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A look at the Peacock connection to 32 McClurg Street

January 21, 2016
By Marybelle Beigh - Westfield Historian , Westfield Republican

As described in Part 5A, we have eliminated all of the children of Charles E Peacock (186 E. Main St. Peacock Home) from being the Peacock residents at 32 McClurg St., and have located the names of Mary Peacock Pitts, Constance Peacock Slocom, Thomas A Peacock, Catherine F Peacock Smith, and Alice M Peacock, for that residence in 1946 and 1953. One other bit of information that was discovered using the GIS map property information is that the house at 32 McClurg was built in 1915, which is 5 years before Charles Evans Peacock built his home at 186 Main. So the story of Charles building a house for one of his children as a small replica of his home can not be the house at 32 McClurg (another History Mystery!)

Armed with new Peacock family members' names, it was off to for Census records, and the Patterson Library for obituaries, to figure out just which branch of the Peacock family lived at 32 McClurg. Two names stood out - those of Thomas A Peacock, and Alice M Peacock. But wait! -They can NOT be the Thomas and Alice Peacock who owned the Thomas A. Peacock home at the corner of Franklin and Jefferson Street! That Thomas A. Peacock died in 1894 and his wife, Alice Stanford Peacock, died in 1918. So after much research, the following story was reconstructed.

Thomas A. Peacock (1849-1894) married, in 1881, Alice Stanford (1862-1918), and they began living at the house at 31 Jefferson sometime between 1881, when O.H. Gibbs is noted as owner on the 1881 Beers Atlas map, and 1887, when Westfield Republican articles are found for Thomas Peacock working on that house. The 1881 map also shows Thomas A. Peacock owning about 300 acres of property in Barcelona extending along the shore of Lake Erie from about where Hawley Street now interesects with Route 5 to the western edge of Barcelona's village streets, and around the southern edge of same, over to North Portage, and south to Hawley Street excluding a couple of small lots along Hawley at North Portage. This included the section of Big Chautauqua Creek from its mouth, south of where North Gale crosses the creek, again almost to where Hawley Street crosses the creek. Thomas had a tanning mill on the south bank of the creek, where North Gale crosses, according to the 1854 Chautauqua Co Map, and this had become a plaster mill by the time of the 1867 Atlas Map. His home was on North Gale, on the north side of the creek.

Article Photos

Photo by Marybelle Beigh
This is a recent photo of the house at 32 McClurg St. in Westfield.

The millstones that are now in front of the Patterson Library are supposedly the same ones that ground the grain at John McMahan's 1805 mill, later used in Fitch's mill for grist until they cracked, then used in a small mill in Ripley, and finally used for grinding plaster at the mill on the Peacock farm. The plaster mill was gone by 1881, and the stones were later found on the Peacock land by Lester Stone. Mrs. Peacock-Davis allowed Stone to move them to his yard, until the Stone family left the place, when Mrs. Patterson requested them to be moved to the Patterson Library, some time after the library was built in 1908.

Aha! We have another lead - Mrs. (Alice M) Peacock Davis - whose obit was located in a 1918 Wetfield Republican - died Feb. 5, 1918, being survived by her (second) husband, and three sons, William, Charles Evans, and Thomas A Peacock. More research is needed to determine when Alice married Davis. She and her three sons were still living at 31 Franklin in 1900, along with a boarder named George Johnson, and two "servants," but by 1910, only son Thomas A. was living there as a ward of the former boarder, Johnson.

Thomas A Peacock (1893-1933) married, in 1920, Mary G. (1897-1963), and they had four children, Alice M (1923), Thomas A & Constance A twins (1925), and Catherine F (1926). Thomas and Mary Peacock lived at 64 S Portage in 1920, but by 1930, they were living at 32 McClurg. County courthouse deed records show that Edward Skinner deeded 32 McClurg to Thomas a Peacock in 1927, and that Thomas deeded the property to his wife Mary G. Peacock in 1930. Mary G. was granted Power of Attorney for her husband Thomas A Peacock in 1931; Thomas' obit in 1933 indicates that he had been in poor health for two years.

Some time between the death of her husband, Thomas., in 1933 and 1940, Mary G married William Pitts, since the 1940 U.S. Census lists William T Pitts (47-head), Mary P Pitts (43-wife), Alice Peacock (17-stepdau), Thomas A. Peacock (15-stepson), Constance Peacock (15-stepdaughter), and Catherine Peacock (14-stepdaughter), all living at 32 McClurg. William Pitts died in 1945. Various county deed records seem to indicate that Mary Peacock Pitts was the last Peacock to own and live at 32 McClurg through the 1950s, during which time her daughter, Constance marries a Slocum and moves to Oklahoma; daughter Catherine marries a Smith, and moves to Ohio; son Thomas moves to Florida; and daughter Alice Peacock moves to Gowanda. By 1961, the property is owned by someone else. Mrs. Mary Peacock Pitts died Oct. 25, 1963 in Dunkirk; the obit lists her residence as the Kenyon Hotel, in Westfield.

Before concluding the story of the Peacock Homes of Westfield, information about another Peacock family member, previously undocumented except for birth date and parents, was discovered through the census and military records on Remember that Thomas A. (1849) and Alice Stanford Peacock (Davis) had three sons, William (1882), Charles Evans (1884), and Thomas A. (1893), but we have only followed the families of Charles and Thomas. The 1920 U.S. Census listed William Peacock, age 37, living at 22 Union St., Westfield, with wife Mazie Peacock. The US World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, shows one from Sept 12, 1918, for "William Peacock, 22 Union, Westfield, Chaut NY, age 36, b. May 17th 1882, nearest relative Mazy Peacock (wife), same address." It also lists William's occupation as "farmer."



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