An early Council Bluffs city directory carried an advertisement for Peregoy & Moore- Cigars, Plug, Smoking. The address was 409 Broadway.
Their story began in 1835 in Baltimore with the birth of John W. Peregoy, the son of Charles and Elizabeth Peregoy. He grew up and attended public schools in Baltimore and Winchester, Virginia where his mother’s people lived. At age twelve, he left school and spent two years as an apprentice in a cigar shop where he learned the cigar-maker’s trade, working for his board and clothes. He went on to work at his trade in Winchester, Alexandria and Middleburg, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
With the outbreak of the civil war, he enlisted in Company E, Fourth Batallion, District of Columbia volunteers and was discharged after three months because of “rheumatism.” For several years, he worked in Dayton, Ohio and in the west and northwest. In 1868 (age 33), he came to Council Bluffs and started his own cigar-manufacturing business which grew to become the largest wholesale tobacco distributor west of New York.
On December 18, 1872, he married Inez Kirkpatrick. Of their four children, only Robert lived past childhood. Their home was at 725 First Avenue. According to H.H. Field’s “History of Pottawattamie County”, Peregoy was active in community organizations, served for six years on the park board and seven years as treasurer of the board of education. He died in 1918, Inez in 1938. They are buried in Fairview Cemetery.
A news story published in 1918 gives an account of the reorganization of the Peregoy and Moore Co. of which John Peregoy had been president. William Moore, treasurer, then became president and general manager, and Robert Peregoy continued as vice president. At that time, the firm operated six wholesale houses (Council Bluffs, Des Moines, Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Omaha and St. Joseph) and eight retail stores (two in Council Bluffs, four in Des Moines, one in Sioux Falls and one in Omaha).
The article also states that “Mr. Moore has been in business for fifty-six years. He served in the civil war and at the close of the war walked from Chicago to Omaha where he made his start in the cigar and tobacco business. Forty years ago he moved to this side of the river. The late Mr. Peregoy was at one time an employee of Mr. Moore.”
Moore and his wife, Mary, were born in Canada, came to the United States in 1864 and, after moving from Omaha to Council Bluffs, resided with their family at 108 S. Sixth Street.
Robert Peregoy continued the business until the early 1920s when (according to Jack Peregoy, his great grandson) he “liquidated the business and spent the rest of his life until 1947 growing asparagus and tomatoes, etc. in what is now the parking lot behind 226.”
Robert married Mona Reed whose parents, Laura and Freeman Reed, lived at 219 S. Sixth Street.
The house at 226 S. Sixth Street was built circa 1880 for John and Mary (Trowbridge) Laing, both born in Canada – John in 1845 and Mary in 1849. The Laings invested in real estate and had a dry goods and notions store on Broadway. The house stayed in the Laing family until 1906 when it was purchased by Laura Reed, Mona Peregoy’s mother. Robert Peregoy became the owner in 1911. There Robert and Mona raised their family of four: Inez, Reed, Eleanor and John. The house remained in the Peregoy family until Robert’s death in 1947. Mona died in 1935. They are buried in Memorial Park Cemetery.
According to family history, during the late 1930s and early 1940s “the Peregoy family at 226 included four generations under one roof.” The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps show the evolution of the porch of this lovely restored Italianate house. The 1885 map indicates a smaller porch that extends from the north edge of the bay window to the edge of the house, as was often seen in Italianate houses. The 1891 map shows a full-width porch that includes the bay window – a style that would have been seen in the Queen Anne houses that were popular at the time. That porch may have been replaced by the present Craftsman porch, a style that became popular in the early 1900s, when Peregoy bought the house in 1911. The two-story single-family home now houses law offices.
– Preserve Council Bluffs acknowledges the following sources of information for this series: National Register of Historic Places nominations, the reference department of the Council Bluffs Public Library, the auditor’s office of the Pottawattamie County courthouse, Council Bluffs Community Development Department, homeowners, family members and, for this article, Kathleen Meldrum. Mary Lou McGinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Kate Shelley Story can be found at iagenweb.org/boone/history/kateshelley.htm