Peak, Junius W. (1845–1934)

By: Joan J. Perez

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 7, 2018

Junius (June) Peak, Confederate veteran, Dallas city marshall, and Texas Ranger, was born in Warsaw, Kentucky, on April 5, 1845, to Jefferson and Martha Malvina (Reasor) Peak. In 1855 the family moved to Dallas, where they built the first brick house in the county. At age sixteen Peak left home and enlisted at Fort Arbuckle in the First Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles, First Indian Brigade, raised for the Confederacy. He served about a year in the Indian Territory, then was transferred to Gen. John H. Morgan's Raiders of the Second Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, in which he participated in the Indiana-Ohio raid as an aide and orderly to Major Ellsworth. Peak barely escaped capture by recrossing the Ohio River at Buffington's Island. He next reported to Nathan Bedford Forrest's Third Tennessee Cavalry, in which he served as field orderly for Gen. Frank Armstrong and received two wounds at the battle of Chickamauga. After a lengthy recovery in Atlanta, he became a scout in Gen. John Wharton's Eighth Texas Cavalry command in the Trans-Mississippi Department. This position brought him back to Texas, where he was serving at the war's end.

Peak returned to Dallas and became deputy sheriff and a member of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1872 he was hired by New Mexico cattlemen to put an end to cattle rustling in that territory. In 1874, after a successful year at this task, he was elected city marshall of Dallas, a job he held for four years. In April 1878, shortly after he was elected Dallas city recorder, Governor Richard Hubbard commissioned Peak a second lieutenant in Company B of the Frontier Battalion and charged him with raising a special ranger detachment to track down outlaw Sam Bass and his gang. By June, Peak was captain of Company B. With the aid of local posses he and his men harassed Bass for several months, driving him from North Texas towards his ultimate capture and death in Round Rock. Afterward, Peak's company was transferred to West Texas and served in the San Angelo area fighting Indians and mapping waterholes.

On April 15, 1880, Peak left the rangers and took a job building and equipping supply stations for construction gangs with the Mexican Central Railroad Company. His wife, Henrietta Boll of Dallas, whom he married on November 28, 1881, accompanied him to Mexico. They returned to Texas in 1884 and raised horses and cattle at their Live Oak Ranch in Shackelford County. In 1899 their desire for a more formal education for their two children brought them back to Dallas, where Peak went to work in real estate and served as superintendent of White Rock Lake from 1919 to 1924. Peak was a Mason. On April 20, 1934, he died at his home in Dallas.

Frontier Times, September 1927. Wayne Gard, Sam Bass (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1936). A History of Greater Dallas and Vicinity, Vol. 1., by Philip Lindsley; Vol. 2., Selected Biography and Memoirs, ed. L. B. Hill (Chicago: Lewis, 1909). Lary C. and Donald L. Rampp, The Civil War in Indian Territory (Austin: Presidial, 1975). Robert W. Stephens, Texas Ranger Sketches (Dallas, 1972). Jon L. Wakelyn, Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood, 1977).

  • Exploration
  • Explorers (American)
  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Texas Rangers
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Military
  • Soldiers
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Joan J. Perez, “Peak, Junius W.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 7, 2018

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