Peter Gray Meek
The son of Reuben Heron and Mary Ann (Gray) Meek, born July 12, 1842, Patton township, Centre County; educated in public schools; school teacher in Lumber City, Clearfield County, 1855-1856; worked as a clerk; a farmer, and in 1861, Meek became junior editor of the Bellefonte Democratic Watchman, an anti-Lincoln administration paper, whose columns published weekly condemnations of the Union War effort and related political issues. Meek purchased a half share of the journal in 1862, and continued that tradition through 1865 becoming the staunchest “Copperhead” in the Commonwealth, a quest that found him arrested five times and jailed three, charged with “high treason” and “printing improper political matter.” Refusing to yield to government censorship, after the fifth occasion in 1865, he was imprisoned by Union soldiers at the military stockade in Harrisburg, freed only when he submitted his oath, assuring his presence at a subsequent trial. The war ended, the charges (which were never stated) were dropped, and Meek continued a successful publishing career, his principles intact. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1867, 1868, 1870, and 1871; secretary of the Democratic State Committee, 1872, 1882-84; unsuccessful bid for state Senate (state nominating convention) 1873-76, and congressional nomination, 1878; elected Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, 1883; and state Senate, 1891-94; appointed by President Cleveland as Surveyor of the Port of Philadelphia; retired from public life to his newspaper publishing career and the Democratic Watchman. Peter Gray Meek passed away in Bellefonte, February 2, 1919. He married Susan Meek, daughter of George Meek of Ferguson Township, Centre County, 1862.