Speed was born in Nelson County, Kentucky, and was a prominent attorney in Indiana with Benjamin Harrison. In 1889, he moved to Winfield, Kansas, and following the Run of '89 he established a practice in Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. His experience with the Cherokee Commission led now President Benjamin Harrison to appoint him United States Attorney for the territory (1890–1894). He served again for a short time in 1900 as the last territorial US Attorney before it was divided into districts. As US Attorney he prosecuted many of the outlaws running rampant in the territory and the land fraud cases that troubled the land openings.
In 1901, following Territorial Governor William Miller Jenkins removal from office, President Theodore Roosevelt called Speed to Washington and offered him the governorship. Speed declined and Thompson Benton Ferguson was eventually appointed as a compromise.
After statehood, Speed moved to Tulsa and opened a law firm. He died there in 1924.
- Chapman, Berlin B. "How The Cherokees Acquired and Disposed of the Outlet." Chronicles of Oklahoma 16:1 March 1938 36-51. (accessed June 9, 2007)
- Doyle, Thomas H. "The Supreme Court of the Territory of Oklahoma". Chronicles of Oklahoma 13:2 June 1935 214-218. (accessed June 9, 2007)
- Forman, Grant. "Obituary: Horace Speed." Chronicles of Oklahoma 25:1 1947 5-6. (accessed June 9, 2007)
- Peery, Dan W. "The First Two Years." Chronicles of Oklahoma 7:4 December 1929 419-457. (accessed June 9, 2007)
- Littlefield Jr., Daniel F. Seminole Burning: A Story of Racial Vengeance. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1996. ISBN 0-585-20157-9
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