Alonzo Peak

Company B, 17th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry

Alonzo S. Peak, now retired, is one of the substantial men of McHenry County, who is residing in Coral Township, near the village of the same name. He was born in Wayne County, Ohio, near Wooster, March 22, 1845, a son of Christopher and Elizabeth (Colgrove) Peak, both of whom were born at Schoharie, N. Y., and were there married, going afterwards to Ohio about 1840. In 1848 the family migrated to McHenry County, settling in Coral Township, two and one-half miles west of Huntley, on wild land, that had on it a small log house.
Christopher Peak went to work at once to clear off his land. He moved three times, his permanent home being west of Harmony where he lived until his death at the age of eighty-five years, having been retired for some years prior to his passing away. His wife died at the age of seventy-two years. He was a Republican and a very public spirited man, and one of the organizers of the Harmony Methodist church. Prices in the early days were not what they are today, and A. S. Peak distinctly remembers operating the churn for his mother's butter which was sold about 1855, at eight and ten cents per pound to pay the family's subscription to the church. The Peak family have continued to attend this church ever since, but their subscription totals up a much larger amount than it did in 1855. At one time this church had a very large congregation. The parents of A. S. Peak are buried in the old Harmony Cemetery, kept in fine condition by the present members of the church. Christopher Peak and his wife had the following family: A. S. whose name heads this review; Eleanor, who is the wife of Albert Shapley of Logan, Kan.; George D., who lives at Logan, Kan; William J., who lives at Colorado Springs, Colo., who are living, and seven who are deceased, three of the seven having passed away in childhood. Ursula, who became Mrs. N. Van Vleet, died at the age of twenty-seven years; Mindel died in young womanhood; Charles W. Peak died in childhood; and, Arvilla, who also died in young womanhood.
Alonzo S. Peak remained at home until he enlisted on September 17, 1863, for service during the Civil War, in Company B, Seventeenth Illinois Cavalry, under Colonel Beveridge and Captain McReynolds, and was sent to Alton, Ill., to guard prisoners, from there being transferred to Missouri at the time General Price made his great raid. The company divided, a portion going to Kansas, but his command pursuing the bushwhackers in Missouri. He received his honorable discharge at the end of a year, and was not wounded or captured, and came out as a high private. A portion of his service consisted in the carrying of dispatches in which he ran considerable risk, but was not captured.
Returning home A. S. Peak conducted his father's farm until the latter's death when he bought the homestead and continued his farming until his retirement, after which he rented the farm, and moved to a small property near the village of Coral. He is secretary and treasurer of the Harmony Cemetery Association, and was on the school board for twenty-five years, and for forty-three years was township collector. At first his collections amounted to about $4,000, advancing to $10,000 after the Civil War. In 1916 the taxes amounted to $150,000, the last year he held office. A strong Republican, for thirty-five years he has served his party as county-committee man, and still holds that office from Coral Township. For thirty years a justice of the peace, a school director for twenty-two years, and judge of election for fifty years, he' is a well-known man in this region.
On June 4, 1871, Mr. Peak was married to Emily E Stevens a sister of Frank Stevens, whose biography appears elsewhere, and they became the parents of these children: Esther Almira, who died in infancy; Charles N., unmarried, who lives in Coral Township; and Ernest G., who was struck by lightning August 15, 1919, owned the Peak homestead bought by his grandfather, just prior to the Civil War, and which has been in the family for over sixty years. On June 3, 1921, Mr. and Mrs. Peak celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. Congratulations and good wishes arrived from distant friends; many beautiful and useful gifts were received, including a shower of gold pieces to the amount of $325. The occasion was a very happy and memorable one.

Submitted by Dr. William L. Baran

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