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Peak/Peek descendants immigrated from England to South Alabama

Some time earlier, the Peek family of Covington County, Ala., was featured in this column. The ancestor, Robert Peek, born circa 1715 and his descendants were covered; however, additional genealogy of this family has been made available, which allows a further look at their history.

The Peek (or Peak) descendants are of English ancestry, and the family can be traced back as far as the year 1284 to the reign of Edward I and the conquest of Wales. Their Coat of Arms was granted in 1598 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Sir Robert Peak was with Charles I in the Battle of Nasby, and Major Thomas Peak was in the Calvary Services of Prince Rupert, nephew of the King. In 1667, Sir John Peak was Lord Major of London, and in 1668, Sir William Peak filled the same office.

The motivation for the younger family members immigrating to America seems to have stemmed from a disgust with the revolution in England. As staunch Royalists and Churchmen, they doubted the right of the King to rule the Church as well as the State.

The earliest known immigrant was Robert Peak who came to Virginia aboard the ship Margaret. In 1623, John Peak, 23 years old, arrived and settled in James City County, Va. He was granted 1,600 acres of land in that county for transporting 32 persons into the Colony of Virginia. In addition, the land patent books in the Richmond, Va., Land Office from 1623 to 1666, show the following Peak immigrants coming to Virginia from England during those years: Thomas Peak to Accomack County in 1635; Matthew Peak; William Peake to Northern Neck, Va., in 1643; and James Peake in 1652.

Since he bought or patented land all the way from James City County to Pittsylvania County, Va., it is believed that Robert Peak was the ancestor of the Peeks of Hart County. Even as an elderly man, Robert furnished supplies and guns to the Revolutionary War effort. Among his children was a son named William Peek who fought during the war. Around 1788, William moved to Buncombe County, N.C. He was married to Miss Elizabeth Shockley, and they were the parents of David, James, Jesse, George, William, Zachariah, Ruth, Judy and Lizzie.

Another Robert Peek in a later generation was born circa 1715 in Goochland County, Va., and died circa 1783 in Prince Edward County, Va. In 1738, he was married to Elizabeth Anne Comer who died in 1765. They were the parents of the following children: John Comer Sr., b. 1744, d. 1816; Leonard, b. 1745, m. Tabitha O’Neal; Samuel, b. 1747; Charles, b. ca 1748; Jane C., b. ca 1750; Susannah, b. ca 1751; Henry, b. ca 1752; and Agnes, b. ca 1764. Records show the children used the Peak spelling of the name.

The oldest son, John Comer Peak Sr., was married to Tabitha O’Neal (1748-1812). He was born in 1732 or 1744 in Prince William, Va., and died in 1816 in Hancock County, Ga. They became the parents of the following children: Robert L. Sr., b. 1767; Sally, b. 1768; Agatha, b. 1769; William Burford, b. 1770; Lucy, b. 1772; John Comer Jr., b. 1774; Nancy, b. 1775; Chambley, b. 1776; Elizabeth, b. 1779; and Leonas, b. 1783.

The second oldest son, William Burford Peak, who was born in 1770 in Virginia, is the ancestor who brought the family to Alabama. He was married in 1796 in Granville County, N.C., to Elizabeth Griggs. They were the parents of the following children: Charity, b. 1814; and Leonard B. “Lem,” b. 1815, m. Martha Ann Booth. William Burford died in 1850 in Ramer, Ala.

The youngest son, Leonard or Lem Peak, was born in 1815 in Virginia, but he and his family were residing in Montgomery County, Ala., in 1850 when the federal census was enumerated. He and his wife, Martha Ann Boothe, daughter of Beverly K. Boothe (1801-1849) and Sarah Ansley (1803-1836), had five children at that time. By 1860, he had a new wife, Sarah, and they were residing in the Ramer community of Lowndes County, Ala. He enlisted for service in the Confederate Army in 1861 where he was assigned to Company H, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

Leonard and Martha Ann were the parents of the following children: James Milo “Jim” b. 1838, d. 1890, m. Mary Melissa Pettus; Sarah “Sallie,” b. 1840, d. 1912, m. J.S.A. Inabnet; Robert Comer “Bob,” b. 1842, d. 1930, m. (1) Mary Raba (2) Sarah “Sallie” Stripling (3) Harmya Amanda “Mandy” Gaston Capps; Garry, b. 1845; Rebecca Lucendia, b. 1847; and Betty Jane “Betsy,” b. 1844, m. William Houston. Leonard died in 1887 in the Pine Level community of Montgomery County, Ala.

The oldest son, James Milo “Jim” Peak, was born in 1838 in Georgia and died in 1883 in Troy, Ala. In 1860, he was married to Mary Melissa Pettus (1838-1885), and he worked as a tanner. They were the parents of John J., b. ca 1872, d. in Colorado; Tulia, b. ca 1874; Samuel Tieldon, b. 1878, d. 1941; and Lucy. According to family legend, Jim Peak was tragically shot and killed when he answered his door. Mary died in Hospital Ward 4 of tuberculosis. They were buried in the Shiloh Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Troy.

James Milo’s son, Samuel Tieldon Peak, was only five years old when his last parent died. He was reared by Edward and Caroline Davis who were buried in the Davis Family Cemetery located near the Hepzibah community in Pike County. Samuel married Lee Nora Stewart (1888-1974), daughter of W.H. Stewart. They were the parents of three children: Rufus Alto, b. 1906, m. Louise Kelly; Hilliard Lee, b. 1907, d. 1985, m. Mary Margaret Mobley (1909-2003); and Eunice Elizabeth, b. 1914, single.

Leonard Peak’s next son, Robert Comer “Bob” Peak, was born in 1842 in Alabama. He died in 1930 and was buried in the Mt. Ida Cemetery in Brantley, Ala. He was married three times–the first time was in 1865 to Mary Raba. That was most likely when he came home from the War Between the States. He had served as a private in Company H, 6th Alabama Infantry Regiment of the Confederate Army. He was captured during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, and he was paroled June 15, 1865, at Fort Delaware.

In 1870, Bob was married for a second time to Sarah “Sallie” Stripling in Ramer, Ala. In 1880, he was residing in the Leon community of Crenshaw County, Ala., which is just north of the Covington County line. In 1896, Bob was married a third time to Harmya Amanda “Mandy” Gaston Capps. A family tree in Ancestry.com shows Mandy as the mother of three children with the Peek last name, but it would appear according to given dates that they would have been the children of Sallie, Bob’s second wife. While this is uncertain, the following three children were listed: Bura Guard, b. 1884, d. 1969; Henry Bernett, b. 1886, d. 1973; and Alfred, b. 1888.

The Peek descendants spread throughout South Alabama where many continue to reside. The surname varied from Peak to Peek in different generations, so that must be considered in researching this family.

Sources for today’s story include the family records of Jerry M. Peak of Georgiana, Ala., and Ancestry.com.

Anyone who finds an error in the above genealogy is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.