Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Charles A. Peterson

Hans T. Peterson and family Top Row: Mrs. Lena S. Nelson, H. P. Peterson, Charles A. Peterson, Mrs. Selma A. Hven, Mrs. Emma C. Nelson; Bottom Row: Mrs. Hannah Dahlquist, Hans T. Peterson and wife Mrs. Catherine Peterson CHARLES A. PETERSON. While Charles A. Peterson has for many years been recognized as one of the leading and progressive farmers of Garfield, he is also closely identified with the welfare of that little city, and when Garfield was incorporated in 1910 he was elected the first mayor of the town and has continued at the head of municipal affairs to the present time.

it was in the spring of 1882 that the Peterson family arrived in Pawnee County. Mr. Peterson was then a boy of ten years. His earlier life had been spent chiefly in his native Sweden. Mr. Peterson was born April 18, 1872, on the Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. This island has an area of about 1,000 square miles and is densely populated. Its history and tradition is very interesting. In early centuries it was the rendezvous of pirates, and many stories were circulated during Mr. Peterson's boyhood concerning the operations of these pirates and their stories of gold and other loot buried on the island. It is now a sugar producing part of the Swedish nation.

His father was Hans T. Peterson, who was also born on the Island of Gotland. He was a Swedish farmer and he married Catherine Johnson. In 1881 they set out for America, bringing with them their six children. The family took a boat at Visby for Stockholm, passed through a canal to Gothenburg, and then sailed to England and from Liverpool crossed the ocean to Philadelphia. Their first year in this country was spent in McPherson County, Kansas, among fellow countrymen, Hans T. Peterson arrived in Pawnee County without means. He had just enough to bring his family this far. His first work was in laying steel on the Santa Fe Railway, which was then being constructed through Pawnee County. For a time he worked on the railroad section at Garfield, and through such hard and strenuous labor he made his start in Kansas. He gave up railroad labor to begin farming as a renter, and tried that four successive years without raising a crop worthy of the name. The family were supported by his labor as a section hand, and his son also helped him. Other members of the family, supervised by Mrs. Peterson, tried the almost hopeless task of raising crops. After a time Hans Peterson resumed farming and rented the place now owned by his son Charles. Patience and persistence in time, had their reward, and Hans Peterson managed to get along until about 1900. From that year crops were bounteous and prices reasonably high, and in time the family bought the northwest quarter of section 6, township 23, range 17, at a cost of $1,500. Hans Peterson enlarged his home materially, added a barn, and after the marriage of his younger son he retired from active business and died at Garfield in March, 1909, at the age of seventy-six. His wife died just a year later. He and his wife had the following children: Hannah, wife of Oscar Dahlquist, of Garfield; Peter of Pawnee County; Lena, widow of J. A. Nelson, of Garfield; Selma who died at Garfield, the wife of C. A. Hven; Emma, widow of Aaron Nelson, of Garfield; and Charles A., the youngest.

Charles A. Peterson brought with him to America a very limited equipment in the way of scholarship. He finished his schooling in the Garfield schools and completed a course in the commercial department of Bethany College at Lindsborg and an advanced business course in Brown's Business College in Kansas City. He also took a penmanship course under W. P. Tymlan at Kansas City.

At the conclusion of his school work he was employed for a few years in the Polson mercantile house at Garfield, and then returning to Kansas City worked as bookkeeper for Larson Brothers, merchants, for a year. During these earlier business and commercial experiences Mr. Peterson kept in touch with farming by having crops planted for him and occasionally by good luck had a harvest. In that way he was equipped for practical farming when he was able to devote all his time to the business. His success has come largely from wheat. In the year 1914 he harvested from about 300 acres an average of twenty-seven bushels to the acre. He had a reasonably good crop in 1916, and the high prices of that year practically assured him prosperity. Besides his home farm he owns other lands used for grazing and pasturing a number of Shorthorn cattle. His farm improvements are among the most attractive of the locality around Garfield and his buildings stand in the center of a veritable forest of fruit and shade trees.

Mr. Peterson cast his first presidential vote for Mr. Bryan in 1896. He supported the great Nebraskan commoner three successive times. He has always voted as a democrat and has served as township constable and as township trustee, besides his present office as mayor.

On November 35, 1904, at Kansas City, Missouri, Mr. Peterson married Miss Lydia Johnson. Her father, August Johnson, came out of Smoland, Sweden, locating in Minnesota, where he followed the trade of granite cutter. Mrs. Peterson, the only child of her parents, was born at St. Paul, Minnesota, in September, 1883. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have had six children: Mabel, Harold (who died in infancy), Lillian, Ruth, Irene and Carl.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

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