Saturday, September 28, 2013

Great Freemasons: George W. Peck

Gents—If you have made up your minds that the world will
cease to move unless these "Bad Boy" articles are given to
the public in book form, why go ahead, and peace to your
ashes. The "Bad Boy" is not a "myth," though there may be
some stretches of imagination in the articles. The
counterpart of this boy is located in every city, village
and country hamlet throughout the land. He is wide awake,
full of vinegar, and is ready to crawl under the canvas of a
circus or repeat a hundred verses of the New Testament in
Sunday School. He knows where every melon patch in the
neighborhood is located, and at what hours the dog is
chained up. He will tie an oyster can to a dog's tail to
give the dog exercise, or will fight at the drop of the hat
to protect the smaller boy or a school girl. He gets in his
work everywhere there is a fair prospect of fun, and his
heart is easily touched by an appeal in the right way,
though his coat-tail is oftener touched with a boot than his
heart is by kindness. But he shuffles through life until the
time comes for him to make a mark in the world, and then he
buckles on the harness and goes to the front, and becomes
successful, and then those who said he would bring up in
State Prison, remember that he always was a mighty smart
lad, and they never tire of telling of some of his deviltry
when he was a boy, though they thought he was pretty tough
at the time. This book is respectfully dedicated to boys, to
the men who have been boys themselves, to the girls who like
the boys, and to the mothers, bless them, who like both the
boys and the girls,

Very respectfully,

George Wilbur Peck (September 28, 1840– April 16, 1916) was an American writer and politician who served as the 17th Governor of Wisconsin.

Peck was born in 1840 in Henderson, New York, the oldest of three children of David B. and Alzina P. (Joslin) Peck. In 1843, the family moved to Cold Spring, Wisconsin. Peck attended public school until age 15, when he was apprenticed in the printing trade. He married Francena Rowley in 1860 and they had two sons.

Peck became a newspaper publisher who founded newspapers in Ripon and La Crosse, Wisconsin. His La Crosse newspaper, The Sun, was founded in 1874. In 1878 Peck moved the newspaper to Milwaukee, renaming it Peck's Sun. The weekly newspaper contained Peck's humorous writings, including his famous "Peck's Bad Boy" stories.

In the spring of 1890 Peck ran for mayor of Milwaukee. A Democrat, Peck was elected despite a Republican majority in the city. The state's Democratic leaders took notice and made Peck the party's nominee for the 1890 gubernatorial race. Peck won the election, beating the incumbent William Hoard, and resigned as Milwaukee's mayor on November 11, 1890. He was reelected as governor in 1892, defeating Republican John C. Spooner, but lost a third term to William Upham in 1894. He ran again in 1904 but lost to the incumbent Robert M. La Follette, Sr.

Peck died in 1916 at age 75 of Bright's disease and was buried at Forest Home Cemetery. After his death, his "Peck's Bad Boy" writings became the basis for several films and a short-lived television show.

(Wisconsin Lodge No. 13, Wauwatosa, WI)

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