OLIVER M. PETERSON, who came to Kansas in February, 1880, was a youth of nineteen at the time and came with his father and one sister from Montgomery County, Indiana, which was his birthplace. The experiences of this family reflect many of the difficulties which the early settlers encountered, and the fact that prosperity has come to them in generous measure in later years is only a due reward for their persistence, energy and thrifty enterprise.
Mr. Peterson was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, July 19, 1861. He grew up on the farm, acquired his education in the country schools, and did not attend school after coming to Kansas. His grandfather, John Peterson, was born in Ohio and was of forefathers who came out of Switzerland. John Peterson's children were: Jesse, of Montgomery County, Indiana; Abraham; David; Susan, wife of John Doss; Mary, wife of Thomas Lanum; Delilah, wife of George Smith. All of these spent some portions of their lives in Montgomery County, Indiana.
Abraham Peterson, father of Oliver, married Emmaline Ermantrout, a daughter of Daniel Ermantrout of Montgomery County, Indiana, whose people were Germans. Daniel Ermantrout had the following children: William, a banker of Urbana, Illinois; Allen, of Champaign, Illinois; Sarah, wife of James Wilson, of Montgomery County, Indiana; Mary, wife of David Peterson, of Montgomery County; Betsie, wife of John Davis, of Montgomery County, Indiana; and Emmaline, Mrs. Abraham Peterson. Mrs. Emmaline Peterson died in Montgomery County, Indiana, in May, 1867, at the age of thirty-six. The children of Abraham and Emmaline Peterson were: Levina, who married W. R. Crumm, of Montgomery County, Indiana, and whose children are Della, Emma, Clarence and Floyd. The next in age is Oliver. Adeline, the youngest, is the wife of T. L. Logan, a farmer in Larned Township. Their children are Birdie, Ethel, Evelyn, Gladys, Lester, Merrill and Violet. Violet, a half sister of Oliver, is the wife of Robert Rhinehart, of Seattle, Washington.
When the Peterson family came to Kansas in 1880 Abraham bought the land right on the northeast quarter of section 9, township 21, range 17, in Pawnee Township. This land was owned by the railroad, and was situated nine miles northwest of Larned. As improvements it had a small shanty 12 by 16, covered with boards laid on vertically of matched lumber. There was no floor. The roof was of shingles. Of the quarter section forty acres had been broken and had been sowed in wheat. Abraham Peterson agreed to return to the former possessor of the land the one payment which he had made, and he took the contract to pay the balance in five installments, the total being $500. The first crop was only 100 bushels of wheat and worth 65 cents a bushel. While Abraham Peterson remained on the farm Oliver exerted his sturdy young strength in different localities in order to meet the payments. Part of the time he spent in a tie camp in Colorado, where ties were being made for the Santa Fe Company. This company was then building its line through New Mexico. There was very little revenue coming in from the farm until 1884, in which year the crops were sufficient to meet expenses. After the family took possession of the land they built a barn 14 by 24 feet and put a floor in the house.
As a result of the hard times coming in the early '80s Abraham Peterson mortgaged his land, and in 1890 he deeded the entire tract over to the mortgage. After that he continued to live on the farm as a renter, but in 1898 bought the southwest quarter of the same section. By means of a trade effected with the former owner this land cost him $1,100. On moving to his new farm he erected a five-room single story frame house, and buying an abandoned school house moved it on to the land as a barn. He also erected a granary with a capacity of 5,000 bushels. In 1900 he bought the northwest quarter of the same section. This was raw land with the exception of ninety acres broken and in wheat. The price was $1,200. These two quarter sections Abraham Peterson continued to farm until his death, which occurred March 12, 1904, at the age of seventy-one.
In the meantime, in 1901, Oliver Peterson had bought the original home place, the northeast quarter, and its improvements had not been added to since the family first acquired it. On his father's death he was appointed administrator of the estate and in 1905 he bought the southeast quarter of the same section. It was raw land and cost $1,050. In 1908 he bought the other half section owned by the estate, paying $10,400. All this has been developed under his management as a wheat farm, and he is now one of the chief wheat growers in Pawnee County.
His experience with this crop is of unusual interest. In 1892 he had a field of 400 acres which averaged eighteen bushels to the acre. In 1914 from 116 acres he harvested twenty-seven bushels to the acre. In 1886, more than thirty years ago, Mr. Peterson sold wheat as cheap as 35 cents a bushel. The highest price he ever received was in 1916, when he was paid $1.87 a bushel.
Mr. Peterson served as treasurer of school district No. 40 for six years, and was quite active in democratic local politics, having gone into that party after an experience as a populist. He served as delegate to a number of county conventions. He and his family are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Larned, and he is past grand of the Odd Fellows Lodge, past consul of the Modern Woodmen of America, and member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association. His wife is active in the Rebekahs.
Mr. Peterson moved from his farm into Larned in 1907 and bought property at 924 Toles Street. He also has a half interest in a store building in that city and is owner of stock in the Pawnee Grain and Supply Company and the Frizell Grain and Supply Company.
He was married in November, 1882, to Miss Mary Hugg. Her father, Fred Hugg, came to Kansas from Champaign County, Illinois, and was a pioneer in Ash Valley Township of Pawnee County. Fred Hugg was born near Lauderbach in Wuertemberg, Germany, in 1821, and came to the United States when a young man. Locating in Illinois, he followed his trade as a broom maker for several years. When the Civil war came on, like many other loyal Germans, he enlisted in the Union army and served in the Twenty-Second Illinois Infantry. That service was for four years, and while he escaped wounds or capture he was severely afflicted with rheumatism and spent several months in the hospital suffering from that disease. He came to the United States with his two sisters and one brother. The brother, Christ Hugg, made his home in Paris, Illinois. Fred Hugg married Christina Slortz, who was born in Wuertemberg and died at Larned, Kansas, in 1909, at the age of eighty-four. He died at Larned in February, 1886. Their children were named John, Henry, Barbara, Josephine and Mary. John married Emma Miller. Henry, a resident of Larned, married Loretta Shill, and their children are Pearl, Clara and Walter. Barbara is the wife of A. Seeman, of Larned, and their children are Andy, Bell and Agnes. Josephine married E. H. Goodwin, now superintendent of the County Farm of Pawnee County and their children are Nellie, Mamie, Doris and Fred, the latter dying in Florida at the age of twenty-eight.
Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have an adopted daughter, the wife of George H. Clarkson of Larned, whose children are Andy, Raymond and Chester.
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.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
Tom & Carolyn Ward
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project