Founders of Peck’s Mill, Pioneer Peck Family, Has Interesting Background
Logan County Genealogical Society
Taken from The Logan Banner, March 20, 1937:
Logan county has many interesting first families. In this group is the Peck family who live at the little village which bears their name six miles below Logan on the Guyan river. Peck’s Mill was not always known by that name, but since the late months of the Civil War when J. E. Peck and Robert Peck, uncles of the J. E. and Robert, so well-known in Logan county today came to the site of the village and bought a tract of land and an old grist mill from the White family which lives up Mill Creek, the village has borne the name of Peck’s Mill.
But this is not a tale of the growth and development of Peck’s Mill. Rather it is a saga of its founders, the Pecks of Virginia.
It was during the waning months of the Civil War when the South was receiving the treatment at the hands of the Union soldiers that more than anything else made the southerner think of the northerner in terms of one word, “Damyank”, that the Peck home was burned to the ground at White Sulphur Springs, near Blacksburg, Virginia. All of the family silver was stolen and the extensive law library belonging to William H. Peck, patriarch of the Peck family, was destroyed.
There was little left for the men of the family to do but to go west into the Wilderness that is now the state of West Virginia and begin anew, and Robert and J. E., older sons were elected to find a new home for the family in the Appalachian Mountains.
By what route the two young men reached the present site of Peck’s Mill or what hardships they encountered on the way has been lost in the dim mist of the past, but the results of their historic pilgrimage to wrest a new home for their aged father and mother and only sister remain today.
However, after several weeks journey up Guyan valley by muleback and pushboat the boys found a spot high above the waters of the Guyan where the towering mountains broke into rolling knolls and a creek babbled its sinuous way to the blue rapids of the greater waters below.
Where the waters of the creek merged into the rapids of the Guyan the Peck boys found an old grist mill operated by a family by the name of White who live near the headwaters of what they had named Mill Creek. The Whites were willing to sell their mill and their right to a number of acres of rolling river bottom near the mill. Bob and J. E. made the transaction, got the mill underway, built a small store with rooms on the second floor for living quarters and sent for their parents, brothers Joe and Charlie, and sister Molly and J. E.’s wife, Mary Norval Peck.
All of them made the hazardous trip but sister Molly. She had some music training to complete in Richmond and would not leave until the work was done. She came later, however, and brought with her the first piano to come into Logan county. There is no way of telling how Molly convinced the pushboat men who brought the piano from Huntington up the Guyan that their effort was worth the money she paid to get the job done, but she did it and the piano was placed in the white frame semi-colonial dwelling on the hill which overlooks the Guyan.
Sister Molly is still living in Richmond (1937) teaching music lessons. Mrs. Robert Peck, the younger, said the family received a card from “Aunt Molly” on Christmas and that “her hand was as firm as ever.” The little, old lady who braved the perils of early Logan county with her piano is moving into late nineties, Mrs. Peck said.
All her brothers have preceded Molly in death. Robert, Charlie, and J. E. resting in the cemetery on the hill above the Peck home and Joe in a Huntington cemetery. She clings tenaciously to life, enjoying every moment with her piano and music students in Richmond.
Reference to some old ledgers found in the loft of the grist mill which was erected some distance below the White’s mill showed that the mill and store were the source of livelihood to the Peck family in the early years of their life above the Guyan. Entered in the ledgers below a date “January 22, 1867” name after name in a flowing curley-cueish hand of the early settlers who stopped at the Peck store for supplies and came at regular intervals to have their corn ground.
Bob Peck still (1937) operates the mill which is not much different than it was when Bob’s uncles and grandfather ran it in the sixties.
Mrs. Bob Peck said that “the neighbors still come in on Tuesdays and Saturdays to have their corn ground and pass on the latest news from their section of the county.” They bring their corn in by truck now instead of by wagon as they did in those early days when a mule was the only type of transportation. A toll of one-eighth of the corn is still exacted by Pearle Calloway, aged darky, who runs the mill for Bob Peck.
(as written by W. H. Allen for the Logan Banner, March 20, 1937)
Reprinted from Logan County Genealogical Society Newsletter, Vol. 32, Issue 2, 2009/2010
Logan County Genealogical Society meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Logan Area Public Library at Logan. Anyone wishing to learn more about researching their ancestors is welcome to attend the meetings or follow them on Facebook at Logan County WV Genealogical Society.
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