The state of Maryland contributed her proportion of emigrants to form the army of pioneers who crossed the Alleghanies in the earlier part of the nineteenth century to grapple with the western wilderness. Among the number was Joseph Peak, whose birth occurred about the time of the Revolutionary war, and who, after marrying Lucy Leach, started on the perilous trip to the "Dark and Bloody Ground," south of the Ohio river. He does not seem to have been pleased with the opportunities offered by Kentucky, as we find him soon crossing over to the more congenial soil of the Buckeye state. He settled in Butler county, then as now, one of the best sections of Ohio and made his living by farming until his death in 1835. He had eight children and among them William B. Peak, whose birth occurred on the Butler county homestead, September 25, 1812. He also followed the occupation of farming, but concluding late in life that the Illinois prairies offered better inducements, he removed to that state in August, 1864, and settled in Flora, where he engaged in business until his death, January 7, 1896. Aside from agricultural pursuits, he became a preacher of the Methodist Episcopal church and did much religious work during the active period of his life. He married Cynthia Flanner, a native of Butler county, Ohio, who made him a faithful companion until her death in 1874. This worthy couple had eleven children, all but one of whom lived to maturity and eight are still living. Of these, Mrs. Angeline Chidester is a resident of Flora. Mrs. Mary Floyd is a resident of Dublin, Indiana. Rev. T. De Witt Peak is a citizen of Litchfield, Illinois. Mrs. Caroline Major makes her home in Flora. Rev. R. F. Peak holds forth at Oakland, California. Mrs. S. C. Manker is the sixth in order of birth. Mrs. C. E. Beckett resides at Centralia, Illinois. Joseph S. Peak, the second in order of birth of the surviving children, was born in Butler county, Ohio, March 16, 1837. He accompanied his parents to Clay county during the latter part of the Civil war, after obtaining a fair common school education, partly in his native county and partly n Shelby county, Indiana, where the family sojourned for a while. For many years after reaching Illinois, he combined farming and school teaching as a means of livelihood. In August 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Thirty-third Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, with which he served nine months, being discharged on account of sickness. He farmed and taught school in Indiana before he came to Illinois, where he spent his time on a farm until the winter of 1893, when he removed to Flora, Illinois. In 1884 he was elected Surveyor of Clay county on the Republican ticket, in which office he served acceptably for four years. In 1888 he obtained the nomination for the same office, but was defeated, at the polls. He tried again in 1894, and was triumphantly elected, but after serving his term, abandoned politics for the real estate and general notary business. In 1896 he was elected Justice of the Peace and has continued to exercise the duties of that office by repeated reelections. He had served in this capacity also while a resident of the country, previous to his removal to Flora. Mr. Peak is a hale and vigorous man for his age and possessed of a cheerful disposition, fortified by many of the sterling virtues. He has resided in or near Flora for forty-five years and is known to every one in the county. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and for five years was secretary of the International Sunday School Association. He is commander of the local post of the Grand Army of the Republic. On October 7, 1857, Mr. Peak married Susan E. Lick, who was born and reared near the town of Hope in Bartholomew county, Indiana. Their marriage relations have continued harmonious for over fifty-one years. Of their seven children, those living are Mrs. Addie Lewis, of Omaha, Nebraska; Charles A. Peak, of the same city; Mrs. Mary Chapman, also of Omaha; W. B. Peak, Omaha; E. E. Peak, of Detroit, Michigan; Miss Stella Peak, of Flora.
Extracted 27 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay & Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 294-295.