Monday, March 21, 2016


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, October 30, 1891.

Mr. Peck is a Rich Man, but His Taxes are Low.
(From the Syracuse Herald, October 28.)
   A good deal has been said about Rufus T. Peck in this campaign as a taxpayer, and there is more to be said that if he had his way about it, would never see the light of day in print. The affidavit printed below explains itself. In the face of it what becomes of the claim made by Mr. Peck that he is "a large taxpayer"' in both the counties composing this Senatorial district? What will such a claim be worth to the thousands of voters here and in Cortland who believe honestly in a personal tax and who are demanding a reform in the present methods of taxation? Mr. Peck is reputed to be worth $300,000. That is the figure at which his wealth has been placed all through this campaign, and neither he nor any of his friends has ever disputed its substantial accuracy.
   And yet Mr. Peck pays taxes in Cortland county on just $2,625 worth of property, his tax being the paltry sum of $40.52. He owns a farm of 180 acres in the town of Solon, and is assessed at $2,300, but the tax on it, amounting to $26.47, is paid by the tenant, Patrick Caffrey.
   In the National bank of Cortland Mr. Peck holds forty six $100 shares. The assessment put on his stock is $3,265, but he has sworn it all away. The rest of his property, that goes to make his estimated wealth of $300,000, does not appear upon the tax books at all.
   Mr. Peck is the duly appointed committee of the person and estate of a Cortland lunatic named Chester Davis. The lunatic is assessed on personal property for $2,000. Poor, unfortunate that he is, he could not swear the tax off himself, and Mr. Peck has never done it for him. The lunatic is confined in a cage in Solon, Mr. Peck's native town, but the assessment on his personal property is annually paid into the treasury of Cortland county. Facts are stubborn things.
   The affidavit referred to follows:
   R. T. Peck, being duly sworn, deposes and says: That the just debts, due and owing by deponent, amount to the sum of $3,500. That he is a stockholder in the National bank of Cortland, N. Y.
   That he has not claimed the benefit of said indebtedness in any other town or village for the purpose of reducing his assessment therein.
   That he claims the benefit of said indebtedness to reduce his personal assessment in the village of Cortland. R. T. PECK.
   Subscribed and sworn before me this 18th day of June, 1891.
   F. J. PECK, Notary Public.
   I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true copy of an affidavit filed in the office the Clerk of the village of Cortland on the 1st day of July, 1891.
   FRED HATCH, Clerk.

Says He was too Young to Make One—But He was Twenty-four Years old, and All Able-bodied Men Between Eighteen and Forty-Five Years Except Idiots and Lunatics Could Go.
(From the Syracuse Herald.)
   CORTLAND, Oct. 22.—So much has been said during the last week concerning Rufus T. Peck's war record, or, rather, his failure to make a war record, that the Herald correspondent has taken the pains to ascertain a few facts concerning Mr. Peck's actions during the time that all able-bodied and patriotic citizens were called upon to take up arms for the defense of the country. It is a fact well known to every veteran of Cortland county that Mr. Peck in an address to the old soldiers which was delivered at a camp fire held in December, 1889, said in substance that his heart was with them and that the only reason that he was not one of them was because he was not old enough.
   The question of age can be easily settled. In the sketch of his life given to a Herald reporter on the day of the convention which nominated him, Mr. Peck said that he was born in the town of Solon, Cortland county, December 24th, 1836. Taking Mr. Peck's word for his age, he would have been twenty-four years and four months old at the beginning of the war, and as the regulations prescribed for the drafting of men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, it can readily be seen that Young Rufus would not have been refused admission to the army on account of his tender years. But he did not enlist; neither did he enter the country's service two years later when the first draft was made although his name was on the enrolment [sic] book.
   Mr. Peck says that he went to Canada in 1855, six years before the opening of the war. He further claims that he took no oath which would prevent him from returning to full American citizenship, but the poll books for the town of Solon show that he did not exercise his right of franchise at any of the elections during the war. When the memorable Presidential election occurred in 1864, many a citizen of the United States came from foreign countries across the ocean to cast his vote, but the records show that Mr. Peck did not cross the Canadian line for that purpose. In 1860, before the war trumpet had sounded, Mr. Peck was at his home in Solon electioneering in the interests of Mr. Pierce of Truxton, who was a candidate for School Commissioner.
   But to return to the records. Copies of old enrolment books of 1862 and 1864 are still on file with the Town Clerk of Solon. They are simple affairs. Each page is divided into four columns, headed "Name," "Age," "Occupation" and "Remarks." The following instructions are printed on the first page of the book: "Three copies of this enrolment are to be made; one for the use of the persons making the enrolment and to be filed in the Town Clerk's office after the draft has been made; one copy to be delivered to and tiled, with the Sheriff of the county and the other to be filed in the office of the Adjutant General of the State.
   "The enrolment is to be made out alphabetically and the name of each person must be plainly written out in full. All persons residing in the county, who appear to be able-bodied, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, except idiots and lunatics are to be enrolled by the persons appointed to make this enrolment. Under the head of 'remarks' shall be stated whether such person is in the employ of the United States and in what capacity; or is he exempt for some other reason, stating the cause thereof, as 'Justice of the Peace,' 'Sheriff,' 'teacher in common schools,' etc. These remarks will be for the information of the Commissioner of the county. Every person claiming the benefit of exemption must apply to such Commissioner, as provided in general orders No. 67."
   These instructions were specific enough, and naturally if Mr. Peck claimed non-citizenship or any other excuse which would entitle him to exemption from military duty it would appear under the head of "Remarks" on the enrolment book; but when the Herald correspondent examined the first enrolment book he found that one page had been torn out, and this page contained the names beginning with the letter "P." In the second enrolment book, which contained the names of persons liable to military duty in Company I, Seventy-sixth Regiment, the pages from "M" to "Q" are missing. For several years after the war these books were kept in the store of Rufus T. Peck, who was Town Clerk, and this may have some significance. Uri Pritchard, the present Town Clerk of Solon, says that the leaves have not been removed from the books since they came into his possession and he has no idea who tampered with the records.
   All the members of the enrolment board of 1862 are now dead and it is impossible to ascertain just what did appear under the head of "Remarks" in the enrolment book. Earl Palmer, who was Town Clerk of Solon at the time the enrolment was made now lives at Moravia. He remembers most of the circumstances connected with the enrolment and his impression is that non-citizenship was alleged by Mr. Peck's father to secure exemption for his son.

