Some Dallas folks leave big footprints. Junius “June” Peak was a larger-than-life figure whose adventures are closely connected to East Dallas and Texas history.
Born in Kentucky in 1845, June moved as a 10-year-old with his family to Dallas, where his father, Jefferson Peak, purportedly built the first brick house in the county. The elder Peak was one of Dallas’ earliest developers who owned land from Elm Street to Capitol Avenue to Haskell Avenue. Peak’s Suburban Addition in Old East Dallas was one of the city’s earliest subdivisions. The Peak children are immortalized in a number of East Dallas streets: Junius, Worth, Victor, Carroll, Flora and Juliette Fowler.
June joined the Confederate Army at age 16 and fought in Indiana, Ohio, the Indian Territory and finally Tennessee where he was wounded at the Battle of Chicamauga. He served out his time as a scout for the Eight Texas Cavalry and returned to Dallas in 1865, where he was made a deputy sheriff.
In 1872 he was employed by New Mexico Territory ranchers to eliminate cattle rustling. He served as Dallas city marshal from 1874-78, and for a few months as Dallas’ city secretary. Still restless, Peak was commissioned as a Texas Ranger and between 1878 and 1880, when he helped drive famed outlaw Sam Bass from North Texas, fought Indians in West Texas and mapped potential water sources.
After a detour providing construction and supply services for the Mexican Central Railroad Company, he ranched in Shackelford County from 1884 to 1899. City life beckoned and Peak moved his family back to Dallas where he followed in his father’s footsteps by delving into real estate. Nearing retirement, he served as superintendent of White Rock Lake from 1919 to 1924. Peak died in 1934 and is buried in Grove Hill Memorial Park.
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