WILLIAM H. RUSSELL
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
It is here taken for granted that everybody is more or less interested in his own history and descent, hence these scanty notes for those who may he concerned.
Amos Peck, Jr., of Berlin, Conn., was a soldier in the American Revolution. He enlisted twice in the Militia. First, on July 11, 1775, at the age of twenty-one, discharged Dec. 19, 1775. Again, on April 3, 1777, discharged May 15, 1777.
Our young man, it seems, was a lifer and served as such in his two enlistments for which he received extra pay from the General Assembly.
It was said by Elizabeth Langdon Peck. his daughter-in-law, who heard him play the life during his later years, to please the children, that there was in his playing a strain of sadness and that he spoke of great suffering during the war and of bloody foot-prints in the snow--he probably meant during the march of his regiment to Boston the latter part of 1775.
He was descended from Deacon Paul Peck who came to Boston in the ship "Defense- in 1635, and to Hartford in 1639, where he settled, lived and died.
Deacon Peck was one of the original
settlers of Hartford in 1639, having accompanied the Rev. Thos. Hooker, the
eminent Divine, statesman and author of the Connecticut Constitution, upon
which the Constitution of the United States was patterned, as presented by
Judge Olive Ellsworth of Connecticut at the constitutional convention.
At the end of warring and home guarding, our pioneer built him a house, and thither brought his bride, Anna Scovell. The site of the house was ideal under the circumstances, a brook fed by living springs flowing through the farm.
An unquenchable well of water was covered in at the hack of the main building, while the hills and moderate sized mountains stretched away in the distance. "lending enchantment to the view," and suggesting to the Pecks, the name of "Blue Hills" for their loved and lovely home.
The first picture of the homestead here given does not show one-third of the buildings on the premises at present, but only the earliest one before additions were made. These were necessitated by an increasing family, there being nine children in ten years, none of whom died in childhood. The mother, however, was taken from them by a tragic accident, having been fatally kicked by a horse. Although comparatively a young man (forty-one), her devoted husband never married again.
An unmarried sister of the father, Desire Peck, brought up the children. We may imagine she had her hands full at times, although each child was trained to helpful tasks almost as soon as out of the cradle.
In order to shelter the busy ones from extreme weather, all exposed spots were roofed in. from the unquenchable well with its key-position, to the remotest pig-pen.
He had a brother, Norman Peck, who was a sea Captain in the Merchant Marine, who left issue, and another brother, Matthew Peck, who traded in the Northwest. Norman Peck was a man of considerable substance and settled and died in Berlin, Conn.
Two sons of Amos Peck, Jr., namely, Amos Ill, and William Peck were sea Captains in the Merchant Marine, but left no issue. Another son, Matthew Peck II, fought through the Civil War in the Tenth Cavalry.
He answered to the first call of arms at the breaking out of the Rebellion. Having served three months, he followed that by enlisting in the Tenth Connecticut Cavalry, to serve three years (or the war) in the Division with Robert L. Schenck.
In the small action at Cross Keys, while scouting, he was ambushed, and his horse having broken its bit, ran wild, brought up in a swamp and became mired. A tire arm was put to Mr. Peck's head while helpless there, and he was taken prisoner.
We next hear of him at Belle Isle, where the prisoners of war were kept. This Belle Isle was an island of sand in the York River.
The Executive Mansion was not far away and the prisoners could hear the sound of revelry there. .As a part of the entertainment, Davis and his guests would come to the water's edge and toss pieces of food to the starving, half-naked Yanks. Our trooper had very long arms and was exceedingly quick and always got his share of the food, so he survived.
At a certain time every night the head of the family would wind the clock, which was a signal for everybody to take their tallow candle in its tin candle-stick, and troop off to bed.
In the same room with the clock stood the Captain's writing desk. which, like the clock, was unvarnished, and therein he kept his papers, for he had a building business.
His barns stood back from the main road and were a sufficient distance apart to protect them from fire from the other buildings.
It was the same with the carriage-shelter, a building on the other side of the highway, which was a haven for vehicles caught in a storm.
The days of the most abundant hospitality were when the Captain's son, Norris, presided on his porch that faced the turnpike running past the house.
This same Norris carried on a business between North and South until the breaking out of the Civil War, when the South repudiated their debts to the North and left Mr. Peck in reduced circumstances.
Even then he maintained the habits of entertaining that he had acquired in the South and would let none go hungry from his door.
Among his papers is an appointment as Corporal, dated September 1, 1817, but beyond this we have no military record of his.
The road that ran before the home place lay parallel to the Stage Coach Route between New Haven and Hartford, about four miles west of that important thoroughfare.
It is about four miles east of the crossroads to the O1d Berlin Coaching Tavern which was a lively place before the coming of the railroad. So many retired ministers came to reside beneath the arching elms of Berlin Street that the facetious ones of the neighborhood called the place. "Saints' Rest."
Then there were the Goodrich families with their publishing houses in Boston, where they put forth their serious writings, as well as Mother Goose's Melodies, that one-time joy of childhood.
There was also born in Berlin, the eminent female educator, Mrs. Emma Hart Willard, founder of Troy Seminary. She was related to the Pecks, and during visits to her old home, she gave private instructions to Elizabeth Hibbard Peck, eldest daughter of Norris Peck, who also attended Berlin Academy.
Mrs. Willard, while crossing the Atlantic, wrote the wards of the song. 'Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep."