Rufus T. Peck, find a grave:


   James H. Tripp is president of the Marathon National Bank and a director of the Homer National Bank. He lets his money at 6 per cent interest and as much more as he can obtain. Peter D. Muller is a farmer and like some other farmers owns a little stock in the National Bank of Cortland. He has some means to spare and this he loans on bond and mortgage to the farmers at 5 per cent interest. Farmers can take their choice.
   Tammany Hall is a large political club similar to the Silk Stocking club of this  place, with this difference: Its principals are broader and better, its membership is larger and as an organization it is not quite so wicked. It does not debauch the poor people by purchasing their votes at caucuses as the Silk Stocking club did when it elected Peck delegates to the Senatorial Convention and instead of being organized for the purpose of gobbling the spoils it is engaged in the laudable work of reducing taxation in that city.

St. Mary's Cemetery.
Impressive Ceremonies at St. Mary's Church.
   Rt. Rev. Bishop Ludden visited St. Mary's on Sunday and consecrated the cemetery lately purchased by the congregation. At 8:30 A. M., the Bishop said Mass, at which a large number of people received Holy Communion.
   At 10:30 A. M., Solemn Mass Coram Episcopo was celebrated by very Rev. Vicar General Kennedy of St. Lucy's church Syracuse. Long before the hour appointed the church was crowded to the doors. Rev. P. F. McEvoy, Chancellor of the Diocese, preached a powerful and instructive sermon on the gospel of the day.
   After Mass the large congregation went in procession to the cemetery to witness a very solemn ceremony. The Bishop in Pontifical robes blessed the clay in which will rest the bodies of those who in future pass away in death from among St. Mary's people. Very Rev. J. J. Kennedy and Rev. Fathers McLoghlin, McEvoy, Herrick and Joyce, assisted the Bishop. More than a thousand people were present and seemed to be deeply affected as they gazed upon their last earthly home. The C. M. B. A. over one hundred strong marched in a body and kept watch and ward around the cross planted on the side hill for that solemn and happy occasion. The sun's rays falling upon the Golden Mitre, Jeweled Crozier, lace clad priests and altar boys, presented a gorgeous and never to be for gotten spectacle, and added greatly to the impressiveness and solemnity of the ceremony.
   Much credit is due to the zealous pastor Father McLoghlin, or as he is familiarly called, Father John, for the excellent preparations which were made for the occasion, and for the very satisfactory manner in which the services were conducted.
   Solemn Vespers were sung by the Vicar General at 7:30 P. M. The choir were assisted in both \morning and evening services by Mrs. Marie Sullivan Barry, of Syracuse, and accompanied by a full orchestra under the leadership of Mr. J. H. Fischer of Auburn, formerly of Cortland.

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