Peter Herdic was born on December 14, 1824, in Fort Plains, New York, United States, the son of Henry Herdic. His father died when Peter was still an infant and his mother with her seven children moved to Ithaca, New York, in 1826. Four years later upon her second marriage she settled with her family on a farm near Ithaca. Here the boy lived until he was thirteen years old. In 1837 his stepfather died and the family settled on a virgin tract of land on Pipe Creek, New Jersey. Herdic and his brothers cleared and cultivated the land, built a home, and in every way aided in the support of the family.