In November, 2013, the Joiner History Room
received a letter found in a drawer of a desk being cleaned by
Thomas and Nancy Jake of Centreville, VA. The heading read
“Courtland DeKalb Co Ill, September 24, 1865” and signed simply,
“Grandaughter Hattie.” The Jake’s were wondering if Hattie
could be identified so the letter could be given to a descendant. (Read
Loving a good mystery, volunteer Sheri Baker took on the task.
Clues taken from the letter were: (1) the date and location of the
letter; (2) a reference to Uncle Joshua with “the girls”; (3) a
reference to Aunt Mary Jane; and (4) the writing style seems to be
that of a mature woman. Using census and burial records,
obituaries and websites FindAGrave.com and Ancestry.com, Sheri
believes the letter’s author was
Harriet (Peck) Love. Who
was Grandfather? The only verifiable man could have been John
Elliott, who died in 1877. Unfortunately, after the 1870
census, Harriet could not be found. This is her family record
as best could be determined.
Harriet’s father was
Nathan H. Peck. Nathan H. Peck, b. 1816 in CT and d.
1885 in Sycamore, DeKalb, IL. He is buried in Mounds Rest Cemetery,
Cortland, DeKalb, IL. He was a merchant and a brick mason.
He married (1) Margaret Elliott before 1840. Margaret
b. 1822; d. 28 October 1849
and is buried in Berkshire Cemetery,
Sunbury, Delaware County, Ohio. Children of Nathan and Margaret are:
b. 1839 in Berkshire, Delaware, Ohio; d. 27 Nov 1863 when he was
killed in action during the Civil War. Burial site unknown.
b. 1842 in Berkshire, Delaware, Ohio; d. 1864, buried in Mounds
b. 1844 in Berkshire, Delaware, Ohio; d. bet. 1875-1880
Nathan married (2)
Lydia K. Call on 22 Jan 1851 in Kane County, IL. She
was b. 1831 in Ohio and d. 1 Oct 1897 in Sycamore. She is
buried in Mounds Rest Cemetery. Child of Nathan and Lydia is:
Frank, b. 1856; d. 1867, when he was just 11.
Burial site is unknown.
Census Notes: The
1860 census of Bradford, Lee County lists Nathan; wife Lydia; sons,
Charles (21) and Frank (4); and daughters, Mary J. (18) and Harriet
Harriet E. Peck,
b. 1844; d. bet. 1875 and 1880 (based on birth and census records).
She married Henry B. Love on 10 August 1869. Henry was
b. 24 May 1842 in Danville, PA; d. 25 May 1926 in DeKalb, DeKalb,
Children of Harriet
and Henry are:
b. September, 1869 in Albany, Whiteside, IL; d. unknown.
b. 1872; d. 1941, married Epenetus John Olmstead on 12 Feb
1891. He was b. 25 Feb 1866 in Chatsworth, IL; d. 6 Jun 1930
in Allegan, MI.
b. 16 Nov 1875; d. 1939; married John Hiram Sprague on 11 Feb
Harriet and Henry’s marriage announcement in the Sycamore True
Republican states, “Married—At the home of the bride’s father in
Cortland, on August 10, by Rev. C. Combs, Henry B. Love of Albany,
N.Y. to Miss Hattie E. Peck of Cortland”. The announcement was
in error as Henry was from Albany, Whiteside, IL.
The 1870 census for Albany, Whiteside, IL are Henry, “Hattie” and
daughter Lydia, age 8/12 living with Henry’s parents Andrew and
Rebecca Love and their daughter Rose. On the 1880
census, Rose is described as an “adopted daughter”, born in Iowa.
There were no further records found showing Harriet or Lydia.
The 1880 census for
Cortland, DeKalb, IL shows Clary B. (Clara), age 8 and Jessie J.,
age 4 living with their grandparents, Nathan and Lydia Peck.
Elliott Family Notes:
Margaret (Elliott) Peck
had a brother, Joshua, and a sister, Mary Jane.
This is the uncle and aunt mentioned in the letter.
Notes for Joshua: Joshua was b. 4 April 1824 in Belmont,
Belmont, Ohio; d. 28 April, 1904 in Union County, Ohio. He
married (1) Minerva Leonard on 27 April 1848 in Delaware
County, Ohio. Their children are:
b. 1850; d. 1937
b. 1852; d. unknown
b. 1863; d. 1934
He married (2)
Lydia P. Ferris on 1 October 1863 in Kendall County, IL.
He married (3) Elizabeth Wycoff in 1873 in IL. Their
Frank, b. 1876; d. unknown.
The 1860 census records for Cortland lists Joshua Elliott; wife
Minerva; daughters Sarah (10); and Mary (8).
In her letter Harriet writes about taking care of the girls while
their parents went to Ottawa.
Notes for Mary Jane:
b. 1830; d. unknown married John Boston. Hattie
writes in her letter to her grandfather, “Will Aunt Mary Jane move
out to your house as soon as she is able or is she going to stay in
The 1860 and 1870
Federal census records shows Mary and John Boston were living
in Pleasant Township, Putnam, Ohio in 1865. The 1910 census
shows her living in Hartford, Blackfort, IN.