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Robert Melvin Peet
Born March 20, 1856

Robert Melvin Peet is a representative of one of the oldest pioneer families of Jones county. He is also an extensive landowner, having some valuable property in this county, while his home place, pleasantly situated about five miles from Anamosa, has been in possession of the Peet family since 1840, in which year it was purchased by his grandfather. Mr. Peet was born on this farm, March 20, 1856, the second son and third in order of birth in a family of four children, whose parents were James M. and Ann (Dallas) Peet.
James M. Peet was born in Cortland county, New York, September 1, 1821, a son of Gideon and Abigail (Wildman) Peet, who came originally from Connecticut and located in Cortland county, New York. Gideon Peet was an expert mechanic but followed farming as a life work. Following his marriage he located on a farm in central New York and there reared a family of eight sons and one daughter, all of whom lived to become heads of families. It was about 1840 that Gideon Peet removed with his family to the west, for he believed that this district offered better advantages and possibilities than the older settled east. He decided upon Jones county as a suitable place to locate and accordingly went to the land office in Dubuque and entered five hundred and sixty acres of land in Fairview township, on which he took up his abode. He lived to enjoy his new -home for only a brief period, his death occurring in 1842. The sons then assumed the management of the home farm for their widowed mother, whose death occurred five years later, in 1847.
Subsequent to the mother's death, James M. Peet, who was then a young man of about twenty-six years, purchased the interest of the other heirs and became sole owner of the homestead farm. Taking up his work in earnest, he prospered as the years passed by and in the course of time added to his original possessions until his holdings embraced nine hundred acres, all in Jones county. He was very methodical and systematic in carrying on his work and took great pride in keeping everything about his place in good condition, so that on five different occasions his farm won first premium for being the best managed property in Jones county.
James M. Peet was married June 5, 1845, to Miss Ann Dallas, a daughter of Robert and Isabel (Couts) Dallas, of Red Oak Grove, Cedar county, Iowa. They began their domestic life on the farm and there reared their family numbering two sons and two daughters. William G., born May 8, 1846, was married February 8, 1872, to Miss Eliza E. Saum, a daughter of George Saum, a prominent farmer of Walnut Grove, this county. William G. died December 12, 1893, leaving a widow, two sons and one daughter. Lorenda E., who was born December 3, 1848, died March 17, 1877. Robert M., the next member of the family, is the subject of this review. Orra D., the youngest, was born July 30, 1864, and died May 24, 1904, leaving a husband and one daughter. After a happy married life covering almost three decades, Mrs. Peet was called to her final rest on the 22d of September 1874. In about three years the eldest daughter was called to the home beyond, and subsequently the father left the farm to the management of his son Robert M. and removed to Anamosa, where he had purchased a comfortable home. He was married a second time, July 5, 1877, to Matilda Weaver, of this city, who died some time in 1906. He passed away August 13, 1888. In his young manhood, when much of the land in Jones county was still unclaimed, he made his way to this district to brave the trials and privations incident to the establishment of a home in a new country. He could relate with interest the incidents of those early days when the homes of the settlers were widely scattered and when the thriving towns and cities of the present were then, many of them, unknown. He was a most industrious and successful man, whose probity was unquestioned and had the love and respect of all with whom he lived. He was never identified with any church organization but the Golden Rule was ever the basis of his conduct. In the highest and best sense of the term he was ever and essentially a gentleman, and at his death he stood crowned with honors and years, surrounded by a host of warm friends who gave to him the reverence that should ever be tendered to one of his years.
Robert Melvin Peet, the immediate subject of this review, was reared to habits of industry and economy, being trained in the work of the fields at an early age, while his education was begun at the usual age in the district schools near his home and therein he mastered the branches of learning that fitted him for life's duties and responsibilities. In 1877, when the father retired, Robert M. Peet assumed entire management of the homestead farm and is now the owner of this tract, to which he has since added, so that his possessions now embrace eight hundred and twenty acres, all in one body, and two hundred and sixty acres in another tract in Greenfield township, Jones county. He likewise owns two hundred and seventy-six acres in Marion township, Linn county, this state. His home place is well improved with substantial barns and outbuildings, and the house which he occupies is a modern country residence, pleasantly located about five miles from Anamosa. Mr. Peet is extensively engaged in general farming and stock raising and is numbered among the most prominent and prosperous men of his section of Jones county. His interests have at all times been thoroughly identified with those of the county and while he has prospered, his success has been gained only by strict adherence to the most honorable and businesslike methods.
Mr. Peet was married on Thanksgiving day of 1878, the date being November 28, to Miss Carrie Belle Carbee, a daughter of William and Harriet (Smith) Carbee, who were natives of New Hampshire. The Carbee family originated in England. The paternal grandparents were John H. and Anna (Powers) Carbee, who were likewise natives of the old Granite state and there they lived and died. Joel Carbee, the great-grandfather, served in the Revolutionary war. The maternal grandparents of Mrs. Peet were Lyman and Rachel (Heath) Smith, also natives of New Hampshire. The father, William Carbee, served in the Civil war, becoming captain of Company H, Twenty-fourth Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and he lost his life at the battle of Champion Hills, May 16, 1863. The mother survived for a number of years and died in 1879, when forty-eight years of age. Unto Mr. and Mrs. William Carbee were born one son and two daughters, the brother and sister of Mrs. Peet being: Francis D., a resident of South Dakota; and Alice, the widow of H. G. Bowman, who died in 1893, leaving eight children, the family now residing in Cedar Rapids.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Peet have been born six daughters and two sons. The eldest, Harriette A., is now the wife of W. F. McCarty and has two sons, Robert W. and Francis P. The other children are Orra Almeda, Minnie Alice, Bessie, Almora Louise, Florence Lorenda, James William and Robert Melvin, Jr.
Mr. Peet is a democrat in his political views and has taken quite a prominent and influential part in public affairs, being a member of the thirtieth and thirty-first general assemblies and also serving as a member of the board of supervisors for four years. His extensive business interests make such heavy demands upon his time and attention that he finds little opportunity for active participation in politics. He is not slow, however, in lending his influence to the cause of any worthy movement or measure instituted by his fellow citizens. His enterprising and progressive spirit has made him a typical American in every sense of the word and by constant exertion, associated with good judgment, he has raised himself to the prominent position which he now holds, having the friendship of many and the respect of all who know him.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 634.

From Souvenir of Anamosa, published by The Anamosa Journal, 1907. Submitted by Jim Christianson.

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