Freling S. Peck - update 8/23/2016

Freling S. Peck was born on May 22, 1844, in Monroe County, New York, the son of William R. (1807-1876) and Lucy (Bathrick).

By 1850 Freling’s family was living in Paris, Kent County, Michigan, where his father, who had apparently remarried a Canadian woman named Julia (b. in Canada in 1824) was working as a carpenter and Freling and his siblings, including his older brother Dayton who would also join the Third Michigan, were attending school. By 1860 Freling (“Freeland”) was working as a farm laborer for the Charles Rathbun family in Paris, Kent County.

Freling stood 5’8” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was a 17-year-old farmer living in Paris when he enlisted in Company B, joining his older brother Dayton, on November 18, 1861, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids, and was mustered on December 23 at Detroit. He was wounded in the body on July 2, 1863. at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and subsequently hospitalized through December, probably in Philadelphia. He remained absent sick in January of 1864, but apparently recovered and reenlisted on February 4, 1864, near Culpeper, Virginia. He was absent on veterans’ furlough through early March of 1864, probably at home in Michigan and returned to the Regiment in late March.

In April Freling was reported absent in the hospital, was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained absent until October when he returned to duty with the Fifth Michigan. He was missing in action on October 27, 1864, presumably at Boydton Plank road, near Petersburg, Virginia, and was absent sick from November through January of 1865.

Freling had apparently been shot by a minie ball which “struck the right shoulder in front, passed under the should joint and passed out at the top and back of the shoulder injurying he should joint by fracturing it producing a severe wound.” He was promoted to Corporal on May 1, and was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war Freling returned to the Grand Rapids area where he lived the rest of his life. According to one report “After returning from the army his health was shattered, and he was unable to engage in active life.” By 1870 he was working as a clerk in a store and living with hus older brother Manser in Paris, Kent County.

In 1874 he was working as Turnkey under Sheriff S. S. Bailey, and he served in that capacity for a number of years. The Grand Rapids Eagle described Peck as the “gentlemanly turnkey,” and reported in June of 1874 that Peck, who had just returned from a trip to Traverse and Mackinaw counties, said “ that an unusually large number of tourists are visiting those regions at this season of the year.”

In September of 1876, Peck, who was Republican candidate for Sheriff of Kent County, was charged by someone calling himself “Half Bushel” with malfeasance while working as turnkey.

I have noticed published in your paper one or two references o the connection of Mr. Peck, present republican candidate for sheriff, with a certain bill presented to the board of supervisors by Mr. Bailey, while sheriff, for services rendered by Mr. Peck as night watchman of the jail. I recollect something about that bill, and if my memory serves me right the circumstances were these: Mr. peck was hired by Bailey to watch the jail and was to receive $16 per month while on duty. This pay he received, but when Bailey presented the bill to the board of supervisors for payment by the people of the County, it bore the sworn statement of Peck that the bill was correct, which bill, instead of being $16 per month was for $45 per month. I do not remember what became of the bill, but I believe it was paid; nor do I known who pocketed the surplus over the $16 per month.

As Mr. Peck has been a hanger-on of place for so long, as deputy sheriff, night watchman, etc., and so many incidents crowding upon him in the meantime, his memory, like Hayes’, may be a little defective, but there are many republicans who would like to known just how much of the transaction he does remember anyhow.

The next day a second anonymous writer who described himself as just “Republican” wrote the Democrat noting

In your issue of August 30th, one of your correspondents asks Mr. Peck, the Republican candidate for sheriff, to explain in regard to certain overcharges made by him against the County for labor performed. Being a Republican myself I had hoped to see Mr. Peck clear himself, and I therefore set to work and went to investigate myself. Other charges appeared against him, one of which is Mr. Peck charging Kent County for attending the Circuit Court. Having myself been drawn as one of the jurors for the Circuit Court and served as such juror within the last two years, I think about fifty or sixty days, I determined to find out by going to Mr. Peck’s own bills as made out against the County, and I must own that my investigation did not suit, for the charge proved true. I found that for the last one and a half years (that being Peck’s time as Deputy Sheriff) he has got charged to Kent County for attending Circuit Court for 118 days, for which he has received the sum of $177, or at the rate of more than $100 per year, for doing nothing. I must here say that in all my time in the Circuit Court I never saw Mr. Peck in attendance for a single half day. And upon further inquiry on this subject I found that Mr. Peck never did attend court at all. By the same bills I find many other things worth looking at and worth explaining. One item, hotel bills while on the road, I find all the other officers charge “dinner 50c.” Peck charges “dinner 75c.” And the item of bus and hack fare largely all through Mr. Peck’s bill charges from 50c up to $1.50, while that item is not found in the other officers’ bills at all, save in rare cases -- having prisoners in charge, etc. Also the item of conveying prisoners from jail to court house. Peck charges 50 cents, the other officers 18 cents; the last being the legal fee, and many other wrong charges that I will not now mention. After Mr. Peck shall have explained all the charges made against him, I will give him some more of the same sort.

