margaret McDonald, 8 Aug 1882 in Overton Co., TN
Birth: 16 Dec. 1861, Overton Co., TN
Death:  10 Mar. 1905, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Liberty Cemetery, Overton Co., TN


Son of:
William Calvin Speck
Birth: 3 Jan. 1840, Overton Co., TN
Death: 6 Jun. 1903, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Liberty Cemetery, Overton Co., TN
Private Co I 25 Tenn Infantry CSA
Married to: Martha S. Walker about 1860
Birth: 8 Apr. 1839, Overton Co., TN
Death:  5 Oct. 1920, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Liberty Cemetery, Overton Co., TN


Son of :
John Speck
Birth: 3 Oct. 1812, North Carolina
Death:  7 Sep. 1886, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Highland Cemetery, Overton Co., TN
Married to: Nancy Ashburn
Birth: 3 May 1818
Death: 22 Dec. 1896, Overton Co., TN
Burial: Highland Cemetery, Overton Co., TN


Son of:
George Speck
Birth: 1781, Stokes Co., North Carolina
Death: 22 May 1846, Overton Co., TN
Married to: Barbara Foreman
Birth: 1779, Stokes Co., North Carolina
Death: 1850-1860, Overton Co., TN


Son of:
Jacob Speck, Sr.
Birth: 29 Apr. 1753, Lancaster Co., PA
Death: 16 Aug. 1780, South Carolina
Battle of Camden, South Carolina
Burial: Believed to be in a mass grave on the site of the battlefield
Married to: Catherine Keefer
Birth: About 1758, York Co., PA
After 4 Jan. 1783, Rowan Co., NC



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

An Evening of Music: Betsy Lane Shepherd, American Concert Soprano Music Program

Many thanks to Jane Metters LaBarbara for including parts of my story on early recording artist Betsy Lane Shepherd in an article she wrote about Shepherd entitled...

"An Evening of Music: Betsy Lane Shepherd, American Concert Soprano Music Program."

Her article can be found online at the West Virginia University 'WVU Libraries' site.

(click here)

It was posted September 8, 2014 by Stewart Plein, Rare Book Librarian at WVU.








Monday, May 25, 2015

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep


Found in the knapsack of a soldier of the Civil War, after he had been slain in battle.

Near the camp fire's flickering light
In my blanket bed I lie
Gazing through the shades of night
And the twinkling stars on high
O'er me spirits in the air 
Silent vigils seem to keep
As I breathe my childhood's prayer
"Now I lay me down to sleep"

Sadly sings the whip-poor-will
In the boughs of yonder tree
Laughingly the dancing rill 
Swells the midnight melody
Foemen may be lurking near
In the canyon dark and deep
Low I breathe in Jesus' ear
"I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep" 

'Mid those stars one face I see
One the Saviour turned away
Mother, who, in Infancy
Taught my baby lips to pray
Her sweet spirit hovers near
In this lonely mountain-brake
Take me to her, Saviour, dear
"If I should die before I wake" 

Fainter grows the flickering light
As each ember slowly dies
Plaintively the birds of night
Fill the air with saddening cries
Over me they seem to cry
"You may never more awake" 
Low I lisp, If I should die
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take"

No Greater Love



"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

"Oh, tell me not that they are dead, that generous host, that airy army of invisible heroes. They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this nation. Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society, and inspire the people with nobler motives, and more heroic patriotism?

Ye that mourn, let gladness mingle with your tears. It was your son, but now he is the nation's. He made your household bright: now his example inspires a thousand households. Dear to his brothers and sisters, he is now brother to every generous youth in the land. Before, he was narrowed, appropriated, shut up to you. Now he is augmented, set free, and given to all. Before, he was yours: he is ours. He has died from the family, that he might live to the nation. Not one name shall be forgotten: or neglected : and it shall by and by be confessed of our modern heroes, it is of an ancient hero, that he did more for his country by his death than by his whole life."

