Peter Christian Arildson

Peter Christian Arildson, principal of the Lamont schools, was born in Martin township, Rock County, Minnesota, March 11, 1875. His parents, Niels and Mary Knudson Arildson, were natives of Denmark, who came to the United States many years ago and took up a homestead in the far West. The small amount of money they had brought with them represented the savings from many years' toil in the old country, and they invested it in improving their new home, the while being filled with great hopes for the future.

A failure of crops for several successive seasons did not discourage them altogether, but only made them labor the harder and be the more saving and self-denying. At last an immense crop was raised and the time had approached when it was ready to be garnered. Their joy was unbounded, for their funds had been exhausted and their faith in the country severely tried by the repeated failures to derive anything in return for their work. But their gladness was cut short by the coming of myriads of grasshoppers, and when they had gone nothing was left of the crops.

Heartsick and discouraged, and without money, they removed to Rock Rapids, Iowa, where they experienced hard times for a number of years. But despite poverty and bad luck, the determination of a noble mother that her son should be given an education was not to be downed by adverse circumstances, and by crook and turn in the management of their domestic affairs Master Peter Christian was kept in school. He graduated from the Rock Rapids high school March 31, 1892, and a month later began teaching school, having passed a successful examination before the county superintendent of schools and received his teacher's certificate.

For the two years following he was engaged constantly in teaching. This made matters easier and paved the way for a course in Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, which Mr. Arildson entered in September, 1894. He was there only a short time, however, when the serious illness of his father compelled him to return home, and, as his help was required from that time in supporting the family and procuring the best possible medical attendance upon his father, his plans for a higher education had to be given up. He began teaching again and has continued in that avocation with marked success.

In 1896 his superior work having attracted the attention of the Lamont school board, negotiations were opened with him looking toward his taking the management of the schools at that place. Everything being satisfactory, he at once took up the work and under his principalship the Lamont schools have attained to a high degree of perfection. Mr. Arildson is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, which he joined in 1896.


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