CWRU Links

PECK, ELIHU M.

PECK, ELIHU M. (14 Sept. 1822-8 May 1896), with his partner IRVINE U. MASTERS, an important shipbuilder, was born in Butternuts, Oneida County, N.Y., came to Ohio by the fall of 1845 when he married Susan Ettling Rogers, and worked as a ship carpenter until the mid-1850s. By 1854 he and Masters had formed a partnership, in a decade building about 50 steam and sail vessels as a leading Cleveland shipbuilding firm. By 1865 the partnership had dissolved because of Masters's poor health. Peck continued in business alone, designing and building about another 50 ships in the next 7 years. He increasingly devoted his time to other matters, however, and around 1872 withdrew from shipbuilding, leaving Cleveland for Detroit in the mid-1870s. He was a delegate to the county Republican convention in 1855 and was elected a waterworks commissioner in 1867. His other business ventures included Citizens Savings & Loan Assoc. (vice-president, 1868-71), Peoples Savings & Loan Assoc. (vice-president, 1872), and Peoples Gas Co. (president, 1872). Peck was reportedly the first to employ a tow boat in the ore-carrying business, using a steamer to tow a schooner filled with ore from the upper to the lower lakes, thus revolutionizing the ore trade. He also organized Northwestern Transportation Co. and built the Amazon, then the largest steamer on the lakes. Peck died in Detroit. At his death, he was the principal stockholder in Northwestern and was president of Swain Wrecking Co. Peck was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.