Almost contemporary with the House of Peacock and the City of Chicago was Charles Daniel Peacock, who was born on October 10, 1838, one year after Chicago had been incorporated as a city, and Elijah Peacock, his father, having left his paternal home in England, had opened an establishment here as jeweler and watch repairer, his ancestral vocation, as it were. The father, the grandfather and the great grandfather of Charles Daniel Peacock were jewelers; and so it is hardly surprising that it was in the jewelry business that he himself entered.
His mother was Rebecka Haylock Peacock. His early education was obtained in the Bennett Grammar School on the corner of Madison Street and Vincennes Road (now State St.) . Looking back one is intrigued by the thought that C. D. Peacock was learning the three R’s in a quiet little school-house on the same spot that is today the busiest corner in the world. And that one scant block south is located the noted establishment which bears his name, in the new edifice whither it had moved a quarter of a century after Mr. Peacock’s death. Descended from a line of jewelers who took pride in their craft Charles Daniel Peacock was destined almost from birth to be, himself, a jeweler. Tradition and training are powerful factors in shaping the choice of one’s life work. When Charles Daniel Peacock entered his father’s store in the 200 block on West Randolph Street, therefore, he was running true to form. Here he had the opportunity of meeting and talking with the leaders of the city, practically all of whem were patrons of the store. Men like Judge Knickerbocker, Eugene S. Pike, (Long) John Wentworth, Arthur Dixon : and the elder Carter H. Harrison became his acquaintances-and later his patrons.
In those days gentlemen of substance with their elaborate shirt studs and ladies of fashion with their brooches and ear-rings require( the services of jewelers of nice discrimination. And it was at Peacock’s that they were wont to seek out their needs.
Of course C. D. Peacock succeeded his father as head of the establishment. An old picture shows a view of the Peacock Store. On the front of the building is a sign with the legend “Watches C. D. Peacock, Jeweler.” Of course the premises at 221 West Randolph Street were devastated by the holocaust of ’71. Yet standing amidst the ruins of all else stood the jewelry vault of Peacock’s.
Recovery was rapid. The location of the business was quickly changed to Madison Street and it is said that while the city was still blanketed by a haze of smoke the firm was extracting fine ash dirt from the mechanism of Chicago’s timepieces. By 1873 Peacock’s was firmly established on the north-west corner of State and Washington Streets. The period of reconstruction was fraught with opportunities for this flourishing firm, and Charles Peacock was not slow to grasp them. The pomp and brilliance of the city’s social functions was naturally not without an accompaniment of fine silver and exquisite jewelry. Peacock’s as the foremost house for this character of merchandise was usually called upon by the elite.
Front and back covers
1913 C. D. Peacock Catalog
Mr. Peacock was married to Miss Mary Ann Smith, a native of Montreal. They had six children: Marion, Ella, Birdie, Charles, Robert and Walter. Mr. Peacock attended the Presbyterian Church and voted for the man rather than the party. He was fond of hunting and fishing, belonging to the Tolleston Gun Club, the Washington Park Club, the Calumet Club and the Chicago Athletic Club. For one term he served as Alderman in the first ward.
When Charles DaNiel Peacock died in 1903, passing on to his sons what ·he had inh.erited from his father, it was the end of a long and useful career as a Maker of Chicago. An outstanding merchant of the old school who believed in incessantly developing, changing and improving.
From Chicago And It’s Makers, 1929
Front and back covers
1922 C. D. Peacock 85th Anniversary Booklet
C. D. Peacock store in the 1880’s, State and Washington