I have recently had the privilege of sorting through the loose estate records for Macon County, as held by the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, for an indexing project sponsored by the North Carolina Genealogical Society. Along the way, I’ve found several interesting items on my own family that I hope to share here over the coming months with other area researchers.
One of my more recent finds was located in the file folder for James M. Peek. According to Elizabeth Peek Crutchfield in the article “David Peek”, James was the son of David Peek and Mary Henderson.1 They had the following children, including James:
- Eda Peek, born about 1880 [sic] in Laurens Co., SC, married John Jackson Ammons
- Phoebe Peek, born about 1804 in Laurens County, married James Holland
- William M. Peek, born 12 January 1809 in Laurens County, married Polly Avaline Mull
- James Peek, born before 1820 in Laurens County, “[...] with wife unknown. He migrated to Alabama.”
- Ruth Peek, born in 1815 in Laurens County, married Milton Moss
- Judy Elizabeth Peek, born in 1819 in Laurens County, married Milton McCoy
- Jane Caroline Peek, born 10 February 1820 in Macon Co., NC, married Andrew Madison Bryson
- Mary “Polly” Peek, born in 1821 in Macon County, married Martin McCoy
- Louisa, born in 1822 in Macon County, never married
- David Lee Peek, born in 1828, married Jane Moss
I am descended from Phereby/Phoebe Peek and James Holland through their son Anthony.
Like most other articles in publications of this nature, sources for the information contained in the article are listed at the end, although no ties are made between individual items and the sources themselves. Mrs. Crutchfield’s sources were listed as: Courthouse records of Pittsylvania, Buncombe and Macon Counties, census records, church minutes, cemetery markes, family Bibles, History of Hart County (Georgia) by Baker, The Franklin Press, papers and personal knowledge. It is obvious from the article that she spent quite a bit of time in both researching this family, and in writing the article. Because of this, I had previously spent little time working on the Peek family except to gather records as I come across them, in the hopes that one day I would have the time to sit down and verify the information contained in this article.
While working my way through the loose estates for Macon County, however, I came across a file folder containing papers related to the settling of the estate of James M. “Peak”. In 1866, James’ brother, William M. “Peake”, the administrator of this estate, petitioned the court to sell land belonging to the estate to pay James’ debts, to cover the costs of administration of the estate, and to benefit the heirs.2 The petition gives the heirs of this estate in two places. The first one reads:
[...] that said land upon
his death descended upon his brothers and
sisters and their issue as follows Wm M. Peake
(Admr) D. L. Peak Edy Ammons wife of John
Ammons Phereby Holland wife of
James Holland William Moss David Moss
John Moss James Moss Henry Moss Thomas
Moss & Alexander Moss heirs at law of Ruth
Moss wife of Milton Moss the heirs at law of
Elizabeth Ammons wife of Thomas Ammons
whose names are unknown Judy McCoy
wife of Milton McCoy, Mary McCoy wife
of Martin McCoy, Jane Bryson wife of
Andrew Bryson Louise Peak Viney Pruitt
wife of Smith Pruitt & Minerva Davis wife
of Ephraim Davis
The second instance of the heirs reads:
May it please
your worships to cause a subpeona [sic] with a copy
of this petition to be issued against Wm M Peake
(admr) D L Peake Louisa Peake John Ammons
and Edy his wife James Holland and Phoeby
his wife Milton Moss father and guardian of
William Moss David Moss John Moss James
Moss Henry Moss Thomas Moss & Alexander
Moss Thomas Ammons father and guardian
of the heirs at law of Elizabeth Ammons which
heirs are not known by name Milton McCoy
and Judy his wife Martin McCoy and
Mary his wife Andrew Bryson and Jane his
wife Smith Pruett and Viney his wife and Ephraim
Davis and Minerva his wife
These two mentions of James’ siblings differ from Mrs. Crutchfield’s article in that there are several additional sisters listed, namely Elizabeth Peek, the wife of Thomas Ammons, who was deceased at the time of this petition (inferred by the inclusion of her unknown heirs); Viney Peek, the wife of Smith Pruett; and Minerva Peek, the wife of Ephraim Davis.
This petition was likely also recorded in the official court records. If the land was located in Macon County, then when it was sold, it should have been recorded there. The question then is did Mrs. Crutchfield find this petition and simply discount it, or was it overlooked in her search for records on this family?
Unfortunately, short of corresponding directly with the author, there’s no way of knowing. This record does emphasize several points, the most important being: that one should verify derivative sources, no matter how well-written or thoroughly researched; and that one should at least attempt to search through records for an ancestor’s siblings.
I’ve placed the verification of this petition on my to-do list for the Peek/Peak family. In particular, I would like to run down the three “new” sisters to learn where they lived, who their children were, and so forth, and I would love to see what documentation Mrs. Crutchfield used to assemble this family. But that is a task for another day…
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1. Elizabeth Peek Crutchfield, “David Peek”, The Heritage of Macon County, North Carolina, Jesse Sutton (Winston-Salem, NC: Macon County Historical Society and Hunter Publishing Company, 1987), 387.
2. Petition for sale of land, 1866, Folder: James M. Peake, 1867: images 2116 – 2119, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC; Record of Macon County Estates, 1831 – 1920, Volume: Allison McKiney through James M. Peak, North Carolina State Archives micropublication G.061.2317267/Reel 008.