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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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THOMAS J. PECK. One of the oldest settlers of Platte township, Buffalo county, as well as one of the most prosperous citizens of the community where he lives, is Thomas J. Peck, the subject of this biographical notice. Mr. Peck has been a resident of the locality where he now resides for about seventeen years, coming to Nebraska in December, 1873, and settling first in Hall county, where he remained three years, moving thence across the line into Buffalo county, living there since. He came from Iowa to Nebraska, but is a native of Pennsylvania. He was born in Chester county, near the city of Philadelphia, and comes of old Pennsylvania ancestry, his parents and his grandparents being residents from time immemorial of the “Keystone State.” His father, John Peck, was born, reared and passed his entire life in Chester county, being a farmer and following the peaceful pursuits of agriculture up to the close of an industrious, well-spent life, dying in 1864 at the age of forty-five. His mother, Margaret Taylor, who was a native also of Chester county, passed all her years near the place of her nativity, dying in July, 1886, well advanced in years. Only two children were born to John and Margaret (Taylor) Peck, both boys, they being now residents of Platte township, Buffalo county, this state, the elder, Thomas J., the subject of this sketch, and the younger Samuel E. T.

Thomas J. was born in July, 1843, and reared near his birth-place, not far from Philadelphia. He grew up as most farm boys do, receiving a fair common-school education and being trained to the habits of industry and usefulness common to farm life. In June, 1861, not yet having attained his eighteenth year, he entered the Union army, enlisting in Company K, fourth Pennsylvania reserves, and, his regiment being assigned to the Army of the Potomac, he served in that command for twenty-two months. Enlisting under age, his mother had him taken out of the service at the end of that time under habeas corpus proceedings, and he was kept at home until 1864, when, in February of that year, he again entered the army, enlisting in Company K, Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry, and served till after the surrender, being mustered out and discharged at Richmond, Va., August 11, 1865. During his term of service the last time, he was under Gen. P. H. Sheridan and was in the saddle continuously from the time he entered the service till the close of the war.

Returning to Pennsylvania he remained there a short time and then, tilled with a growing desire to see the great West and find some suitable location, where he could settle down and grow up with his surroundings, he emigrated to Iowa in 1866, where he settled, married and resided till 1873, coming thence in December of that year, as above noted, to Hall county, this state. He settled in Hall county, near the corners of the four counties of Hall, Adams, Kearney and Buffalo, taking a soldier’s homestead. Three years later he bought a relinquishment on the southeast quarter of section 36, just across the line in Buffalo county, on which he filed a pre-emption claim, settled, and has since resided there. Taking this claim when it was almost all raw land, he has, by great industry and unremitting attention to all the details of the farm, made of it one of the best improved and most pleasant places in his township, having one hundred acres of it under plow, handsome groves and large and comfortable buildings, residence and barn. The secret of his success has been in his hard, persistent labor, his strict economy and his judicious management. He is regarded as one of the best farmers of his locality and as a business man of sound sense and discriminating judgment.

Mr. Peck married June 10, 1867 — the lady whom he selected to share his life’s fortunes being Miss Mary E. Elter, then of Iowa, but a native of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Peck’s father, Nicholas Elter, was a native of France and was reared in his native country to the age of eighteen, coming thence to America and settling in Pennsylvania, where he married, and after a residence there of some years moved to Iowa, and there died in August, 1887, at the age of sixty-five. Mrs. Peck’s mother, Julia Elter, was born in Tioga county, Penn., and is still living, being a resident of Iowa. Of the eleven children in the family to which Mrs. Peck belonged, six are now living, being married and settled off in life. The eldest, John B., was killed in the late war at the battle of Peach Orchard, Va., he being a member of the Eighth Pennsylvania cavalry; Charles died young, and the others are — Sarah, William, Charlotte (deceased), Emma, Minerva, Hattie, George and Susan. Mrs. Peck is the third of the family and the eldest girl.

In politics Mr. Peck is a democrat and comes of a line of ancestors who drew their political faith from the teachings of Jefferson and Jackson, and is a stanch supporter of the doctrines and methods of his party. And he is withal an intelligent, hospitable, pleasant gentleman.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company. 

View additional Buffalo County, Nebraska family biographies here: Buffalo County, Nebraska Biographies

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