William Turner Coggeshall, The Poets and Poetry
of the West: With Biographical and Critical Notices 167-169
(Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster and Company, 1860):
HUGH PETERS was born at Hebron, Tolland
county, Connecticut, in January, 1807. Having received a liberal
education, he studied law, and as soon as he had been admitted
to the bar, cast his fortune in Cincinnati. He was received with
marked tokens of good-will, into the literary circles which existed
in that city in 1829, and became an admired writer for the Cincinnati
Chronicle and the Illinois Magazine.
On the afternoon of Saturday, June eleventh, 1831, his body was
found in the Ohio River, near Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He was known
to have retired to his room, as usual, on Thursday night. On Friday
morning he was missed, but as he had signified an intention to
go to Lawrenceburg, no uneasiness was felt until Sunday morning.
His room was then visited, and it was apparent to his friends
that no ordinary circumstances had called him away. A messenger
was immediately sent to Lawrenceburg. He returned with the melancholy
information that Mr. Peters was dead and buried. The remains were
disinterred and removed to Cincinnati.
At a meeting of the Cincinnati bar, held June third, 1831, at
which Charles Hammond presided, resolutions, presented by Benjamin
Drake, expressing high admiration for Mr. Peters's character and
talents, and deep regret for his early death, were unanimously
In the Illinois Magazine for June, 1831, James Hall published
an obituary notice, in which he said:
By his talents, sterling integrity, and amiable deportment,
he had won the esteem of all who had the pleasure of knowing
him. It is seldom the lot of any young man to begin the world
with brighter prospects than those which opened before Mr.
Peters: his solid worth, his unblemished character, and inoffensive
manners, conciliated for him the confidence of the public,
and the affection of a large circle of friends; and it is
believed that he had no enemy.
The successful career of such a man, rising fast into competence
and honor, by his own moral worth and honest exertions, should
stimulate the ambition, and strengthen the virtue, of the
young; as it affords an honorable proof that there is a broad
and a bright path to professional success, which genius and
integrity may tread, without the aid of artifice, or the influence
of patronage; while its brevity speaks a lesson which none
Mr. Peters's writings were marked with good sense, and correct
taste. He gave promise of more than ordinary success in both
prose and poetry. In criticism he was skilled, and some of his
literary reviews evinced the same quality which Mr. Hall notices
in his eulogy. He was conscientious, in a high degree; and if
the precise merits of a work submitted to his examination, were
not clearly and honestly set forth in his remarks, the fault
was with his judgment, and with nothing else.
His "Native Land," which was contributed to the Illinois
Magazine in 1831, will compare favorably with the best poems
of its character in the language. It reminds one of Byron's
"Good Night," but simply through its excellencies; it irresistibly
calls Shelley to mind, but only by reason of tile similarity
in the truthfulness of the prophetic strains which foretold
or fore-indicated the particular kind of death which either
Hugh Peters was educated at Yale College. He was associated with Geroge D. Prentice, the noted editor of the New England Weekly Review, at Hartford, Connecticut. Peters went to Cincinnati, reportedly, to practice law.
On his way across Long Island Sound, he write a Farewell to New England in poetry, which was published with great commendation, in most of the newspapers in the country. Soon after his arrival in Cincinnati, his dead body was found floating in the Ohio, several miles below the city, and circumstances were such as to create the belief in some minds that it was a case of suicide. The intelligence of this sad event was brought to Litchfield while the Court of Errors was in session in June1831. It was first communicated to Judge Williams, who sat next to Judge Peters [Hugh Peters's father]; and he with all possible tenderness, informed the latter. The Reporter, Mr. Day, in giving the report of the case on trial, closing it by saying: Peters. Judge, having received, during the argument of this case, intelligence of the death of his son, Hugh Peters, Esq., of Cincinnati, left the Court House, 'multa gemens casuque animum concessus' and gave no opinion.' I witnessed the mournful scene, and I well remember the loud and plaintive groans of the afflicted old man as he passed out of the Court room and down the stairway to his lodgings.
"Sedgwick's Address (Judge Peters)" in Dwight C. Kilbourn, The Bench and Bar of Litchfield County, Connecticut 1709-1900: Biographical Sketches of Members [,] History and Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School [,] Historical Notes 75-76, at 76 (Litchfield, Connecticut: Published by the Author, 1909)][See also: The Poets of Connecticut]
Peters & his Father