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Collection Summary
Administrative Information
Biographical Note
Scope and Contents Note
Access
Publication Rights
Separated Materials Note
Container List

Peake Family Papers

Collection Summary

Repository
University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections
Creator
Peake family
Creator - Contributor
Holley, Samuel
Creator - Contributor
Peake, Jane A.G. Holley
Creator - Contributor
Peake, Kate Field, 1890-1980
Creator - Contributor
Peake, Kate Riley, 1846-1890
Creator - Contributor
Peake, Peveril Stedman
Creator - Contributor
Peake, Royal Whitman
Creator - Contributor
Peake, Seth
Title
Peake Family Papers
ID
mss.049
Date [inclusive]
1793-1955
Extent
7.45 Linear feet 5 cartons, 3 boxes
Location
Special Collections, Bailey/Howe Library
Language
Abstract
The Peake family arrived in the area that would become Addison County, Vermont, in 1779, when William Peake (1740-1813) moved with his family from Nantucket to the frontier town of Monkton. William's son Seth (1784-1827) settled in nearby Bristol in 1810 as a saddler and storekeeper, beginning more than a centry and a half of Peake residency in that community. The Peake Family Papers consist of approximately six linear feet of correspondence, bound manuscripts, diaries and other miscellaneous papers. The chronological span of the collection is from 1793 to 1955, with the heaviest concentration of material falling between 1840 and 1900.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item] Peake Family Papers, Special Collections, University of Vermont Library.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections 1985 June 

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

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Biographical Note

The Peake family arrived in the area that would become Addison County, Vermont, in 1779, when William Peake (1740-1813) moved with his family from Nantucket to the frontier town of Monkton. William's son Seth (1784-1827) settled in nearby Bristol in 1810 as a saddler and storekeeper, beginning more than a centry and a half of Peake residency in that community. The marriage of Seth's son Royal Whitman Peake (1806-1893) to Jane Ann Garrison Holley in 1831 created a valuable alliance with a well-established Addison County family, and by the middle of the nineteenth century the Peakes were among Bristol's most prominent citizens. Three successive generations of Peakes held a variety of elective and appointive positions in state and local government. Amonge other offices, Royal Whitman Peake served in the Vermont House of Representatives in 1842 and as a state militia captain and recruiter in the 1860s; William Royal Peake (1836-1901) was a member of the Vermont House in 1876 and state Senate in 1888; and Royal Willis Peake (1876-1970)served in the Vermont House in 1921-24 and in the Senate in 1925.

The Peake family's association with Bristol came to a close in 1984, when Peveril Field Peake (1927- ), only son of Royal Willis Peake, sold the family home on North Street and retired to Florida.

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Scope and Contents Note

The Peake Family Papers consist of approximately six linear feet of correspondence, bound manuscripts, diaries and other miscellaneous papers. The chronological span of the collection is from 1793 to 1955, with the heaviest concentration of material falling between 1840 and 1900.

The Peake collection offers a revealing look at the interests and activities of four generations of a Vermont family. There are many early nineteenth century bills, receipts and deeds relating to Seth Peake's financial and real estate transactions in the Bristol area, as well as some Samuel Holley military manuscripts from Holley's service in the Champlain Valley during the War of 1812. The papers of Royal Whitman Peake dominate the second-generation material, providing details of various aspects of his long life: Middlebury College student papers from the 1820s; state militia manuscripts from the 1860; a long (1827-65) series of letters from his college roomate, Joseph S. Clark, who became a merchant in Augusta, Georgia; papers concerning Peake's extensive real estate investments in Milwaukee and Chicago from the late 1830s on; and 48 years of his diaries.

Most of the third-generation Peake papers relate to Royal Whitman Peake's two sons, Peveril Stedman and Willis Royal Peake. Their papers include considerable correspondence to and from home when they were students at Troy Conference Academy in Poultney, Vermont, in the late 1840s and at Norwich University and Alden Partridge's National Military College in Brandywine Springs, Pennsylvania, in the early 1850s. Peveril S. Peake's adult letters to his father detail his successive careers as a Milwaukee bank clerk, Shoreham, Vermont, farmer, Chicago merchant, and officer of the Maywood Company, which pioneered the development of one of Chicago's suburbs in the early 1870s. Willis R. Peake's adult papers reflect his decision to remain in Bristol, dealing largely with his investments and other interests in Addison County, The considerable overlap between Willis R.'s and Royal W.'s diaries offers brief but occasionally interesting joint comments on local events and activities.

The fourth-generation manuscripts in the collection are those of Royal Willis Peake, like his father and grandfather a lifelong resident of Bristol. His papers include some University of Vermont students notes from the late 1890s, family letters and financial materials, correspondence about his and his father's interests in hunting, fishing and boating on Lake Champlain, and several diaries.

Although the great majority of the Peake papers deal with the men in the family, there is some interesting material relating directly to the women as well. The papers of Jane A. G. Holley Peake (1810-1850) include autograph albums, letters to her husband and sons, and a series of letters in the 1830s and '40s from her friend Jane Betsy Warren Ripley of Middlebury and Rutland. The collection also contains a few diaries and letters of Kate Riley Peake (1846-1913), and many letters from Kate Field Peake (1890-1980) to her husband-to-be Royal Willis Peake during their 1922 courtship.

The basic arrangement of the collection is chronological, with bound volumes and diaries following as separate subsections after the correspondence and other loose manuscripts. Folder 1 of Carton 1 contains biographical and genealogical material that may prove helpful in sorting out the relationships between the various Peakes and Holleys represented in the papers.

The Peake Family Papers came to the University of Vermont in December 1983 under a purchase-and-gift agreement with Peveril F. Peake. Mr. Peake's (ex-UVM 1951) donation was in memory of his father, Royal Willis Peake (ex-UVM 1900).

June 1985

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Related Materials

Separated Materials Note

Manuscript map of Isle aux Noix, October 5, 1812, by a British army deserter (moved to Maps 612 1812)

Manuscript map on deerskin, town of Ripton, Vermont, 1858 (moved to Maps 643.868 1858)

Matthew Brady photograph of "Camp Griffin, Va. 6th Regt. Vermont Vol., Col. N. Lord, Jr.," 1862 (moved to Oversize Photos)

Set of 31 cabinet photos, members of Vermont State Senate, 1888 (moved to Picture File, "Vermont State Senate 1888")

Bristol Aqueduct Company Records, 1811-1911, two volumes (moved to Small Bound Manuscripts, "Bristol Aqueduct Company")

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Middlebury College.
  • Norwich University.
  • Troy Conference Academy.
  • University of Vermont.

Genre(s)

  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Financial records
  • School records

Geographic Name(s)

  • Bristol (Vt.)
  • Champlain, Lake
  • United States--History--War of 1812

Subject(s)

  • Family--History

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