John Henry Hopkins “Sonny” Speights

John Henry Hopkins “Sonny” Speights

Birth
Death 4 Sep 1900 (aged 51)
Burial South Sulphur, Hunt County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 11430987 · View Source
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Note: There no account found of his death in the available newspaper on microfilm, Greenville Messenger.

from contributor, Yvonne (#46963285), 22May2012:
Mother: Eliza R (YOUNG) SPEIGHTS (1815-Aft 1860)

Sonny Speights was an officer in the Texas State Police during the short period of its existence during the Reconstruction era. He has the distinction of being one of the few lawmen to have survived an armed encounter with the notorious desperado John Wesley Hardin. Speights had arrested a man named Conner for carrying a pistol in Hemphill, Sabine County, in August 1872. Hardin, then the most wanted man in Texas for over a dozen murders, happened to be among a group of men standing on the courthouse steps when Speights arrived. A boy in the crowd began verbally abusing Speights over his arrest of Conner and Speights, having heard enough from the boy, threatened him with arrest. Hardin then intervened on the boy's behalf. Words were had and Speights, apparently not knowing he was facing the deadly outlaw Wes Hardin, told Hardin he was under arrest and started to draw his pistol. Hardin was faster, pulling a derringer from his coat and shot Speights in the shoulder at point blank range. Speights retreated inside the courthouse and Hardin made his escape. Speights recovered and lived to tell the tale of his nearly fatal encounter with Wes Hardin. (Information from George Bacon, FaG member #46523227)

Source: A Lawless Breed: John Wesley Hardin, Texas Reconstruction and Violence in the Wild West, by Chuck Parsons and Norman Wayne Brown, University of North Texas Press, Denton, 2013.



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  • Created by: John Armstrong
  • Added: 26 Jul 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11430987
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Henry Hopkins “Sonny” Speights (8 Oct 1848–4 Sep 1900), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11430987, citing Wesley Chapel Cemetery, South Sulphur, Hunt County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by John Armstrong (contributor 46567031) .