Doctor Joshua N. Speed
Dr. Joshua N. Speed is a native of Danville, Kentucky. The date of his birth
was February 1st, 1834. The family is of English and Scotch ancestry.
They were early settlers in Virginia, and emigrated to Kentucky soon after
the latter state was admitted into the Union. Members of the Speed family
became prominent in the councils of their state, and also in the nation.
William Speed, the father of the subject of this sketch, is a native of Carey
county, Kentucky. In early life he followed the trade of cabinet maker, subsequently
held the office of police judge of Danville, Kentucky. He came to Illinois
in 1854, and settled in the town of Rushville, where he still resides, and
where he is one of the justices of the peace. He married Elizabeth Nichols,
a native of Providence, Rhode Island. The marriage took place in Kentucky,
where she was taken while yet in her infancy. By that union there were
four children, three of whom are living. Dr. Speed is the eldest of
the offspring. His youth was spent in the private schools of his native
town, wherein he was fitted for entrance to college. At the age of
eighteen he entered Center College at Danville, and graduated from that institution
in the class of 1853. In 1860, the mine institution conferred on him
the honorary degree of A. M. In the winter of 1855/6, he was elected
to, and filled the Chair of Mathematics in McDonough College at Macomb, Illinois.
Mr. Speed had in early life determined to adopt the profession of medicine,
as the business of his life, and, with that idea in view, paid particular
attention and studied with care those branches that could aid him in his
profession. After the family came to Illinois he entered the office
of Dr. Sweeney, of Rushville, and commenced the study. He read the
standard text-books and pursued his studies diligently until the fall of
1858, when he entered the medical department of the University of Iowa, at
Keokuk, and there took two regular courses and graduated from the university
in the spring of 1860 with the degree of M. D. Subsequently he attended
a course for practitioners in Rush Medical College, Chicago, Illinois.
During vacation in 1859 he commenced the practice in Rushville. After
his graduation, he went to Ripley, in Brown County, and practice until the
fall of 1861, when he came to Rushville, and here he has continued to the
present. During the war he was assistant-surgeon in the provost marshal’s
department of the Ninth Congressional District, and remained in the position
until the close of the war. Dr. Speed is a believer in and practices
the regular school of medicine. He is progressive, and keeps fully
posted in all the discoveries that are constantly being made in the science
of medicine. In his practice he has been more than ordinarily successful
and it has been reasonably remunerative.
On the 13th of June, 1861, he was united in marriage to Miss Virginia Ellen, daughter of Reverend John Scripps. She was born in Schuyler county. Her family were among the old settlers of this section of the country. They were natives of England. The doctor’s marriage has been bless with five children, two of whom are living, whose names are William Henry, and Elizabeth Speed. Both the doctor and his wife are members of the M. E. Church. He is a member of the Order of A. F. and A. M. Politically, he comes from old line whig stock, most of whom were devoted to the theory of emancipation as advocated by Henry Clay. When the republican party was formed, the doctor became a member of the political organization and cast his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont in 1856. In his habits he is temperate, and is an advocate of prohibition. Dr. Speed is a man of pleasant and agreeable manners, and a companionable gentleman.
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