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(pioneer icon)1924

ROSELINE WILLARD PECK, Contributed by the John Bell Chapter, D. A. R.

Roseline Willard Peck was born in Middletown, Vermont, February 24, 1808. She came to Blue Mounds in 1836 and thence to Madison in 1837. At Blue Mounds they rented the tavern stand owned by Colonel Brigham and boarded the old Colonel and the hands employed by him.

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"We started from Brighams, at the Blue Mounds, on Thursday afternoon, April 13. I rode an Indian pony. We travelled about seven miles and came to a place where some one had made a claim, and had laid about five rounds of logs toward a cabin. We camped there that night with a tent over us. The next day we pushed on--a more pleasant day I never wish to see. We pitched our tent on a little rise of ground, within three miles of Madison; spread down our beds, and rested very comfortably until nearly 3 o'clock on Saturday morning, when we were awakened by a tremendous wind storm and howling of wolves, and found snow five or six inches deep which continued to fall until we reached Madison."

She with her husband, Eben Peck, were the first settlers of Madison. Their house was located in Block 107, Madison, near the present site of the Capital House on Butler Street. This was the first home established in Madison. They kept the first boarding house where workmen who built the first Capital in Madison boarded, and later known as the Madison Hotel. Here Victor Peck, the first white boy in Madison, came as a one year old boy. In this house his sister, the first white child born in Madison was born. She became the wife of Nelson W. Wheeler of Chippewa Falls, and after his death, was married to A. S. Hawley of Delton, Wisconsin.

Peck's Tavern at Madison

"We enjoyed ourselves in various ways just as you do now. There was the regular dancing school twice a week held in the old cabin that first winter. Euchre parties became the fashion. Christmas and New Year's suppers were made lively by the verbal and practical jokes passed around.

"We had turtle soup suppers, also. The turtles were caught by cutting holes through the ice on what was called 'Mud Lake', and brought to us by Abel Rasdall. Mr. Peck sent some of them to a Mineral Point hotel keeper who informed us that he netted $50 on the sale of the soup. The turtles were frozen solid, and rattled together like stones, and were put in the cellar to thaw out before we could dress them, and, going down in a few days after I found they had thawed out and were crawling around on the bottom of the cellar."

Mrs. Peck's husband who started for California in 1844 was supposed to have been killed by the Indians while crossing the plains.

About 1838 the family removed to Baraboo and there Mrs. Peck spent most of her life, returning to Madison for frequent visits at her son, Victor Peck's home. Her death occurred October 30, 1899 and her remains lie in the Baraboo cemetery.

"Roseline Willard Peck." Sketches of Wisconsin pioneer women. Fort Atkinson, Wis. : Hoard & Sons, [1924?]. 170-171.
From the GLS Department of Special Collections reference room: CT 268 D4.