Little Rock Look Back: Major Nicholas Peay

On April 28, 1784, in Virginia, future Little Rock Alderman (and acting Mayor) Major Nicholas Peay was born the eleventh of at least thirteen children.  (His gravestone lists a May date for his birth, but all other records indicate April 28, 1784.) A veteran of the War of 1812 and the Indian Wars, he later moved to Kentucky (where he met and married his wife, Juliet Neill, in 1814) before settling in Arkansas on September 18, 1825.  At the time, they were the ninth family to set up residence in Little Rock.

After arriving in Little Rock, he bought the Little Rock Tavern. This started a fifty year tradition of his family owning taverns and hotels in Little Rock. In 1828, he was appointed Assistant Postmaster of Little Rock.  From 1825 to 1831, Little Rock residents were allowed to elect five Trustees prior to the formal incorporation. Major Peay was one of those who served on the Board of Trustees.

He later served on the Little Rock City Council, and in 1839 served for seven months as Acting Mayor due to the prolonged absence of Mayor Jesse Brown.  In 1841, his friend Gen. Zachary Taylor, paid a visit to Little Rock and stayed with him on the General’s way to Fort Smith.

Nicholas and Juliet Peay had at least eleven children, though only five appeared to have lived until adulthood. One of those, Gordon Neill Peay, served as Little Rock’s 23rd Mayor from 1859 to 1861. Other descendants of Nicholas Peay who followed him into public service include his grandson Ashley Peay, who was an Alderman in the 1920s (son of John Coleman Peay) and great-great-grandson Joseph B. Hurst (a great-grandson of Mayor Peay), who was a City Director from 1967 to 1970. In addition, City Director Hurst’s daughter-in-law, Stacy Hurst served three terms on the City Board from 2003 to 2014; she is now Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Major Peay’s egg-nog recipe has been passed down for generations. It is the inspiration for the Historic Arkansas Museum yearly Nog-Off.  Retired HAM director Bill Worthen and his daughter are the sixth and seventh generation of the family to make Peay’s egg-nog.

Major Nicholas Peay is buried with his wife and many other family members in Mount Holly Cemetery.

The Smithsonian Institution records indicate they have an oil painting of Major Peay as well as of his wife. But there are conflicting records as to whether they have been lost or are in private collections.

Little Rock Look Back: Nicholas Peay

On April 28, 1784, in Virginia, future Little Rock Alderman (and acting Mayor) Major Nicholas Peay was born the eleventh of at least thirteen children.  (His gravestone lists a May date for his birth, but all other records indicate April 28, 1784.) A veteran of the War of 1812 and the Indian Wars, he later moved to Kentucky (where he met and married his wife, Juliet Neill, in 1814) before settling in Arkansas on September 18, 1825.  At the time, they were the ninth family to set up residence in Little Rock.

After arriving in Little Rock, he bought the Little Rock Tavern. This started a fifty year tradition of his family owning taverns and hotels in Little Rock. In 1828, he was appointed Assistant Postmaster of Little Rock.  From 1825 to 1831, Little Rock residents were allowed to elect five Trustees prior to the formal incorporation. Major Peay was one of those who served on the Board of Trustees.

He later served on the Little Rock City Council, and in 1839 served for seven months as Acting Mayor due to the prolonged absence of Mayor Jesse Brown.  In 1841, his friend Gen. Zachary Taylor, paid a visit to Little Rock and stayed with him on the General’s way to Fort Smith.

Nicholas and Juliet Peay had at least eleven children, though only five appeared to have lived until adulthood. One of those, Gordon Neill Peay, served as Little Rock’s 23rd Mayor from 1859 to 1861. Other descendants of Nicholas Peay who followed him into public service include his grandson Ashley Peay, who was an Alderman in the 1920s (son of John Coleman Peay) and great-great-grandson Joseph B. Hurst (a great-grandson of Mayor Peay), who was a City Director from 1967 to 1970. In addition, City Director Hurst’s daughter-in-law, Stacy Hurst served three terms on the City Board from 2003 to 2014; she is now Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Major Peay’s egg-nog recipe has been passed down for generations. It is the inspiration for the Historic Arkansas Museum yearly Nog-Off.  This past year, museum director Bill Worthen and his daughter were the sixth and seventh generation of the family to make Peay’s egg-nog. The Worthens are descended from Mayor Peay’s son who was also named Gordon Neill Peay.

Major Nicholas Peay is buried with his wife and many other family members in Mount Holly Cemetery.

