Juliette Abbey Peak was born May 8, 1837 in Warsaw, Kentucky, one of 13 children born to Colonel Jefferson and Martha Peak. In 1855, the Peak family settled in the village of East Dallas and built the first brick home in the county. Colonel Peak later developed his farm and platted streets, creating lots for other settlers coming to Dallas. Peak, Worth, Junius, Carroll, Flora, Harwood, Field and Victor Streets were named for Peak family members.
The Peak family was instrumental in the development of the Christian Church (DOC) in Dallas and Fort Worth. The Dallas Peaks were founding members of the first protestant church in Dallas, which led to the founding of Central Christian Church and East Dallas Christian Church in Dallas. Juliette’s brother, Carroll Peak and his wife Florence founded First Christian Church of Fort Worth.
Vivacious, attractive and gentle-hearted, Juliette was Dallas’ first May Queen. Her words of kindness made her the friend of everyone. She captured the attention of many suitors and married a young lawyer from Fort Worth, Archibald Young Fowler, the senior law partner of John Peter Smith. Two children, Ada and A.Y. Jr., both died as infants. Her husband died from wounds sustained in an argument with the Tarrant County sheriff. Widowed at 23, Juliette returned to Dallas and never remarried.
She devoted the rest of her life to caring for others and works of charity. She adopted a young boy she found abandoned in her church. She erected cottages in Chautauqua for the rejuvenation of young lady teachers from Texas. She cared for her aging parents, all while envisioning and researching the methods and treatments for a safe haven for orphans and widows.
Juliette died unexpectedly on Jun 4, 1889 in New York while seeking treatment for an ear infection. She was 52. Her will designated $4000 and 15.5 acres of land in East Dallas to build a home for orphans and widows. Through this act of benevolence, she became known as Dallas’ first major philanthropist.
Juliette’s funeral services were held at Bryan Street Christian Church. The June 27, 1889 issue of the Christian Courier announced Juliette’s death:
“A beautiful life has closed. In its depth of faith and trust; in its purity and consecration; in its humility and helpfulness; in its justness and charity, it affords a remarkable illustration of practical Christianity and furnishes an example for all who have witnessed it here, or who may hereafter; learn the simple story of her life.”