Sunday, February 17, 2013

Hewson L. Peeke, Lawyer and Author

Hewson Lindsley Peeke was born on April 21, 1861 in South Bend, Indiana to George Hewson and Margaret Bloodgood Peeke. He graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts.

After teaching school in Illinois, Hewson Peeke moved west to the Dakota Territory where he was admitted to the bar in 1883. In about 1885, when his father, the Rev. George H. Peeke was assigned as Pastor of the Congregational Church in Sandusky, Hewson Peeke moved to Sandusky as well.

Hewson Peeke was admitted to the Ohio Bar, and practiced law in Sandusky for many years. His obituary, in the 1942 Obituary Notebook, stated that he was known as the “dean of the County Bar Association” in Erie County. Mr. Peeke was admitted to the United States District Court in 1895; U.S. Court of Appeals in 1905; and to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1918. In 1902 and 1906, Hewson L. Peeke ran unsuccessfully for Representative of the 13th District, under the Prohibition ticket. He was a staunch follower of the old Prohibition Party, following the motto “The Wets Cannot Win.”

Local history was a favorite topic of Hewson Peeke. He was the author of two histories of Erie County, A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio, published in 1916, and The Centennial History of Erie County, published in 1925. Another book he wrote was Stories of Sandusky, which many consider to be fictionalized accounts of people and incidents in Sandusky, Ohio. Mr. Peeke also served as the President of the Firelands Historical Society for several years.

Peeke wrote acomprehensive study of the history of drunkenness in 1917, Americana Ebrietatis: The Favorite Tipple of Our Forefathers and the Laws and Customs Relating Thereto. George Sargent, an editor from the Boston Evening Transcript praised Peeke’s book. He wrote in an article which was reprinted in the November 20, 1917 Sandusky Register that Hewson L. Peeke was “as impartial as the apostles in dealing with this subject and leaves his witnesses to be examined and cross-examined by either side. The collection of material which he has gathered gives a history of drunkenness and drinking customs in America, and while it is not the only one in the country, it is probably the finest in existence in private hands.” A copy of this unique title is found in the Local Authors Collection of the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Hewson L. Peeke died on February 17, 1942. His funeral was held at the First Congregational Church, and he was buried at Oakland Cemetery. The entire local bar association attended the rites, and the active pallbearers were: Judge E. H. Savord, Judge W. L. Fiesinger, and Attorneys Earl Webster, C.E. Moyer, James Flynn and Wilbert Schwer.

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