The Smithsonian Institution records indicate they have an oil painting of Major Peay as well as of his wife. But there are conflicting records as to whether they have been lost or are in private collections.

Little Rock Look Back: Nicholas Peay

LR sealOn April 28, 1784, in Virginia, future Little Rock Alderman (and acting Mayor) Major Nicholas Peay was born the eleventh of at least thirteen children.  (His gravestone lists a May date for his birth, but other records indicate April 28, 1784.) A veteran of the War of 1812 and the Indian Wars, he later moved to Kentucky (where he met and married his wife, Juliet Neill, in 1814) before settling in Arkansas on September 18, 1825.  At the time, they were the ninth family to set up residence in Little Rock.

After arriving in Little Rock, he bought the Little Rock Tavern. This started a fifty year tradition of his family owning taverns and hotels in Little Rock. In 1828, he was appointed Assistant Postmaster of Little Rock.  From 1825 to 1831, Little Rock residents were allowed to elect five Trustees prior to the formal incorporation. Major Peay was one of those who served on the Board of Trustees.

He later served on the Little Rock City Council, and in 1839 served for seven months as Acting Mayor due to the prolonged absence of Mayor Jesse Brown.  In 1841, his friend Gen. Zachary Taylor, paid a visit to Little Rock and stayed with him on the General’s way to Fort Smith.

Nicholas and Juliet Peay had at least eleven children, though only five appeared to have lived until adulthood. One of those, Gordon Neill Peay, served as Little Rock’s 23rd Mayor from 1859 to 1861. Other descendants of Nicholas Peay who followed him into public service include his grandson Ashley Peay, who was an Alderman in the 1920s (son of John Coleman Peay) and great-great-grandson Joseph B. Hurst (a great-grandson of Mayor Peay), who was a City Director from 1967 to 1970. In addition, City Director Hurst’s daughter-in-law, Stacy Hurst served three terms on the City Board from 2003 to 2014; she is now Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Major Peay’s egg-nog recipe has been passed down for generations. It is the inspiration for the Historic Arkansas Museum yearly Nog-Off.  This past year, museum director Bill Worthen and his daughter were the sixth and seventh generation of the family to make Peay’s egg-nog. The Worthens are descended from Mayor Peay’s son who was also named Gordon Neill Peay.

Major Nicholas Peay is buried with his wife and many other family members in Mount Holly Cemetery.

The Smithsonian Institution records indicate they have an oil painting of Major Peay as well as of his wife. But there are conflicting records as to whether they have been lost or are in private collections.

Tales of the Crypt tonight at Mount Holly Cemetery

talescryptThe ghosts of Little Rock past will arise tonight at Mt. Holly Cemetery for the 21st Annual Tales of the Crypt.

Held the second Tuesday of October, Tales of the Crypt is an annual Mount Holly event.  Founded by Fred Boosey and Judy Goss, it is now under the direction of Tamara Zinck.  Drama students from Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School are each given a person buried in the cemetery to research. They then prepare short monologues or dialogues, complete with period costumes, to be performed in front of the researched person’s grave.

Award-winning local costumer Debi Manire will once again provide the wonderful historical characters’ costumes.  Audiences are led through the cemetery from grave to grave by guides with candles. Although it takes place around the same time as the American holiday Halloween, the event is meant to be historic rather than spooky.  Many local teachers award extra credit to students who attend.

Student tour guides will escort groups of approximately 15 from grave site to grave site to learn more about those who shaped central Arkansas in to what it is today.

The Mount Holly residents will greet you are:

  • Dr. Isaac Folsom (Peyton Hooks)
  • Mrs. Sallie Folsom (Rahlea Zinck)
  • David O. Dodd (Cameron Minor)
  • Mary Dodge (Delaney Robertson)
  • Dovenia (Dovie) Kirby (Emily Gardner)
  • Samuel B. Kirby (Brock Tittle)
  • Captain Benjamin Shattuck (Micah Patterson)
  • Anne Warren (Isha Horton)
  • Quatie Ross (Michelle Mora Dominguez)
  • Katherine Eller Henderson (Mikala Hicks)
  • Juliet Neill Peay  (Emorie Mansur)
  • Mary E. Gaines Belding (Abigail Mansur)
  • Albert Stocking (Tre’Vaughn Whitley)
  • Mollie Stocking (Taylar Hasberry)
  • George Borland (Harrison Wyrick)
  • Eleanor Counts (Stephanie Schoonmaker)
  • Edward Payson Washburn (Will Frueauff)
  • Lillian Scott (Sidney Kelly)
  • James Robbins (George Patterson)
  • Maria Rebecca Craigen (Angelique Camper)

(The names of the Parkview students portraying the residents are in parentheses.)

