52 Ancestors 2014, ancestor story

Ancestor Story – Peter “B” Peterson – 52 Ancestors

Peter B & Ann Powell Peterson FamilyPeter B & Ann Powell Peterson Family – back row, l-r: Margaret Elizabeth Peterson, Thomas William Peterson, John David Peterson, front row, l-r: Hans Christian Peterson, Ann Powell Peterson, Peter B Peterson, Mary Ann Peterson, & Peter Powell Peterson

Peter B Peterson is my 3rd great grandfather.  Let me tell you about him.

Peter was born 11 January 1841 in Denmark.  I have been fascinated by him for years.  He is the first Peterson, of my line, to come to America.  He came alone at the age of 18 traveling by ship, steamer and then handcart to Utah.  He was a hard working man who was dedicated to his family, faith and community.

A history of his life was complied by one of his granddaughters-in-law.  From it come these stories that I love:

“Peter worked in Salt Lake City until the spring of 1861 when he traveled north to Farmington, Davis County. Here he worked four years for a Mr. Anson Call. It was a happy day for Peter when he was reunited with his father, mother and two brothers Hans and Christian at Farmington. (1862) Lars was unable to come at this time because of military service, but followed his family to America as soon as he was discharged.”

“About this time {early spring 1869} he met Ann Powell, daughter of Bishop Thomas and Margaret Powell of Marriott, Weber County, Utah, but it was quite a challenge to court the young lady. At that time there was no bridge across the Weber River, so Peter would remove his clothing and swim his horse across, holding his bundle of clothing high over his head to keep it dry. Upon reaching the opposite side, he would dress quickly, hidden by the willows growing on the banks and then proceed to the Powell residence. Neither could converse in English. She was Welsh and he was Danish, but as he said, “We know we loved each other.” They were married December 12, 1870.”

“In the winter he cut blocks of ice from the river and stored them in sawdust in a special ice-house for use during the hot summer months. It is said that one hot summer day a woman stopped on her way home from Ogden. She had been riding in a wagon facing the sun and was almost overcome by the heat. She said, “Oh Bishop Peterson, may I have a little piece of ice.” He gave her a nice block to take home.”

“Peter B. was a good husband and father and tried to give his children every advantage possible. In his autobiography he said, “I have aimed to give my children as good an education as means and circumstances would permit.” To do this he sold several acres of his land and mortgaged his farm paying 8% interest. He paid this off and kept his place clear. He also purchased additional land so that eventually he owned one hundred forty acres. His sons all attended Brigham Young University at Provo. Peter Powell, the second son attended Stanford University for two years and received his masters degree. He then taught at the B.Y.U. for two years, then became Principal of the Oneida Stake Academy at Preston, Idaho. He left the academy to attend the University of Chicago and received his Ph.D. He then taught first in a Wisconsin University and later at Moscow, Idaho University. Hans became principal of Davis County High School. John David was the athlete of the family and while attending B.Y.U. played on the main team in quarterback position. He was a star player and was carried down the street on the shoulders of his classmates after a victorious game. Thomas William fulfilled a mission to California. He attended B.Y.U. for two to three seasons. Peter B. and his brother, Hans, would take the young people in a covered wagon from Ogden to Provo and with them supplies to care for them the greater part of the school season. The daughters, too, were not left out. Margaret Elizabeth attended the B.Y.U. for two years prior to her marriage. While attending this school she roomed with some of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s daughters. The youngest daughter, Mary Ann, attended Weber Stake Academy.”

“Both Peter B. and his wife, Ann, suffered strokes. His legs were involved so that he was confined to a wheel chair for three years. Ann’s left side was paralyzed and she, too, was confined to a wheel chair for eight years before her death. But, sweethearts to the end, he would sit and hold her hand as they sat in their wheel chairs side by side.”

Outline of Peter “B” Peterson’s life:

  • Born – 11 January 1842 in Bjørup, Systofte, Falsters Sønderherred, Maribo, Denmark.
  • Baptized – 1858 into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the first in his family.
  • Departed for America – 20 March 1859, alone.
  • Reunited with his parents and two of his brothers in 1862.
  • Married – 12 December 1870, in Salt Lake, Salt Lake, Utah, USA  to Ann Powell, together they had 8 children.
  • Died – 3 December 1916 in Kanesville, Weber, Utah, USA.

A few details about Peter:

  • It is said that he added the “B” to his name to help distinguish him from the many other Peter Petersons.
  • He was 6 feet tall, had brown hair, very blue eyes and wore a beard.
  • He served as a Bishop in his church for 22 years.
  • He play an instrumental part in getting a Post Office in Kanesville, Utah.
  • He helped petition the county court for a school district.  The school was built just east of his home and the first teacher roomed with his family.
  • He believed in water conservation and water rights and chose to serve on the board of the Wilson Canal Company.
  • He served two terms as a Justice of the Peace.
The entire text of the history of Peter B. Peterson can be found here.

11 thoughts on “Ancestor Story – Peter “B” Peterson – 52 Ancestors”

  1. I think that is so lovely about the not being able to converse in English but knowing they loved each other. It is great to be able to have these kinds of accounts. Sadly I don’t really have anything like that for my family other than notes my grandmother made over the years about her childhood – as she didn’t like to talk about it. I didn’t know she had written them until after her death when my uncle sent them to me. I then compiled and edited them and put it into a book – along with some of her poetry she wrote. Very precious.

    1. Thank you Alex, I love that story too – it’s one of my favorite family tree love stories. I have quite a few written histories on my dad’s line but none on my mom’s line. I also just have a few notes here and there but they are all of an informational nature and about other relatives. No one wrote about themselves or their own lives. The only exception is an audio recording of my mom interviewing her grandfather. It’s pretty special.

      1. Oh wonderful! I am saving up some money to get some cine films put onto DVD at some point. I have a few done by my Dad’s father – including my parents wedding day. I know I have seen some of them but that was when I was really small and don’t really remember them. Really want to make sure we have copies of them.

          1. Very true. I had an extortionate quote some years ago from some guy who was offering this swishy service to make it all HD and other things. I don’t really care about that, I just want to have a copy of the films!

  2. Hi, My great great grandfather was Peter B. Peterson. My great grandfather was Peter Powell Peterson. This has been fun to read, thank you for doing it!!

  3. Lettie is my great aunt, the younger sister of my grandmother, Mary Jane Taylor Owen. My Grandpa Charles Hanford Owen was born in 1869, as was Mary Jane. They married in 1889 & Grandpa went on a mission in 1896, leaving his small family with Mary’s parents. I will look for stories of Lettie’s marriage. Wish Mom was here as she would know.

    1. Oh Rats! And here I was thinking you were connected to the Petersons at this generation. Sorry. One generation off in the correct part of the tree isn’t too bad though (as far as my memory goes…).

      I just did a quick look at my piles I already have out to scan and don’t see any Taylor items but I probably have some in the many boxes in my closet. I’ll keep my eyes open. I know I have info about Lettie somewhere but thought you might know about the mission/marriage off the top of your head. But knowing you don’t descend from her it makes perfect sense that you wouldn’t know offhand. 🙂

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