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History of Madison
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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M. W. Peach.

Among the respected citizens of Winterset is M. W. Peach, who for many years was actively engaged in farming but is now living a retired life.  He was born in Logan county, Ohio, on the 4th of February, 1841, a son of Joseph Peach, whose birth occurred in Maryland in 1808 and who was married in Ohio to Miss Rachel Brooks.  Joseph Peach, Sr., the paternal grandfather of our subject, was a slaveholder in Maryland but after reaching middle life became convinced of the evil of holding men and women as chattels and accordingly liberated his slaves, fifty in number.

It was on the 17th of March, 1841, that the parents of our subject left Ohio and started for Iowa.  They floated down the Ohio river and up the Mississippi to Burlington, whence they made their way to team to Van Buren county, Iowa, where the father raised one crop.  In the meantime he took up a claim in Davis county, about twenty miles west of where he was living in Van Buren county.  In the fall or early winter of 1841 he located upon his claim and during the remainder of his life devoted his attention to its cultivation and improvement.  He died in October, 1850, leaving his widow with six small children to care for, the oldest of whom was a daughter fourteen years of age.  Our subject was at that time a lad of nine years.  The mother kept the family together until they were able to care for themselves and when Mr. Peach of this review was eighteen years of age she accompanied him to Madison county, where he provided for her needs and wants until she, too, passed away, about six years after the close of the Civil war.

M. W. Peach received but a limited education as the pioneer schools were primitive in curriculum as well as in other respects.  He pursued his studies in a log schoolhouse in Davis county and later attended a school taught by Mr. Goshorn, the father of Arthur Goshorn, who taught what was known as the Beerbower school, west of Winterset.  Under the instruction of that excellent teacher Mr. Peach learned all that he knew about reading, arithmetic and grammar in thirty-two days.  At the age of sixteen years he bega working for others by the month during the summer seasons and was thus employed until he attained his majority, turning over every cent of his wages for the support of the family.

On the 5th of August, 1862, Mr. Peach went to the defense of the Union, joining Company A, Thirty-ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, which was commanded by Captain G. N. Elliott.  Following the battle of Resaca, the Thirty-ninth Iowa was detailed to guard Rome, Georgia, which had been captured, and Mr. Peach was there until the battle of Allatoona Pass, after which he joined Sherman and went with him on his march to the sea.  He was not in many severe engagements but at the battle of Allatoona Pass had a number of holes shot through his clothes.  In the night following that battle he noticed a defect in his hearing, which has been impaired ever since.  He was mustered out at Washington, D. C., and discharged at Clinton, Iowa.  He returned home with a creditable military record and the consciousness that he had been of service in preserving the Union and abolishing the institution of slavery, which had aroused his moral indignation.

Mr. Peach again turned his attention to farming, cultivating forty acres of land in Scott townehp, which he had previously purchased for the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars.  Some time later he went to Buena Vista county and homesteaded land, living there for a decade.  At the expiration of that period he removed to northern Missouri and after a year went to Arkansas where he lived for eleven years.  In 1894 he returned to Madison county, Iowa, and purchased land in Scott township, which he farmed until 1907, when he turned the cultivation of his land over to others and removed to Winterset, where he is now living retired in a comfortable home at No. 803 East Court avenue.

In 1871 Mr. Peach married Miss Laura B. Welsh, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of Samuel and Susan (Hazlett) Welsh, born respectively in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Just prior to the Civil war the family removed to Iowa, settling in Wapello county, and in 1865 took up their residence in Douglas township, this county, but a few years later Mr. and Mrs. Welsh removed to Scott township, where both passed away.

Mr. Peach is stanch in his allegiance to the republican party, which stood loyally by the Union in its time of peril and which has since carried through to completion so many policies that have worked to the advantage of the country.  Both he and his wife belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, and he is an enthusiastic member of the Grand Army of the Republic.  He is entitled to honor as one of those brave men who unhesitatingly left the work in which they were engaged and answered their country's call for soldiers, offering their lives if need be for the preservation of the Union.  His record in times of peace has been equally honorable and public-spirited, and he is rich in the esteem of his fellowmen.



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