Having thus satisfied myself in regard to Mr. Peck’s overcharges, it becomes our duty to let the tax-payers of this County know who to vote for, and who not to vote for, and from now henceforth I say to all: Gentleman vote for General [Israel] Smith. He is at least a free-holder and tax-payer, and more than all he is an honest man, You can depend upon it, that he will not charge for 188 days work never performed.

Less than a week later Peck wrote an open letter to the editor of the Eagle, responding to the charges raised by the Democrat that Peck and Sheriff Bailey had padded his bill for services as turnkey.

In an article in your paper of the 3rd ult. [Peck wrote] you call upon me to explain in regard to certain matters charged upon me by anonymous writers in one of our daily papers, and you very properly suggested the reason why I have hitherto paid no attention to them, viz: They are very anonymous signatures. But since you have called upon me for an explanation I hasten to make it. And first it is not true and I hereby deny it and charge the same to be false, that “while Mr. Bailey was Sheriff of this County I was hired for night watch around the jail and was to receive $1.50 per night for my services; and that when Mr. Bailey presented his account to the Board of Supervisors he presented a bill for $3 a night for my services and that I swore to the same,” as charged in the article signed “Republican” in the Democrat of August 20.

I also deny and charge as false the statement that I was hired by Mr. Bailey to watch the jail and was to receive $16 per month while on duty, and that when Bailey presented the bill to the Board of Supervisors for payment by the people of the County it bore the sworn statement of myself that the bill was correct, which bill, instead of being $16 per month, as charged in the article signed “Half Bushel,” and published in the Daily Democrat of September 1st.

I also deny and charge false the statement or pretended charge that I ever charged in my bills as Deputy Sheriff 118 days, or any other number of days, for attending the Circuit Court of Kent County, except when I was engaged in that business by order of the Sheriff.

And I also deny and charge as false, that I had charged for dinners while on the road 75 cents per meal, while all the other officers charged 50 cents per meal, and hereby assert that there is no charge for the same in any of my bills unless the actual disbursements had been made, or that any other charge for buss [sic] or hack hire was ever charged in my bills from 50 cents up to $1.50 without the actual disbursements had been made, and the actual necessity of the case required such disbursement.

I also deny the charge, and assert the same as false, that I charged 50 cents, and the other officers 13 cents, for conveying prisoners from the jail to the court house; or that there are any other wrong charges in my bills, as charged and stated in the article signed “Republican, published in the Daily Democrat of September 2. I believe that the above charges are all that have been made against me so far. They are at least all I have seen.

A word in regard to the 50 cents for bringing prisoners from jail to court. Prior to the October session in 1875, the Board had always allowed fees at 50 cents for bringing prisoners from jail to court. But at the October session, 1875, the Board put the fees down to 13 cents. and kept them there until the June session of 1876, when Mr. Parkman and myself, who had been engaged in handling a dangerous class of prisoners, made out our bills at the old rate of 50 cents. and the bills were allowed at those figures, not for me alone, as stated in the Democrat but also for Mr. Parkman. I will only say, in addition to what I have already said: That the truth or falsity of the charges made against me are susceptible of proof, and I challenge any person to an examination of the books and the record in regard thereto.

Anonymous correspondents, who are too cowardly to sign their names, and back their statements I shall hereafter refuse to notice. My bills of all kinds since I have been connected with the Sheriff’s office of Kent County are accessible and have passed through the hands of the proper committees, and have been open for inspection and inquiry at any and all times.

Hoping that, if the writer of the articles in the Democrat wishes to pursue the matter further, he will be kind enough to give some name, that I may known who he is, and that he will not be so much engaged in Milwaukee that he will have have no time to examine the record now on file in the clerk’s office of this County; and to the end that there can be no error committed in the matter, I make the gentleman this proposition -- that I will submit the truth of his charges to James N. Davis, Esq., or any other fair and impartial man in Kent County, if this author will come forward personally to stand his claims. Yours respectfully, F. W. Peck.