Here I may tell a little story about Amos Peck III, when a child. It was at a time when the Stork was expected, and it was deemed expedient that young Amos should visit his aunt, who lived in Berlin Village. So he was driven over in a buggy about four miles, the road crossing a number of big wooden bridges, spooky places.
Upon arrival, he was turned loose,
after a hearty welcome. Finally, however, during the morning, after some time
had elapsed, he returned to his aunt and told her he thought he would go home.
"You can't," she re
Late that afternoon the child appeared home, having walked the whole distance, "And,- he concluded. "There were no devils under those bridges, because 1 looked under every single one, and there were none there," showing the spirit of the third Amos Peck.
By the field of war I stood,
That battle meadow we all have visited,
Whether with fearful fancy or haunting hope,
Stark silence after the din
Hung over the haunted vale.
Suddenly out of the gloom
Peace came toward me, clothed as a woman
With mantle of white, and on her feet
"Wondrous deity," said 1, "yon come late
And your hands are Needing."
"Aye." she answered. in a voice wondrously gentle,
"But where each drop of blood mellows the earth,
A citadel shall rise.
And for the tears that I have wept
Laughter shall be horn, clear-eyed."
And I noted that for all the bleeding, of her hands
And the tears that stood in her soft eyes,
Her mantle was spotless white.
SYDNEY KING RUSSELL.
Cease firing!—out of chaos
Came the call,
More imperious than the cannon's threat,
Shaming to a whisper the shrapnel's blatant boast,
The mandate of Order
The years had waited for.
Like some uneasy giant
Nursing a score of festering wounds,
The battlefield slowly sank into sleep.
Such a hush came
As seemed in its Infinity
To drown all.
A silence that was revelation itself,
An answer to each prayer.
Benedicite for even• curse,
Balm for every wound.
And now the silence woke to song.
Throbbing, quivering song.
How marvelous the first sweet time
The lark waited not for the embrace of evening
Ilut lifted his orison joyously.
To the tremulous morning.
Dawn came on tiptoe,
The memory of scaring clays still fresh,
Fearful of punishment,
Wondering at the jubilance of the birds,
The untainted freshness of the air;
While in the hills and valleys
Unseen buds of peace
Were opening slowly,
To the new sun.
SYDNEY KING RUSSELL.
DESK USED BY CAPTAIN .AMOS PECK, JR., THE ANCESTOR
EARLIEST STRUCTURE AT SLUE
INTEROIR—HOUSEHOLD UTENSILS _AND THE DUTCH OVEN WHICH HELD HOT DISHES FOR THE NEW ENGLAND THANKSGIVING DINNER
JABEZ LANGDON, (1777-1858 ) FATHER OF ELIZABETII LANGDON PECK
AMY BRONSON, (1785-1858 ) WIFE OF JABEZ LANGDON AND MOTHER OF ELIZABETH LANEIREN PECK
GENERAL VIEW OF HOMESTEAD
NORRIS PECK. I 1795-1869 SON OF AMOS PECK, AND FATHER OF ELIZABETH PECK RUSSELL.
ELIZABETH EDWARDS LANGDON , (1804-1900) WIFE OF NORRIS PECK .AND MOTHER OF ELIZABETH PECK RUSSELL
ELIZABETH PECK RUSSELL, (1824-1904) DAUGHTER OF
NORRIS PECK: AND ELIZABETH EDWARDS LANGDON
MATT EW PECK, ( 1839- ) SON OF N ORRIS PECK,
DECORATED WITH INSIGNIA OF G. A. R.
HOME OF THE HON. FRANK L. WILCOX, BERLIN, CONN.
L. WILCOX, SON OF ANNA PECK
WILCOX, IX UNIFORM OF MAJOR COMMANDER.
GOVERNOR'S FOOT GUARD OF CONNECTICUT
FREDERICK PECK WILCOX, SON OF MARY PECK WILCOX. WHO WHEN BARELY OUT OF COLLEGE RESTORED HIS FATHER'S SHATTERED FORTUNE
RESIDENCE: W. M. HENRY RUSSELL„ LOS ANGELES, CAL.
WILLIAM HENRY RUSSELL, SON OF ELIZABETH PECK RUSSELL, WEARING ACADEMICALS OFOXFORD UNDER‑
HENRY EMANUEL RUSSELL, SOX (IS WM. H. AND GRANDSON OF ELIZABETH PECK RUSSELL, IN UNIFORM OF CAPTAIN AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
SYDNEY KING RUSSELL, SON OF W M. H. AND
GRANDSON OF ELIZABETH PECK RUSSELL, 1N
UNIFORM OF PREPARATORV FORCE
EVERET PECK UPSON, SON OF ALICE PECK UPSON, IN UNIFORM OF CAPTAIN OF THE U. S. ARMY
DONALD RUSSELL HOOKER, M.A., M.D., GRANDSON OF,ELIZABETH PECK RUSSELL
AMY LANGDON PECK, GRAND-DAUGHTER OF JABEZ LANGDON PECK. IN GRADUATION UNIFORM OF CONNECTICUT COLLEGE
BLAKESLEE BARNES, SON OF BLAKESLEE AND MARGARETA PECK BARNES, IN UNIFORM OF LEIPZIG (GERMANY) FENCING CLUB
PHOEBE INESON, GREAT, GREAT, GRAND-DAUGHTER OF AMOS PECK, JR., "A LATE ARRIVAL"
"WAR:" SEETCH BY CAPTAIN HENRY E. RUSSELL WHO WAS AT THE FRONT OVERSEAS
PEACE;" SKETCH BY CAPTAIN HENRY E. RUSSELL