|Photo taken by Kate in December 2010|
My ancestors Johannes Peck (also called Jan) and his wife Maria met and married in New Amsterdam after emigrating from the Netherlands some time before 1650. The family name has also been spelled Pake, Peek and Peake - amazing how that quirky spelling gene has gone down through the generations.
|Malcolm on Peck Slip with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background (February 2006)|
As you can see the street is quite broad. It used to have a wide bay down the centre of the street where ships could be moored. Peck Slip was once the heart of a busy maritime seaport and was even mentioned in the novel Moby Dick. What was once a busy seaport, later became a fish market, and is now a parking lot with restaurants and businesses on either side. The street is slated to be redeveloped in the next year or so and be turned into a sea-inspired park.
|The ship's mooring posts still evident along Peck Slip (photo taken by Kate December 2010)|
|Me on Peck Slip with the ramp up to the Brooklyn Bridge in the background (February 2006)|
|Peck Slip (you can see the Brooklyn Bridge reflected in the lower left-hand window). Photo taken by Kate.|
|Looking toward Peck Slip from the Brooklyn Bridge (photo taken by Kate)|
|Detail taken from above photo of the buildings along Peck Slip|
|Postcard showing shops along Lower Hudson Street c. 1865. Notice the name on the shop in the middle of the photo - John Peake|
My ancestors Jan and Maria Peek were quite the colourful couple. They were the owners of Peek's Tavern and on more than one occasion they lost their licence due to serving liquor after-hours and on Sundays as you can read in this account:
JAN PEEK LOST HIS LICENSE TO TAP AND HAD TO PAY A FINE BECAUSE HE WAS TAPPING ON SUNDAY DURING PREACHING AND ALLOWING DANCING, JUMPING AND THE ENTERTAINMENT OF DISORDERLY PEOPLE AT HIS HOUSE. THE DRUNKARDS MADE SO MUCH NOISE ON A SUNDAY THAT THE SHERIFF HAD TO TAKE ONE OF THEM AWAY IN A CART.Finally, in 1664 Maria was "accused of selling liquor to the Indians, fined 500 guilders, and banished from New Amsterdam". My Mother told me that they moved to Peekskill in upper New York State - a town that was also named after them ("kill" meaning stream in Dutch). Eventually one of their descendants came to Ontario with the United Empire Loyalists.
|Gravestone of Samuel Pake taken last summer in Prince Edward County, Ontario|
In writing this post, I decided to look up some of the dates and spelling of names on the internet because my parents are away in Arizona so I couldn't check with my Mother. I found this article online and discovered that Jan had many different jobs. Not only was he a tavern-keeper, but he was a trader, an explorer, a broker (due to his fluency in both Dutch and English), a hunter, and even once was described as a PIRATE. That was something I had never known, but was pretty excited to find out. I mean who wouldn't want to know they had some pirate blood in their past. My kids figure they are much cooler now!
|Painting by Naima Rauam of the South Street Seaport and Peck Slip|
All I can say is that I'm from a wicked lot - serving liquor on Sundays and a pirate. What more can I say me mateys!