Thomas J. Peck, Co. K, 4th Pennsylvania Reserves

BIOGRAPHICAL SOUVENIR of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, and Phelps in Nebraska. Containing Portraits and Biographies of all the Presidents of the United States, and of the Governors of the State. Also of many of the prominent and representative citizens and sketches of many of the early settlers of these counties. Chicago, F.A. Battey and Company, 1890.

THOMAS J. PECK. One of the oldest settlers of Platte township, Buffalo county, as well as one of the most prosperous citizens of the community where he lives, is Thomas J. Peck, the subject of this biographical notice. Mr. Peck has been a resident of the locality where he now resides for about seventeen years, coming to Nebraska in December, 1873, and settling first in Hall county, where he remained three years, moving thence across the line into Buffalo county, living there since. He came front Iowa to Nebraska, but is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Chester county, near the city of Philadelphia, and comes of old Pennsylvania ancestry, his parents and his grandparents being residents from time immemorial of the “Key stone State.” His father, John Peck, was born, reared and passed his entire life in Chester county, being a farmer and following the peaceful pursuits of agriculture up to the close of an industrious, well spent life, dying in 1864 at the age of forty-five. His mother, Margaret Taylor, who was a native also of Chester county, passed all her years near the place of her nativity, dying in July, 1886, well advanced in years. Only two children were born to John and Margaret (Taylor) Peck, both boys, they being now residents of Platte Township, Buffalo county, this state, the elder, Thomas J., the subject of this sketch, ,and the younger Samuel E. T. Thomas J. was born in July, 1843, and reared near his birth-place, not far front Philadelphia. He grew up as most farm boys do, receiving a fair common-school education and being trained to the habits of industry and usefulness common to farm life. In June, 1861, not yet having attained his eighteenth year, he entered the Union army, enlisting in Company K, Fourth Pennsylvania Reserves, and, his regiment being assigned to the Army of the Potomac, he served in that command for twenty-two months. Enlisting under age, his mother had him taken out of the service at the end of that time under habeas corpus proceedings, and he was kept at home until 1864, when, in February of that year, he again entered the army, enlisting in Company K, Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, and served till after the surrender, being mustered out and discharged at Richmond, Va., August 11, 1865. During his term of service the last time, he was under Gen. P. H. Sheridan and was in the saddle continuously from the time he entered the service till the close of the war.

Returning to Pennsylvania he remained there a short time and then filled with a growing desire to see the great West and find some suitable location, where he could settle down and grow up with his surroundings, he emigrated to Iowa in 1866, where he settled, married and resided till 1873, coming thence in December of that year as above noted, to Hall county, this state. He settled in Hall county, near the corners of the four counties of Hall, Adams, Kearney and Buffalo, taking a soldier’s homestead. Three years later he bought a relinquishment on the southeast quarter of section 36, just across the line in Buffalo county, on which he filed a preemption claim, settled, and has since resided there. Taking this claim when it was almost all raw land, he has, by great industry and unremitting attention to all the details of the farm, made of it one of the best improved and most pleasant places in his township, having one hundred acres of it under plow, handsome groves and large and comfortable buildings, residence and barn. The secret of his success has been in his hard, persistent labor, his strict economy and his judicious management. He is regarded as one of the best farmers of his locality and as a business man of sound sense and discriminating judgment.

In politics Mr. Peck is a democrat and comes of a line of ancestors who drew their political faith from the teachings of Jefferson and Jackson, and is a stanch supporter of the doctrines and methods of his party. And he is withal an intelligent, hospitable, pleasant gentleman.

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The Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps Historical Society was organized in 2004 by August Marchetti and Justin Sanders.