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0 / 75
Tuesday, October 27, 1925
Bpdy of Floyd Speaks I* Unburied .
7 Years After Death in World War
By W. M. MOORE.
Statesville. Oct. 21.—John Speaks,
eccentric, of tml i'll county, convinced
that the world is soon to come to an
end. refuses to bury the body of his
son. killed in the World War. ' In
stead. he has built a little annex to
Itis farm home to house the casket 1
of the youth: and here, with
his father and* mother passing in and
out unconcernedly about their daily
occupations, all that is immortal of
Thomas Uoyd Speaks, aged 15, awaits
the resurrection without the confining
habiliments of earth.
Although liimself a poor man. and
without any of the luxuries of life to
eomfort his small family, John
Rpeaks has persistently refused to ac
cept the SIO,OOO of insurance which
a grateful government stands ready
and willing to pay on the life of the
.flead soldier. John Speaks will not
compensation for the life of his
son killed by Germafi shells in defense
of his country.
Keeps Dally Vigil.
1 For four years., w;tn unabated de
votion. John Speaks has been keep
ing daily vigil over the remains of his
Veloved dead. Iredell county author
lies. when the fact first became pub
l lely known, instituted an investiga
,CV to ascertain if the situation was
kjptjiace to public health. The pres
ence of a metallic coffin on the prem
ises was found neither to be danger
ous nor obnoxious to the public. In
deference to public opinion, however,
he agreed to the removal of the body
from the family living room, and con
structed a little one-room house in
the yard !o shelter it
Thomas Boyd Speaks was killed
in action in France near the Argonne
forest, on October 4, 1918, a little I
more than a month before the armis-i
tice was signed. According to Pie -
testimony of a neighbor boy, who was!
in the same battle, the life of Boyd
Speaks was snuffed out instantly by
a German shell which passer] through
his breast. The body was buried in I
France, and remained in a French 1
cemetery until 1921.. when it was
shipped to America with the bodies of
thousands of other American heroes,
arriving at the. home of hie parents on
For seven months John Speaks
slept every night in the same room
wiiii the flag draped casket. The I
county physician, the sheriff, and the !
welfare superintendent, acting on re
ports of neighbors, made a personal
visit to the Speaks' home. They could
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find nothing objectionable in the pres
ence of the casket, and there appeared
to be no legal action that would hold
to force n burial. But they did per
suade. Speaks to construct a separate
apartment ih which the remains might
lie and lo remove the gruesome object |
' from the immediate presence of the
Builds House in Yard,
Speaks finally decided to build a
little house in- the yard, and here, on
March 251, 1922, the sacred remains
of the soldier boy were removed. And
here they have since rested. The
miniature structure is about eight feet
square, neatly weatherboarded. With
small windows at each end, knd a
little porch across the front. Modest
po,t flowers and neat shrubbery adorn
tlie entrance and Rides of the building.
John Speak)! and his wife pass in and
out of thie weird mausoleum as if it
vjere the inhabited quarters of a liv
The casket, wrapped in the stars
and stripes, .rests on the box in
which it was from Europe
more than four years ago. By rais
ing a corner of the flag, the identifica
tion of the steeper ,1h found engraved
in the metal: "Thomas Boyd Speaks,
bugler, Company E. 18th
OnAhe walls, of the room hang a hat
anu a cap and several other articles of
apparel that were the property and
formerly worn by tbe deceased soldier,
A clothes rack and a plank on which
letters were cut by the boy with a
jack-knife before he enlisted in the
army are among the relicts stored in
the room as mementos of the beloved
son. It is as if this were the bed
room of the young man. and the cas*
ket a piece of furniture.
| At the age of 15 years Boyd Speaks.
