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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
William M. Peek
In looking over the list of Fayette county citizens who have won definite success in the various walks of life and at the same time have conferred honor upon the community, one's attention is drawn to the name of William M. Peek, who was born in Clark county, Missouri, January 15, 1857, the son of D. J. and ____ (Beahar) Peek, the father a native of Ohio; the mother was born in Ireland, from which country she came to America when thirteen years of age, accompanied by her parents, Robert and Sarah Beahar. They first settled in Michigan City, Indiana, where the father followed teaming, later (1854) moved to Clark county, Missouri, as a pioneer, driving oxen on the overland journey, which was a tedious one. When they reached their destination he purchased a quarter section of land, which he cleared and on which he lived until 1862, when he moved to Lee county, Iowa, and there entered the draying business. In 1866 he came to Fayette county, Iowa, where he farmed until his death. The paternal grandparents of William M. Peek were Jonas and Jane Peek, both born in Scotland. They came to America in 1813 and settled in Ohio and there followed farming, in which state they remained until about 1827, when they moved to Porter county, Indiana, where they were pioneer farmers and where they spent the remainder of their lives. D. J. Peek, father of William M., of this review, was educated in the common schools of Ohio. He began life first as a teamster, later took up farming in Missouri and Iowa. His farming operations were always successful. He and his wife reared a large family, six sons and an equal number of daughters. He was a Republican politically and he was active in the party. He was one of two men in his precinct who voted for Lincoln: he was justice of the peace for many years and also held various other offices. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and a man whom everybody held in great respect.
William M. Peek, of this review, was educated in the common schools and he spent one year at Grinnell College. He then returned to Marshalltown, Iowa, where he engaged in the restaurant business until 1889, when he came to Fayette county and conducted a hotel business at Oelwein, also engaged in the implement business. In December, 1900, he came to West Union, since which time he has held the office of county recorder, having been elected on the Republican ticket, and he has been a very faithful and conscientious servant of the people. Mr. Peek engaged in school teaching for eighteen terms in connection with farming. He was liked by pupil and patron as teacher and his services were in great demand. He began his political career as township clerk, which position he held for a period of six years while living on a farm in Columbia township, Tama county, Iowa. After moving to Oelwein he was on the school board for six years and he very ably served as mayor for two years and is now serving his fifth term as county recorder. In all his positions as public servant he has given the utmost satisfaction, because he is well qualified and also a man whom the people like personally, being industrious and honest.
Mr. Peek was married in 1878 to Geneva Fowler, the daughter of a highly respected family. To this union one child, Ida May, was born. She is the wife of H. B. Aronold, living in Oelwein, where Mr. Arnold is engaged in the grocery business. Mrs. Peek died in 1882 and Mr. Peek married, in 1889, Mary Widdans, the daughter of a well established family in Tama county, Iowa, and to this union two children were born, Marion L., who graduated in 1909 at the West Union high school, and W. Paul.
Mr. Peek and family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, Mr. Peek being superintendent of the Sunday school, which office he has very faithfully filled for the past eight years. Fraternally, he belongs to the Ancient Free and Accepted Mason, Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America and the Knights of the MacCabees.
Although Mr. Peek has no war record himself, his family did their full share in the work of saving the honor of the national union, his father having gone out at the first call for troops with two brothers, Samuel E. and Jones, all having enlisted in the Seventh Missouri Cavalry, Samuel E. re-enlisting for the entire war. Jones Peek returned home on account of sickness and died soon afterwards. Samuel E. Peek was wounded three times, but survived the conflict and is now serving as justice of the peace in Marshalltown, Iowa.
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