WILLIAM P. PEEK
William P. Peek, one of the early settlers of California, is a native of the Green Mountain state, his birth having occurred in Bethel, on the 11th of March, 1828. The family is of English lineage on the paternal side and of Irish descent on the maternal side. The great-grandfather of our subject emigrated from England to America at an early period in the history of the country, taking up his residence in Vermont. John Peek, the father of our subject, was born in that state and was married there to Miss Lucretia Lamb. In 1837 he removed with his wife and seven children to Polo, Ogle County, Illinois, becoming one of the pioneer settlers of that state. He established his residence on a farm where he resided until his death, which occurred in the seventy-seventh year of his age. His wife passed away in her sixty-fifth year. The farm is still in the possession of the family, being owned by two of the sons, George and Frank Peek, and it is now a desirable country property. One child was added to the family in Illinois, and the eight sons and daughters are all yet living.
Mr. Peek, of this review, was the second son and was only nine years of age when he accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, and was therefore reared amid the wild scenes of the frontier and experienced all the hardships and trials that fall to the lot of those who establish homes in a new district. He worked on the farm through the summer months and during the winter season pursued his education in a primitive school near his home. In 1852 he crossed the plains to California in search of gold, leaving Council Bluffs on the 13th of April and arriving at Volcano, in Amador County, on the 13th of September, that season of the year in which the emigrants suffered so extensively with cholera. The party with which he traveled was not attacked by the disease, nor were they troubled by Indian raids, making their five months’ journey in safety to the place of their destination. Mr. Peek first began teaming, hauling goods from Stockton to Mokelumne Hill. After following that occupation for a year he opened a livery stable, having but one horse at first. He soon secured a larger stock, however, and his business steadily grew, while in proportion he increased his facilities.
After carrying on operations along that line for thirty years he came to Jackson, in 1884, purchasing a half interest in a livery business here, and conducted that enterprise for fourteen years. He then sold his interest to his partner and in February, 1897, retired after a connection of forty-four years with that enterprise. He met with creditable success in his undertaking and is now the owner of a nice home in Jackson, together with twelve acres of land which he has platted, laying it off in town lots, which are fifty by one hundred feet. Each lot fronts on a street and has an alley fifteen feet wide in the rear. He sells these lots for two hundred dollars each, and upon a few of them good residences have already been erected. The land is beautifully located on a hillside near the business center of the town and is a very valuable property.
In 1855 Mr. Peck returned to Polo, Illinois, to marry the lady whom he had wooed ere he started for the west. On the 9th of September Miss Sarah Allen became his wife and she is still living, their happy married life covering a period of forty-five years. The lady is a native of Ireland and during her childhood was taken by her parents to Illinois. Mr. Peek brought his bride to his new home in California, and their union was blessed with seven children, namely: W. G., who died in infancy; Frank Wilson, now the postmaster of Mokelumne Hill; Henry Allen, a resident of Fresno, California; Millie, John C. and Thomas Allen, all at home; and Alice, the wife of Harry Jones, a son of one of the prominent pioneer settlers of Jackson. They have a large farm and reside near her father. Mrs. Peek is a member of the Presbyterian Church and a lady of most estimable qualities.
Mr. Peek belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Legion of Honor, and has always been a staunch advocate of Republican principles. At an early date he was elected one of the supervisors of Calaveras County and was also chosen to represent his district in the legislature, being a member of the house during the sessions of 1873-4. He was for eleven years the efficient postmaster at Mokelumne Hill, and in those positions discharged his duties with faithfulness and fidelity. Probably no man in this section of the state has as wide an acquaintance, and certainly none is held in higher regard, for his business career has ever been straightforward and his private life has been true and honorable, commending him to the confidence and regard of all with whom he has been associated. He is a citizen of the highest respectability, and his identification with the interests of his adopted state has been of material benefit thereto.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.