Peacock was born in New Jersey in August of 1844 to Clayton and Doretha
Peacock. He was named after his grandfather. Clayton Peacock worked as a
house carpenter, and Alexander worked in that profession throughout his
life. The 1850 Census shows the family living in Camden's South Ward.
Alexander, then 6, was the oldest child at home, also there were
Elizabeth, 5; Martha, 3; and Thomas, 10 months. Two more daughters came
by 1860, Amanda and Ellen.
Peacock enlisted as a Corporal on February 13, 1864 in Company E, 2nd
Heavy Artillery Regiment Pennsylvania. The
112th Regiment, 2nd Heavy Artillery, whose members were principally from
the counties of Franklin, Allegheny and Monroe, was mustered in at
Philadelphia in January, 1862, for three years. On January 9, three
companies were ordered to Fort Delaware and the remaining companies
moved to Washington on February 25, when they were assigned to duty
at Bladensburg, Maryland, where the command was reunited on March
19, and in November, two independent companies from Fort
Delaware were added to the regiment. The regiment remained at
Bladensburg until March, 1864, when it was ordered to the forts near
Chain bridge. So large a number of recruits were added to the
originally large regiment, that in April, the 2nd Provisional Heavy
Artillery was organized from the surplus, the two regiments numbering
3,300 men. The 2nd was attached to the 9th corps and participated in the
Wilderness campaign, fighting at Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor. The
1st regiment joined the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor on June
4, when it was divided into three battalions and attached to the 18th
corps. The 2nd battalion shared in the charge at Petersburg on June
18, by which the ground was gained that became the front line of
the army. The provisional regiment joined the 1st on Aug. 26, 1864,
having been on duty at Petersburg and active at the explosion of
the mine, where it lost heavily. Its ranks were by this time
reduced to 400 men. In a charge on September 20, the 1st and 2nd
battalions lost 200 men, after which they were stationed with the
remainder of the regiment near Fort Harrison until December. In January
of 1865, a large number of the men re-enlisted and the regiment joined
in last charges upon the enemy's works, afterward entering the city
with the army.
the aftermath of this action, Alexander Peacock was promoted
to Full Corporal on May 1, 1865.
the remainder of the year the regiment was occupied in detachments
in preserving peace and order in the southern part of Virginia.
Returning to City Point, Virginia, it was there mustered out on
Jan. 29, 1866. Corporal Peacock
was among those who mustered out of Company E, 2nd Heavy Artillery
Regiment Pennsylvania on January 29, 1866 at City Point, Virginia.
On September 2, 1869 City Council enacted a municipal
ordinance creating a paid fire department. It provided for the annual
appointment of five Fire Commissioners, one Chief Marshal (Chief of
and two Assistant Marshals. The City was also divided into two fire
districts. The boundary line ran east and west, starting at Bridge
Avenue and following the tracks of the Camden and Amboy Railroad to
the city limits. District 1 was south of this line and District 2 was
north. The commissioners also appointed the firemen who were
scheduled to work six 24 hour tours per week. William
Abels, from the
Weccacoe Hose Company No. 2 was appointed Chief Marshal with William
J. Mines, from the Independence Fire Company No. 3 as Assistant Marshal
for the 1st District, and William H. Shearman as the Assistant Marshal
for the 2nd District. Abels
had served with the volunteer fire
departments of Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama and Camden for sixteen
years prior to his appointment as Chief of the paid force.
November 10, 1869 City Council purchased the Independence Firehouse,
the three-story brick building at 409 Pine
Street, for $4500. The
building was designated to serve as quarters for Engine Company 1
the 1st District. On October 29, 1869 City Council authorized
construction of a two-story brick building on the northwest corner of Fifth and
Streets as quarters for the 2nd District. On November
25th the Fire Commissioners signed a contract with M.N. Dubois in the
amount of $3100 to erect this structure. The 2nd District would share
these quarters with
Engine Company 2 and the Hook
& Ladder Company
and the facility would also serve as department headquarters
for the new paid force. The original contract remains part of the
Camden County Historical Society collection.
Engine Company 2 with 1869 Silsby Hose Cart. Photo Circa 1890. Note badges
upon derby hats worn by Fire Fighters.
Amoskeag second class, double pump, straight frame steam engines were
purchased at a cost of $4250 each. Two Silsby two wheel hose carts,
each of which carried 1000 feet of hose, were another $550 each and
the hook & ladder, built by Schanz and Brother of Philadelphia was
$900. Each engine company received a steam engine and hose cart.
Amoskeag serial #318 went to Engine Company 1, and serial #319 to
Engine Company 2. The Fire Commission also secured the services of the
Weccacoe and Independence steamers in case of fire prior to delivery
of the new apparatus. Alfred McCully of Camden made the harnesses for
the horses. Camden's Twoes & Jones made the overcoats for the new
firemen and a Mr. Morley, also of Camden, supplied the caps and belts
which were manufactured by the Migeod Company of Philadelphia. The new
members were also issued badges.
is the earliest known photo of fire headquarters on the northwest
corner of Fifth and
Streets. Originally built in 1869, the
building shows signs of wear some twenty years later. Note the
weathervane shaped like a fireman's speaking trumpet atop the tower.
Also, the fire alarm bell is pictured to the left of the telegraph
pole above the rooftop. The bell was removed from the building once
the fire alarm telegraph system was expanded and in good working
maker's plate once was attached to a harness made by A. McCully &
Sons, 22 Market Street, Camden, New Jersey. This firm provided the
first harnesses for the paid fire department in 1869.
worn by the marshals, engineers, stokers and engine drivers bore the
initial letter of their respective positions and their district
number. The tillerman and his driver used the number "3" to
accompany their initial letter. The extra men of the 1st District
were assigned badges 1-10; 2nd District badges were numbered 11-20 and
the extra men of the hook & ladder wore numbers 21-30.
the Fire Commission intended to begin operation of the paid department
on November 20, 1869, the companies did not actually enter service
until December 7th at 6 P.M. because the new apparatus and buildings
were not ready. The new apparatus was not tried (tested) until
new members of the paid force were:
first style of breast badge worn by members of the career department
in the City of Camden. 1869. (Courtesy of the C.C.H.S. Collection).
Peacock was removed from service with the Camden Fire Department
on October 23, 1892. He was still living at 1127 Broadway
at the time. The 1870 Census states that he was living with his
widowed mother and siblings Martha, Thomas,
Emma, and Amanda. The Census seems to indicate that he was married
to a woman named Rebecca, however, she is not with him in 1880.
1878 City Directory shows Alexander Peacock at 406 Cherry
Street. His widowed mother, brother Thomas, and sister Amanda
lived at 710 Mount
Vernon Street. By 1880 Alexander Peacock had moved to 526 Division
Street, where he lived with his mother, sister Amanda and her
husband William Trout. He had moved to 442 Mickle
Street by 1881 and was living at 642 Division
Street when the 1884-1885 City Directory was compiled.
1887 City Directory, 1890 Veterans Census, and 1892-1893 City
Directory all state that Alexander Peacock lived at 575 Division
Street in Camden. The 1893-1894 Camden City Directory states
that Alexander Peacock had "removed to Sea Isle City".
He apparently never moved back to Camden. The 1900 Census shows
that Alexander Peacock was working as a carpenter and living in
Monroe Township in Gloucester County, New Jersey.
Peacock was approved for his Civil War invalid's pension on
November 7, 1907. At age 75, he was living with his widowed sister
Mrs. Amanda Trout and her son William at 325 Vermont Avenue,
Atlantic City in January of 1920. He does not appear in the 1930
Census and most likely had passed away..