Stark County Illinois  History and Genealogy
Speer Community News and Local Gossip

O. W. Hurd Postmaster
Stark County News, November 28, 1902
O. W. Hurd, the popular supervisor from Valley, is postmaster at the new town of Speer in his township and also conducts a small store. One night last week burglars broke into the store, but as far as can be ascertained they got but little of any value.

Wilbur S. Root Opens New Firm
Stark County News July 19, 1911

New Firm at Speer
Wilbur S. Root, representing the Speers & Root grain and coal company of Speer, was in Lacon Tuesday. They have recently bought the elevator at Speer and anticipate a profitable business. And there is no reason why, they should not. Mr. Root is a Marshall county boy, born and bred and is one of the best young men the county ever produced. He is as straight as a string in all his dealings. He has charge of the business at Speer, buying the grain and shipping it to Peoria, where Mr. Speers handles it. In return Mr. Speers buys the coal and ships it to Speer where Mr. Root takes charge of it. The arrangement is a convenient one and enables them both to handle the business most satisfactory. - Lacon Journal

Spuds Put out Fire in Phillips' Store
The Stark County News, Feb. 7, 1917
There was a peculiar fire at the village of Speer in Valley township a few nights ago. P. E. Phillips, the Speer merchant, found upon opening his store one morning that fire had in some way started from an oil heater, but luckily had been put out before it did any considerable damage. He had a number of sacks of potatoes piled about the heater to prevent them freezing, and when the fire started the sacks caught fire and released the potatoes and the spuds smothered the blaze.

1918 Fire Destroys 3 buildings in Speer
Stark County News, December 25, 1918
Fire at Speer
A fire which started in the Peter E. Phillips store, and which destroyed three buildings on the north side of Speer, together with the entire stock of the Phillips store, broke out last Tuesday afternoon.
The village is without any means of fire protection and lacks an adequate water supply and while everyone available lent a hand with buckets, the only work of any value, which was accomplished by the fire fighters was the saving of other buildings from being ignited by flying firebrands.
The three buildings destroyed were the Phillips store, which is a double building, the McCraw barber shop and pool room and a small building occupied by O. W. Hurd as a notary public office and where is kept a small stock of automobile tires and accessories. The buildings were all of wood structure and were licked up rapidly by the flames. The William Even Hardware store was saved from a like fate by the fact that it is protected with sheet metal. It was necessary, however, to flood the building with water, in order to keep the wood underneath the metal from bursting into flames from the intense heat.

25 February 1915 Henry Republican, Henry IL
Mrs. Root paid a week-end visit to her mother in Sparland, returning Sunday with her family.
Mrs. Grant Burdick attended the O. E. S. school of instruction at Peoria Friday and Saturday.
Ot Hurd had the misfortune to lose one of his work horses last week by it falling in a well near his barn.
Columbia school had a vacation Thursday and Friday of last week. Miss Sweetland and Helen Even spent theirs at Wyoming.
Mr. and Mrs. O. W. McCraw spent Sunday at Peoria, at the home of their daughter Edith who accompanied them home for a few days.
Miss Violet Burnett went to assist her brother John Bernett and wife, who will move Wednesday, exchanging places with Hugh King, who has been living upon the old Crawford farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Stowell returned home Saturday evening after spending the week in Peoria and attending the auto show.

Stark County News, January 28, 1948
Fire Destroys Speer Grade School Building Tuesday
Valley Community Consolidated Grade school building at Speer was destroyed by fire at 9:30 Tuesday morning. The 56 pupils at the school at the time the fire was discovered filed out in orderly fashion, as they have periodic fire drills.
The fire is thought to have been caused from an overheated furnace. Wyoming fire truck was among the companies responding to the call. The building, located in Speer village southeast of Wyoming, was probably over half a century old and was an old landmark in the community. It was a two-story wood frame building. The loss is estimated at between $6,000 and $10,000 and insurance coverage totals $4000. No desks were saved, although some books and most of the school band's musical instruments were saved.
The school is one of the three operated by the Valley Community Consolidated district, and sixth, seventh and eighth grade pupils attended at Speer. Directors are planning to provide facilities for these upper-grade pupils and have already discussed possibility of using the Speer Congregational church building.

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