William A. Peckham, a well-known attorney, of Newport, was born in Newport, April 13, 1892, a son of the late William A. and Emma L. (Slocum) Peckham. His father, a native of Middletown, Rhode Island, was successfully engaged in the grocery business until his death. Mr. Peckham’s mother was a native of New York City. Having received his early education in the public grammar and high schools of Newport, Mr. Peckham entered Harvard College, from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1914. Next he took up the study of law at the Harvard Law School, graduating there with the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1917. In May, 1917, Mr. Peckham entered the United States Army and, in August, 1917, was commissioned a first lieutenant. Later he was attached to Company C, 302d Machine Gun Battalion, 76th Division. He served overseas in France with the American Expeditionary Forces for nine months and received his honorable discharge, in March, 1919, with the rank of first lieutenant. Returning then to his native city, he was admitted to the Rhode Island bar and became associated in practice with Clark Burdick. Since 1921 he has been a partner in the law firm of Burdick, Corcoran & Peckham, with offices at No. 201 Thames Street, Newport. He is a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association and of the Newport Bar Association.
Ever since his return from military service, Mr. Peckham has taken a very active part in civic affairs. Since 1919 he has been a member of the Newport City Council, and since 1929 h as been its chairman. He is a member of the Republican City Committee and since 1924 has served as a member of the Rhode Island State Board of Education.
For many years Mr. Peckham has been prominently active in Masonic affairs. He is a member and Past Master of St. Paul’s Lodge, No. 14, Free and Accepted Masons; a member of Newport Chapter, Royal Arch Masons; De Blois Council, of Royal and Select Masters; Washington Commandery, No. 4, Knights Templar, of which he is a Past Commander; and the Rhode Island Consistory, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, in which he holds the thirty-second degree. He is also a member of Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; Kolah Grotto, Mystic Order, Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm; and the Narragansett Bay Sojourners. Other organizations, in which Mr. Peckham maintains membership, include the following: Newport Lodge, No. 104, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of which he is the treasurer; Kappa Gamma Chi Fraternity; Newport Post, American Legion; the Harvard clubs of New York City and of Boston; the Miantonomi Club; the Wanumetonomy Golf Club; the Newport Chamber of Commerce; the Ida Lewis Yacht Club and the Newport Lions Club, of which he is past president. Mr. Peckham’s prominence as a successful corporation lawyer is well established. He is a member of the board of directors of the Newport Trust Company, and vice-president and a director of the Community Hotel Corporation, of Newport, Rhode Island. His religious affiliation is with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
Mr. Peckham married, in 1927, Margaret Campbell, a native of Newport.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.