Eleazer A. Peck
Eleazer A. Peck

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

ELEAZER A. PECK is a lineal descendant of William Peck, who was one of the founders of the New Haven colony, in the spring of 1638. With his wife, Elizabeth, and his son, Jeremiah, he emigrated from England to this country in the company of Gov. Eaton, Rev. John Davenport, and others in the ship "Hector," arriving at Boston, from London, June 26, 1637. They had suffered much from the intolerance and persecution of Archbishop Laud during the reign of Charles I, and the object of their emigration was the unmolested enjoyment of civil and religious liberty. He was born in the city of London in 1601, and was there married about the year 1622. He was one of the original proprietors of New Haven, his autograph signature being affixed to the fundamental agreement or constitution, dated June 4, 1639, for the government of the infant colony.

He was admitted a freeman of the colony on Oct. 20, 1640; was a merchant by occupation, and a trustee, treasurer, and the general business agent of the Colony Collegiate School, established on the basis of the Hopkins' fund. From 1659 until his decease, Oct. 4, 1694, he was a deacon of the Church in New Haven.

His descendants in every generation have been prominent in both civil and military affairs of the country, wherever they have been found.

Eleazer A. Peck was born in West Stafford, Conn., Dec. 15, 1815. His father, Dr. Daniel Peck, was a native of Lyme, Conn., and married Persis Ladd, a native of the same State. Of this union were born four sons and six daughters, all of whom were married and had families. Eleazer A. is the ninth child. Dr. Daniel Peck practiced medicine during his life, was a member of the State Legislature, and died in 1828, at West Stafford, aged fifty-eight.

His third son, Erasmus D., adopted the medical profession, for which he was well educated, and was highly respected and esteemed, not only as an able, kind, and skillful physician, but as an enterprising business man and a most valuable citizen. He was a representative in the Ohio Legislature from 1855 to 1859 inclusive, and in the Forty-first and Forty-second Congress from the Tenth Congressional District of the State of Ohio.

Eleazer A. Peck received a good education in the common school and in the Hartford Grammar School. At the age of thirteen he went into the busy world for himself, owing to the death of his father. Following the age of sixteen, for three years he was a clerk in a dry-goods store at Hartford, Conn., and for two years in a wholesale jobbing house in New York. In 1837 he went to Hartford, Conn., and for a short time was engaged as a cotton commission merchant, followed by five years in the flour trade. In 1845 he came to Troy, N. Y. where he again engaged in the flour trade, but by mismanagement in the firm in which he was a partner he lost all he had. With undaunted resolution, he began at the foundation of business; accepted the agency of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, which then had been organized only about two years, and began business in a small way in the city of Troy. Shortly after his beginning, he associated with him in business Mr. Joseph Hillman, under the firm name of Peck & Hillman. This firm was the first to engage in operations in real estate, stocks, and insurance in Troy, which, after carrying on for several years, the latter business so increased that they dropped the real estate and stock interests and directed their whole energies to that of life insurance. Subsequently, Albany was added to the territory under the supervision of this firm, and about 1862 the company gave them full control of the State of New York, except the city, which they still retained. By the fire of May 10, 1862, Mr. Peck was again stripped of nearly his entire property. He at once set about rebuilding on Fifth Street, where now may be seen a block of some of the finest residences of the city of Troy.

He has devoted his whole life to business affairs, giving little attention to the bickerings of politics. Identified formerly with the Whig and now with the Republican party, he has ever cast his vote to establish firmly the principles of those parties, and to support the strongest advocates of reform.

He married, June 4, 1839, Lucy E. Wildman, of Hartford, Conn. They have three children, - a daughter and two sons. Parents and children are all active members of the Presbyterian Church.

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