Scripps-Speed Family Papers, 1830-1909


Scripps-Speed Family Papers, 1830-1909


Scripps-Speed Family


Papers, 1830-1909


.84 linear feet (2 manuscript boxes)


Prominent Rushville, Illinois families with Dr. Joshua Speed marrying Virginia Ellen Scripps, the daughter of Reverend John Scripps.  Joshua Speed (1834-1900) was born in Danville, Kentucky, graduated from Center College there and then attended medical school at Keokuk, Iowa and the Rush Medical College in Chicago.  He practiced medicine in Rushville and during the Civil War was assistant-surgeon in the provost marshal’s department of the Ninth Congressional District.  He was examining surgeon at the enrollment board in Mt. Sterling.  His wife Ellen (1833-) was the daughter of John Scripps (1785- ), a Methodist preacher, merchant and newspaper publisher.  He and his son J.C. Scripps published the Prairie Telegraph in Rushville, 1850-1854, until it burned down.  J.C. continued on in the newspaper business.  Ellen and Joshua’s daughter married Everett R. McFadden.


Includes the papers of John Scripps, 1830-1838, (48 items) concerning business and personal affairs and includes letters from Benjamin Bacon, Samuel Bogart, Greer W. Davis, James Keyte, and A. McAlister.  The letters discuss much church business including problems within, the possibility of starting a paper in Rushville, cholera, merchandise for Scripps’ store, property, neighboring communities in Illinois and life in Illinois.  The letters of Joshua Speed, 1858-1869 (54 items) are written to Ellen while he is at medical school in Keokuk and during his Civil War service.  The papers of Ellen Scripps Speed, 1841-1908 (150 items) include letters to her husband, her son William, her daughter Elizabeth, her brother William Scripps and from various family members pertaining to family affairs.  Includes her diaries, 1906-1908.  Also an 1842 cyphering book. The correspondence of Elizabeth Speed McFadden (1871- ), 1908-1909, (42 items) consists primarily of letters from her mother.


The letters of Joshua N. Speed have been published.  For edited versions see “A Medical Student in Keokuk, Letters of Joshua Nichols Speed, 1858-1860,”  Annals of Iowa, Vol. 37, No. 6; and “An Illinois Physician and the Civil War Draft, 1864-1865,” in Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. 59, No. 2.


Access:  Open for Research


Acc. No:  70-31


Processed by:  Lauren Bowen, July 1984



                                                            Scripps-Speed Family                                                 Page 2

                                                                  Container List


Box     Folder


                        John Scripps:

1          1          Letters, 1831-1833

            2          Letters, 1834-1838


                        Joshua N. Speed

            3          Letters, 1858-1869


                        Ellen (Scripps) Speed:

            4          Letters to Joshua Speed, 1858-1864

            5          Letters from brother, William Scripps, 1859-1863

            6          Letters from sisters, 1850-1870’s

            7          Correspondence, 1841-1873

            8          Cyphering Book, 1842; Autograph Book, 1852-1854; Account Book, 1861 [3 volumes]

            9          Diaries, 1906, 1907, 1908 [3 volumes]


                        Will Speed:

2          1          Correspondence, 1878-1900 and undated


                        Elizabeth Speed (Mrs. Everett McFadden):

            2          Correspondence, 1881 and 1892-March 1893

            3          Correspondence, April-June 1893; 1895 and undated

            4          Correspondence, 1907-September 1908

            5          Correspondence, October-December 1908 and undated


                        Scripps-Speed Family:

            6          Letters, 1857-1907 and undated

            7          Papers-calling cards, invitations, valentines, etc.


“Scripps-Speed Family Papers, 1830-1909,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed May 19, 2019,