The Twenty-first Annual “Tales of the Crypt” is sponsored by Mount Holly Cemetery Association and Parkview Arts-Science Magnet High School.

The event will be held  at Mount Holly Cemetery, 1200 South Broadway, Little Rock, from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm.  Admission is free to the public, however donations to Mount Holly Cemetery are appreciated and aid in the maintenance of the cemetery.

Little Rock Look Back: Major Nicholas Peay

LR sealOn April 28, 1784, in Virginia, future Little Rock Alderman (and acting Mayor) Major Nicholas Peay was born the eleventh of at least thirteen children.  (His gravestone lists a May date for his birth, but other records indicate April 28, 1784.) A veteran of the War of 1812 and the Indian Wars, he later moved to Kentucky (where he met and married his wife, Juliet Neill, in 1814) before settling in Arkansas on September 18, 1825.  At the time, they were the ninth family to set up residence in Little Rock.

After arriving in Little Rock, he bought the Little Rock Tavern. This started a fifty year tradition of his family owning taverns and hotels in Little Rock. In 1828, he was appointed Assistant Postmaster of Little Rock.  From 1825 to 1831, Little Rock residents were allowed to elect five Trustees prior to the formal incorporation. Major Peay was one of those who served on the Board of Trustees.

He later served on the Little Rock City Council, and in 1839 served for seven months as Acting Mayor due to the prolonged absence of Mayor Jesse Brown.  In 1841, his friend Gen. Zachary Taylor, paid a visit to Little Rock and stayed with him on the General’s way to Fort Smith.

Nicholas and Juliet Peay had at least eleven children, though only five appeared to have lived until adulthood. One of those, Gordon Neill Peay, served as Little Rock’s 23rd Mayor from 1859 to 1861. Other descendants of Nicholas Peay who followed him into public service include his grandson Ashley Peay, who was an Alderman in the 1920s (son of John Coleman Peay) and great-great-grandson Joseph B. Hurst (a great-grandson of Mayor Peay), who was a City Director from 1967 to 1970. In addition, Hurst’s daughter-in-law, Stacy Hurst served three terms on the City Board from 2003 to 2014; she is now Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Major Peay’s egg-nog recipe has been passed down for generations. It is the inspiration for the Historic Arkansas Museum yearly Nog-Off.  This past year, museum director Bill Worthen and his daughter were the sixth and seventh generation of the family to make Peay’s egg-nog. The Worthens are descended from Mayor Peay’s son who was also named Gordon Neill Peay.

Major Nicholas Peay is buried with his wife and many other family members in Mount Holly Cemetery.

Mount Holly Cemetery Comes Alive Tonight with Tales of the Crypt

A Parkview student portraying former LR Mayor Woodson.

A Parkview student portraying former LR Mayor Woodson.

The ghosts of Little Rock past will arise tonight at Mt. Holly Cemetery for the 20th Annual Tales from the Crypt.

Held the second Tuesday of October, Tales of the Crypt is an annual Mount Holly event.  Under the direction of Fred Boosey & Tamara Zinck, drama students from Parkview Arts & Science Magnet High School are each given a person buried in the cemetery to research. They then prepare short monologues or dialogues, complete with period costumes, to be performed in front of the researched person’s grave.

Former Little Rock Mayor James Woodson, and Juliet Neill Peay (whose family has been involved in Little Rock politics for 190 years) are two of the featured residents.  Others include Eleanor Counts, Albert DeShon,  David O. Dodd, Senhora Dodd, Sallie and Dr. Isaac Folsom, Katherine Eller Henderson, Mary Eliza Knapp, Eliza Miller, James Robbins, Quatie Ross, Lillian Scott, Albert Stocking, Mollie Stocking, Anne Warren, Edward Payson Washburn, Mary & Edward Wiegel.

Award-winning local costumer Debi Manire will once again provide the wonderful historical characters’ costumes.  Audiences are led through the cemetery from grave to grave by guides with candles. Although it takes place around the same time as the American holiday Halloween, the event is meant to be historic rather than spooky.  Many local teachers award extra credit to students who attend.

The Twentieth Annual “Tales of the Crypt” will be sponsored by Mount Holly Cemetery Association and Parkview Arts-Science Magnet High School.

The event will be held  at Mount Holly Cemetery, 1200 South Broadway, Little Rock, Arkansas on from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm.  Admission is free to the public, however donations to Mount Holly Cemetery are appreciated and aid in the maintenance of the cemetery.