Term: Peck, George Wilbur 1840 - 1916
newspaperman, humorist, author, politician, governor, b. Henderson, N.Y. He moved with his parents to Wisconsin in 1843, settling in Cold Spring, Jefferson County, and later in Whitewater. In Whitewater, Peck learned the printer's trade on the Whitewater Register, and from 1855 to 1860 worked for various Wisconsin newspapers. In 1860 he purchased a half interest in the Jefferson County Republican, and remained with this newspaper until 1863. During the Civil War, he served with the 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry (1863-1866), rising to the rank of 2nd lieutenant. In 1866 he established the Ripon Representative, but soon sold the paper, and in 1868 moved to New York City. There he became for a time one of the editors of Marcus M. Pomeroy's (q.v.) Democrat. Returning to Wisconsin in 1871 Peck was co-editor (1871-1874) of Pomeroy's former newspaper, the La Crosse Democrat (restyled La Crosse Liberal Democrat, 1872-1874). In 1874 Peck established his own paper at La Crosse, Peck's Sun, and in 1878 moved it to Milwaukee. There the paper soon became known for its humorous sketches, particularly those written by Peck in the "Peck's Bad Boy" series, and in 1882 his best-known book, Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa, appeared. He was editor of the paper until 1890. With the exception of a term as chief clerk of the Democratic assembly (1874-1875), Peck participated very little in politics until elected mayor of Milwaukee in 1890 on the Democratic ticket. In 1890 he was also nominated for governor by the Democrats, and the campaign, fought out on the issue of the Bennett Law, resulted in Peck's election. Re-elected in 1892, he served as governor from Jan., 1891, to Jan., 1895. Defeated by Republican William H. Upham (q.v.) in the gubernatorial race of 1894, Peck continued to live in Milwaukee until his death. He was again an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1904. Dict. Amer. Biog.; E. B. Usher, Wis. (8 vols., Chicago, 1914); Milwaukee Evening Wis., Apr. 17, 1916.
View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.
[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]