Concordia is especially fortunate in the character and standing of her business and professional men, and among those who have won marked distinction within the space of a comparatively few years are the twin brothers, Charles N. and William M. Peck. They are both men of prominence in the business and social world. Their personality is very similar, with the same fine physique and military bearing and the identity of one might easily be taken for the other.
They were born in the town of Hampton, Washington county, New York, between Whitehall and Fairhaven, Vermont, May 25, 1863. Their father, Josiah Peck, like most of his ancestors, was a farmer, and resided on the old homestead, which has been in the possession of the Pecks for two centuries or more, until his death, May 10, 1902. The Pecks originally came from England; three brothers came to America. Two of them settled in Connecticut and one in New York, and all of the Pecks in this country seemingly sprung from one of these three branches. Harriet Peck, mother of Charles and William, was a Miller, her father being the eldest son of "Prophet" Miller, who acquired national fame by prophesying to the world the coming of Christ in 1843. She is the only granddaughter of the "Prophet" now living.
The twin brothers were reared on the farm, where they worked, helping to till the soil in summer and attending school during the winter months. In 1881 they ratified their ambition to attend military school at Granville, New York. Charles N. assumed the position of drummer boy and William M. of bugler, and their services were recompensed by the consideration of one-half of the tuition. Later Charles N. resigned his position to enter the ranks of Company A as captain. They both graduated in 1883 and returned home with the intention of helping on the farm, as their father was becoming advanced in years and needed their assistance; but after three years of military training they were not content with the daily routine of farm life, and from this time took, as it were, diverging paths.
Honorable Charles N. Peck.
Charles N. Peck was admitted to the bar of the state of New York at Albany in 1886. After coming west he worked in the Cloud County Bank for two months and then became a member of the law firm of Sturges & Kennett. The following year F.W. Sturges was elected judge of this district, and the firm became Kennett & Peck, which combination still exists. They are attorneys for the Atchison & Topeka Railroad, the Rock Island Railroad and the western syndicate of banks owned by eastern capitalists, and have an extended general practice of law.
In 1892 Charles N. Peck was married to Frances A. Paradis, the only child of Frank Dana Paradis, a contractor and builder formerly of Memphis, Tennessee, where he was well known. Mr. Paradis was of Parisian French stock. Mrs. Peck was born in Chicago, but removed with her parents when a child to Memphis, where she grew up and attended school, until the death of her mother, when her father's health failed and they returned to Chicago, where she finished her education, graduating at St. Xavier's Convent, taking a special course in music. She has had the advantages of a thorough musical training and has more than ordinary talent. Mr. Paradis died in 1896. Mrs. Paradis was of English origin. Three children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Peck, two sons and a daughter, viz: Charles Northrop, Frances Harriet and William Miller.
Since the above sketch was written, Charles N. Peck has been elected to represent his county in the legislature. He carried his ticket by a large majority and will fill the representative chair with credit to himself and to the many friends from both political parties that cheered lustily over his victory - a well merited honor. He is also member of the city council of Concordia.
William Miller Peck chose the occupation of architect and served as an apprentice in Albany for a short time. As there was no pay for services rendered he became discouraged and decided to try his fortunes elsewhere. He taught school for a brief time and assisted in keeping a set of books for six months. He also spent much time writing to the various banks, whose names and addresses came under his observation. One of these letters found its way to Brandon, Vermont, and fell into the hands of T.B. Smith, the late president of the Cloud County Bank, who, fortunately for Mr. Peck, wanted a bookkeeper, and he was given the place at five dollars per week, and in the summer of 1884 came to Concordia.
Soon after he was made assistant cashier, and in 1896 was elected cashier, which place he has since occupied. During his connection with the bank he has assumed many responsibilities and performed to the utmost satisfaction of the corporation the duties appertaining to the position he holds. He is an expert accountant, well informed in banking systems and has established a reputation for himself as a competent business man. The entire management of the bank is left to the exercise of his judgment rather than to officials of superior rank.
W.M. Peck was married in December, 1887, to Mary Martin, of Chicago, Illinois, a daughter of Lawrence T. Martin, a commission merchant of that city. She is an accomplished woman, talented in art - a student of St. Xavier's Academy. Their family consists of three daughters: Margaret, Ruth and Helen, all musically inclined. Margaret plays the cornet and Ruth, the violin. Mr. Peck is also a cornetist of considerable ability.
The Peck brothers have attractive, modern homes on West Ninth street, surrounded by beautiful shade trees and wide lawns. They have been Republicans from the cradle but are not radical politicians.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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