While the Peoria & Nelson branch of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was under construction, James A. Speer, who owned a farm on the line of the railroad in section 36, Valley Township, conceived the idea of founding a town. Accordingly, on December 5, 1901, Henry H. Oliver, county surveyor, platted the town of Speer, in the northwest quarter of the above named section. The original plat showed twenty-four lots west of the railroad, but on April 15, 1903, Mr. Oliver made a revised plat of the original town and Speer's first addition thereto. Front Street runs north and south next to the railroad and father west is McKinley Avenue. The streets running east and west are Main and South, and one not names on the plat. Speer soon came into prominence as a trading and shipping point for the southeastern part of the county. It reported a population of 150 in 1910; has general and hardware stores, a bank, livery barn, planning mill, post office, lumber yard, grain elevators and is one of the flourishing little towns of Stark County.
The State Bank of Speer was organized in 1902 under the general banking laws of the State of Illinois with a capital stock of $25,000. It has been prosperous from the beginning and in September, 1915, reported a surplus fund of $14,000 and deposits of $100,000. At that time the officers of the bank were as follows: John Turnbull, president; Adam Davidson, vice president; Benjamin E. Davis, cashier.
[Stark County, Illinois and its people : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement. Chicago: Pioneer Pub. Co., 1916.]