"General Carleton decided to establish a post in the Chino Valley and two companies of troops were ordered to accomplish this work. Captains Hargraves and Benson were selected, and the expedition was put under the immediate command of Major Willis of the First Regiment of Infantry, California Volunteers. The expedition, with Captain Pishon as guide, left Fort Wingate on November 7th, 1863, following the old Beale route to Antelope Springs, where they diverged. After leaving the Beale trail, they found the road extremely rough and many of their wagons were broken. The main portion of the command reached Chino Valley on December 23, and here was located Fort Whipple. ... This location was about twenty-two miles from the present town of Prescott, and in May, 1864, the location was changed and the present post established."
Ed. G. "Peck secured the first hay contract at Fort Whipple, which was then located in Chino Valley. It was for three hundred tons of hay at thirty dollars a ton, to be cut with hoes."
(History of Arizona; by Thomas Edwin Farish, Arizona Historian; Volume II; 1915; Chapter XII; pages 249, 262.)
In connection with the hay contract for Fort Whipple, Ed. Peck and his associates are credited with building the first road into the Verde Valley, which was used to haul hay out to the military post. Peck's Lake was named for this early business venture.
ED. PECK: "After completing his hay contract, in the forepart of 1864, he and his partners moved to Granite Creek to a point above the Point of Rocks, two or three miles from where Prescott now stands. Here they built a cabin and cared for loose stock." (History of Arizona; by Thomas Edwin Farish; pages 262-263.)
The second group of men traveleing to Arizona Territory during the fall of 1863, included Rufus E. Farrington, W. C. Collins, Lew Alters, Ed. G. Peck, and Lon Thrift. "WHIPPLE RANCH: The subscriber gives notice that on and after the 1st of May, he will charge 20 cts. per day, or 45 per month, for ranching stock. RUFUS E, FARRINGTON, Whipple Ranch, April 20, 1864." (Arizona Miner; Fort Whipple; April 20, 1864; page 3.) "The subscriber gives notice that on and after this date he will ranch horses or mules at $2.50 per month, and all neat cattle at $1.50 per month or as cheap as any in this Territory. Animals kept up in the corral and fed hay at 50 cents per day. RUFUS E. FARRINGTON, Whipple Ranch, May 25, 1864." (Arizona Miner; Fort Whipple; December 14, 1864; page 4.)
"King Woolsey, a member of Governor Goodwin's staff, was selected to lead an expedition of a hundred men against the Apaches. Their rendezvous was at Woolsey's ranch on the Agua Fria, now known as Bowers Ranch. The command was divided into squads of ten men to each squad, with a captain over it. Peck commanded one of these squads." (History of Arizona; by Thomas Edwin Farish; page 263.) A list of miners and others includes E. G. Peck, G. H. Parish and Samuel Wells (Arizona Miner; Fort Whipple; April 6, 1864; page 2.)
E. G. Peck is listed as one of the organizers of the Arizona Pioneer and Historical Society. (Arizona Miner; January 24, 1866; page 2, and June 29, 1867; page 1.)
The Sam Miller party traveled from California to Prescott during the spring of 1866. Included in that group was the sister of Ed. Peck, Mary Ann Monica (Peck) Banghart, her husband, George W. Banghart, and their 5 children ranging in age from 1 to 12 years old. They settled on land owned by Ed. Peck in Chino Valley, near the site of old Fort Whipple. The family moved into Prescott during the winter of 1867, where George ran a livery stable. Later, they returned to the Chino Valley ranch, which became well known for its hospitality and dairy herd. The Banghart family owned and operated a stage station, which eventually became a stop on the Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railway. (see: Sharlot Hall Museum; Territorial Women's Rose Garden; Mary Ann Monica Peck Banghart.)
Pauline Weaver worked as the guide at Camp Lincoln, in the Verde Valley, until his death on June 21, 1867. (Arizona Miner; Fort Whipple; July 13, 1867; page 2.) Ed. Peck became the guide at Camp Lincoln. Then, Thad Adams became "the guide at Camp Lincoln, in place of Ed. Peck, who" became the "chief guide at Fort Whipple." (Arizona Miner; October 10, 1868; page 3.)
Peck & Company had continued to harvest hay in the Verde Valley after 1864. They constructed a buiding in the area now known as Dead Horse Park and Blazin' "M" Ranch. Camp Verde, 1870: "A number of persons are here on their way to settle at Peck's Lake, some 18 or 19 miles distant, up the Verde river." (Arizona Miner; Prescott; December 17, 1870; page 3.) The Verde Indian Reserve was established in October of 1871. The Indian Agency "camp is next to the site of the Peck & Co.'s building, which, it will be recalled, the Indians burned a year or more ago." (The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; May 31, 1873; page 3.)
Ed. Peck was the chief of guides for General Wheaton. (Arizona Miner; Prescott; October 2, 1869; page 2.) "When General Frank Wheaton commanded the Northern District, with his headquarters at Fort Whipple, Peck was his general guide and scout for the fort. He knew the country well and was invaluable as a guide, being cool, cautious and brave." (History of Arizona; by Thomas Edwin Farish; pages 262-263.) When the military improved the road from Prescott to New Mexico, via Camp Verde, early in 1870, Ed. Peck was their guide. (Arizona Miner; Prescott; March 5, 1870; page 2.) "Ed. Peck, one of the best guides in this part of the Territory, has quit the business, for the reason" ... the government ... "did not pay him enough for his services." (Arizona Miner; Prescott; May 28, 1870; page 3.) Ed. Peck later consented to be the guide for some of the expeditions leaving from Camp Verde.
"MARRIED: At the residence of the bride's parents, Prescott, on Thursday, October 16, 1873, by Henry W. Fleury, Probate Judge, Mr. Edward G. Peck to Miss Serena Ellen Alexander, both of this place. The interesting ceremony was witnessed by many relatives and friends of the bride and bridegroom. After it came table luxuries, dancing, etc. The newly married pair have hosts of friends, who wish them well. (The Weekly Arizona Miner; Prescott; October 18, 1873; page 3.) The bride is the daughter of Thomas Matthew and Catherine (Scott) Alexander.
"Mr. Ed. G. Peck and wife, of Agua Fria Valley, arrived in town yesterday and left for home to-day. Ed. said that himself and brother farmers have a splendid prospect for crops." (Arizona Weekly Miner; Prescott; May 15, 1874; page 3.) Ed. G. Peck, after a life filled with adventure, at the age of 39, finally settled down to a life of domestic tranquility on a farm, but that was not the end of his adventures, or the end of his interest in the Verde Valley. "Could the history of his life in Arizona be written in detail, it would be as romantic and interesting as that of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and other early pioneers in our country." (History of Arizona; by Thomas Edwin Farish, Arizona Historian, Volume II; 1915; Chapter XII; pages 249, 262-263, etc.)
More like this story
- Verde Heritage -- 1865: Pioneer Clayton M. Ralston
- MAIL ROUTES: Through the Verde Valley, Arizona Territory; June 1864 to June 1875
- 1870: ROAD TO NEW MEXICO; Generals T. C. Devin and F. Wheaton, Captain Kauffman.
- Verde Heritage -- Verde Pioneer: Joseph Melvin, Part 1.
- 1865 SETTLEMENT: January Exploration of the Rio Verde.