George McClellan Peabody in 1901. Photo courtesy of Sandy Booth of the Wayland Historical Society.
George M. Peabody was born to Alvah and Hannah Jane (Quick) Peabody in Springwater NY on 22 October 1858. George had eight siblings: Nelson, Albert H., Helen, Lucinda, Manson, Margaret, Albert L. and Frank J.
George M. Peabody died in Wayland NY on 15 April 1928.
He attended the common schools of Canadice NY until fourteen years of age and worked his father’s farm until twenty-one years of age. He attended the Dansville Seminary for two terms and the Brockport Normal School for two terms, after which he taught school for four terms. He read medicine with Dr. Worden, of Springwater NY, and Dr. Chester Cary, of Columbiaville, Mich., after which he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Baltimore, Md., also the University of Vermont, at Burlington, from which institution he was graduated in 1885. He commenced the practice of medicine in Wayland, N. Y., where he remained one and one-half years, before he moved to Tallapoosa, Ga., where he carried on the drug business in connection with his practice. While there he was a member of the Royal Arcanum Council No. 1070, also a member of the K. O. T. M., No. 320.
He returned to Wayland in September, 1894, where he lived, practiced medicine and ran his lucrative practice until his death.
He married Ella E. Schubmehl of Dansville on 4 May 1886 and they had six children together. Monica Fredrica, Hannah Louise, Helen Marie, Mary Elizabeth, George Eric, and Hilda Elizabeth. They had twelve grandchildren.
He also identified himself with the business interests of the town, serving as a member of Wayland’s first Board of Trade. With his brother Frank and F.W. Schwingle, he founded the Steuben Drug Company in Perkinsville. The firm later moved to Wayland. Dr. Peabody also served as a Director of the Wayland Independent Telephone Co. and was Director and Treasurer of the Wayland Land and Improvement Co. He was a Steuben County Coroner, a Village Trustee and a school Director for the Town. He was a medical officer for various fraternal orders and insurance companies. Dr. Peabody served as Health Officer of the Village and Town of Wayland and the Town of Springwater.
In 1915, as Health Officer, he recommended a municipal sewer system to meet the needs of business, since the creek was already overburdened by waste from the cannery. A health report to the Village Board from Dr. Peabody in 1925 continued to recommend action as he said in part, “...The disposal of sewage in the more congested parts of our village deserves the careful consideration of your Honorable Board...”
The Peabody cottage on Canadice lake. Click the image to enlarge. Photo courtesy of Joyce O’Neil.
Dr. Peabody was a musician, playing cello in the family orchestra and elsewhere, and singing in the choir of St. Joseph’s Church. He was also a gardener and an avid fisherman. At one time he, his brother Frank, and John Sterner had extensive holdings along the west shore of Canadice Lake where Frank had a store, boat livery and hotel. The last of these holdings were sold by the family to the city of Rochester in 1947.
He made his last house call on the morning of his death, April 15, 1928. A Bond issue to improve the streets of Wayland, which he had supported, was passed a few days later. His family remembers him as a patient and compassionate man.