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Thomas J. Peak
Born September 9, 1813
THOMAS J. PEAK, Monticello; one of the oldest settlers in this section of Jones Co.; is a native of Cheshire Co., N. H., and was born September 9, 1813; when 7 years of age, he went to Vermont and grew up to manhood in that State; coming West at an early age, he settled in Illinois, where he remained until 1837, when he came to Iowa with B. Beardsley; they located claims in what is now Castle Grove Township; they returned to Illinois for the winter, and in the following April they returned and took permanent possession of their claims. On Christmas Day, 1839, Mr. Peak was united in marriage to Miss Rebecca M. Beardsley, a native of Delaware Co., N.Y., and the daughter of B. Beardsley; they were the first couple married in Jones Co.; a marriage license was not as easily procured then as it is now; Mr. Peak had to go to Sugar Grove, Cedar Co., sixty-five miles, taking him four days to procure his license, but he felt well paid for his trouble; they lived on the farm until the spring of 1864, then came to Monticello and engaged in mercantile business and buying stock and grain for a few years; after being in the lumber business a short time, he engaged in the grocery trade; since coming to Monticello, he has visited at one time and another nearly every county in Iowa; the result of his travels were presented at the time to the readers of the Monticello Express in several well-written and interesting letters. Mr. and Mrs. Peak have had five children—Francis, Maria A., now Mrs. Rosa, living in Chicago; Rosalia E. and Andrew J.; they lost their oldest son—William W.; when the war broke out, he enlisted in 1861, in the 4th I.V.C.; after being in the service about one year he came home, on account of sickness; he remained an invalid for three years and died of consumption in June, 1865, aged 26 years. There are only two others now living in this part of the county who have been here as long as Mr. Peak; he has carried dressed pork to Dubuque and sold it for $1 per hundred, and wheat for 371/2 cents per bushel; there were plenty of Indians here when he first came, and he used to talk the Indian language; there are few men of his age as active as he is who have been through the hardships of pioneer life.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 677.

FIRST MAN MARRIED IN JONES COUNTY DIES

Mr. T(homas) J. Peak, who had been a resident of Jones County for sixty-one years, died at his home in Monticello Tuesday. Mr. Peak had been ill about a week with pneumonia but was recovering. His death was due to heart trouble. Mr. Peak was over 86 years of age. On Christmas Day he and the widow who survives him celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of their marriage. They enjoyed the distinction of being the first couple married in Jones County, Iowa.

Source: Jackson Sentinel, Maquoketa, Iowa, February 18, 1900.
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