Reflections: Remembering Captain V. W. Peck


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



Last week I honored Veterans Day by recognizing Jenkins-Vaughan Post 97, Cardington. This week I want to honor a man who served both his community and country.

Captain V. W. Peck 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.

He also served as captain of Co M of Washington C. H. and Co 1 of Columbus.

I found a letter printed in the November 28, 1918 Morrow County Sentinel that Captain Peck wrote to his wife in Cardington. Although the war had ended 10 days before this was published, the letter details some of the experiences he had in war. It was written from France and he detailed the experience he had as commander of Headquarter Co.

“When we started our advance North West of Verdon, we soon found we were up against the real thing. The officers of I Co were soon knocked off with the exception of one new 2nd Lieutenant. He and I were placed in command of that Co with instructions to relieve I Co in the front line and hold it. We are having open warfare now and there are no trenches so the front line means just shell holes or holes dug by the men to escape from the machine gun bullets and shrapnel.

“We were in full observation of the enemy and we did not dare raise our heads in the daytime on account of the snipers in the woods just ahead of us. To make matters worse, it rained nearly every day and the holes slowly filled with water ad we had to keep bailing. The captain went on saying “they held the place for six days and nights and were soaking wet all the time and nearly frozen as they would have no fire. In the meantime the artillery was being bro’t up and is now in eery available place ready for attack.

“He describes some great air battles with one Boche plane set on fire but a few feet from the hole he was in but the pilot jumped and made a perfect landing in a parachute.”

Captain Peck then said they were relieved two nights “before last” and were behind a hill about three kilometers back of the lines. “As near as I can tell I am commanding two companies now for I have not been relieved of Headquarter’s Co and they sent to me for instructions, but I had my pup ten bro’t up and am taking a good rest today and not worring about anything.”

Captain Peck returned to Cardington where he worked with the Mount Gilead Lumber Co. At one time he was active in managing the J. S. Peck and Son Lumber yard.

He was also 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 and its president.

An 1890 graduate of Cardington High School, he attended two different universities before working with the Standard Oil Company in Colorado and returned to Cardington, where he became associated with his uncle J. S. Peck in the lumber business.

Captain Peck died at the age of 70 in January, 1942. Captain Peck, a man that I am proud of!

Looking back

60 years ago: Lawanna Kyrk, a junior, was crowned queen of the Cardington PTA carnival.

50 years ago: With only two losses, Cardington’s football team won the Mid-Ohio Conference title by defeating Mt Gilead in the final game of the season. The team was undefeated in conference play.

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By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist