Peck, John Mason

Peck, John Mason D.D., a Baptist minister of note, was born at Litchfield. Conn., Oct. 31.1789. He had limited early advantages for education, bit made such use of them as to find employment as a school-teacher. He removed in 1811 to Greene Count-y, N.Y., where he united with a Baptist Church, and in 1812 was licensed to preach, becoming in 1814 pastor of a church in Amenia, N.Y. In 1816 he repaired to Philadelphia, and spent some time in study with the Rev. Dr. Staughton, who was accustomed to receive students for the ministry into his family. In 1817 Peck went as an itinerant missionary to the West. laboring in Illinois and Missouri. He visited New England in 1826 to plead for missions, and solicit aid for a literary and theological seminary. A school was established at Rock Spring, Ill., on laind given by him for the purpose, of which he was the principal in 1830-31. In 1832 he was connected with the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Going in originating the "American Baptist Home Mission Society." Shurtleff College having been established at Upper Alton, Ill., in 1835, the Rock Spring Seminary was merged in it. Mr. Peck traveled 6000 miles, and raised $20,000 — a small sum compared with the millions given for educational endowments in recent years, but for the time an important contribution. He was also actively interested at a later period in founding the "Covington, Ky., Theological Seminary," and in 1843-45 was secretary of the "American Baptist Publication Society." He was the pastor of several churches at different times, and an industrious writer. He established in 1829 a periodical, The Pioneer, which was published several years. As an antiquarian he was an assiduous and successful collector of books and pamphlets. He died March 15.1858. He published in 1832 The Emigrant's Guide, which had a large circulation, and in 1834 a Gazetteer of Illinois. He was the author of the Life of Daniel Boone, in Sparks's "American Biography," and of a Life of Father Clarke, a Western preacher. See Forty Years of Pioneer Life; Memoir of 'John Mason Peck, D).D., edited from his journals and correspondence by Rufus Babcock (Phila. 1864, 12mo); Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 6:402; Allibone, Dict. of Brit. and Amer. Authors, vol. ii, s.v.; Drake, Dict. of Amer. Biog. s.v.; New- Englander, 1865. (L. E, S.)

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