John Mason Peck was born in 1789 in Litchfield, Connecticut, where he was raised as a Congregationalist. Twenty years later he married Sally Pane. Despite the lack of Biblical preaching in their church, the Lord saved the souls of both John and Sally. Then when God blessed them with their first baby, the Pecks began to investigate the subject of baptism. The nearest Baptist church was in New Durham, New York. It was to there that the Pecks moved and where they were immersed as a proper testimony of their faith in Christ. But the pastor at New Durham could be there only once a month, so after some time Bro. Peck began teaching and preaching in his absence.
On this day (July 25) in 1817 the Pecks with their three small children mounted a one-horse wagon and began a thousand mile journey to carry the gospel west. Nearly six months later they arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, as the first known Baptists in the region. After four months of ministry and daily struggles against hatred and persecution Bro. Peck immersed his first convert in the Mississippi River,. Once a small church was established, he used St. Louis as his home base, traveling thousands of miles in every direction, spreading the gospel of Christ. As the first missionary to the region, John Peck became known as “God’s Ambassador to the Mississippi Valley.”
Sister Peck died in 1856, and her husband followed her two years later, after over forty years of pioneer evangelism and mission work. Shortly before his death, when a friend reminded him of his decades of service, Bro. Peck dismissed it as little, saying “Only Christ is my Saviour, my whole dependence.”