ASAHEL PECK was born in Royalston, Massachusetts. He left the University of Vermont in his senior year to study French in Canada, after which he studied and practiced law in Vermont. Originally a Democrat, he switched to the Republican Party. He served as a Circuit Court Judge from 1851 until 1857, when the Circuit Court system was abolished. He went on to serve as a Vermont Supreme Court Judge before being elected governor. As governor, he sought to improve conditions in the state’s prisons and supported the establishment of workhouses for minor offenders. During his administration, the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction was created and a joint resolution was passed favoring the formation of a waterway to connect the St. Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean. After one term as governor, Peck retired to his farm in Jericho, Vermont, where he died.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 8. New York: James T. White & Company.