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Jesse Truesdell Peck
(1811-1883)

Jesse Truesdell Peck, the youngest of ten children of Luther Peck, was born on April 4, 1811 on a farm in Middlefield, Otsego County, New York. He was educated at Cazenovia Seminary and became a minister in the Methodist Church. He married Persis Wing on October 13, 1831, and in the following year he joined the Oneida Conference. In 1837, Peck became the head of a seminary high school. This would be the first of two seminaries that he would lead up until 1848. In that year, Peck was chosen to be the tenth president of Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, despite having no formal college education himself.

During his presidency, Peck met with some trouble, being unpopular with the students and often finding himself the butt of student jokes and pranks. Peck also proved to be an inadequate fundraiser for the college, and the school's financial situation worsened. In June 1851 he announced his intention to leave the institution at the end of the following academic year, citing his belief - most probably accurate - that he was ill-suited to the tasks associated with the job.

During the Civil War, Peck moved with his wife to California because of her failing health. He later returned to New York, and in 1870 he was a presiding officer of the state Methodist Convention in Syracuse. In 1872 he became a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He also became one of the founders of Syracuse University in 1870, and was one of four subscribers of $25,000 to endow this new institution. Jesse T. Peck served as president of Syracuse University's Board of Trustees from 1870 to 1873, and he remained a member of the Board until his death in 1883.

Please visit the following link for materials authored by Jesse Truesdell Peck maintained in the Their Own Words database:

Peck, Jesse Truesdell, 1811-1883.

Researched, authored, and edited by John Osborne, Ph. D., and James Gerencser.


Page created: July 2, 2003                                            close window