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Stephen S. Speakman Research Paper

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The builder of this seventeen room Greek revival mansion was Stephen S. Speakman. In the early 1840s, the elderly Speakman fell in love with a much younger woman, Sarah Bush, whose father owned a slave-holding plantation in Kentucky. Upon asking her hand in marriage, his bride-to-be refused to marry him unless he built her a southern plantation-style mansion. In 1845, with the use of his father-in-law’s slaves, Speakman erected his mansion on a five hundred acre plot next to Loughery Creek with every brick baked on site (Historical Marker Project). In 1848, Speakman died, leaving his widow, along with freed slaves from her father’s plantation, to care for the house. However, Speakman’s first wife, Mary Smith, was entitled to one-fourth of the land that the house sat on, while his surviving wife owned the remaining three-fourths. Mary Smith had died in 1841, and the…show more content…
The legend also states that President Abraham Lincoln, impressed by Miller’s efforts, paid a visit to the house and dined with the family (Dichtl). However, Henry Miller did not buy the house until 1871- long after the war ended and the slaves freed. Yet, the parents of Stephen Speakman, Micajah and Phebe, owned a house in Pennsylvania that was a part of the Underground Railroad. Supposedly apart of the antislavery movement of the Society of Friends started in 1804, Micajah Speakman was one of the principal agents (Sensenig). However, it is unknown if Stephen Speakman built the tunnels for a similar purpose or if they were ever used. As stated before, Henry Miller did not own the house during the war, but instead the house belonged to William Smith Speakman, the son of Stephen Speakman, and his wife Josephine from 1856 to
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