Also see [Railway Officials in America 1906]
If the future generations are asked the question, “Who has done the most for America, the pioneer or the inventor
of the telegraph, the locomotive, the steamboat, or the many great inventors of the present or any other age?“
we believe the answer will be, “The Pioneer.” Without him there wonld have been no need of locomotives or steamboats,
no cities to connect with the telegraph wire, and no use for the labor saving machinery we see on every hand. Of
the pioneers of Clinton County there are none deserving of more credit than Philip P. Peck, of whom this is a brief
history. He was one of a family of six children, and was born in Danbury, Conn., Nov. 23, 1802. When he was fourteen
years old his father, who was a shoemaker, moved to Seneca Co., N. Y., where the family resided fourteen years,
and where young Philip learned his father’s trade. Arrived at his majority he started out in life for himself,
locating first at Lodi, in Seneca County. But having no means with which to start, he found a hard road to travel.
He then became an itinerant shoemaker, going from farm to farm and making up the yearly supply of shoes for the
families where he stopped, as was the custom. After several years spent in wandering he married, and then emigrated
to Huron Co., Ohio, where he bought fifty acres of unimproved land, on which he did but little clearing, as his
trade engrossed the most of his time. Soon after his arrival in Ohio, his brother joined him and opened a cooper
shop. Philip’s health becoming impaired by too close application to the bench he quit his trade, and then for four
years worked at the cooper’s trade. Becoming dissatisfied with the progress he was making he sold his fifty acres,
and with two ox teams started for Michigan, locating in Tecumseh, Lenawee Co., where he bought forty acres of land,
but did not work it, as his recovered health made it possible for him to again work at his trade, which he followed
four years; then sold out and again wended his way westward, this time locating in Riley township, Clinton Co.
There were then but few families, and Mr. Peck’s arrival was hailed with great pleasure by Mr. Boughton, who was
living a bachelor on his farm, which was near Mr. Peck’s. He had previously built a small house near Mr. Peck’s
farm, into which he at once invited Mr. Peck and his family, and where they resided many years. The house, though
small, was always the home of any new comer, and families of eight and ten were often entertained for weeks until
their own houses could he built. The Indians, too, always found a welcome beneath his roof and at his table, and
were always warm friends of the family. Years have passed, and the wild land lie then bought is now a well improved
farm, which is surrounded by the homes of the many thrifty farmers of’ Riley, all of which Mr. Peck has lived to
see, and towards which he has contributed more than his share. And now in the seventy eighth year of his age he
is enjoying the comforts his life of toil has brought him. He has always stood high in the estimation of his fellow
citizens, and has nearly always held some office in his town, having been justice of the peace thirty years in
succession, and town clerk five years; also county superintendent of the poor two years. He was in early life converted
to the Methodist faith, and is now a member of that church. There have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Peck the following
children: William B., born Oct. 14, 1825; Emma J., March 12, 1827; and Amanda M., June 23, 1833, who married David
P. Bliss, July 30, 1853; their children are Eva, born July 6, 1854, and Huron S., April 22, 1861.
History of Shiawassee and Clinton Counties, Michigan
With Illistrations and Biographical Sketches
of Their Men and Pioneers.
D. W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia 1880
Press of J. B. Lippincoff & Co., Philadelphia.