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George Wilbur Peck
George W Peck by Klein & Guttenstein (1).jpg
17th Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 5, 1891 – January 7, 1895
Lieutenant Charles Jonas
Preceded by William D. Hoard
Succeeded by William H. Upham
9th Mayor of Milwaukee
In office
April 1890 – November 11, 1890
Preceded by Thomas H. Brown
Succeeded by Peter J. Somers
Personal details
Born (1840-09-28)September 28, 1840
Henderson, New York, U.S.
Died April 16, 1916(1916-04-16) (aged 75)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Resting place Forest Home Cemetery, Milwaukee
Citizenship United States
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Francena Rowley Peck
  • David B. Peck (father)
  • Alzina P. (Joslin) Peck (mother)
Alma mater Union College
Profession Writer
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1863–1866
Rank Union army 2nd lt rank insignia.jpg 2nd Lieutenant
Unit 10th Reg. Wis. Vol. Infantry
Battles/wars American Civil War

George Wilbur Peck (September 28, 1840 – April 16, 1916) was an American writer and politician from Wisconsin. He served as the 17th Governor of Wisconsin and the 9th Mayor of Milwaukee.


Peck was born in 1840 in Henderson, New York, the oldest of three children of David B. and Alzina P. (Joslin) Peck. In 1843, the family moved to what is now Cold Spring, Wisconsin. Peck attended public school until age 15 when he was apprenticed in the printing trade. He married Francena Rowley in 1860 and they had two sons. In 1863 he enlisted in the 10th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a private. He was taken prisoner and held at Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. After he was released in a prisoner exchange, he was appointed to the United States Military Academy by Abraham Lincoln. He was promoted to lieutenant and served until the regiment mustered out in 1866.

Peck became a newspaper publisher who founded newspapers in Ripon and La Crosse, Wisconsin. His La Crosse newspaper, The Sun, was founded in 1874. In 1878 Peck moved the newspaper to Milwaukee, renaming it Peck's Sun. The weekly newspaper contained Peck's humorous writings, including his famous "Peck's Bad Boy" stories.

In the spring of 1890, Peck ran for mayor of Milwaukee. A Democrat, Peck was elected despite a Republican majority in the city. The state's Democratic leaders took notice and made Peck the party's nominee for the 1890 gubernatorial race. Peck won the election, beating the incumbent William Hoard, and resigned as Milwaukee's mayor on November 11, 1890. He was reelected as governor in 1892, defeating Republican John C. Spooner, but lost a third term to William Upham in 1894. He ran again in 1904 but lost to the incumbent Robert M. La Follette, Sr..

Peck died in 1916 in Milwaukee at age 75 of Bright's disease and was buried at Forest Home Cemetery. After his death, his "Peck's Bad Boy" writings became the basis for several films and a short-lived television show, including Peck's Bad Boy and Peck's Bad Girl.

His former home in La Crosse is located in what is now known as the 10th and Cass Streets Neighborhood Historic District.


  • Pecks Irish Friend Phelan Geoheagan 1887
  • Peck's Bad Boy with the Cowboys, 1907

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