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J Peck Sharp 1866-1941

SHARP, COGAR, DERR, RHU

Posted By: Rich Lowe (email)
Date: 4/9/2013 at 17:00:05

J. Peck Sharp Dies
And Is Buried At Bonaparte

J. Peck Sharp, noted baseball player, story teller and writer, died suddenly on Sunday, August 3, at San Antonio, Texas, where during recent years he had been employed as starter and entertainer on the Brackenridge golf course.

The body was returned to his old home town where funeral services were held at 2:00 o'clock Wednesday afternoon conducted by Rev. L. E. Winfrey at the Baptist church. Interment in Bonaparte cemetery.

He was the only son of Samuel H. and Hannah Cogar Sharp and was born April 23, 1866. His age was 75 years, 3 months and 10 days.

Surviving members of the family are one half sister, Mrs. Janie Derr and family of Peoria, Ill., and one cousin, Mrs. Lottie Bradford Wilke of San Antonio, Texas.

Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Derr and daughter, Mrs. Maxine Rhu, came from Peoria Tuesday to assist in the plans for the funeral service.

Peck's early home was in Bonaparte where Mr. and Mrs. Sharp operated the Sharp hotel at the location now by the C. E. Cummings garage.

On page two of this paper is a story from the San Antonio Evening News written in recognition of his last birthday anniversary.

Following is a part of a letter which this paper received from Peck last week:

- -

Sanantoio tex July 24, 1941

Old friend Al:

I am still working at Breckenridge park, Night wachman, caddy master starter and Polieceman, and I get a great kick out of the way some of them ask for a caddy. Those frome the south of sanantonio says give me a toter for my Golph bag, and those from west of the Pecos ask for a bronco to put this saddle on.

Give my best to all the old timers and tell em to try and come to sanantonio this winter before the Germans get them all.

J. PECK SHRP.

p. s. You can always tell a chopper by his chips.

- -

About fifty years ago he became famous as a ball player, starting his professional career with the What Cheer, Iowa, team, and later playing as star second baseman with Ottumwa, Kansas City, Fort Wayne, San Francisco and Milwaukee. While with Milwaukee he led the league's batting average during the season of 1897. He was signed by Louisville then a member of the National league, but did not report.

Old-timers compare Peck with Lajoie and Collins, big leaguers of that time. It is said that he throw equally well with either hand.

He was a famous story teller, and was persuaded to put some of his thoughts into print. Fore some time he was a columnist on the Chicago Inter Ocean. His peculiar style of spelling, punctuation and capitalization made his column unique, and one of the first of its kind. Hid "stuff" caught the fancy of the public but he could not be persuaded to produce it regularly.

After his ball playing days he was proprietor of the Log Cabin saloon in Chicago, and later operated the Woodland Bard Smoke Shop.

During recent years a number of his "letters" have appeared in this paper. In order to increase the local interest in these stories he planned a contest with himself and Bill Manning of New Orleans on one side and Mark Baker of Chicago and Will Cheney of Los Angeles on the other.

Several of his stories were published by Mr. Baker in his book entitled "Home Town Tales."

About ten years ago he moved to San Antonio and made his home with his cousin, Mrs. Lottie Wilke, also a former resident of Bonaparte.

He was born in Bonaparte in the Sharp home which was then located on the present site of the Russell Bakery and Grocery.

Peck is gone, and all will miss him. There will be a vacant place in the columns of this newspaper no one else can fill.

Source: Van Buren Record & Keosauqua Republican, 7 Aug 1941; page 1

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

75th Birthday of
J. Peck Sharp

The following story of J. Peck Sharp was printed in the San Antonio Evening News, Friday, July 25, in recognition of his seventy-fifth birthday anniversary:

- -

Chipper as ever, the old second-baseman, J. Peck Sharp, who camps at the Brackenridge Park Golf course, has just passed his 75th milestone. He is one of the nobles who never grows old.

Peck has had a colorful career, which started as a cowboy on his father's ranch in Palo Pinto county in Dark Valley, where he was born, later moving to Iowa when his father traded his ranch for a tavern in the Hawkeye State.

Here he became a ball player with the Ottumwa Reds when John McGraw and Hank Fabian were with Cedar Rapids and Dick Phelan was with Des Moines, while Jerry Edinger, who played first base on San Antonio's first team in the Texas League in 1888, was also with Cedar Rapids.

He knew all the old-time ball players, Cap Anson, Mike Kelly, Silver Flint, Ol' Hoss Radbourne, Buck Ewing and scores of others that could be named. When John McGraw used to bring his New York Giants to San Antonio for spring training Peck was among his old friends that McGraw sought out and the two were always together during the Giants' sojourn.

Peck has had an innate love for horses from the time he used to ride 'em rounding up cattle on his father's ranch in Palo Pinto county, and there's nothing he enjoys more than a good old-fashioned horse race. He can tell a selling plater from a stake horse by merely looking at the animal's hoof.

He has an undying affection for the old trail drivers and likes to gather with them and swap stories. At the recent trail driver's convention at the Gunter Hotel he won first prize in a story-telling contest.

Peck had a flourishing business in Chicago until he was wiped out by the depression about 10 years ago. He still holds securities, which are now worthless, but he hopes to realize on them someday.

Source: Van Buren Record & Keosauqua Republican, 7 Aug 1941; page 3

- - -

Peck Sharp
Rites Held

Former Star Baseball Player and
Noted Columnist Is Buried at
Bonaparte Cemetery.

Final rites for James Peck Sharp, former star baseball players and newspaper columnist, were held at Bonaparte yesterday afternoon. Although he left Bonaparte when a young man, he always regarded it as his hoe and it was his wish that he be buried there.

He died at San Antonio, Tex., Sunday after a brief illness, at the age of 77. He had been employed the last few years as custodian and entertainer at the Breckenridge golf course in San Antonio.

Known to thousands of acquaintances as Peck, he had an eventful life after reaching manhood. He was born in Keosauqua and moved to Bonaparte when about 16, and continued to add to his laurels as an outstanding baseball player, a second baseman who could throw with deadly results with either hand.

He was also a great hitter leading the American association in batting in 1897 while with the Milwaukee team. He was signed by Louisville, then a member of the National league, but chose instead to desert baseball for a career as columnist on the Chicago Inter-Ocean.

His unique spelling, capitalization and punctuation finally was allowed to go "as is" and it made a hit with the public. He continued his peculiar style though out his life, claiming he along knew how to spell properly.

Peck's activities included managing of a saloon and later a cigar store in Chicago. About ten years ago he moved to Texas.

Survivors include a half-sister, Mrs. Oscar Derr of Peoria, Ill.

Source: Keosauqua Register, 7 Aug 1941


 

Van Buren Obituaries maintained by Rich Lowe.
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