ARTHUR SHELDON PEACOCK. The people of Trego County have long counted as one of the impregnable bulwarks in their public life Arthur Sheldon Peacock, who for more years than most people remember has been probate judge of the county. Judge Peacock is not only a most capable public citizen, but is a man of many kindly interests and sympathies, is a pioneer of the county, and probably more than any other citizen he has appreciated every fact and incident in the community's growth and progress. Judge Peacock is the recognized historian of Trego County, and several years ago at his own expense he prepared and published what is known as the Vest Pocket History of Trego County. During several years of ill health and semi-retirement Judge Peacock collected everything he could find pertaining to local history, and his Vest Pocket History is a result of time and expense and patient labor and stands as a tribute to the pioneers of this region.
Judge Peacock is an American who has to go back many generations to find any hyphenate affiliation with another country. It was in colonial times that the Peacocks emigrated from Wales, landing at Nantucket, Massachusetts. From there the family went south to North Carolina. Judge Peacock's great-grandfather was Abraham Peacock, who in 1818 moved from North Carolina to Randolph County, Indiana, and became one of the pioneers in a state which was then only two years old. He was an industrious farmer in North Carolina. His brother, Silas Peacock, moved from North Carolina to New York and founded another branch of the family there. John Joy Peacock, grandfather of Judge Peacock, was born in North Carolina in 1801, and was a boy when his parents moved to Randolph County, Indiana. The Peacocks in North Carolina and Indiana were all devout Quakers in religion. John Joy Peacock died in Indiana in 1861.
John Joy Peacock, Jr., father of Judge Peacock, was born in Randolph County, Indiana, November 22, 1836. He grew up and married there, became a farmer and a carpenter, and in 1865 moved to Ionia County, Michigan, where he followed farming until his death December 2, 1917. He was a man of considerable importance in local affairs and filled various township offices. He was a republican, a member of the Christian Church and of the Masonic fraternity. He married Margaret Caroline Downing, who was born in Darke County, Ohio, December 8, 1834, and died in Ionia County, Michigan, in 1916. Judge Peacock is the oldest of seven children. Samuel Leander, the next in age, was a farmer in Ionia County, Michigan, where he died in October, 1918; John Joy is a farmer in Ionia County; Thursa married George A. Goodamott, a farmer in Ionia County; Jason Elwood is a merchant at Lake Odessa, Michigan; Thomas Henry is a railroad man with the Milwaukee system, and lives in Montana; and Anna Caroline married Herman Steiner, a mine foreman at McAllister, Montana.
Arthur Sheldon Peacock was born in Randolph County, Indiana, March 14, 1858, and was seven years of age when his parents moved to Michigan. He attended the rural schools of his native state and of Ionia County, and in March, 1878, at the age of twenty, came to Kansas. He is deservedly regarded as a man of superior intellectual attainments, but most of his real education was acquired by industrious reading, study and observation since he left school. On coming to Kansas he located in Cherokee County and for eight years was a teacher in the most southeasterly district of the state. In 1886 he came to Trego County, and for six years was a teacher in the rural schools and for two years taught in Wakeeney. In many respects the schools and educational program of Trego County have been influenced and directed by him. Aside from his work as a teacher he served six years as county superintendent, being first elected in 1892 and re-elected in 1894 and 1896.
On first coming to the county he took up a homestead of eighty acres, proved up his claim, and later sold it. A few years more of teaching was followed by a period of about five years during which time Judge Peacock was practically retired from any regular activities on account of ill health, and he used that period of invalidism to acquaint himself with practically every event and occurrence which composed the historical record of Trego County. He is a life member of the State Historical Society.
On May 1, 1906, Judge Peacock was appointed by Governor Hoch to fill out the unexpired term of probate judge made vacant by the death of F. C. Swiggett. He fitted in so well with the duties and responsibilities of that office that he was regularly elected in the fall of 1906, and has been re-elected every successive two years, having no opposition as a candidate in the election of 1918. He is a republican, is affiliated with Wakeeney Lodge of Masons, of which he is a past master and treasurer, and was for six years patron of Margaret Chapter of the Eastern Star at Wakeeney.
In 1881, in Cherokee County, Kansas, Judge Peacock married Esther J. Burgess, daughter of Moses and Margaret (Hutchings) Burgess, both now deceased. Her father was a farmer. Mrs. Peacock's death occurred in Kansas City, Kansas, in April, 1896. She was the mother of Judge Peacock's eight children, noted briefly as follows: William Arthur, who was drowned in 1901, at the age of nineteen; Thomas C., a farmer in Trego County; John Joy, manager of the Badger Lumber Company at Collyer, Trego County; Moses Burgess, twin brother of John J., now living at Pullman, Washington; Samuel Fremont, who is a member of the headquarters company of the Three Hundred and Forty-eighth Regiment, Field Artillery, now in service in France; Tacy A., wife of Perry C. Davenport, a farmer near Portland, Michigan; Alice Caroline, who is a teacher of French and Latin in the Cherokee County High School at Columbus, Kansas; and Ruth Irene, wife of Hal V. Cartwright, a mining engineer at Pullman, Washington.
In August, 1900, in Trego County, Judge Peacock married Miss Barbara M. Bobbitt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George C. Bobbitt, farming people, both now deceased.
During many years of his life as this brief sketch indicates Judge Peacock has been immersed in practical duties. At the same time his spirit has been enlarged and refined by contact with Kansas prairies, and he has allowed that spirit to express itself in verse occasionally. No apology need be spoken for these verses, they are both good in form and full of thought and sentiment. Perhaps one that has been most widely appreciated is that entitled "Sufficient," and its words are herewith quoted:
"Whence I came I cannot tell
What time shall bring I cannot say
To worlds that were, or yet to be,
All-good, all-wise, almighty He,
So let me live that I may leave
Then I shall go, content to think
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
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