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RASMUSSEN, Peter (ca. 1916)


Posted By: Jennifer Gunderson (email)
Date: 3/22/2021 at 22:49:48


Peter Rasmussen, a pioneer merchant and banker of Milford, from early days has been a prominent figure in the business circles of that city, where for twenty-five years he has been at the head of the First National Bank. His name is synonymous with business enterprise and integrity and the course which he has followed in the conduct of the bank has been one which has safeguarded the interests of its depositors.

Mr. Rasmussen was born in Denmark, May 24, 1844, a son of Rasmus and Karen Rasmussen. His education was acquired in the schools of Denmark and he came alone to America in 1865, about the time he attained his majority. Making his way to Wisconsin, he settled in Racine and spent twelve or fourteen years in Wisconsin and Michigan at various pursuits. In 1878, having saved some money, he went to Plymouth county, Iowa, where he purchased a farm, there residing for four years, on the expiration of which period he sold that property and removed to Milford in 1882. At that time there were no houses in the town, but he believed that it had opportunity for progress and development, and he identified his interests with its upbuilding. Establishing a lumberyard, he prospered in that undertaking, building up a trade of large and gratifying proportions. In 1893, however, he sold his lumber interests and entered the grain business.

Mr. Rasmussen is perhaps even more widely known in connection with his activities in financial circles, for he became a stockholder and director in the first bank organized in Milford. It was originally a private bank conducted under the firm name of Smith & Goodrich, but later was reorganized under the style of the Commercial Savings Bank, which in 1900 was changed to the First National Bank. Mr. Rasmussen has served as the president of this bank for twenty-five years and still continues as its chief executive head. He is regarded as one of the most successful bankers of northwestern Iowa, his progressiveness being tempered by a safe conservatism that carefully protects the interests of the institution and its depositors. He is also a stockholder in the Mason City Trust & Loan Company and his name is indeed an honored one on commercial paper in his part of Iowa.

Mr. Rasmussen was united in marriage to Miss Mary Jepperson and they became parents of four children, two of whom are deceased. Those still living are: Frieda, the wife of Charles F. Mauss, cashier of the First National Bank of Milford; and Ernest R., also of Milford.

The family attend the Danish Lutheran church and Mr. Rasmussen gives his political allegiance to the republican party, of which he is a stalwart advocate. He has served for many years on the board of county supervisors, ever exercising his official prerogatives in support of plans and measures directly beneficial to the public. He has been an active member of the school board and the cause of education finds in him a stalwart champion. In a word, he is a public-spirited citizen whose cooperation is at all times an element for the welfare and upbuilding of town and county.

His life is an indication of the fact that it is not the accident of birth that determines one's future career but the characteristics of the individual. He early recognized that there is no success in life without effort and that in America opportunities are afforded to everyone who is willing to embrace them. He saw, too, that opportunities slip away from the sluggard, tauntingly play before the dreamer and surrender to the individual with high purpose, undaunted courage and indefatigable determination. It was such qualities, therefore, that Mr. Rasmussen cultivated, and they have brought him to a prominent position among the business men of his adopted county.

Source: Brigham, Johnson. Iowa : its history and its foremost citizens. Chicago : S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916. Transcribed by Jennifer Gunderson (Mar 2021).

Index of bios from Iowa : Its history and Its Foremost Citizens

Cerro Gordo Biographies maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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