Reflections: The Pecks and the development of Cardington


By Evelyn Long - Morrow County Sentinel



Many of you have told me you enjoy reading about the past history of the village of Cardington.

This town, as well as any other, was developed by hard-working, dedicated people. This week I want to concentrate on the Pecks, a family whose entrepreneur talents helped to bring development to this village.

John S. Peck, born in 1832, served an apprenticeship in a cabinet makers’ trade at the age of 14. He worked five years in that trade, first in Mt Gilead then Westfield, DeKalb, Indiana, and came to Cardington in 1865 where he engaged in furniture and undertaking business.

In 1872, he erected a three story retail building on Main street and in 1876 when his foreign trade and jobbing outgrew the factory, he built a three story brick factory on the corner of Second Street and Park Street (now the site of the Community building).

The business was assumed by his son, V. W. Peck, when the elder Peck died. Their principal line of business was the manufacturing of furniture, dining tables, stands, center tables and kindred goods. These goods were shipped

across the country. Occasionally, a piece of the Peck furniture can still be found at an auction. Peck’s Furniture Factory was in production year-round by the end of 1910 with three traveling salesmen. There were 15 employees at his factory.

The latter Peck then established the Peck Lumber Yard (later the site of Kinsell Foods on Second Street) and operated a planing mill and lumber yard in Mount Gilead. He was instrumental in organizing Co. A at Cardington and served as the company’s captain during the Mexican border disturbance and for most of the company’s period of service with the 166th Infantry, 42nd (Rainbow) division in France during World War I.

Captain Peck also served as captain of Co. M of Washington C. H. and Co. I of Columbus.

A graduate of Cardington High School, he served as president of the Citizens Bank for 15 years, was a member of the Cardington Board of Education for 25 years and was one of the organizers of the Morrow County Telephone Corp, serving as its president.

He was one of 23 automobile owners in Cardington in 1912. In April, 1911, Peck was named Vice President of the John Loeffert Cigar Company located in the Underwood block in Cardington where 15 cigar makers were employed.

He died in January, 1942 at the age of 70 and was described in one news article as “one of the most enterprising young men in Morrow County.”

His stately home at 500 South Marion Street, was built about 1899 with the best of lumber and material that remains today as one of the most outstanding residences in the village.

I often ponder what would Cardington be like had there been no Pecks? I’m glad we never have to answer that question.

This month in Cardington history

January, 1916: “On account of the new state law compelling soda fountains to sterilize soda spoons and glasses each time used, Nick Christu is using individual drinking cups at his soda fountain.”

“The choir loft and pulpit at the M E Church are being enlarged and the upper room is being given a cleaning up.”

January 1956, 55 Cardington businessmen and women met for a dinner at the Corner Restaurant to discuss a building to be shared by the township and village to house the fire trucks, village and township trucks, mayor’s office, storage and meeting place. Kensel Russell was president of the group.

January 1986, due to the threat of terrorism in several capitals of Europe, the plans of the Cardington-Lincoln High School History Club to tour Europe during the summer were cancelled.

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By Evelyn Long

Morrow County Sentinel

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