John W. Peel was one of the old and highly respected citizens of Bentonville and was a native of Livingston County, Ky., born November 17, 1806, and was a son of Richard and Elizabeth (Wilson) Peel and grandson of Thomas Peel, who was a native of Ireland, and who immigrated to the colonies previous to the Revolutionary War, and was a soldier in the same under Gen. Washington. At an early date, about 1790, he moved to Christian County, Ky., and in 1815 he, with his family, together with fourteen other families, immigrated to Arkansas and located in what is now Independence County. Here Thomas Peel died. His son, Richard Peel, was a native Virginian, born January 6, 1780, and was but a small boy when his parents moved to Kentucky. He was married in Livingston, Ky., and was one of the fourteen families who immigrated to Arkansas in 1815. In this State he passed his last days, dying in 1864. He was one of the leading spirits of Northeast Arkansas for years, and was judge of the court of common pleas for some time, and was afterward judge of the county and probate court for twelve years. His wife was born in South Carolina in 1797 and was the daughter of John Wilson, who was born in South Carolina three days after his father landed in the United States from Scotland. John Wilson was a colonel in the Revolutionary War, under Gen. Washington. Mrs. Elizabeth Peel died in 1871. She was the mother of twelve children [four of whom were living at the time of this biography], John W. being the eldest. He was thirteen years of age when his parents moved to Arkansas, was there reared on a farm and remained with his parents until twenty-two years of age.
In 1828 he married Miss Elizabeth West, who was born in Rutherford County, Tenn., in 1809. She was the mother of two children, Alice, widow of D. W. Hull, who lived in New York City; and Samuel W., a member of the United States Congressional District of Arkansas, and who resided in Bentonville.
Mr. Peel removed to Carroll County. Ark., in 1837, and here followed farming and also speculated in lands. In 1848 he was elected county clerk, circuit clerk, exofficio recorder, and held the office ten years. Mrs. Peel died in 1835, and in 1838 Mr. Peel married Miss Malinda Wilson, a native of Lincoln County, Tenn., born in 1813. They had nine children living [at the time of this biography]: Elizabeth, wife of W. G. Rice: Thomas; Margaret, wife of Judge J. M. Pittman, judge of the circuit court: John C., attorney-at-law; Alfred M., Joseph H. and Ellen, wife of J. C. Knott. In 1873 Mr. Peel became a resident of Bentonville, Ark., and in 1875, while his wife was on a visit to Fayetteville, she was taken sick and died.
Four years later Mr. Peel married Mrs. Elizabeth M. Caldwell, nee Phipps, who died in 1880. Mr. Peel was deputy circuit clerk for two years for Benton County, and for the next thirteen years he served as justice of the peace of Bentonville. Mr. Peel was never a member of any secret society, church or any other organization. He was a lifelong Democrat, casting his first presidential vote for Van Buren in 1836. He was one of Benton County's eldest citizens, and was a man universally respected. He had a large circle of friends, and was known as Uncle John throughout the entire northern part of the State. Mr. Peel died May 5, 1894, in Bentonville. He was buried in the Bentonville city cemetery. Adapted from Goodspeed – History of Benton County - 1889