The Biographical Record of Harrison & Carroll Counties, Ohio
pub by - J. H. Beers & Co.
Chicago - 1891
page - 298 -304
JOHN E. McPECK. Among the representative citizens of Archer Township, Harrison County, none hold a more prominent place in the esteem of the people, generally, than the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. Born August 1, 1832, in the village of Hanover, Harrison Co., Ohio, his career has been one of ceaseless toil and industry in the various phases of life, which he has so acceptably filled from time to time. His grandfather McPeck came in 1844 from Westmoreland County, Pa., to Harrison County, where, April 20, 1858, when aged eighty years and eighteen days, he was called to his last rest: he is buried in Ridge Cemetery. On April 27, 1869, the spirit of his aged widow joined him on the other shore, she having died aged eighty-three years, seven months and two days, and was laid in the grave beside him. They were married September 6, 1803, and reared a family of nine children - six sons and three daughters - all now deceased except William, who is living in Union County, Ohio.
The maternal grandfather of John E. McPeck was John Endsley, who married Jane Blaine, a native of Ireland, and who, a young girl of only twelve summers, braving the dangers and perils of an ocean voyage in the slow-going sailing vessels of those days, in company with her brother, David Blaine, who was then two years her senior, came to America. She made her home with her uncle, David Reed, in Cumberland County, Pa. Here she ultimately met and married John Endsley, by whom she had six children, two of whom still live in Coshocton County, Ohio. Mr. Endsley came by himself (leaving his family near Pittsburgh, Pa.) to Harrison county, Ohio, late in the fall of 1808, and secured land in Section 17, Range 5, Archer Township. He completed a hewed-log dwelling-house through the winter, and came in April, following, moved his wife and four small children to their new home in the then almost unbroken forest, where they endured all the hardships, privations and dangers incident to pioneer life. Mr. Endsley died April 29, 1835, in the fifty-ninth year of his age, leaving a widow to mourn his loss and wait for the summons to join him, and January 29, 1848, she too passed away in her seventy-fifth year, and was buried beside him who had been her life companion, and to whom she had been a faithful help-mate. The dust of both lies buried in the Ridge Cemetery. The farm entered by Mr. Endsley has been in the possession of the family connection ever since, with the exception of some twenty years when it was owned by Samuel Moorehead, who, in 1870, sold it to its present owner, John E. McPeck.
George McPeck, father of the subject proper of these lines, was born October 24, 1808, and remained at home in Westmoreland County, Pa., until about eighteen years of age, when he engaged in brick-laying, and in November, 1829, he came to Ohio, where he followed his trade fourteen years, being employed in the erection of some of the best buildings in Harrison County. On October 6, 1831, he was united in marriage with Jane Endsley, a native of Archer township, and a daughter of John Endsley. For some time the young couple resided in Hanover, this county, and then moved to the John Endsley Farm, where they remained eleven years, finally purchasing a farm of 137 acres in Archer Township. Here they lived a life of peace until August 22, 1852, when death separated them by taking the beloved wife, seven small children being left to mourn the mother's death. October 6, 1853, Mr. McPeck married Mrs. Barbara Endsley, who departed this life November 1, 1854, leaving one small child, and in April, 1857, the bereaved husband took for his third wife Mrs. Catherine A. Caldwell, who was called from this world July 19, 1883. This union was blessed with one child. On March 24, 1886, the aged pioneer passed quietly and suddenly over the mystic river, being seventy-seven years and five months old.
John E. McPeck, his son, remained with his parents until he was twenty-one years of age, attending in his boyhood the common schools of his native county, and afterward the academy at New Hagerstown, which was supplemented by a course of instruction at Richmond College, Jefferson County, Ohio. By working on the farm, summers, at times teaching school, winters, and by other occasional employments, he earned enough to pay his own expenses at school : and so by industry in his youth he laid the foundation of a future successful life. On September 8, 1858, Mr. McPeck was married to Mary, daughter of Rev. Lewis H. Davidson, a resident of Washington Township, Harrison Co., Ohio, and to this union were born five children, viz : Jane, born July 21, 1859 : Mattie, born February 11, 1861 ( both at home) ; Elmer E., born February 10, 1863 ( this child was not seen by his father until he was six months old) ; James (now deceased), born November 2, 1865, and Lewis, born November 29, 1868 ( at present attending New Athens College). Of these, Elmer E., supplemented his common-school education with a through course at Hopedale Normal School ; then engaged in teaching, after which he studied medicine at Starling Medical College, Columbus, Ohio, graduating therefrom in March, 1889. He is now successfully practicing his chosen profession at Bowerston, Harrison county.
After marriage Mr. and Mrs. John E. McPeck remained in Washington township until the following spring, when they purchased a small place near Jewett, same county, where for a time, he taught the village school and carried on farming. In the hour of his country's peril, when the call for volunteers was urgent, he left his wife, two children and partly ungathered crops, and enrolled himself among others heroes in the defense of the Union. On August 11, 1862, he joined, as first lieutenant, Company C., One Hundred and Twenty-sixth O.V.I., which regiment was ordered to Virginia, where it was soon assigned to the Third Corps, and afterward to the Sixth Corp, Army of the Potomac. Mr. McPeck was present at the battle of the Wilderness, and here, his captain being killed, he was promoted to the command of his company, besides several skirmishes with the Rebels, he also participated in the battles of Spottsylvania Court House and Cold Harbor, the siege of Petersburgh, Va., and he was with Ricketts' division of the Sixth Corps that was ordered to Harper's Ferry to "head off" Gen. Early, who was advancing northward with a large rebel force to invade Maryland and threaten the cities of Baltimore and Washington : and in the battle of Monocacy, in Maryland, when the Union forces were exerting every effort to save the National capital from ashes, on July 9, 1864, Capt. McPeck fell into the hands of the enemy severely wounded in left leg. It was thought at the time by his comrades that he was mortally wounded, and so it was published in the county papers at home. The chaplain and lieutenant-colonel of the regiment each wrote letters of sympathy and condolence to his bereaved wife ( as they thought), stating that he was mortally wounded and in the hands of the enemy. He was robbed of his sword and belt, watch, silk handkerchief, and a needy and brazen-faced Rebel even took the boots on his feet. He was conveyed by the enemy to the United States Hospital at Frederick ( three miles from the battle field), where he was recaptured the next day. Here he remained two months when he recieved a "leave of absence" to come home. On November 18, following, he reported in person to the officer's hospital at Annapolis, where, after careful examination, he was adjudged disqualified from further service through disability occasioned by his wound. Accordingly he was honorably discharged December 12, 1864 ; then went to Washington and settled his accounts with the Government, after which, about Christmas time, he returned home, where he was welcomed by his wife and friends and neighbors. Mr. McPeck was incapacitated for any manual labor, but the citizens of the county, in recognition of his gallant service and his honorable wound, and as an expression of their respect for him as a man, unanimously elected him to the office of sheriff of his county. His first term he so satisfactorily filled that his constituents re-elected him to a second, and no doubt he would have served a third term did the law not forbid the holding of that office for more than two terms. After retirement from office Mr. McPeck visited many of the western States (his trip extending through Illinois , Missouri and Kansas), prospecting for some suitable place where to locate, but failing to find any better than his native county, he returned home and immediately purchased the farm on which he still resides in Archer Township. He is a member of the G.A.R. at Cadiz, Ohio, and he and his wife are members of the Ridge Presbyterian Church. Mr. McPeck has made all he owns by his own individual efforts, and his prosperity and the esteem in which he is held are due to his honesty, integrity and industry.