Robert H. Peck was born on September 24, 1844, in Wayne County, New York, the son of Dr. Arvine (1819-1881) and Betsey Jane (Loucks)
Robert’s parents were married in February of 1842 in Victory, New York. His father practiced medicine in Clyde, Wayne County, New York from about 1847 until 1854 at which time he moved his family to Lowell, Kent County, Michigan, becoming one of the first settlers of that place. According to one source:
one of the earliest settlers in Lowell, Kent County, and now a prominent physician in that town, was born in Butler, Wayne County, New York, December 15, 1819. The first of the Peck family in this country emigrated from Wales about the middle of the last century. Dr. Arvine Peck's father, Horace Peck, was a native of Connecticut, and his mother, Anna (Burch) Peck, was born in New York State. His early educational advantages were confined to what could be obtained by attending the common schools, in the intervals of work on his father's farm. At the age of seventeen he entered Victory Academy, where he remained one year. The next three years he spent at Red Creek Academy, paying his expenses by teaching school. After leaving Red Creek, he spent some time in the study of dentistry; and, at last, was enabled to carry out his long-cherished resolution of preparing himself for the medical profession. He first pursued his medical studies under the tuition of Dr. Robert Treat Payne, and afterwards with Dr. A. T. Hendricks, under whose instruction he remained until his graduation. He attended a course of Jectures at Geneva, New York; and, subsequently, at the Eclectic Medical Institute of Cincinnati, from which he graduated in 1846 with the highest honors. Dr. Peck has not confined himself, however, to the eclectic school of medicine. Being an ardent devotee of his profession, he has studied earnestly to familiarize himself with every known method of treatment, and few physicians have met with more unvarying success. He practiced first at Clyde, Wayne County, New York, where he remained seven years. In 1854 he went to Michigan, and settled at Lowell, which then consisted of four or five cabins in the woods. Since that time he has continued the practice of his profession in the same place. His business has increased rapidly with the growth of the country, and his name has been intimately identified with every enterprise which has brought Lowell to its present flourlshing condition. He served during the late war, with the rank of Captain, in the 2d Michigan Cavalry, at Madrid, Island No. 10, etc.; until, after eight months of service, his health failed, and he was obliged to return home. He was a Democrat until the Republican party was organized, to which he gave his support until 1875. He then identified himself with the National Greenback party, of which he is now an enthusiastic and intelligent member. He is outspoken in his convictions, and untiring in his advocacy of his political principles. He has been Supervisor of Lowell one year, and President of the village four years. He was married, February 19, 1842, at Victory, New York, to B. Jane Loucks. Their family consists of two sons and a daughter, only one of whom, a son, is unmarried. Dr. Peck is the oldest physician in Lowell, and commands the most extensive practice in that section of the country. His identification with the town since its infancy, and the skill and judgment which he combines with great ardor, have gained for him a high position in the community, as well as among the members of the medical profession. His face is well known, and his name almost a household word in the town of Lowell.
By 1860 Robert was a clerk and student living with his family in Lowell where his father worked as a physician and local businessman.
Robert stood 5’5” with blue eyes, light hair and a light complexion and was 16 years old and residing in Kent County, probably in Lowell, when he enlisted in Company D on May 13, 1861. (Company D was composed in large part of men who came from western Ionia County and Eaton County.)
Around the first of September, 1861, Robert was stricken with typhoid fever. On October 17, 1861, Captain Houghton of Company D wrote that Peck had “been sick the past six weeks with typhoid fever and now is troubled with a catarrh and has never been able to carry a musket.” He was discharged on November 9, 1861, at Fort Lyon, Virginia, according to the Regimental surgeon Dr. Zenas Bliss, for “general debility partially the result of typhoid fever, but has since been [un]able to perform the duties of a soldier in consequence of his delicate physical conformation.”
Following his discharge Robert returned to Lowell where he reentered the service in Company C, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics on December 21, 1863, for 3 years, crediting Grand Rapids’ First Ward, and was mustered in on January 5, 1864, at Grand Rapids. (See George Post’s bio; he too had served in Company D, was from either Ionia County or Lowell and he also reentered the service in Company C First E & M at the very same time.)
Robert probably joined the regiment somewhere in the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennesse where it was on engineering duty as well as at Bridgeport, Stevenson and on line of the Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad, Nashville & Northwestern Railroad, Tennessee & Alabama Railroad and Memphis & Charleston Railroad building block houses, etc., till May, 1864. The Regiment was on duty on the Atlantic & Western Railroad building block houses, etc., till September when it was ordered to Atlanta, Ga., September 25. Old members were mustered out October 31, 1864. It remained on duty at Atlanta September 28 to November 15; and participated in the March to the sea destroying railroad track, bridges and repairing and making roads November 15-December 10; in the siege of Savannah December 10-21, in the Carolina Campaign January to April, 1865; in the advance on Raleigh April 10-14, and occupation of Raleigh April 14; in the surrender of Johnston and his army.
The regiment then marched to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 20, and was in the Grand Review on May 24. Ordered to Louisville, Ky., June 6; then to Nashville, Tenn. where it rmeained on duty until it was mustered out on September 22. The regiment was subsequently discharged at Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan on October 1.
Robert was mustered out as an Artificer, reportedly on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Robert again returned to Michigan and lived most of his postwar life in Lowell where he married Marion L. Baker on September 11, 1866. (His father was still living in Lowell and practicing medicine in 1870.)
Robert was a member of both the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association and of Grand Army of the Republic Wilson post no. 87 in Lowell.
In 1867 he applied for and received a pension (no. 750050).
He died on November 19, 1878, and was buried in Oakwood cemetery, Lowell: 0-29-5.
His widow applied for a pension (no. 790634) but the certificate was never granted. By 1880 his widow “Marion” was living with her father-in-law and his family in Lowell.