John Mason Peck

1789-1858. Pioneer Baptist missionary in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, he gained scant early education. He moved with his wife to New York and joined a Baptist church, where he was soon licensed to preach. Ordained in 1813, he ministered several years as a pastor before hearing the missionary challenge through Luther Rice.* In 1817 he and James E. Welch were appointed by the Foreign Mission Board to start work in the Mississippi Valley. Three years later the Board dropped the mission, but Peck stayed on; the Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Society assumed partial support. Besides itinerating widely, Peck founded Rock Spring Seminary, which became Shurtleff College; edited The Pioneer; helped start the American Baptist Home Mission Society; and for several years was connected with the Baptist Publication Society.