Biography of Robert G. H. Speed
Tompkins County, NY Biographies





Speed, Robert Goodloe Harper, was born in Caroline, July 5, 1845. Dr. Joseph Speed, the grandfather of Robert, had ten children, of whom James Richard, our subject's father, was the seventh, being born in Caroline March 20, 1815, educated in Cortland Academy and studied law in Ithaca, practicing, however, but a short time and returning to the farm. He was killed by lightning in 1854. He was a trustee of the People's College, which was finally merged into Cornell University. He married Frances C. Peters of Ithaca, by whom he had six children, Mary Caroline, Richard Peters, Robert, Henry Linn, Jessie Harper and Sallie Peters, the last four of whom and the mother are now living. Of these Robert was the third. He was educated at Cortland Academy at Homer, and Cornell University, graduating in the classical course at the academy in 1867, and with the class of '71 at Cornell University with the degree of Ph. B. Soon after leaving college he was elected school commissioner, first on the Republican ticket and afterwards on the Liberal Republican with the endorsement of the Democratic and Prohibition parties, serving six years, and in 1884 he was elected supervisor of the town, serving four years. For the past five years Mr. Speed has been justice of the peace. He is still a Republican, but too independent to be a strong partisan. In October, 1872, he married Romelia Van Pelt, daughter of L. D. Van Pelt, of Dryden, and they have five children. The oldest son, Robert L., is now a sophomore in Cornell; Bessie F. is a graduate of Ithaca High School, where Mary H. is now a student, and Lorenzo and Emma are at home. Mr. Speed is a charter member of Caroline Lodge No. 681, F. and A. M.; a member of Eagle Chapter No. 58; a member of the Grange, and of the I. O. G. T. He is a director in the Town and County Insurance Company, and also in the County Agricultural Society. He built the Caroline Cheese Factory in 1868 and still owns it.

From:
Landmarks of Tompkins County, New York
Including a History of Cornell University
Edited by: John H. Selkreg
D. Mason & Co., Publishers
Syracuse, N. Y. 1894


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