Robert Storey Speed was the fifth child of John Speed & Hanah Storey born March 15th, 1816 & christened April 21st, 1816 at Sunderland, Co Durham.
In 1841 Robert, described as an agent, was living with his ‘widowed’ mother Hannah at Throston St, Hartlepool, Co Durham. Two sisters were also still at home - Hannah (20) & Sarah (15).
On November 20th, 1843 Robert married Elizabeth Graham at St Michael & All Angels, Bishop Wearmouth, Sunderland. Elizabeth was born c1820 in Wexford, Ireland, the daughter of Margaret & John Graham, employee of her Majesty’s Customs?
At a court hearing in 1844 Robert’s father John was stated to have been ‘lately lodging with Robert Storey Speed of Hartlepool, commission agent’.
By 1851 Robert & Elizabeth were living at Seaton, Co Durham & Robert was now described as a merchant (coal & timber) & a ship owner. They had 3 children – Louisa (5), John Geo (3) & Eliza (1). Also living with them was Elizabeth’s sister, Sarah Graham (12), & a groom & 2 house servant.
An article in the Durham Chronicle of February 21st, 1851 shows that Robert held shares in the Seaham Harbour Water Works Company.
Elizabeth died aged 33 at Seaton House, Seaton on February 8th, 1853.
The children of Robert Storey Speed & Elizabeth Graham were:
sp184.108.40.206.5.1 Louisa Speed christened September 10th, 1845 at Dalton-le-Dale, Seaham
sp.220.127.116.11.5.2 John George Speed christened May 23rd, 1848 at Houghton-le-Spring; buried September 22nd, 1919 at Howden, Yorks
sp.18.104.22.168.5.3 Eliza Speed born April-June 1849 at Seaham, Co Durham
sp.22.214.171.124.5.4 Annie Maria Speed born Oct-December 1851 at Seaham, Co Durham; buried January 26th, 1928 at Redcar Cemetery, N. Yorks
Widowed Robert married again on January 3rd, 1854 at Aldborough, Yorkshire. His new wife was Ann Roberts, daughter of James Roberts, a farmer. Witnesses at the wedding were Thomas Thornton & Elizabeth M Gainforth. Ann was born at Coneythorp, Yorkshire in c1828.
Robert’s career was oddly erratic in both nature & fortune! This article in the Manchester Courier & Lancashire General Advertiser of May 22nd, 1858 gives the following on Robert’s career: ‘Robert Storey Speed formerly residing at Seaton House & carrying on business at Seaham…. then residing in Foyle St, Sunderland & carrying on business at High St, Sunderland as a ship owner & coal exporter; also Danish, Swedish & Norwegian Vice-Consul; afterwards a lodger at Broughton Terrace, Lower Broughton, Manchester & carrying on business at 45 Cannon St, Manchester in partnership with William Kemptner as cap manufacturers under the name of Speed, Kemptner & Co, & late of Belmont, Broughton Lane, Lower Broughton, out of business.’ In consequence Robert was due to appear in the debtors court.
In 1861 Robert & Ann, known as Annie, were living at Fountain House, Fountain Terrace, Stranton, West Hartlepool & Robert was described as a ship broker (coal). With them were Robert’s children – Louisa, John, a solicitor’s clerk, Eliza & Annie, both at school.
In 1868 a notice in the Shields Daily Gazette of October 28th shows that Robert, late of Croft, Durham, commission agent was again declared bankrupt.
A notice in the Daily Telegraph & Courier (London) of February 10th, 1869 declared that the partnership of Robert Storey Speed, James Anderson Burr & Henry Lewis Wainwright of Sunderland, oil merchants was dissolved. Robert came before the court in October 1869 when he was stated to be of Croft & his liabilities were £159. Robert stated that he attributed his insolvency to having been called upon to meet the liabilities of his late partners, Mssrs Burr & Wainwright. He was adjudged bankrupt. (James Anderson Burr, noted as a timber merchant, was made bankrupt a number of times subsequently.)
By 1871 Robert & Annie were living on their own at Monk End, Smeaton, Yorkshire & Robert was now an accountant.
Annie died at Lamb St, Hartlepool in 1874.
Robert died in July-September, 1876 at Scarbro Street, Hartlepool.
Daughter Annie Marie married John Peacock, youngest son of the late John Peacock of Cargo Fleet, on June 30th, 1879.