[ without the knowledge or consent of
■ his father, volunteered for army serv
j ice overseas. The father was very
much upset that a youth of so tender
an age should be forced to undergo
the privations and dangeros of a sol
| diet* at the front. But the anxious
! parent's efforts to secure the release
of the boy were of no avail, Tbe
youthful soldier was himself indiffer
ent in regard to his dismissal until
he bad smelled tbe smoke of the ene-
I tuy and tasted his power. Ho went
with his comrades against the Hin
! A few days before he fell on the
battlefront the young man wrote to
his parents, telling them how much
he wanted teh terrible war to come
to a close, and how anxious he was to
I return to his beloved Iredell hills and
to tell them of his adventures. This
letter, young Rpeaks' last message to
his people at home, is being carefully
preserved. At the age of I*. two
years after he had enlisted with the
“Iredell Blues” at Statesville, answer
ing the first call of the President for
volunteers the life of Thomas Boyd
Speaks passed but 1n a hell cf flgh'
. ing. He ‘‘carried on" to the last so
| his country and the cause of .world
John Rpeaks, now 53 years of age
was born neat, his present residence
and has spent his entire life in that
community. His educational advant
ages were limited and his social life
has been confined to the narrow
sphere of the community. He occa
sionally makes a trip to his county
town. He reads' his Bible, The
Statesville Landmark and a Kaflsas
City paper. He is serious minded,
never indulging in jokes or frivoli
ties of any sort. Visitors to hjs
home are cordially received and ex
tended every conrteay. Though un
lettered himself, John Rpeaks has tried
to give his children the best educa
tion of which bis environment is cap
The home is situated- in Union
Grove township, near Jennings post
office, 22 miles north of Statesville.
It lies a few hundred yards off one-of
the county highways, on a beautiful
eminence, in a fascinating rolling
country. The property includes a
100-aere farm, intelligently cultivated,
which yields for the household an
abundance of the necessities of life.
Eight children were born to Mr. and
Mrs. Speaks, all -of whom are living
with tho exception of the dead sol
Two Trained Nurses.
Two of his daughters are trained
nurses and are making good in their
profession in two of the larger cities
in the state. A crippled boy, now
about 17 years of age, abandoned the
parental roof about two years ago.
Onlfc one child, a girl, the youngest
of tbe family, remains with her par
ents. Mrs. Rush, the aged mother
of John Speaks, makes her home with
her son. The little household ap
pears to- be happy and contented.
There is ncV-Wtterness in their hearts
because of the dead son and brother,
and no morbidness because of t,he
presence of death among them.
A newspaperman and a photogra
pher were recently guests at the
house for a day. Mrs. S|>eaks, with
becoming modesty; made apology for
liie wearing apparel and the house
hold goods which were left hanging
about the yard when the pictures of
the house were made, and John
Speaks, as hj posed for his photo
graph, the first and only one of his
ever taken, remarked, “II I had
knowed you was going to take our
pictures I would have shaved. I shave
every two weeks, and tomorrow is my
time to shave.” He was reticent
about telling his story and the story
of hie} son. but agreed to do so when
told that the country at large was in
terested. He appeared surprised that
that his unusual procedure has caused
concern, i He declared- that govern
ment money on the life of his son
would burn his fingers.
John Rpeaks is a religious fanatic.
He will hot attend any of the
churches in his neighborhood, declar
ing that they are all wrong. Simi
larly, he will have nothing, to do wi.th
politics, because the game is not
played in accordance with big ideas
of right and justice. “The churches
are all wrong,” lie said. “I don’t go
to any services—it is all babbling,
false worship. My , little ; girl wetjt
to Sunday school thjs-'sumfpsr. Sttta-i
day school would be. all right if tAe
people were right. - I’d be glad •to
know they were right. If they aye
wrong, I cgn’t help it. I don’t be
long to anything under , the sun—-I
don’t belong to nothing. I did join
the Farmers’ Alliance, once. I dotte
this to get goods cheaper. If the
people were right we’d need no court
houses, jails or penitentiaries. But
you‘see, the people ain’t ritlu.”
Immovable For Bight.
