William H. Peck
William Henry Peck was a writer from the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...



Peck was born in the Sand Hill section of Richmond County, Georgia
Richmond County, Georgia
Richmond County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. It is one of the original counties of Georgia, created February 5, 1777. As of 2010, the population was 200,549. The 2007 Census Estimate showed a population of 199,486....

, part of Augusta
Augusta, Georgia
Augusta is a consolidated city in the U.S. state of Georgia, located along the Savannah River. As of the 2010 census, the Augusta–Richmond County population was 195,844 not counting the unconsolidated cities of Hephzibah and Blythe.Augusta is the principal city of the Augusta-Richmond County...

. He was the son of Samuel Hopkins Peck, a merchant in Augusta, and his wife, the former Sarah Holmes Pate. Samuel Peck, later known as Colonel Peck due to his experience in the Mexican–American War
Mexican–American War
The Mexican–American War, also known as the First American Intervention, the Mexican War, or the U.S.–Mexican War, was an armed conflict between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 in the wake of the 1845 U.S...

, was descended from the Paul Peck family, one of the early settlers of Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford, Connecticut
Hartford is the capital of the U.S. state of Connecticut. The seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960, it is the second most populous city on New England's largest river, the Connecticut River. As of the 2010 Census, Hartford's population was 124,775, making...


In 1842, Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

's Congress passed the Armed Occupation Act
Armed Occupation Act
The Florida Armed Occupation Act of 1842 was passed as an incentive to populate Florida. The Act granted 160 acres  of unsettled land south of the line separating townships 9 and 10 South....

 which encouraged citizens to move and settle the relatively untamed areas of central Florida. Peck moved with his father and brothers in 1843 to the Indian River Colony in St. Lucie County
St. Lucie County, Florida
St. Lucie County is a county located in the state of Florida. The county seat is the city of Fort Pierce. In the year 2000, the population was 192,695. As of the year 2010, the United States Census Bureau sets the population at 277,789.- History :...

 in east Florida. He later wrote descriptively about this area and his meeting with early pioneers such as lighthouse keeper Mills Burnham of Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River.It is part of a region known as the...

 in the Florida Star newspaper in 1887. In a piece for the New York Ledger, Peck also described the opening of the Indian River
Indian River (Florida)
The Indian River is a waterway in Florida, a part of the Indian River Lagoon system which forms the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It extends southward from the Ponce de Leon inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Florida [Volusia County] southward and across the "Haulover Canal" and along the western shore...

 inlet with the picks and shovels that were available at that time. The family is accredited with building the first frame house in the area and Peck's Lake is given to be named for them.

Peck received an extensive education at a boarding school in Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, a military school in Georgetown, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Georgetown is a city in Scott County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 29,098 at the 2010 census. The original settlement of Lebanon, founded by Rev. Elijah Craig, was renamed in 1790 in honor of President George Washington. It is the home of Georgetown College, a private liberal arts...

 and attended Harvard
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 where he received a degree in 1853 and masters in 1855. His writing career took off with submissions to Robert Bonner's New York Ledger
New York Ledger
New York Ledger was a weekly story paper published in New York City. It was established in 1856 by Robert E. Bonner. Date of last issue was 1898....

where it was reported he was paid $5000 for stories for this publication. In 1873 The Augusta Chronicle reported:
"A DISTINGUISHED AUGUSTA AUTHOR" Our readers will be gratified to learn of the success in the literary world of our neighbor Professor William Henry Peck who is the author of some of the best and most popular romances of the day.. The professor is a citizen of Harlem...romance writer for the New York Ledger...ATTRACTION EXTRAORDINARY... it is with no little pride and gratification that we announce an exclusive engagement for a long term of years with that renowned and brilliant author William Henry Peck...particularly so as the author is Georgian. Professor William Henry Peck is, we believe, a native of Augusta and doubtless is known to many of our citizens.

William Peck earlier served as Professor of History at Tulane University
Tulane University
Tulane University is a private, nonsectarian research university located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States...

 of Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 and served as an educator for several institutions. In 1861, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

, where he started The Georgia Weekly and divided his time between Atlanta and New York until he retired to the home of his youth in Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...

. He married Monica Kenny Blake in 1854 and was the father of seven children. With his family, he later moved to Merritt Island, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Merritt Island is a census-designated place in Brevard County, Florida, United States. It is located on the east coast of the state on the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2000 census, the population was 36,090. It is part of the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, where he owned many acres of citrus groves and started a post office. He was post-master at the Courtenay Post Office which had a steamer called Courtenay. Peck's activities were often written about in the Florida Star newspaper. He later moved from Courtenay to close by Cocoa, Florida
Cocoa, Florida
Cocoa is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. The population was 16,412 at the 2000 census. As of 2008, the estimated population according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 16,478. It is part of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:Cocoa was...

. His daughter Byrnnia Peck married Edward Postell Porcher
Porcher House
The Porcher House is a historic home in Cocoa, Florida. It is located at 434 Delannoy Avenue. On January 6, 1986, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places....

 in Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

, on December 15. Another daughter, Daisy Peck, wrote for the Cocoa Tribune.

Peck died soon after his wife in 1892 in Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...

 and is buried at Westview Cemetery
Westview Cemetery
Westview Cemetery, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is the largest cemetery in the South East, comprising over , 50% of which is undeveloped. Westview includes the graves of more than 100,000 people.- History:...

in Atlanta, Georgia.


Peck published over seventy-five books, mostly novels. Some of these books include:
  • The M'Donalds; or, The ashes of southern homes. A tale of Sherman's march. This book was said to be loosely based on the experiences of his sister's family, the McDonalds from Augusta. (Written at the age of 37)
  • Published "The Confederate flag on the ocean. A tale of the cruises of the Sumter and Alabama." (38)
  • Wild Redburn, an Indian Tale
  • In May 1887 he wrote a story in the Florida Star about Gilbert's Bar. A very descriptive account of his teen years about the early pioneers of the Indian River area.
  • Story in Florida Star dated July 17, 1889, records a social event at the home of W.H. Peck in Cocoa Florida. "Watching the Night Cereus bloom".
  • Published The Fortune-teller of New Orleans. (59)
  • Published Siballa the sorceress; or, The Flower Girl of London. (60)
  • Published The Executioner of Venice, a novel. (62)

External links

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