The Lynching of George Peck

An African American man by the name of George Peck lived in an area called Poolesville located in Montgomery County, Maryland. Peck was documented in the 1867 census being enslaved by William Poole. There are unknown whereabouts of his family being dead or alive. However, it was recorded that Howard Griffith and his family had Peck living with them in Beallsville. At about the age of 21 years old, Peck was working for Lemuel Beall at a local storekeeper's shop.

A white girl by the name of Ada Hayes moved from her hometown Loudoun County, Virginia to Poolesville. On the night of January 10, 1880, there were screams by Hayes heard by Reverend Calvin Amy near his home. Peck was trying to attack Hayes in the barn while she was milking cows. Being disgusted by this attempted attack, Amy sought Beall. Not aware of anything being discussed about him, Peck continued to do his job on Beall’ s farm. John W.Ayler a local doctor, conducted an extensive examination of Hayes, concluding she was bruised but unharmed. The constable James Uriah “Hughs” Miles was notified by Amy and Beall that an attack on Hayes happened When Miles saw Peck trying to escape into the darkness of the woods, Peck was handcuffed and chained. Peck was interrogated by a local Justice of the Peace named Stephen G. Donohoe, where Peck admitted to attempted rape of Hayes. Peck was transported to Miles’ personal home instead of the jail in Rockville because of Haye’s spreading rumors across town to angry locals. Necessities were needed for Mile’s home, so he and Peck went to the local general store.

Peck and Miles were ambushed by an angry mob who so happened want to do major harm to Peck, so the mob attacked Miles and retrieved Peck. Many locals in the area wanted to lynch Peck immediately. Peck was dragged, noosed, and five feet up in the on a tree near Poolesville Presbyterian Church. Peck’s lifeless body was seen by white church goers until the early morning and African American’s as well to show the power of hierarchy of the locals in Rockville.

After Peck’s lynching a jury was established. A verdict for Peck’s death was ensued by Donahoe who let the first set of juries go due to the jury’s not agreeing about the verdict given about Peck. A second group of juries were established by the names of Bealle, Griffith, and Charles Elgin. Many of these jury were known as landowners, community leaders, and past slave owners. The verdict of the jury stated Peck was now known as a dangerous person in Poolesville after Peck’s lynching.

After all this chaos happened, Peck was finally cut down and peacefully laid to rest by his fellow people at the Elijah United Methodist Church.



Poolesville, Montgomery County, MD.