JAMES W. PEACHER is one of the honored old settlers of Springfield and for many years a prominent merchant who has been identified with the building up and growth of the city. He springs from an old American Colonial family of Scotch descent. His father, Alexander Peacher, was born in Orange County, Va., and received the common education of his day. His brothers and sisters remembered are Edmund, Jonathan and Joseph. Alexander Peacher served as a soldier in the War of 1812. He became a farmer and married Nancy, daughter of Joseph Brightwell, who was of an old Virginia family and a man of wealth, owning a large farm with extensive orchards and slaves. He distilled his orchard products into wine and brandy, and did a good business. He lived to be an old man and was a respected citizen. He had four sons and three daughters-Wyatt, John, Petolamas, Waller, Eliza, Melissa and Sallie. Alexander Peacher settled on land and became a substantial farmer owning 600 acres and about fourteen negro slaves. His plantation was twelve miles from where the battles of Spottsylvania and the Wilderness were fought. Himself and wife were the parents of __ children: James W., Thomas H., John H., Elizabeth C., Mary and Eliza. Mr. Peacher passed all his days on his estate. During the war his plantation was pillaged by both armies as they fought back and forth. His slaves left with the soldiers and Mr. Peacher was left with his estate greatly reduced, and never recovered from the effects of the destruction caused by the war. He was a member of the Baptist Church. In political opinion he was an old line Whig, and afterward a Democrat. Mr. Peacher was a typical Virginia planter, industrious and honest, and a man of character. The good old days in which he lived have passed away, and are now only remembered by persons now passed middle life. James W. Peacher, the son of above, was born September 26, 1830, on his father's estate, and received a common education for his day, and was brought up to habits of industry and bred a farmer. At the age of twenty-one years he became a clerk in a country store and continued for two years, and then in 1856 he came to Missouri with the intention of locating land in Kansas, but the unsettled condition of the country and the border war then raging prevented him from placing his warrant. He returned home and in 1857 he came to Springfield and worked at his trade as a plasterer. He then, in 1861, bought a stock of general merchandise and continued this business for two years without much molestation from either the Union or Confederate soldiers. He then sold out and became a clerk in a general store for four years, and in 1866 bought out his employer, J. H. Sterman, and continued in this business, and in the boot and shoe and dry goods business until 1886, with but a short interval during which time he was on a farm. During his career as a merchant he did for some years wholesale, general mercantile business, under the firm name of Burton & Peacher. Throughout his business life in Springfield he has traded in real estate, more or less, extensively, and in this line has been successful. He built the brick building now occupied by the Murray Bros., and also a three- story brick building on Commercial Street and still owns a two-story brick building on Campbell Street, and on South Campbell a two-story double brick building, and on South a three-story brick building adjoining Williams' hardware store, and other business property, and his residence on Mt. Vernon Street. Since 1865 Mr. Peacher has carried on a farm near the city. In politics he is a Democrat, and was one of the city council two years--1875-6. Mr. Peacher is a member of the First Christian Church. Ho married in 1865, Julia Ingraham, and she died in 1872 leaving no children. Mr. Peacher married in 1875 James M. Campbell, daughter of Junius and Mary A. (Blackwell) Campbell Junius Campbell was one of the original pioneers of Springfield and came with his brothers in January, 1830, to Greene County. [See account given of Mrs. Rush Owen in this volume.] Mr. Campbell settled four miles south of Springfield where he entered 400 acres of land and here passed the remainder of his life with the exception of a few years spent in Springfield when he first came to the county, where he was in the mercantile business. He was the first postmaster at Springfield, appointed in 1833 when he was twenty- two years of age and when the mail arrived but twice a month. It was the first post office in southwest Missouri, and was kept in a hewed log house located one hundred yards north of its present location. He was one of the first sheriffs of Greene County, and resigned, in order to avoid the execution of Washam, in favor of Samuel Fullbright. He was also one of the early justices of the peace. For ten or fifteen years he furnished cattle to the Government for freighting purposes. Mr. Campbell was a substantial man, owning 600 acres of land and ten slaves. To himself and wife were born six children who lived to grow up: John P., Ophelia, Eliza, Hattie, James M. and Ezekiel M. Mr. Campbell died in 1877. His wife died September 3, 1893, at the age of eighty years. She was one of the oldest, if not the oldest, native born Missourians in the State. Eight years before the State was admitted to the Union Mary Blackwell was born in southeast Missouri. In 1831 she was married at the family residence, a mile and a half south of this city. To Mr. and Mrs. Peacher have been born three children, Nellie, Roy and Junius Campbell Peacher. The Peacher family descend on both sides from good old Colonial American stock. Their ancestors were soldiers and patriots in our war for independence, were noted pioneers, and were people of force of character and honest determination in the settlement of new countries,. Mr. James W. Peacher, our subject, is a man of great effort. By industry, thrift and prudence he has made his; way in life and has accumulated a goodly property for his children. His name and record stand untarnished through his long business career.
Springfield-Greene County Library