Cliff McCarthy, 2016
Last Updated 15 November 2017
There is much uncertainty regarding the origins of Paul & Martha (Hale) Peck, but I’ve tried to distill the best information available into a coherent narrative. Paul Peck was born in England, location unknown, but tradition says he was from Essex. The date of his birth varies from 1608 to 1622, though about 1620 would be a good estimate.
Legend holds that Paul Peck sailed from Essex to Boston aboard the Defence arriving in 1635. The passenger list for that voyage has been documented in Coldham’s Complete Book of Emigrants and Paul Peck is not named. There is listed, however, another Peck family — Richard Peck, miller, 33; Margery Peck, 40; Isabell Peck, 7; Elizabeth Peck, 4. Is this entry the origin of the legend, or did Paul actually join a kinsman on this journey and not get recorded?
Soon after his arrival, Paul Peck migrated to Hartford. Thomas Hooker and his followers established Hartford in 1636. Paul Peck was not among the original founders of Hartford, but he was a proprietor there by 1639 “by courtesy of the town.” His home lot was on the “road from George Steele’s to the Great Swamp,” which is said to have been on today’s Washington Street, near Trinity College.
Paul Peck married Martha Hale, though the record of that event has not been discovered. They had 10 children together.
Martha Hale was born about 1618 at Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire, England, where she was baptized on 16 December 1618. It is believed, though not by all researchers, that Samuel and Thomas Hale, who later became proprietors at Hartford, were her brothers. They were undoubtedly related.
Both Samuel and Thomas Hale were among the followers of Thomas Hooker and were original settlers of Hartford. They both served in the Pequot War in 1637 for which they were granted land. Samuel later moved to Wethersfield and still later to Norwalk, from which he was a deputy to the Connecticut General Court, 1656-1660. He returned to Wethersfield in 1660 where he lived for thirty more years. Samuel’s brother Thomas Hale was made a freeman in Roxbury in 1634. He was a proprietor of Hartford in 1639, with his home lot on the west of the road from Seth Grant’s to Centinel Hill. Thomas Hale married Jane Lord of Roxbury in 1640 and was later granted 50 acres of land for his service in the Pequot War. He was one of the original “planters” of Norwalk, living there from February 1651 until at least 1655. Family tradition holds that Thomas later moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts, where he died.
Paul Peck was named a surveyor of highways in 1658 and 1665, a selectman in 1661 and 1668, was named chimney-viewer in 1667.
Under the date of 23 March 1666, Governor John Winthrop, Jr., a physician, took note of Martha (Hale) Peck’s health in his medical journal:
Peck, Martha: 45 y. wife of Paule of Hartford wormes & paine in back & other sicknes wch thinks is wind 2 dos 5g N. N. & 8g to take after. She is sister of Sam: Hale of Wethersfield, & hath a brother Tho: Hale at Charlestown.
Sent word it wrought well but very sick before it wrought.
Again Mar: 28 9gr: $: wrought only downe.
In November 1667. Winthrop treated some of the Peck children who were then recovering from measles, giving their ages as: Martha, 9 years old; son [Paul, Jr.?] of 16 years; and Hanna Peck, 2 years.
Paul Peck was made a deacon of the First Church at Hartford in 1691.
Deacon Paul Peck died in Hartford 23 December 1695. William Goodwin, the gravedigger, wrote on the following day: “Deacon Pack, Aged 87.” The authors of Hale, House & Related Families questioned that age, saying it was possible, but seemed excessively high, given his wife’s age. They noted that he had testified in 1683 that he was “aged about 60.” Thus, we get the strange range of dates for his birth, 1608-1623.
Paul Peck left an extensive will, dated 25 June 1695 and proved 15 January 1695/96. After the estate was settled, his widow Martha felt compelled to sue her two sons, Paul, Jr. and Samuel, for refusing to pay rent on land due her at the bequest of her husband. The lawsuits were subsequently withdrawn, presumably after an out-of-court settlement.
Children of Paul & Martha (Hale) PECK
PAUL PECK was born about 1620, and died 23 December 1695 in Hartford, Hartford Co., CT. He married MARTHA HALE, daughter of JOHN HALE and MARTHA. She was born Abt. 1618, and died Aft. 7 March 1699/00 in Hartford, Hartford Co., CT. The Children of PAUL PECK and MARTHA HALE are:
i. PAUL PECK, JR., b. 1644; d. 1725, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT; m. ELIZABETH BAISIE, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT.
ii. JOHN PECK, b. 22 December 1645, Hartford, CT.
iii. MARTHA PECK, b. 1646; d. 1 March 1707/08, Middletown, Middlesex Co., CT; m. JOHN CORNWALL, 8 June 1665, Middletown, Middlesex Co., CT.
iv. JOSEPH PECK, b. Abt. 1650; d. 26 June 1698, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT; m. RUTH (POSS. ATKINS).
v. MARY PECK, b. 1652; m. DANIEL ANDREWS, Abt. 1671.
vi. ELIZABETH PECK, b. 1654; d. 4 October 1704, Wallingford, CT; m. JEREMIAH HOW, 29 October 1674, Wallingford, CT; b. 8 July 1650, New Haven, New Haven Co., CT; d. 22 September 1740, Wallingford, CT.
vii. HANNAH PECK, b. Abt. 1655; d. Bet. 1689 – 1695; m. JOHN SHEPARD, 12 May 1680, Hartford, Hartford Co., CT.
viii. SARAH PECK, b. 1656; d. 20 May 1696; m. EBENEZER CLARK, 6 May 1678, Wallingford, CT.
ix. daughter PECK, b. 1658; m. JOSEPH BENTON.
x. RUTH PECK, b. 1662; d. 5 December 1686, Wallingford, CT; m. THOMAS BEACH, 12 May 1680, Wallingford, CT; b. May 1659.
- Anderson, Robert Charles, Great Migration Begins, (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1995, as republished on CD-ROM by MyFamily.Com Inc., 2000.).
- Barbour, Lucius Barnes, Families of Early Hartford, Connecticut, (Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, MD, 1977).
- Collins, Jr., R. Thomas, One Life at a Time: A New World Family Narrative, 1630-1960, (Ravensyard Publishing, Ltd., Fairfax County, VA, 1999)
- Jacobus, Donald Lines, Families of Ancient New Haven, (Genealogical Publishing Co.; Baltimore, MD, 1981).
- Jacobus, Donald Lines, “Family of Paul Peck of Hartford, Connecticut,” The American Genealogist, Vol. 9, p. 82-89, 1932.
- Jacobus, Donald Lines and Edgar Francis Waterman, Hale, House & Related Families, (Clearfield Company, Baltimore, MD, originally published by Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT, 1952.).
- Peck, S. Allyn, “Have We Found the Parents of Thomas, Samuel and Martha Hale of Connecticut?,” American Genealogist, The, Vol. 38, No. 4, October 1962.
- Roberts, Gary Boyd, “Ten Further Hollywood Figures (or Groups Thereof),” (NEHGS, at http://www.newenglandancestors.org), “Electronic.”