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Jane Speed


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At a Glance

Jane Speed was the cousin of Nannie Taylor Speed  who also attended the Burwell School. The Speed ancestors attended St. John's College, Oxford, England and were medical doctors. The Speeds came to America in 1695 and served in Revolutionary War and were instrumental in beginning churches in Virginia. Jane's paternal grandfather, John Henry Speed, ran a spa and sold Buffalo Spring water. Jane's maternal Strachan ancestors came from Scotland where they were barons who in 1625 supported Charles I of Kincardshire.


Jennie Speed appeared to have been sent to the Burwell School following the death of her mother, Ann Strachan Jones. According to the The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South [1], she attended the Spring term of 1852 and her roommates were Elizabeth Coit  and Mary J. D. Wortham . During the summer of 1852, Elizabeth Coit  died at the school. In a letter from 1856, Mrs. Burwell (Margaret Anna Robertson) noted that at Maria Howerton's wedding in Hillsborough, NC Jennie was  "cool"  toward her, but that Jennie's father, John Joseph Speed was  "polite."  After her father's second marriage to Cynthia Anne Tunstall, Jennie remained at Rose Hill Plantation in Granville County, NC where she was listed on the United States Census of 1860 [2] as 22 years old. She married William Townes Boyd later that year and likely moved to her husband's home in Boydton, VA where her son Alfred Boyd was born in 1869 [1] [2] [3].

Biographical Data

Jane was called Jenny.
She was also called Jennie.

Important Dates

Jane Speed was born in 1838, in Rose Hill Plantation in Granville County, NC. She died in 1878.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended

  • Burwell School, from 1852. Jenny Speed attend the Burwell School during the Spring term of 1852.
  • unknown, from 1850. Jenny Speed attended an unknown school, as she was listed in the United States Census of 1850 [4] as  "in school." [4]



  1. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  2. United States Census of 1860.
  3. Thomas Henry Speed, III. The Speed Family of Virginia and North Carolina. (Oxford, N.C.: James D. Speed, 2002).
  4. United States Census of 1850.