When it comes to deviating from
the path of right, as he sees tte
'right, John Speaks is as solid and
immovable as she huge. boulders
among his native'bills. Ht does not
think it morally right to accept money
from tbe government for the .death of
his son—the combined resources of all
the banks of the-country are not shf
fleient to repay John Speaks for, the
loss of the boy—hence his persistent
refusal to make application for the
SIO,OOO insurance the government
stands ready and willing to pay. He
believes that such money would' stand
in his way of earning his heavenly
Some time ago tbe ' government
wroth H. P. Van Hoy, a citizen of
Union Grove township, now treasurer
of Iredell county, asking him to use
bis influence to induce John Speaks
to accept the insurance. His efforts
were fruitless. John Speaks said
he felt that the money might stand
between him and heaven. During
many years of frugal living and dlose
application to his daily duties Speaks
has^accumulated,an estates valued at
approximately $53,000. The tempta
tion of SIO,OOO placed in his hands
without further effort on his / part
than to make application for it does
not appeal to him when jt comes to
making what he considers a eompro-
I mise with a moral or religious quee-
I tion. -
When asked why he did not want
to bury tbe remains of his son,
Speaks stated that he felt certain
i that it would not be long until tbe
general resurrection of t}e dead, and
he thought it unnecessary to bury the
boy fpr the little time that remains
before the dead wfll be raised. He
also called attention to the fact that
the soldier has already been buried
once, and be considers that sufficient,
i It was not intended that a man sbiuld
i be buried more than once, be says.
Since the body of his son has been
disinterred, he does not believe that
the divine scheme of things intends
that it shall again be placed in the
An Eccentric Character.
!" John Speaks will go down in his
tory as perhaps tiro most eccentric
character in the world. He is cer
tainly entitled to honorable mention
- among all the ecccentrica of the world.
THE CONCORD DAILY TRIBUNE
His ideas on many questions of pub
lic concern are out of the ordinary.
He is a close student of the Bible,
and »R apparently deeply devout and
religious; yet he will affiliate w.ith
neither the Baptists, the Methodist*
nor the Friends, all of whom have
duly organized churches in fie com
munity. * He discusses politics with
sqme freedom, but does not claim fel
lowship with any political party. At
Otie time he voted with the Republi
cans. but for a number of years lie ,
has not appeared at the ballot box.
The whole scheme, both religious and
political, is operated cn the wrong
basis, according to tho conscientious
belief of this man. , Nobody who
knows John Rpeaks questions his sin
cerity or his honesty.
, He Got His Man.
A man rushed up to Policeman
Monahan in New York one day not
long ago and breathlessly asked him
to catch a burglar in a near-by house.
The officer at once summoned another
pol’eemafl and together they hurried
to the house, that was being burglariz
staalthily they crept into the hall 1
and made their way along the' pas
sage. Before they had adyhneed many
pacey'Policeman Monahan heard an
upstairs door slaffi. Captiously he
went up the stairway and opened a
door at the head of the stairs. Oppo
site him in the room he saw the dim
ly outlined, figure of a man and in
stantly he raised liis gun. At the
same time the inan raised a gun and
covered the officer.
Monohan fired two shots as quickly
as he could and yelled lustily to the
other policeman: "I got him.' But
before the' words were out of his
mouth there was a crash of falling
glass. Officer Monohan had fired
two shots into his own reflection in a
The Unfortunate Bridegroom.
When a young couple go off on
their honeymoon they are bound to
do something foolish the first day.
Almost every married couple can re
call some amusing circumstance (to
others but not to themselves) on this
never-to-bo forgotten occasion. Per
sons who have "been through the mill"
themselves usually 'sympathize with
the newlyweds and are ready to help
them, even though amusement may be
getting the better of them inside. "All
the world loves a lover."
A young couple boarded a fast
train out of New York bound for Ni
agara Falls. The train had hardly
got started -when the man nervously
entered the smoking room with a tel
egraph blnnk in his hand. Although
everyone around had suspected it, the
man confessed to sympathetic listen
ers that the young lady and himself
bad just got married and were on
their honeymoon. He plainly showed
distress over the fact that he had left
his wallet with the railroad ticketß
in the auto that brought him to the
train. He explained that he was go
ing to telegraph to have mohey sent to
him at Albany. “You don’t suppose
the conductor will put us off the
Ulrip?" he anxiously inquired. Then
another thought struck him. "What
will we do about something to eat—
we have no money.”
That was too much for the kind
hearted travelers who had been enjoy
ing the man’s discomfiture. One af
ter another expressed willingness to
lend the young man money until he
got to Albany; then he could repay
them. The poor bridegroom accepted
S4O and after expressing his unbound
ed appreciation disappeared in the di
yaction of the dinihg car.
