John George Speed was the second child of Robert Storey Speed & Elizabeth Graham christened May 23rd, 1848 at Houghton-le-Spring, Co Durham.
John was living with his parents & 2 sisters at Seaton, Co Durham in 1851. His father Robert was described as a merchant (coal & timber) & a ship owner.
John’s mother died in 1853 & his father married again in 1854.
The 1861 census shows John, now working as a solicitor’s clerk, still living with his father & step-mother Annie at Fountain House, Fountain Terrace, Stranton, West Hartlepool. There were 3 sisters still at home & his father was described as a ship broker (coal).
John was educated at a boarding school in Kirkleatham, Yorks. He worked as a reporter in Middlesbrough, then became editor on various papers in Lancashire, London & elsewhere. He was a philosopher & published poet, his book the Borderer’s Leap & other poems being published in 1869. (Mid-Victorian Poetry 1860-1879, by Catherine Reilly)
By 1871 John had become a newspaper reporter & he was lodging at 91 Marton Rd, Middlesbrough, the home of Samuel Richardson, a joiner, & family
John continued to work as a newspaper reporter & in 1881 he was lodging at 16 Hart St, Ulverston, Lancs, the home of widow Jane Askew.
In 1891 John was still in Lancashire & boarding with Alfred Arnson, a police constable, & family at 29 Scott St, Warrington. John was described as a press representative.
By 1911 John was living with his widowed sister, Louisa Metcalfe who was described as housekeeper. John was still a press reporter & they were living at Vine Cottage, St John St, Howden, Yorkshire. John was noted as married for 14 years.
John died in 1919 at Howden & was buried September 22nd at Howden. An obituary in The Hull Daily Mail of September 20th, 1919 states that John was a third cousin of General Havelock & that he used to relate that his paternal grandfather fought under Nelson & took part in the Battle of the Nile.