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Hans Henry Petersen 1862-1941


Posted By: Michael Petersen (email)
Date: 8/13/2020 at 15:34:24

H. H. Petersen

High on the list of the influential and prominent citizens of Elk River Township stands the name of H. H. Petersen, the genial cashier of the Teeds Grove Savings Bank. Mr. Petersen was born in Elk River Township, Clinton County, Iowa, on December 24, 1862, the son of Peter and Sophia M. (Stock) Petersen both natives of the province of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. His mother came to this country in 1852, on a sailing vessel, which landed at New Orleans, and then proceeded by steamboat to Davenport, Iowa. His father landed at New York in the same year, came to Chicago, and Freeport, Illinois, then the terminus of the Northwestern, by rail, and walked and worked the remainder of the distance to Savanna, Illinois, and on to Sabula. His first effort was to invest his small amount of money, saved from his wages as a farm hand in Germany, at twelve dollars per year, in land in Elk River Township, after which he found employment in the construction of the lower pike from the bluff to Sabula, Iowa, working for seventy-five cents per day and boarding himself. While engaged in this work, he met and married his wife, and then set about improving his land. He found wood, water and stone, and made a permanent settlement, opening his land for farming. In early times he went through many privations usual with the first settlers, and found his greatest trouble in raising money to pay his taxes, going to De Witt on foot to do that. But hard work and honest dealing brought him to the front and enabled him to add to his farm until it consisted of two hundred acres, which he held until 1907, he himself having retired from active work and removed to Lyons in 1887.

Peter Petersen was proud of his adopted country and of the opportunities which it opened before his family. In politics he was a Democrat and steadily supported the principles of the party; in religion he had been brought up a Lutheran and never departed from the faith. As a farmer he was hard working and looked carefully after his business, as a citizen he was well known and highly respected, and his honor and integrity were above reproach. He died in Lyons, on January 1, 1910; his wife had preceded him on November 12, 1909. They reared twelve children: Detlef, a farmer in Nebraska; the fifth child died young in 1862; H. H. was the sixth; August, the seventh, is a mechanic at Rocky Ford, Colorado; Emil died at the age of fourteen; the ninth and tenth children died young; Otto of Loup City is treasurer of Sherman county, Nebraska; Augusta died at the age of nine.

H. H. Petersen grew up on the farm and attended the district schools, and has obtained a good practical education. When twenty-two years old he left the home farm and went to Loup City, Nebraska, where he remained two years, during which time he was married. On his return to Clinton County at the end of this time he rented the home farm and his father moved to Lyons. For five years he remained on this farm, then moved to Teeds Grove and bought the store there which he operated fourteen years, during which time he was postmaster. This venture was very successful, and in 1905 he closed out his stock and he and his wife made a visit to Europe, traveling in England, France, Germany and Denmark. On his return he again purchased the store, including the building, which he had formerly rented, and added agricultural implements to his stock. Early in 1906 he sold the building and stock except for the implements, and later in the year sold that business. In the autumn of 1906 he organized the Teeds Grove Savings Bank, with a capital of ten thousand dollars, a bank of discount and deposit organized under state laws, Mr. Petersen holding a controlling interest in the stock. This bank does a general banking business, including the buying and selling of exchange, and is conducted on the strictest business principles by Mr. Petersen who has proved himself a financier, and has made the bank one of the solid institutions of the county. At present the deposits amount to seventy-three thousand dollars. The bank owns the good building which it occupies.

Mr. Petersen is a strong Democrat, well informed on all matters pertaining to state and national affairs, and has held some offices of importance, first being elected road overseer, later township tax collector, then in 1897 he was elected township clerk and has been re-elected each year since. He is also a notary public, and for many years was in the insurance business, carrying agencies for four standard companies. In fraternal relations he is a thirty-second-degree Mason and a Mystic Shriner, a member of the Odd Fellows, in which organization he has filled all the chairs, and he and his wife are members of the Rebekahs.

H. H. Petersen was married in 1884 to Gertrude Hansen, a native of Germany, daughter of Christian Hansen, who came from Germany to Jackson County, Iowa, and became connected with a creamery as milk collector, and later moved to Nebraska, where he farmed for some years, until he retired to Loup City because of advancing age. He was very attentive to his business and has been successful. Both he and his wife are living. They are the parents of the following children: Peter and Nicholas, farmers; Gertrude, Mrs. Petersen; Amelia, now Mrs. Otto Petersen; Hannah, now Mrs. William Baird; and Louisa, now Mrs. John Solm. Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Petersen were the parents of one son, John H., now in the insurance business, who married Lucia Thompson, the daughter of John Thompson.

Mrs. Gertrude Hansen Petersen died June 22, 1894, and Mr. Petersen was married again on August 7, 1895, to Caroline Petersen the daughter of Jurgen Petersen who came from Germany in 1865 to Clinton County and became a prominent and respected farmer. He and his wife were members of the Lutheran church, and are both dead. They were the parents of three children: Caroline: Anna, now Mrs. A. Andersen; and Henry H., of Teeds Grove. Mrs. Caroline Petersen is a lady of much refinement and intelligence.

Mr. Petersen loans his private funds on good farm securities, is a stockholder in the Goose Lake Savings Bank, owns a good home in Teeds Grove, and is one of the financially solid men of his township. Personally he is a very agreeable and accommodating gentleman, whom it is a pleasure to meet.

History of Clinton County, Iowa
ed. by P. B. Wolfe. 2 vols. Indianapolis, Ind.: B. F. Bowen, 1911
Pages 1090-1091


Clinton Biographies maintained by John Schulte.
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