John E. Peterson, merchant and man of affairs of Clay Center, Kan., and owner of the most extensive retail furniture enterprise in Northern Kansas, licensed embalmer and funeral director, is a native of Sweden, and was born in the Province of Smoland, December 4, 1861, a son of Samuel and Johannah (Dahl) Peterson. The family came to the United States in 1870, the elder Peterson entering the employ of the Moline Plow Company, at Moline, Ill. In 1884 the family removed to Stromsburg, Neb. Samuel Peterson was born September 25, 1831, and died at Stromsburg May 12, 1909. His wife was born March 25, 1828, and died June 29, 1909. They were the parents of ten children, four of whom died in infancy. The surviving children are as follows: Matilda, the wife of Samuel Peterson, a farmer of Galesburg, Ill.; Mary, the wife of John Saline, a farmer of Genoa, Neb.; John E., the subject of this article; Gust A., a salesman at Stromsburg, Neb., and Emma, the wife of A. J. Cederholm, a county official of McPherson county, Kansas; Charles A., who lived to maturity, and died in 1895.
John E. Peterson was reared a farmer, and followed this occupation until twenty-two years of age. He secured his education in the public schools. In 1883 he entered commercial life at Stromsburg, Neb., as a clerk. The following year he became the manager of a lumber yard in the same town and remained in charge of this business for six years. During the years 1892-3 he was deputy clerk of Polk county, Nebraska, and in 1893 was elected on a fusion ticket clerk of the county. His administration of the affairs of the office was such that he was elected, in 1895, to succeed himself. On completion of his second term as county clerk he established himself in the retail furniture business in Stromsburg, included an undertaking department, and studied embalming. He received his license as an embalmer in 1898. This enterprise, under his management, proved successful and he built up an extensive business. In 1905 he disposed of his interests in Stromsburg and removed to Clay Center, where he purchased an established undertaking business. He added a stock of furniture, and during the eight years in which he has been a merchant in Clay Center he has developed the most extensive business in this line in northern Kansas. His stock offers the most in the way of selection, and is the best arranged and kept of any in Clay county. The county has never had a merchant who in his dealings with all has been at all times more fair, more honest or broad-minded than Mr. Peterson. Since becoming a resident of the city of Clay Center he has taken an active part in its commercial and civic affairs and has been a potent factor in its development. He is a director of the Clay Center Chautauqua Association and has been for the past two years a valued member of the board of education. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Mr. Peterson married, on August 5, 1885, Miss Svea Stohlberg, who was born in the Province of Gestrickland, Sweden, on November 25, 1865. Her father died when she was a child, and she came to the United States with her mother, now the wife of J. A. Carlson, a merchant at Osceola, Neb. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson are the parents of four children: Mannell John, born June 29, 1886; Elva Svea, born June 16, 1890, the wife of W. H. Harkins, of Delphos, Kan., now residing in Longmont, Col.; Lela Charlotte, born February 2, 1892, honor graduate of the Clay Center High School and for two years a teacher in the Clay county schools, who married, on June 11, 1911, Arnold Buchmann, Jr., a jeweler of Clay Center; and Amy Marie, born August 26, 1895, a graduate of the Clay Center High School with the class of 1912. She married, on March 25, 1913, Samuel Brice, an electrician, and they reside in Morenci, Ariz.Pages 498-499 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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