The Peach Tree - Issue 154
Celebrating 25 years of bringing the Peach heritage into homes throughout the world.
John H. Peach, Editor
221 Geronimo Rd., Knoxville, TN 37934
John H. Peach, Editor
221 Geronimo Rd., Knoxville, TN 37934
Gilbert Peche IV was the oldest son of his father’s second wife, Joan. He inherited the position of Baron from his father by Writs of 1299 and 1306. He was summoned to Parliament between the years of 1299 and 1322 and was the Lord of Great Thurlow, Suffolk and Corby, Lincolnshire.
While his father spent much of his time putting out political fires in Wales, Gilbert III focused most of his attention on France. King Edward I summoned him first as a knight in 1294 to serve in Gascony, the southern region of France. The young king had spent a year of his life there before being crowned, knowing it would be part of his dominion. The Duchy of Gascony was part of a package his father gave him that would provide much of his income as a new king. Therefore, Gascony was a valuable asset that needed a special person to protect it.
Gilbert Peche IV was such a special person, as he was commissioned again to Gascony in 1297. When he was not in France, he was helping King Edward I in his conflict against the Scots. In fact, Gilbert was appointed by Edward to be his Knight of the Household. This meant that Gilbert was with the king wherever he went. He was there to be the special body guard to the king and do whatever was asked of him to assist the king.
In 1297, William Wallace, who was called “Braveheart” led Scotland in a rebellion and a victory against England. Following this, he kept harassing the northern counties of King Edward’s kingdom. Once again, the king called on his loyal knight, Gilbert Peche IV, to help him defeat the Scots. He was there at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, when the English defeated Wallace. This earned King Edward I the nickname, “Hammer of the Scots”.
Gilbert remained in Scotland through 1302 until Wallace’s threats diminished. After William Wallace was tried for treason in the English courts and beheaded in 1305, another revolt came from Scotland. Although now he was an old man at 68 years, King Edward I insisted on fighting the Scots once again. However, he died on the way to Scotland.
As the Knight of his Household, Gilbert Peche IV apparently was with him at the time of his death. He had been a close friend and faithful servant of the king throughout Edward’s life. Thus, it was a traumatic day for Gilbert and for all of England. Edward’s son would become King Edward II in 1307 and would rule England for the next twenty years. Since Gilbert Peche IV was faithful to his father, he was appointed by Edward II to continue his duties as Knight of the Household for the new king. This meant that wherever the king went, Peche would be with him as his body guard.
He served as Seneschal of Gascony in 1316. This was the one in charge of administering justice and the affairs of the king. Gilbert IV thus served as the primary representative of King Edward II.
I am having the time of my life trying to write the next Peach genealogy book. My passion with this project is to reach our children with the enchantment of their early ancestors. When they watch movies and read about the knights in shining armor with their majestic castles, they need to know that the Peach and Peachey of old were all a part of that enthralling era.
This book is going to be so different than my eight prior publications. In order to appeal to the kids, I am using lots of pictures and graphic illustrations. I am also writing this as a historic novel so that children, as well as adults, can visualize what each of these early Peach heroes were experiencing.
I am also writing this book to a general audience, hoping that children outside the Peach and Peachey families will gain insight into the enchanting times of chivalry. To do this, I will start with Guillaume Peche. We have come to know him as William de Peche I, but since he was from Normandy, he began with a French name.
Guillaume was a young man in his mid-twenties, who sensed he was going to soon experience a spectacular event that would change his entire life. Since he was eight years old, he had lived in a castle, where he was being trained to be a knight. All his life was focused on being a crusader who one day would help conquer the world. He had been working hard for seventeen years for this special day he believed was on the horizon.
Guillaume’s shoulder-length blonde hair and piercing blue eyes could be traced back to his Viking ancestry. His forefathers from Norway were taller and stockier than he would hope to be. When they married those who were French, their children became smaller than the Vikings.
He hardly knew his mother, being separated from her most of his life. Tradition says his mom’s name was “Constance” and that he had no father. Some believe he was the son of a knight named “Count Gilbert de Brionne”, who was brutally killed before Guillaume was born. Since he was born without a father, all the bullies just called him “de Peche.” This was a way of making fun of him because “de Peche” (pronounced “de pay-shay”) meant in his native French language, “of sin”. Since he didn’t have a father, he was ridiculed for being illegitimate.
Although Guillaume always had heard he was the son of a nobleman who was a knight, he had no way to prove it. However, after spending eight years being ridiculed by those in his neighborhood, he finally got even. His mom decided to send him off to the nearest castle to be trained as a warrior and to be called a “knight”.
Only a select few were chosen to go to knight’s school. It had nothing to do with his athletic build or warrior mentality. It also had nothing to do with how good his marks were in school. The only way one would be trained to be a knight was if he was from a nobleman’s family.
Guillaume was raised in what was called a medieval society. That meant there were those who were masters and those who were slaves. The masters were called “noblemen” and the slaves were called “peasants” or “serfs”. Children of noblemen were also noblemen and women. Children of serfs were also serfs. There was no crossing the barriers between the two, leaving boys and girls destined in life to become no more than what their parents were before them.
Fortunately, Guillaume qualified to go to knight’s school and become a nobleman because he came from a noble family. Whether his father was really “Count Gilbert de Brionne” is not known for sure. But whoever was his dad, he must have been someone special - one who was used to wearing the armor of a knight himself.
I am so excited to hear from so many new folks who are excited about their Peach genealogy. They are members of the following branches. Rev. Ellen Peach of So.Maryland; Jerry W. Peach of Kentucky; George Cox of Pennsylvania; and two from the Kansas Branch: Kevin McGriff and Kathy Bond.
