The first settler of the city of Malad was Henry Peck, who, in the year 1864, came to Oneida county and established his home upon the present site of the county seat. For many years he was prominently identified with the development and progress of the county, and his name is inseparably associated with the advancement, which has wrought a great transformation here, making the once wild region a fertile section of fine farms and pleasant homes.
Mr. Peck was born in Greene County, New York, February 26, 1823, and was a representative of one of the old families of the Empire state, his parents being Charles and Sarah (Gosley) Peck. He was reared to manhood in New York, and having arrived at years of maturity was there married, in October, 1845, to Miss Julia E. North, a native of Connecticut and a daughter of Jonathan and Rachel (Bissell) North. Seven children were born to them ere they removed from New York to Nebraska, in the year 1857. For six years Henry Peck engaged in farming in that state and then went with his family to Farmington, Utah, whence he came to Malad the following year. This country had not then been surveyed, and he secured a squatter’s claim of one hundred and sixty acres, upon which he built a little log cabin, becoming the pioneer settler of the town. From that time until his death he was an active factor in the movements which have led to the upbuilding and improvement of this section of the state.
When Mr. and Mrs. Peck came to Idaho they brought with them their family of ten children, the record of whom is as follows: Dwight, a resident of Lost River; Frederick, who is living at Ross Fork: Leonard, of Challis; Sarah, now the wife of Stanton G. Fisher, who for several years was Indian agent at Spaulding, but is now a resident of Mount Idaho; Howard, of Malad; Julia E. now Mrs. Wisley; Amelia E., twin sister of Julia and the wife of William B. Thews; Mrs. Mary Scott, now a widow; Emily, wife of William E. Wass, of Butte, Montana; and Charles, who is engaged in farming and stock-raising, his home being in Malad.
A large part of the county seat of Oneida county has been built upon the land which Henry Peck claimed upon coming to this state, and he was one of the builders of Malad and one of its most industrious and enterprising citizens. The family still own the old log house in which they first lived, but in 1875 the father erected a large frame residence, in which they conducted a hotel for a number of years. Malad was the county seat of Oneida County when it embraced all of southeastern Idaho, and the sessions of the courts brought many people to the town, including prominent early settlers, who were entertained at the Peck Hotel. Thus the family gained a wide acquaintance throughout this section of the state, and their sterling worth won for them high regard. As time passed, the farm was enlarged and it now comprises two hundred acres of valuable land adjoining Malad on the west. It is operated by Howard ‘and Charles Peck, who are very successful agriculturists.
Mr. Peck, the father, was a prominent and influential citizen, frequently honored by public office. He served in the territorial legislature and was probate judge, both in Nebraska and in Oneida County. In politics he was a lifelong Democrat, and in the discharge of his official duties he manifested a marked loyalty to the public trust. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was twice on a mission to the eastern section of this country, and also went to Canada in the service of the church. He died July 22, 1889, at the age of sixty-six years, respected by all who knew him. His property was left to his widow during her lifetime and is then to go to the children. It is now being managed by Howard and Charles, two of her sons. The former is the eldest of the sons now in Malad. He was married December 7, 1880, to Miss Jane Woozley, and they have five sons. On the 3d of January 1889, Charles Peck married Miss Ann Bywater, and they, too have five children. The family is one of prominence in the community and Mrs. Julia Peck is one of the brave pioneer women who took a no less important, though more quiet, part in the development and advancement of the state through the pioneer epoch in its history.