The Eagle came to his support, writing that the “manner of the insinuation” made by an anonymous writer to the Democrat “was of itself cowardly and sneaking, but it is according to the usual methods of that paper in cases where it dare not squarely utter falsehoods. Mr. Peck denies each of them specifically and challenges proof which the Confederates will do well to put forward or shut up. Of course no one expects that paper to do so fair a thing as to correct any of its misrepresentations. Voters will please bear in mind, however, that the official accounts of Mr. Peck as well as others, have been passed upon by Democratic Boards of Supervisors after close scrutiny by Committees with Democratic chairmen, and allowed as just and legal and proper.”

The Democrat continued its attack on Peck hoping to undermine his candidacy for sheriff of Kent County and it carried lengthy articles attempting to subvert his character and integrity, and indeed brought about an official investigation into his work record while serving as deputy sheriff and turnkey for the jail. “Taking it all in,” the paper wrote on October 29, “Mr. Peck is . . . in a very unfortunate position, and one it will be hard to make the electors of this County believe fits him for the office of sheriff.” However, in November he was in fact elected sheriff of Kent County and served two four-year terms.

By 1880 Freling was the sheriff of Kent County and possibly living at the County jail in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward.

Freling probably never married, was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and he received pension no. 67,730, drawing $6.00 in 1883 for a gunshot wound in the left side, increased to $50.00 by the time of his death.

His brother Dayton was with him when Freling died of consumption at 12:45 a.m. on Sunday August 18, 1889, at the residence of Mrs. Hobart, on the corner of Division and Lyon Streets in Grand Rapids. “He had been ill,” noted the Democrat on August 18, “for two years prior to his death, although he was apparently struck down by consumption in the summer of 1889.”

The Herald wrote on August 19 that his Gettysburg “wound never healed entirely. His lungs began to give way to the effects of the wound a little more than a year ago, and since that time his decline has been steady and rapid.” His funeral was held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 20, at the Universalist church in Grand Rapids, and the ceremonies were conducted by the Masonic lodge.

When his will was made public on August 22, 1889, he had divided up all he owned among to the Grand River Lodge No. 34 of the F. & A.M., his brother Philo and his wife, his brother Dayton and his brother Manser as well as two nephews and a niece.

Freling was buried in Greenwood cemetery: section F lot 1.

Robert H. Peck

Robert H. Peck was born on September 24, 1844, in Wayne County, New York, the son of Dr. Arvine (1819-1881) and Betsey Jane (Loucks)

Robert’s parents were married in February of 1842 in Victory, New York. His father practiced medicine in Clyde, Wayne County, New York from about 1847 until 1854 at which time he moved his family to Lowell, Kent County, Michigan, becoming one of the first settlers of that place. According to one source:

one of the earliest settlers in Lowell, Kent County, and now a prominent physician in that town, was born in Butler, Wayne County, New York, December 15, 1819. The first of the Peck family in this country emigrated from Wales about the middle of the last century. Dr. Arvine Peck's father, Horace Peck, was a native of Connecticut, and his mother, Anna (Burch) Peck, was born in New York State. His early educational advantages were confined to what could be obtained by attending the common schools, in the intervals of work on his father's farm. At the age of seventeen he entered Victory Academy, where he remained one year. The next three years he spent at Red Creek Academy, paying his expenses by teaching school. After leaving Red Creek, he spent some time in the study of dentistry; and, at last, was enabled to carry out his long-cherished resolution of preparing himself for the medical profession. He first pursued his medical studies under the tuition of Dr. Robert Treat Payne, and afterwards with Dr. A. T. Hendricks, under whose instruction he remained until his graduation. He attended a course of Jectures at Geneva, New York; and, subsequently, at the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, from which he graduated in 1846 with the highest honors. Dr. Peck has not confined himself, however, to the eclectic school of medicine. Being an ardent devotee of his profession, he has studied earnestly to familiarize himself with every known method of treatment, and few physicians have met with more unvarying success. He practiced first at Clyde, Wayne County, New York, where he remained seven years. In 1854 he went to Michigan, and settled at Lowell, which then consisted of four or five cabins in the woods. Since that time he has continued the practice of his profession in the same place. His business has increased rapidly with the growth of the country, and his name has been intimately identified with every enterprise which has brought Lowell to its present flourlshing condition. He served during the late war, with the rank of Captain, in the 2d Michigan Cavalry, at Madrid, Island No. 10, etc.; until, after eight months of service, his health failed, and he was obliged to return home. He was a Democrat until the Republican party was organized, to which he gave his support until 1875. He then identified himself with the National Greenback party, of which he is now an enthusiastic and intelligent member. He is outspoken in his convictions, and untiring in his advocacy of his political principles. He has been Supervisor of Lowell one year, and President of the village four years. He was married, February 19, 1842, at Victory, New York, to B. Jane Loucks. Their family consists of two sons and a daughter, only one of whom, a son, is unmarried. Dr. Peck is the oldest physician in Lowell, and commands the most extensive practice in that section of the country. His identification with the town since its infancy, and the skill and judgment which he combines with great ardor, have gained for him a high position in the community, as well as among the members of the medical profession. His face is well known, and his name almost a household word in the town of Lowell.

