Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 435
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
A. D. SPECK
A D Speck is one of the well known, successful and prominent pioneers and agriculturists of Rice county, whither he came in the year 1879. He was born in York county, Pennsylvania, January 19, 1839, and represents a well known and honored family, ever characterized for straightforward dealing, energy and integrity. His father, Martin Speck, was also a native of the Keystone state and was there reared upon a farm belonging to his father, Adam Speck, who was born in Pennsylvania, but was of German lineage. The family was founded in the new world at an early period in its development, and in Pennsylvania both Adam and Martin Speck followed farming. The latter was married in York county, Pennsylvania, to Miss Elizabeth Leighty, whose birth occurred in that county and who also belonged to one of the old families of York county, of German origin. Martin and Elizabeth Speck became the parents of three sons and six daughters, namely: Catherine; Nancy and Joanna, both deceased; John; Barbara, who has also passed away; Elizabeth, deceased; Margaret; Joseph; and A D, of this review, who is the only one living in Kansas. The father was born September 2, 1798, and died September 21, 1849, after devoting his time and attention throughout his active business career to farming. He voted with the Whig party and in religious faith was a Lutheran. His wife, who was born in 1796, also held membership in the same church, and her death occurred September 28, 1873. She was loved by all for her many good qualities of heart and mind, and the father of our subject was recognized as a man whose word was as good as his bond.
On the old homestead farm in Pennsylvania, A D Speck was reared, and lessons of industry and perseverance were early instilled into his mind and formed an excellent foundation upon which to rear a character of worth. His education was obtained in the public schools and in the practical school of experience, where he learned many lessons of value. He was married May 28, 1863, to Miss Mary A Stickel, who was born in York county, Pennsylvania, a daughter of Peter and Margaret (Gentzler) Stickel. In 1863 Mr Speck left his Pennsylvania home. In 1870 he removed with his family from White Pigeon, Michigan, to Blackhawk county, Iowa, and there his wife died, leaving four children, of whom two are now living: Mrs Laura E Mertz, of Lyons, and Mrs Clara Jane Markle, wife of H Markle, of Rice county. Those who have passed away are: Elizabeth M, who died in Iowa, and Albert E, whose death occurred in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. After the death of his first wife Mr Speck was again married, on the 4th of July, 1873, the wedding being celebrated in Iowa, at which time Esther Everhart became his wife. She was born in Indiana, but was reared in Iowa, and her death occurred August 3, 1874. For several years Mr Speck remained single and was then married, on the 5th of July, 1879, in Hutchinson, Kansas, to Miss Carry Stokes, a lady of intelligence and good family, who was born and reared in Michigan, pursuing her education in St Joseph, that state. Her father was Richard Stokes, who was born in England about 1828 and came to the United States in early manhood. He died at the age of forty-three years. Her mother was born in York county, Pennsylvania, and passed away at the age of fifty-three. They were Lutherans in religious belief, and the former made farming his life work. In their family were ten children, five sons and five daughters, as follows: William, who died in early youth; Sarah; Mary; Emma, who has also passed away; Ella; Mrs Speck; John, who died in childhood; Henry; George and Charles.
Prior to his last marriage Mr Speck removed from Iowa, in 1874 locating in St Joseph county, Michigan, where he made his home until 1879, when he removed to Kansas. He located in Atlanta township, Rice county, and has since successfully carried on agricultural pursuits. He here owns five hundred and sixty acres of valuable land, and his rich and fertile fields yield to him excellent harvests. The land borders on Cow creek and is thus well watered. In addition to the cultivation of the cereals best adapted to this climate, he has also devoted considerable attention to the raising of stock. His farm is splendidly improved with a comfortable and commodious residence, a good barn, fine orchard, a good grove, verdant pastures and fields of golden grain. He is now the owner of the finest residence in Rice county. It is located in Lyons and is known as the Ed Dupree property, having been erected by Mr Dupree at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars. It is supplied with all modern conveniences, including hot and cold water, is tastefully furnished and gives every evidence of the culture and refinement of the inmates. The house is surrounded by a beautiful lawn, and in the rear of the property stands a splendid barn and a good orchard.
The marriage of Mr and Mrs Speck has been blessed with two sons, - Harry and John, aged respectively sixteen and thirteen years. They also lost three children. Their appreciation of the absolute ethics of life, or beautiful home is celebrated for its gracious hospitality, and its social functions are among the most important given in the community. In his political affiliations Mr Speck is a Democrat, and religiously is connected with the Presbyterian church. Mrs Speck is also a member of that denomination.