Southern gospel music is a genre that has been around for more than a century, and it has produced many talented and influential singers and groups. One of the most prominent and pioneering families in this genre is the Speer Family, who started singing in 1921 and continued until 1998. The Speer Family was composed of George Thomas “Dad” Speer, his wife Lena “Mom” Speer, and their children Brock, Rosa Nell, Mary Tom, and Ben. They were known for their harmonies, their original songs, and their inclusion of women singers.
Another well-known singer in southern gospel music is Wesley Pritchard, who sang with the Old Friends Quartet from 2000 to 2002, and has also appeared on many of the Gaither Homecoming videos and concerts. He is currently the senior pastor of Fayetteville Community Church in North Carolina, which was founded by his father, Ken Pritchard.
But is there a connection between Wesley Pritchard and the Speer Family? Are they related by blood or by marriage? This is a question that has intrigued some fans of southern gospel music, and we will try to answer it in this article.
The Claborn Connection
The first clue to the possible relationship between Wesley Pritchard and the Speer Family is the surname Claborn. According to Wikipedia, the Speer Family was founded by George Thomas “Dad” Speer, his wife Lena “Mom” Speer, and his sister and brother-in-law, Pearl Claborn and Logan Claborn. Pearl and Logan left the group in 1925, but they were still part of the extended Speer family.
According to Singing News, Ken Pritchard, the father of Wesley Pritchard, passed away in 2019. In his obituary, it is mentioned that he was preceded in death by his parents, William Wesley Pritchard and Lillian Claborn Pritchard. This means that Ken Pritchard’s mother was a Claborn, and possibly a relative of Pearl and Logan Claborn.
If this is true, then Wesley Pritchard would be a distant cousin of the Speer siblings, through his grandmother Lillian Claborn Pritchard. However, we do not have any information on how close or distant this cousinship is, or if it is confirmed by any official records.
The Hemphill Connection
Another clue to the possible relationship between Wesley Pritchard and the Speer Family is the surname Hemphill. According to Narkive, Wesley Pritchard once sang with Mary Tom Speer Reid, one of the daughters of George Thomas and Lena Speer. Mary Tom married Jerry Reid in 1950, and they had two children, Jerry Jr. and Tanya. Jerry Reid died in 1978, and Mary Tom remarried to Joel Hemphill in 1980.
Joel Hemphill is a singer-songwriter who has written many popular songs for southern gospel artists, such as “He’s Still Working on Me”, “Master of the Wind”, and “I Claim the Blood”. He also formed a family group called The Hemphills with his first wife LaBreeska Hemphill and their children Candy, Trent, and Joey.
According to Wikipedia, Wesley Pritchard’s full name is K. Wesley Pritchard. His middle name is not revealed on his official website or social media accounts. However, some sources suggest that his middle name might be Hemphill. For example, on Ancestry.com, there is a record of a K. Hemphill Pritchard who was born in 1971 in North Carolina. This could be Wesley Pritchard’s birth name before he changed it to K. Wesley Pritchard.
If this is true, then Wesley Pritchard would be related to Joel Hemphill by blood or by marriage. However, we do not have any information on how or when this relationship was established, or if it is confirmed by any official records.
Based on the available evidence, we can conclude that there is a possibility that Wesley Pritchard is related to the Speer Family through the Claborn or Hemphill surnames. However, we cannot confirm this with certainty without further research or verification from the parties involved. Therefore, we will leave this question as an open-ended mystery for now.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article about southern gospel music and its history. If you are a fan of Wesley Pritchard or the Speer Family, please share your thoughts and comments below. And if you have any more information or insights on this topic, please let us know as well. Thank you for your time and attention!