. ~As this- is the thh-d time the game
1 -has been worked lately the railroad
epmiiahy ’ bds posted notices warning
conductors to watch for the unfortu
nate bridegroom and his bride who
. always dish Speared from the train be
fore it, reached Albany.
Some One Blundered.
Every student of English literature
bSB read of the famous charge 'at Bal
aklava when the famous charge of
the brave “Six Hundred” was made,
and of the awful blunder which Borne
one made in planning the charge
Well, that was the blunder which
helped to inspire the great poet Ten
nyson to write his famous poem,
“The Charge of the Light Brigade.”
But it was another blunder which
inspired this article. Last week
Nobles Jap Hatley, L. S. Whitworth,
G. C. McSlanus, Bill Lowery, W. J.
Cotten, Dr. C. M. Lentz, and pos
sibly some other local members of
the Mystic Shrine, sallied forth for
1 the city of Asheville to attend the
Shriners’ convention. They left at
an early hour in the morning (some
say 2 o'clock), in order that they
; might arrive in time to see all the
fun. They arrived in Asheville all
pepped up for a glorious time, only
' to learn that they had ‘come exactly
1 a week early. As a matter of fact,
j the convention comes off this week
' instead of last, so we are reliably in
; formed. Os course, as George Rey
: nolds would say, the Nobles were
‘ badly "chawed,” but like good sports
1 they returned home and said nothing.
: But some one of the number let the
' story of the "blundej” drop out, in
1 the hearing of another local Shriner
; who was spared by staying at home,
1 and it was just liimply too good for
' him to keep, seeing that the joke fas
on the other Nobles and unabla to
keep .the secrets, even of a worthy
brother master Mason, he hunted up
tbe Stanly News-Herald man and gave
out the facts as herein stated. But
1 it could have been worse. Some
folks have made worse blunders than
Between nine and ten million
1 words are telegraphed every year
over the great submarien cable con
necting Canada with Australia and
New Zealand, the laying of which
the greatest engineering
feat of its kind ever undertaken.
November 7th is the- date now aet
for the world’s sculling championship
between Major Good sell, the title
holder, aqd James Paddon. Tbe match
wjil be retrod on the Parramatta
River course in AuetrgHa.
A tournament for the women’s golf
championship of India will be held at i
Calcutta in December, \ 1
Two men called to see Venus' old
time furniture. One said lie would
take one of the spool bedsteads. AVe
have four left yet. Extra fine in
No. 1 condition. One rich lady in
Concord bought one. Wd have one
fine three-cornered cupboard, one wal
nut fall-leaf table left yet. an old
time loom and all the fixtures that go
There is a crowd of fine looking
young men here in Faith today put- ,
ting up larger and better poles for
the electric wires and taking the old '
poles down. They are working for
the Southern Power Company, giving
our town better service nnd fixing us
np in tiptop shape. Here are their
names: Leroy Simpson, I). B. Tweed, ,
Raymond C. Putnam. Walter Gra
ham. Preacher Fry, I>. B. Murray,
L. S. Wallace, Clyde Mays. Charley
Bassent and N .N. Durant. Mr
Puttman is a favorite among the
girls nnd one would do well to eap
ture him. D. P. Murray looks like a
girl to Venus, and would pass for'
one, if he were dressed like a girl.
They are all fine clever young men.
Venus had n talk with some of them.
They are from Salisbury.
Venus' birthday is October 31st.
One man motored to Faith while we
were at the Concord fair and got a
jar of our home-made eczema salve.
Two young people from Faith are
going to Catawba College at Salis
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Hiram Brown
a daughter, October 21st, 1925.
\ CONCORD, ROUTE THREE.
The farmers are getting through
with their work fine since the rain.
Hope we will have another shower
' People are working hard in the day
time and resting at night, since the
fair is over.
Mr. J. A. Brantley took a Bible to
the fair that was 135 years old. Now
Venus, if you can beat that trot them
Mr. R. T. Christy had a corn
shucking the other night and when
the corn was shucked they all march
ed to the house 'and enjoyed a nice
supper. After the supper was over
they *liad some line music. All joined
in and had an old time singing. That
is the way to have an old time corn
Mr. Ray Krimmingcr nas purchased
a new 1920 Ford ear. He visited Mr.
and Mrs. R. L. Christy last Sunday.