By 1860 Robert was a clerk and student living with his family in Lowell where his father worked as a physician and local businessman.

Robert stood 5’5” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 16 years old and residing in Kent County, probably in Lowell, when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)

Around the first of September, 1861, Robert was stricken with typhoid fever. On October 17, 1861, Captain Houghton of Company D wrote that Peck had “been sick the past six weeks with typhoid fever and now is troubled with a catarrh and has never been able to carry a musket.” He was discharged on November 9, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia, according to the Regimental surgeon Dr. Zenas Bliss, for “general debility partially the result of typhoid fever, but has since been [un]able to perform the duties of a soldier in consequence of his delicate physical conformation.”

Following his discharge Robert returned to Lowell where he reentered the service in Company C, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics on December 21, 1863, for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids’ First Ward, and was mustered in on January 5, 1864, at Grand Rapids. (See George Post’s bio; he too had served in Company D, was from either Ionia County or Lowell and he also reentered the service in Company C First E & M at the very same time.)

Robert probably joined the regiment somewhere in the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennesse where it was on engineering duty as well as at Bridgeport, Stevenson and on line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, Nashville & Northwestern Railroad, Tennessee & Alabama Railroad and Memphis & Charleston Railroad building block houses, etc., till May, 1864. The Regiment was on duty on the Atlantic & Western Railroad building block houses, etc., till September when it was ordered to Atlanta, Ga., September 25. Old members were mustered out October 31, 1864. It remained on duty at Atlanta September 28 to November 15; and participated in the March to the sea destroying railroad track, bridges and repairing and making roads November 15-December 10; in the siege of Savannah December 10-21, in the Carolina Campaign January to April, 1865; in the advance on Raleigh April 10-14, and occupation of Raleigh April 14; in the surrender of Johnston and his army.

The regiment then marched to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20, and was in the Grand Review on May 24. Ordered to Louisville, Ky., June 6; then to Nashville, Tenn. where it rmeained on duty until it was mustered out on September 22. The regiment was subsequently discharged at Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan on October 1.

Robert was mustered out as an Artificer, reportedly on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Robert again returned to Michigan and lived most of his postwar life in Lowell where he married Marion L. Baker on September 11, 1866. (His father was still living in Lowell and practicing medicine in 1870.)

Robert was a member of both the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and of Grand Army of the Republic Wilson post no. 87 in Lowell.

In 1867 he applied for and received a pension (no. 750050).

He died on November 19, 1878, and was buried in Oakwood cemetery, Lowell: 0-29-5.

His widow applied for a pension (no. 790634) but the certificate was never granted. By 1880 his widow “Marion” was living with her father-in-law and his family in Lowell.

Dayton Samuel Peck - update 8/23/2016

Dayton S. Peck was born on June 26, 1842, in Sweden, Monroe County, New York, the son of William R. (1807-1876) and Lucy (Bathrick, 1808-1848).

William and Massachusetts native Lucy were married about 1830, and eventually settled in Monroe County, New York. In 1846, when Dayton was 4 years old, his family left New York City and

took the canal boat from Brockport and rode as far as Buffalo. There was a short railroad ride in between Buffalo and where we left the canal, and the train ran so slow that we could get off and pick blackberries while the train was going. We took the lake boat to Detroit and took another boat around the lakes, through the straits of Mackinac and down the west coast, stopping at Cheboygan, Racine, Milwaukee and finally Chicago. My brother Freling nearly fell overboard but one of the sailors caught him. Claude tells me that my brother Manser had told him that when the boat stopped at Cheboygan my father went on shore and hurriedly called on a relative of his there by the name of Winship. We took another boat from Chicago to Grand Haven, there we took a river boat, the Algomah, to Grand Rapids, where we arrived in September, 1848. My father went to work for Butterworth in the foundry and later for W. T. Powers. My sister was married in 1849 in a house we lived in on Ionia Avenue, to Oceanus Van Burch. My father purchased a farm in Paris Township and I went to school there. Afterwards I lived with my sister and her husband on their farm.

