In 1812, John T. Peebles moved from Northampton County, North Carolina to Mooresville, Alabama near the Tennessee border in Limestone County. John's brother Robert B. joined him, and opened up a store in the thriving little town. Robert married Sophia C., who was born in Massachusetts and was probably in the south working as a school teacher when she met her husband. Sophia was an ardent Methodist, and taught bible class and Sabbath school. After the Civil War, which had wiped out all of the family's wealth except for their land, Sophia opened up a school in her house, and taught for eight hours a day, in addition to overseeing the various domestic "departments," as she referred to them.
Robert and Sophia had four children, Henry Alden Peebles, who died of typhoid when he was seventeen, Robert, who also died young, a child who died in infancy, and Frank, who lived. Frank worked in his father's store, and briefly attended school in Lebanon, Tennessee -- probably Cumberland University -- before the Civil War interfered with his attempt to get an education. Frank was 18 when war broke out, and it is unknown if he took part in the fighting. After the war, Frank and his father formed a partnership and began again to run a store.