November 20: Happy Birthday! Wesley B. Speas

Wesley B. Speas-2

Wesley Bethel Speas was born on this day in 1875, in Forsyth County, to John S. and Mary Frances Doub Speas.

Wesley spent most of his life in the Vienna community, although he was a resident of Winston-Salem for 20 years.

Wesley was a former teacher and a principal of schools in Lewisville and Vienna for 10 years.  He was superintendent of Forsyth County schools for 20 years, 1903-1923.  In his job as superintendent, Speas walked long distances through chilling weather and over muddy roads to visit the various schools in his charge.

When Speas was superintendent, the first high school in Forsyth County was established in Lewisville in 1907.  Four men gave $250 each to build the school.  Less than a month later, authorities decided to build high schools at Walkertown and Bethania.  And, they asked the state to establish a high school at Kernersville.

Other changes came in 1913 when Winston and Salem joined.  The county turned over to the city West Salem School and Slater School property.  In 1918, county authorities cooperated with city authorities in recommending a state-supported school term of six months all over North Carolina.

When Speas completed his term of service,  he returned to the Vienna community and became a prosperous farmer.

He was a member of the Odd Fellows and Pleasant Hill Methodist Church.

He married Louzana Long in 1901, and he passed away in 1947.

The new school that was built on Polo Road in 1960 was named for Wesley B. Speas.

The photo above came from a tintype.

Photo courtesy of Molly Grogan Rawls.

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