Rev. Ellen Peach, daughter of faithful supporters, Col. Robert M. and Brownley Peach of Maryland, wrote to me for the first time with a new interest for her genealogy. She has been serving the Lord as a missionary to the Appalachian people of Kentucky.
Jerry W. Peach of Indiana ordered his copy of The Peach Heroes as soon as he heard about its publication including all his Kentucky Branch. He is going to send me updates on all his family.
On p. 209 of The Peach Heroes is listed Jacob L. Peach as the son of Jacob Peach, founder of the PA Branch. George Cox of New Jersey contacted me last month saying that his records show Jacob L. as Lewis J. Peach. He graciously sent me updates to verify his wife as a Kansas Peach.
Kevin McGriff and Kathy Bond of the Kansas branch have been actively posting their family tree on Ancestry.com. They are new to this project, and so they bring lots of new info. to update this branch. Kevin says, “My leg into the Peach family is through the Oklahoma Peaches. My grandfather Lester McGriff had a sister Irene that married a Peach...” Kathy Bond of California has her line coming from Pearl Peach who married Willie Voris.
Pat Gebura of Harvard, MA, celebrated her 80th birthday last April. Her granddaughter, Morgen, an honor-roll student, is going to college in Pomona, CA. Pat’s daughter, Karen, is already in California, where she is a clinical psychologist with Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco.
Jean Carol Pierce of Memphis, TN, says her daughter, Bleeka, got married to Garry L. Owens on May 16, 2009. Jean and her husband, Reggie, celebrated their 53rd on July 10.
Sammy Peach of Saltillo, MS sent me updates for The Peach Heroes. Although I put them all in my database, I will report on some of the highlights for your info. On pp. 480-482, Susan Elizabeth (Whiteside) Peach was born 11/5/1892 at Mooreville, MS, and died 8/16/1976. They lived in Saltillo, MS, and she is buried at Springhill Cemetery in Miss.
She had six children. Her son, James Olin Peach, is also buried at Springhill. His brother, Charles, had a daughter, Randa Lee, who married Ted Miller. They have two daughters and four granddaughters. Another brother, Samuel, had 3 sons, one of whom was Edward. His middle name should be Louis rather than Louise.
Their sister, Lurah, had four children. Her dau., Elizabeth, was born in June rather than January. She married Thomas Hartin, although he was not the father of her child, Tracy. Lurah’s son, Thomas, married Lilian Herd instead of Lillian.
Capt. John C. Peach, Sr., who retired from the Baltimore Police Department, departed this life on June 11, 2009. At 79 years old, one of the last things he did was call me to purchase two Peach Heroes books – one for him and another for a relative. This was a gift he was making to his relative that will be one that keeps on giving.
His niece, Theresa M. Layton, was the one who sent me the obituary calling him “Uncle Jack”. As a member of the Southern Maryland Branch, he can be found on p. 411 of The Peach Heroes. Both his brothers, Kenneth and Edgar, have been faithful supporters of the Peach Tree project - it seems like forever. Sorry to say, we lost Kenneth Peach, Theresa’s beloved father, recently too.
Leon Baker of the South Carolina Branch also met his maker recently. Born on Aug. 9, 1941, he was one of seven children of Fannie and Ward Baker. We all remember Fannie as the one who so graciously organized the South Carolina Reunion in the eighties. She was also one of the Peach Heroes to whom I dedicated our latest book.
Jean Carol Pierce, one of Leon’s sisters, sent me his obituary. She says, “Leon worked at Dupont with Asbestose. So he had lung cancer that was inoperable. He is the first one of our siblings to pass into the next life.” There were so many to pay their respects at Leon’s funeral, it took five hours for the receiving, with many unable to stay that long. Our loss is Heaven’s gain!
On August 8 and 9, 2009, my wife and I had one of the best times of our lives at the Minnesota Peach Reunion. All whom we met there were so friendly and receptive. They all seemed to be quite pleased with The Peach Heroes book, which featured the history of their branch up to the present generation.
We want to express our sincere thanks to Janet and Joel Hanson, who so graciously hosted the event. They held at their home on the Old Isaac Peach Farm in Kilkenny, Minnesota. We met outside around the lake and had beautiful weather – with no mosquitoes! Thank God for that.
We also want to thank John Taylor of California for helping to organize and publicize the event. He has been one of our most faithful Peach Tree supporters, organizing the California Peach Reunion for us in the eighties.
Prior to the reunion, Pat Carlson of this branch wrote me saying, “I feel a new passion to trace and document our roots. Last night I was sharing the William de Peche story with family members at a gathering. Everyone, from my 21 year old son to my mother, was very intrigued. Your work on the Peach family is fascinating, and I look forward to meeting you.”
Reading this letter helped me to realize how important it is to share the exciting history of our forefathers in medieval England. Keep me in prayer as I work on this new book for this purpose.
Here’s the listing of regular prices on the books by John H. Peach. There are several that are on sale as noted below.
The Peach Tree – to subscribe to this newsletter, $15 for 18 months (6 issues)
You can access our website at http://www.thepeaches.com/genealogy/ I plan on putting each of the upcoming Peach Trees online so that they will be accessible to all who enter the website. Keep checking the website for the new look and hope for the best.
The official coat of arms of the descendants of William de Peche I of Normandy is a majestic display of our arms in full color on parchment paper with a matte border. To order send $10 + $7 shipping. Order more at one time to be sent to the same address, and there will be no shipping charge.
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