Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm. Scanned from a copy held by the State Library of Kansas.
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Oscar W. Peterson, one of the prosperous farmers of Grant township, came to Kansas in 1878 and bought one hundred and sixty acres of Normal school land five miles northwest of Jamestown, where he has built one of the most pretentious and desirable homes in this section of the country. Mr. Peterson paid one-tenth of eight hundred dollars, the consideration to be paid for the land, which consumed all his capital save a wife, who was possessed of equally as much courage and ambition as himself, and two small children. He owned a span of mules but they were not paid for. Between their first humble abode and the handsome residence that now graces the wide lawn there is a marked contrast.

Modern home of O.W. Peterson
The little house of sod with its board roof, dirt floor and no windows, sheltered them for months. Its furniture consisted of two chairs, a bedstead brought through on the wagon from Iowa and a few other articles of home make. Here they underwent many hardships and were reduced to less than the price of a postage stamp. With his mules Mr. Peterson did breaking among the neighbors and in this way earned enough to tide them over until better days dawned. While their larder was often reduced to small quantities and few varieties of food they did not actually suffer. Mr. Peterson invested in one hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining his farm on the north but during the hard times had to surrender it, and also lost some real estate in Jamestown during the panic. He was land hungry and when he came to Kansas coveted all the land in sight.

Mr. Peterson was born in a suburb - now included in the city of Chicago - in 1855, and when an infant six months old emigrated with his parents to eastern Iowa and settled on a farm in Jefferson county. His father, Andrew Peterson, came to Cloud county in 1884, and died near Jamestown in 1893. He was a native of Sweden and emigrated to America in 1852. His wife and her two children died of cholera during the scourge in Chicago. He was then married to Sophia Swanson, the mother of our subject. To this marriage four children were born. A brother, Alfred, lives in Portland, Oregon and a sister, Mrs. Johnson, of Phelps county, Nebraska. A son died in infancy. Mrs. Quick, of Thomas county, Kansas, was a daughter by a former marriage of our subject's mother - but she was reared with the children of the second union and was a devoted sister.

Oscar W. Peterson was married in 1876 to Mary E. Simmons of Jefferson county, Iowa, the place of her nativity and where she grew to womanhood. Her parents were W.R. and C.J. (Crenshaw) Simmons. Her father died in 1897. Her mother still lives in Jefferson county. To Mr. and Mrs. Peterson six children have been born, two sons and four daughters. The eldest daughter, O. Edna, is a teacher in the fourth grade of the Washington building in Concordia. She was a teacher last year (1901) in the Jamestown schools. She is self-educated, graduated from a four years course in the Concordia high school and holds a first grade certificate. She possesses exceptional ability as a teacher and has achieved well deserved success. Flora L. is living with relatives in Iowa and has not been home but once in a period of four years. Lyda M., an estimable young woman, is a dressmaker by trade but spends much of her time at home. Roy C., an industrious young man of twenty, assists with the farm duties. Ella I., a little daughter of twelve years, and Oscar W., Jr., nine years of age, are students of the home district and have neither been absent nor tardy during the present year nor all of last year (1901).

The commodious residence of nine rooms, built in 1902, is modern in design and architecture, with pantry, bath room, and closets, and is one of the best appointed houses in the vicinity of Jamestown. A model poultry house, built of stone and smoothly plastered, is in course of completion which is one of the most modern the writer has ever seen. No accessory of a perfect country home will be lacking when the barn under contemplation is completed. The first story will be a basement of stone and the rock is on the ground ready for dressing. The lawn is wide and deep bordered by flowers and shade trees. Mrs. Peterson is a cultured woman and presides over their pleasant home with gracious hospitality. Mr. Peterson's judgment and good common sense, coupled with the same excellent qualities of his wife, have assisted him iin gaining prosperity and the coveted beautiful country place where amid pleasant surroundings they may enjoy with ease and rest the home won by long years of activity. Mr. Peterson is a Democrat politically, has served as clerk and treasurer on the school board for about a dozen years, and has held various township offices. The family are members and active workers of the Jamestown Methodist Episcopal church congregation.