Biography of John H. Peckham

One of the leaders in realty and insurance activity in Rhode Island, John H. Peckham is prominent in business circles of Providence. He has been a resident here for over sixty years, and throughout that extended period has contributed largely to the general welfare and advancement through the medium of business affairs.

Born at Glocester, Rhode Island, June 14, 1869, he is a son of George H. and Susan E. (Harris) Peckham, both of whom are since deceased. The former engaged long as an agriculturalist, until the time of his passing. The family is one of long residence in Rhode Island, its members having given liberally to the progress of this State from an early day in New England’s history.

John H. Peckham studied in the public schools of Glocester and Scituate. After he had completed his training he worked two years at farming, then spent two years as a clerk in a North Scituate store. It was in 1891, following this experience, that he came to Providence. He secured a position with Kimball and Colwell Company— driving a wagon for delivery of meats. This he did for twelve years, adding to his acquaintanceship, his knowledge of general business activity, and formulating a plan for his own career. In 1903 he became associated with the Watch Cheer Beef Company, which was owned by the Kimball and Colwell organization, a subsidiary for the handling of meat products. These Mr. Peckham sold, as company salesman, until 1908, materially adding to his experience and to the number of his friends in business circles. In 1908 he became associated with D. W. Miner, with whom he helped to establish the D. W. Miner Company, dealing at wholesale in beef and provisions. He was a partner in this firm until 1926, and helped materially in building up its successful reputation as one of the major wholesale beef and provision houses in the city. In 1927 Mr. Peckham disposed of his stock in the Miner company and organized the company of John H. Peckham, Incorporated, as a dealer in general insurance and realty. Offices are in the Hospital Trust Building, room 939. Mr. Peckham is president and treasurer of his company. In the time of its functioning to date, the company’s success has been considerable.

Deeply interested in matters influencing the growth and prosperity of Providence, Mr. Peckham is a Republican, a leader in the party’s councils. While at Scituate he served as president of the Town Council, four years. In the fall of 1925 he was elected State Senator to fill out the unexpired term of Lewis Hohler, and in the following year was reelected. His record in the State Senate has been admirable in all its directions, Mr. Peckham having a most keen foresight in legislation pertaining to the Providence area and sufficient influence to secure benefits. Prominent in business, in public life, Mr. Peckham is of prominence fraternally also. He is a member of Temple Lodge, No. 18, Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is Past Master; Scituate Royal Arch Chapter, No. 18, of which he is Past High Priest; Providence Council, Royal and Select Masters; St. John Commandery, No. 1, Knights Templar; Palestine Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine; and all Scottish Rite bodies, including the Rhode Island Consistory. He makes a hobby of horses and the track. He is a member of the Palestine Shrine Club, the Providence Real Estate Board, National Association of Real Estate Boards, the Providence Association of Insurance Agents, and president of the Providence County Agricultural Association. His ramified connections give him intimate contact with the principal currents in the development of city and State.

Mr. Peckham married, in 1891, Ida L. Angell, native of North Scituate, Rhode Island.

Keen at business, shrewd in judgment in all things, slow to anger, ready of wit, genial, warm in his humor, Mr. Peckham has legion friends through New England. He is one of this territory’s best known figures.

Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.

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