Captain Leonard Peck

Leonard Peck slipped the hawser Saturday morning, passing about the time the tide turned and began to ebb.

By coincidence I was at his shop buying some wire for a new gaff bridle from his son John, paying his granddaughters who were working the same register I worked in the 1970s when I was the clerk with Leonard’s other son Geoffrey, and I asked John how the Cap was faring, but the news was sad, and the prospects of a visit weren’t good. Today I learned he passed.

The Francis Minot
I will remember Leonard Peck as a literary man (a Harvard English major), with a Lincolnesque white beard, and a laconic way of speaking that belied a love for telling a good yarn. He was one of the last of a generation of Cotusions (his son John’s coinage) that made their living on and around the water, running Peck’s Boats forever, building Cotuit Skiffs, and his incongruous tugboat, the Francis Minot.

The Peck’s and Churbuck’s were close families. My grandfather gave Leonard his frame for building skiffs, the Peck’s rented this house one winter in the late 40s or early 50s when my grandparents moved off Cape. I sailed with his sons, Geoff and John, but only knew his eldest, the late Bill Peck, from afar. All three were named after Leonard’s favorite authors, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, and William Shakespeare.

Leonard took the Francis Minot on an epic voyage down the Mississippi and back up the east coast. He wrote a memoir about his life in Cotuit, For Golden Friends I Had, and last year, at the dinner commemorating the 100th annivesary of the Cotuit Mosquito Yacht Club, delivered a masterful speech about the yacht club, and the fleet he helped build.

My condolences to his wife Betty, his sons, John and Geoff, and his grandchildren. This is Cotuit’s loss.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Captain Leonard Peck”

  1. I worked in the coop for a few years during high school,and later at the kettle Ho, I fondly remember, Mr Peck and family,he was a pillar in the community, my mom had told me stories of babysitting for the boys years ago. Anyways I fondly remember the Churbuck family, and all the “summer people” though us townies weren’t always so fond of our summer invaders!! Blessings to the Peck family!!

  2. Having been raised in Cotuit, I knew Leonard well. He and Betty were very much big brother big sister to the Minot girls and me. While hanging out at the Minots house, I could look “over the way” and see who was going into my grandparents store…..if it was either of them we would suddenly need something for Bernice…..just so we could say “hi”. Memories of Cotuit are all about Cotuit skiffs, the Francis Minot and the Pecks……….who were wicked pissah cool back in the day. May the gods bless those who remain in this lifetime and Leonard.. who just may be recycled as a pirate his next “go around”.

    And may my Crocker grandparents be nay forgotten as folk who always welcomed all into their store……the gentle man coming “down the Cape” with his grinder and monkey….who was always invited to take up residence in the barn ’til he headed off Cape. Mr Avant in his wagon, pulled by an elderly horse, who had fish for Nellie…..we three shared tea together. Mr Issacson who made Milton suits and came to the apt. to fit him……Nellie was very careful to never ignore his dietary laws within his Judaic background.

    And the Churbuck kids{{{{{{{{{WINK}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}.


  3. I attended Naval OCS in Newport, RI in 1971; Bill Peck was my roommate. Last night he crossed my mind for the first time in years and did so again just now so I decided to google his name with Cape Cod and found this article. I am sad to learn of his passing. He was a bright and good man in my experience and held great respect for his father.
    Thank you for your post.
    Gene Reid, MD
    Little Rock, Arkansas

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