We hn ve lmd three big frosts. Now
is the time for the little boys to get
their rabbit boxes set.
There was a large crowd at Mr.
Joe Bdgison’s corn shucking Wednes
day night. Chickens are almost afraid
to come off the roost in the mornings.
They are afraid there will be an axe
ready to cut their heads off for the
shucking that night.
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sifford spent
Saturday night with Mr. nnd Mrs.
G. G. Ellis.
We are having some cool weather
now. The old sweater we wore last
winter comes in handy these mornings
and seems much colder when wc hear
the old axe chip chap. Look out for
a hard winter, boys.
Mr. Wade Krimmingcr had a corn
shucking Thursday. A large crowd
was present nnd a nice supper was
Miss Mary Krimmingcr, who has
been suffering from blood poison, is
getting along nicely.
Everett and Marvin Moore have
returned to'work in Kannapolis.
Mr. John Christy had a corn shuck
ing Friday night and a large crowd
was present and a fine supper was
Come on boys with your corn
We would like "to hear from Pollie.
School began here last Monday
morning with Mr. W. W. Harrington,
of Taylorsville, as 'principal, Miss
Ethel Blackwelder, of Concord, and
Miss Inez Shinn, of Georgeville, as
The dry weather which has predom
inated here the past summer, was
broken last Saturday. Rain began
falling Saturday morning, continuing
The Georgeville Community Club
: will meet on Saturday, October 31st,
; beginning at 7:30. The program will
; be devoted entirely to Hallowe’en.
Short plays and recitations and songs
• will compose the program. After the
program a social hour will be another
added feature. The general public is
extended a hearty welcome to meet
with na Saturday night, October 31.
The program appears elsewhere.
Miss Laura Maye Shinn, teacher
at Midland, spent the week-end with
i her parents here.
Mr. rind Mrs. John Eudy attended
the funeral of Mrs. Eudy’s uncle,
Mr. Howard, which was held at St.
Martin’s Luther’s Church near Albe
marle on,last Saturday.
Mr. W. W. Harrington, Misses
' Blackwelder and Misses Inez and Lau
-1 ra Mae Shinn spent Saturday after
-1 noon in Concord.
The first Central Horticultural
■ Exposition, backed by the fruit
-1 growers of Kansas, lowa, Missouri,
1 Colorado, Nebraska, Arkansas and
Oklahoma, will be held in Kansas
City early in December.
fa a prescription for
Malaria, Chills and Fever,
Dengue or Bilious Fever
It Kills Hie germs
FIGHT AGAINST THE (
RAVAGES OF TUBERCULOSIS
Thera Is Gradually D.ercasitig Nurn- j
Ikt of Deaths Frtm This Cause. |
Raleigh, X. t\. Oct. 30. —OP)—
North Carolina during the past ten |
years has been carrying on a victor-j
iuus fight against the ravage** of tu
While there were 2701 deaths in
this state from the disease, in its
various forms, last year—nearly one
for eaeh 1.000 population—and de-j
spite the fact that figure, being high-]
er than the number for 1023, is dis
couraging to those interested in seeing
the disease brought under control, a
comparison of figures for the past 10
years show that there is a gradual’v
decreasing number of deaths in this
• fate from tubetcuiosis. ami an- even
larger decrease in the ratio of deaths
in eomparisoit with population.
The figures compiled by the bureau '
of vital statistics of the State Board
of health show that the total number
of deaths : n this state from tubercu
losis in all forms decreased from 3,-
710 in 1015 to 2,545 in 1023. The
figures also show that the number of
deaths per 100.000 population drop
ped from 150.4 in 1015 to 48.7 in
In 1014 there were 3.200 deaths in
North Carolina from tuberculosis, or
138 3 for every 100,000 population.
The next year, 1015, showed a big
increase, both in the number of I
deaths and in the rate per poppla- |
tion. The total number jumped to !
3,710 in 1015 and the number for.l
eaoli 100.000 population to 150.4.
Since 1015, there has been a steady '
decline, both in the total number of
deaths and in the rate of deaths from i
tuberculosis from each 100,000 popti- ’
iation. The decrease continued stead- j
ily, each year, through 1023, but last,
year showed an increase.
