An early African American graduate of Massachusetts Agricultural College, William Warrington Peebles was born in Washington, D.C., on July 31, 1880. By most measures, he came from an accomplished, middle class family. Peebles' father Oscar (b. Dec. 1836) was a skilled artisan, listed as a “Carpenter and Builder,” living at 1014 D. Street NE with his wife Mary A. (b. May 1851) and nine children, the oldest of whom was listed separately as a school teacher. All were listed as “mulattoes.”
During much of his time at MAC, Hood roomed with fellow African American classmate William Lane Hood, both at 32 North College and off campus as a boarding house. Peebles was active in the College Shakespearean Club, a popular diversion for students at the time, and was Director of the MAC Reading Room Association. Academically, he was quite accomplished, winning First Prize in the Burnham Four and as being listed as part of the Flint Six. The Index for 1903 made note of his talents:
"Little Willie captured the second prize in the Burnham speaking when a Freshman, and first prize when a Sophomore. He tried hard to make a hit in athletics, but failing in this, he determined to be first in smothering and now holds the class record as a bluffer."
At commencement, Peebles was selected to sing the college song and delivered an oration, “Southern injustice.”
Within a few years of graduation, Peebles disappeared from the view of MAC, which listed him as “address unknown” in both 1913 and 1916. His activities, however, were not fruitless. After graduating from the Chicago College of Dental Surgery in May 1906, Peebles built a highly successful practice in Omaha, Nebraska, working in the city continuously for almost fifty years, interrupted only by his service as Captain in the Army Dental Corps during the First World War, when he was attached to the 349th Field Artillery, 92d Division.
Peebles was married to Bernice Peebles (b. in Canada) and had a son, William. He died in Omaha on Jan. 21, 1958, and is buried there in Forest Lawn Cemetery