Frank Peats (1834 - 1895), settled in Rockford, Illinois in 1855. Previously he had lived in Chicago and Aurora with his family. In Rockford, he worked as a painter and house repairer. When the War Between the States broke out, Peats enlisted with the 17th Illinois (Company B), mustering into service on July 3, 1861.
|Portrait of Frank Peats, circa 1870|
Oil on canvas (LCDM 63.1.3)
He was quickly promoted to captain after the resignation of an officer. In April 1862, he received a promotion to major.
In late 1863, Peats was detached from his regiment in order to recruit soldiers in Galesburg, IL. This assigment lasted until March 1864, but it is unclear if Peats mustered out of service at that time. After the war, around 1870, Peats became the Sheriff of Winnebago County, Illinois.
An invoice for 50 bushels of coal used at the 17th Illinois' recruiting office in Galesburg. (LCDM 94.5.320)
Detail of Frank Peats' Civil War shell jacket, circa 1863. The jacket will be on display in the museum's "Lincoln and the Gatling Gun" exhibit. (LCDM 63.1)
Invitation (left) for Frank Peats and his wife Bessie to attend the Grand Army of the Republic's birthday party for Lincoln, 1867. (LCDM 94.5.11)
The museum's Frank Peats Collection consists mainly of documentation relating to Peats' duties as a major with the 17th Illinois Infantry, and as the regiment's recruiting officer. Also included are a portrait of Peats, shell jacket and presentation sword, family diaries and letters, and documents from his time as Sheriff of Winnebago County, Illinois.
Frank Peats' Civil War presentation sword and detail (LCDM 63.1.1.) The sword will be on display in the museum's "Lincoln and the Gatling Gun" exhibit beginning July 6th.
The Peats items had been in the possession of Peats' daughter, Mabel Peats Bloodgood of Oak Park, Illinois, and were sold to a collector who then donated the materials to the museum in 1963. Though Peats did not live in Lake County, the museum's founder, Robert Vogel, actively collected Civil War materials, sometimes accepting items without a local connection.
The "Lincoln and the Gatling Gun" exhibit will be on display through September 12, 2010. Museum staff have begun planning "Civil War High Tech" to open February 5, 2011. The exhibit will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.