The total number of deaths from
tuberculosis in 1023 was 2,545, as
compared with 2.701—ail increase of
150—in 1024. The rate tier 100.000
population increased from 04.7 in
3023 to 90.1 in 1024.
Commenting on the death rate in
North Carolina from tuberculosis, Dr.
P. P. McCain. superintendent and
medical d : rector of the North Caro
lina Sanatorium for the Treatment
of Tuberculosis, at Sanatorium, gives
an explanation of the high rate in
this state. His statement, also may
partially explain the increase in tu
berculosis deaths last year, although
he does not refer to that.
He jioints out that there are tu
berculosis patients from all over the
T'nitetl States at the government hos
pital at Oteen, and says further:
The death rate from tuberculosis
in North Carolina is also considerably
higher titan it would be were it not
for the number of deaths in this gov
ernment hospital, and on account of
the huge number of deaths in West
ern North Carolina, due to the fact
that it is a tuberculosis resort for
people from all oyer the United
Tuesday, October 27, 1925.
Centenary of the birth of Gen. John
Coburn, civil war commander and In
The political campaign : n Canada
enters upon its final lap today, pre
liminary to the general elections next
Leaders from numerous States and
from Canntla and abroad will partici
pate in the Bth annual session of the
American Country Life Conference,
which gets under way today at Rich
John J. Davis, Secretary of Labor
at Washington and director-general of
the Loyal Order of Moose, is to speak
today at the laying of the cornerstone
for the new budding presente*! to
Moosehenrt by Senator McKinley, of
This is Navy day, annually appoint
ed for focusing the country’s interest
on the "first line of defence,” the date
of the observance appropriately coin
ciding with the anniversary of the
birth of the late Theodore Roosevelt.
“I should have been here long be-, j
fore this," said the visitor, as he en
tered the dietor's consulting room;
“but you know bow these things get
put off!” Here he was seized with
a fit of ceughing.
“A nasty cough,” said the doctor,
critically; “but not serious.”
“X just came round—” resumed the
stranger. But the doctor cut him
short. “Say no more,” he said. “I
understand your case perfectly. Just
puff out your chest and say ‘9—9o’
in a deep voice ”
"It’s all right, doctor,” said the J
visitor. “That cough comes from too l
much smoking. But what I have I
to say is: nine dollars and 90 cents
That's the amount you owe the gas
company, and I’m their collector!”
During the fifteen years that Harry
Hughes has coached the Colorado Ag
gies in football the Green cyclones
have won four championships in the
Rocky Mountain conference.
ona orana central Stations.
.:.Broadvay at 63rd St... 1
ROOM WITH PRIVATE BATH j
, All outside rooms
JO-54 South Union Street. Concord. N. C.
Suits with Manly Style
Excellent Values—2 Pairs Knickers
f We’ve scoured the world's
markets to produce an excep
tional value in Boys’ Suits. Here
it is! It has value through and
through. That means fabrics,
style, tailoring, finish of excel- I
Splendidly made of excel
lent quality Cassimeres and
Tweeds, in patterns that the I
boys fairly rave over. New !
tans, greys, greens, blues and
Two pairs knickers; made to our
own exacting specifications. Sizes 6'
to 18 years. Remarkable values at—
Other Suits at $5.90 to $13.75
Mil Stifle QctUmj
New Styles and
/ / Colors
I j / We have just received some
IJI )f the most beautiful styles of
Jl\ ihe seasosn.
I ( $2.95 to $8.95
in AAA to D Widths
Ruth-Kesler Shoe Store
When Wimier Comes
Will keep your home
Combination shaker and comfortable even in the
draft doors designed to coldest weather, with lit
prevent dust and ashes tie attention and less fuel,
from scattering about because the Hot-Blast
the room. Down-Draft bums all
the coal and all the gases.
Holds Fire Over Night
and gives you warm rooms to dress in on cold
winter mornings. The Double-Seamed Steel
.Bodies and Machine-Fitted Doors are Air-Tight
and Stay Tight.
| Yorke & Wadsworth Co.
I QUR PENNY MS. ALWAYS GET RESULTS
!o«r Penny ADS. Get Quick Result*