GEORGE W. PECK was born in Henderson, New York and raised in Cold Spring, Wisconsin. After working as a journeyman printer, he became part owner of the Watertown Republican and later worked for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. In 1863, he enlisted in the Fourth Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry as a private, rising to the rank of Lieutenant by the time he was discharged in 1866. Returning to the newspaper business, he became editor of the La Crosse Democrat in 1871. In 1874, he started his own paper-Peck’s Sun, which he moved to Milwaukee. Peck’s political career began in Ripon, where he served as City Treasurer in 1867. He was chief of police in La Crosse in 1873 and chief clerk of the State Assembly. He was elected Mayor of Milwaukee but did not complete his term due to his successful candidacy for governor in 1890. Reapportionment was a major issue during Peck’s two-term tenure as governor, and a judicial ruling against the Democrat-controlled legislature’s redrawing of political boundaries was a factor in Peck’s defeat for a third gubernatorial term. He made another unsuccessful bid for the governorship in 1904, but was defeated by Robert La Follette.
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. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.