(Henry Ward Beecher)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Battle of Camden: A Memorial Day Tribute To My Ancestor, Jacob Speck


During the American Revolutionary War, almost every able-bodied man, who was not a part of the Continental Army, joined their local Militia to help protect the settlement in which they lived. Such was the case for Jacob Speck. On July 21, 1780, General Horatio Gates was at Camden, South Carolina commanding a force of 3,200 troops of which Jacob was a part of. The British general, Lord Charles Cornwallis, was also there with an army of 2,100. Even though Gates had Cornwallis outnumbered, most of the Americans lacked experience and training. The North Carlina Militia had never been tried. Gates was advised NOT to go into battle under the circumstances. But, he ignored the warning.

Just before dawn on August 16th, the British troops opened the battle as the right flank fired volley's into the militia regiments, causing a significant number of casualties. When the remaining militia looked up, they saw British troops advancing toward them with their bayonets drawn. The militia realized they did not have bayonets to counter the attack. Panic began to spread and most of the militia fled before the British regiments reached them. General Gates was among the first to run from the field, leaving his remaining troops on the field alone. Within a matter of minutes, the whole rebel left wing had evaporated.

Five years earlier, Jacob and Catherine Speck had gotten married. She was 16 at the time. Jacob Jr. was now four, Michael had just turned two and a third son, George, my 6th great-grandfather, was less than two months old. It is hard to imagine what Catherine must have thought or felt as she watched her husband leave home to defend their new settlement. It is even harder to imagine what she must have felt later. For you see...in that pre-dawn hour on that warm August 16, 1780 morning, when the smoke and dust from the cannon volley's had finally cleared, Jacob Speck lay dead on the battlefield.

God never closes one door without opening another. Before his death, He allowed Jacob to plant the seeds that would produce many future generations of Speck family members, including me.


The Battle of Point Pleasant: A Memorial Day Tribute To My Ancestor, John Frogge, Jr.

In 1774, the Ohio Valley indians were trying to drive back the white invaders from their hunting grounds and the Virginians were seeking only to protect their settlements from the rifle, tomahawk and scalping knife. The call for volunteers went out. John Frogge, Jr. had a young pregnant wife and a three-year-old child at home and hesitated to enlist, but wanting to join his cousins, neighbors and fellow countrymen for their retribution against the Indians, he told his wife that he would only provide an escort for the militia and would return prior to the engagement. He told her that he would only act as a sutler behind enemy lines, providing them with provisions such as blankets and food. So, after organizing, the men marched to Point Pleasant, Ohio. What they did not realize was that the Indians were watching them. After dark on the evening of October 9, the Shawnee, led by chief Cornstalk, crossed the Ohio River and were ready to surprise the Virginians at daybreak...except for one unseen event.

In the early morning hours of October 10, 1774, two soldiers had left camp to hunt deer when they found themselves surrounded by the indians. One of the soldiers was killed. The other managed to escape and ran back to warn the others. The 300-man army suddenly found themselves standing face to face with the entire united force of the enemy, Ohio indians. The battle lasted all day. Just before sunset, the Shawnees mistook a group of reinforcements as fresh troops and fled across the Ohio River and back to their villages. Even though they were greatly outnumbered, the Virginians had managed to win the fight, but the battle had claimed the lives of many men, including John Frogge, Jr., who did not have time to return to his family as he had promised he would.

On the morning of the battle, John Frogge, Jr.'s three-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, was sleeping at the family's home in Staunton, Virginia, when suddenly she awoke screaming that the Indians were killing her father. She was quieted by her mother and again went to sleep, only to wake up screaming not once but twice more repeating what she had said earlier, that the Indians were killing her father. After the third time, the girls mother believed it was a sign that her husband had been scalped by the Indians. Her cries drew together her neighbors and soon all of Staunton was in a state of commotion. Soon...all of Staunton would know that the little girls dream was real.

John Frogge, Jr. was my 5th great uncle on my mom's side.