By 1850 Dayton’s family was living in Paris, Kent County, Michigan, where his father, who had apparently remarried a Canadian woman named Julia (b. in Canada in 1824) was working as a carpenter and Dayton and his siblings, including his younger brother Freling who would also join the Third Michigan, were attending school.

On July 2, 1860, Dayton joined the Grand Rapids Light Artillery, one of the local militia companies under the command of Captain Baker Borden, who would eventually command Company B in the Third Michigan. That same year Dayton was a laborer working for and/or living in Walker, Kent County with the family of Samuel White, who would also enlist Company B.

Dayton stood 5’8” with blue eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion and was 18 years old and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company B on May 13, 1861. (His younger brother Freling would join Company B in late 1861.) The Regiment left for Washington, DC, on June 13, 1861, and it was shortly after setting up camp at the Chain Bridge that Dayton got to shake hands with President Lincoln. On July 4, the President, Peck claimed many years afterwards, “drove down there [Chain Bridge] along with his colored driver, and took his hat off to us boys there who were manning that battery [at the Bridge] and shook hands with all of us. I remember the words he said to me when he shook my hand, ‘I sleep sounder nights than I would if you were not here.’” He added in 1925 that he believed he was “last one left who shook hands with President Lincoln the fourth of July, 1861 at that place.”

Dayton was wounded slightly in the right arm on May 31, 1862, at Fair Oaks, Virginia, and by the end of the year was on duty at Brigade headquarters. He was employed as a Brigade butcher in January of 1863, was working at Brigade headquarters in April, in the Brigade commissary department (probably as butcher) from May through July and a Brigade butcher from November through May of 1864. He was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.
After he was discharged Dayton returned to Grand Rapids where he reentered the service in Battery G, First Michigan Light Artillery on November 29, 1864, for 1 year, crediting Assyria, Barry County, and was mustered the same day. He joined the battery on February 17, 1865, probably at Fort Morgan, Mobile Bay, Alabama, where it was on garrison and outpost duty until April 10. The battery participated in the capture of Mobile on April 12 and garrisoned the defenses of Mobile until July 19 when it was sent home to Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan, arriving there on August 2.

Dayton was mustered out with the battery on August 6, 1865, at Jackson.

Following the war Dayton returned to the Grand Rapids area and from 1867 to 1868 he was working as a butcher for Hill & Tuxbury, and boarding at the Bronson House in Grand Rapids. He married his first wife Delilah Ellen Hoyt on March 18, 1868, and from 1868 to 1869 was working for John Ryle and living on the northwest corner of Turner and Pearl Streets, on the west side of the Grand River in Grand Rapids.

He was still living in Grand Rapids in 1874, and was still working as a butcher when he married his second wife New York native Jennifer Dunphy (1845-1906) on January 21, 1875 (it is not known what became of his first wife), and they had at least two children: a son O. D. (b. 1878) and Fred (b. 1880).

In 1875 one newspaper described Peck as the “proprietor of the meat market on Lyon Street in the Leppig building, one of the best in the city.” The paper added that this was “Peck’s old stand, and his old friends will find him out there.” By 1880 Dayton was working as a butcher and living with his wife and two sons on Lyon Street in Grand Rapids’ 4th Ward.

Dayton lived in Grand Rapids through at least 1888, was residing in Walker, Kent County in 1890, back in Grand Rapids in 1892 and living in the 8th Ward in 1894. By 1895 he had moved to Sand Lake, Kent County where he worked a farm for some years. In 1900 he was living with his wife Jennie and two sons in Nelson, Kent County. but by 1903 he had returned to Grand Rapids. He was back in Sand Lake and possibly in Tustin, Osceola County in 1906.

He was a widower when he married his third wife, New York native Isabelle McBride (1851-1918) and in 1910 they were both living in Byron, Kent County; Dayton probably lived in Byron from 1910 to 1913. In 1915 Dayton was living at 222 Ridge Road in Grand Rapids.

Dayton was again a widower when he married his 4th wife, Ida (b. 1875) and by 1920 they were living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dayton was still living in St. Petersburg, in 1922.

He was a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association, and Grand Army of the Republic Custer post no. 5 in Grand Rapids. In 1890 he applied for and received a pension (no. 595084).

In 1925 Dayton was living at 173 Central Avenue in St. Petersburg where he died on April 2, 1926. He was presumably buried in St. Petersburg. He was buried in Royal Palm South cemetery, St. Petersburg: block 147-3.