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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Peter Petersen

Through earnest devotion to agriculture in some of its manifold departments the German-American citizens of Sonoma county have risen from obscurity to prosperity and from an humble station to one of independence. Among them perhaps none is more worthy of mention by reason of his persistent and painstaking application to ranching pursuits than Peter Petersen, who is of German birth and Danish parentage, combining in his forceful personality the thrift of the one race with the frugality of the other, and supplementing both with an energy distinctively American. His identification with western activities dates from May 1, 1887, when he landed in California and became associated with the country as a permanent resident. From the first he has made his home in Marin county and here he has engaged in general ranching and in the poultry business. At this writing he owns and occupies a farm of thirty acres situated near Petaluma, where he conducts a chicken yard containing six hundred hens, also has on the place three head of fine horses and two valuable milch cows. Sagacious judgment exercised in the management of the small farm has secured for the owner a neat annual income and a reputation for skill as a farmer.

Born in Germany, April 29, 1863, Peter Petersen is a son of Peter, Sr., a native of Denmark, born in 1827, and by trade a carpenter and cabinet-maker. The mother bore the maiden name of Ellen Maria Mortensen and was born in Denmark in 1823, living to the advanced age of eighty-three years. Six children formed the parental family, viz.: Martin, Ebbi, Peter, Hans, Anna and Alvena. The son first-named married a Miss Lynch and has five children, Peter Henry, Magnus, Emil and Lena. Ebbi, who resides in Iowa, marked Maria Hansen and has nine children. Hans, who makes is home at Lakeville, Sonoma county, married May Ericksen and is the father of nine children, namely: Harold, Malcolm, Ebbi, Alma, Heda, Helen, Mabel, Hilda and Mary. The elder daughter, Anna, is the wife of Jacob Bergstrom, of Iowa, and the mother of fifteen children. The younger daughter, Alvena, who married Nels Jensen, of Sonoma county, has a family of seven children, Victor, Peter, Ebbi, Harry, Dagmar, Ellen and Mary.

The marriage of Peter Petersen united him with Hedvig Erickson, who was born in Sweden November 9, 1866, and arrived in California August 8, 18889. A large family came to bless their union. There were two sons bearing the name of Olaf and two daughters bearing the name of Hedda, the first-born of each having been removed by death in infancy. Another son died at a very early age. The others bore the names of Peter, Harry, Ebbi, Eric, Maria, Goldie, Dorothy, Hilda and Genevieve. Of these the eldest son, Peter, who resides in Petaluma, married Josie Costi and has one son. The eldest daughter, Maria, is the wife of Frank Bolz, of Petaluma, and has two sons and a daughter. Mrs. Petersen was one of six children, the others being Olaf, John Malcolm, Maria, Matilda and Hilda. The parents, Eric Johann and Hedda (Melin) Erickson, were born in Sweden, the former in 1836, the latter in 18 39, and both are still robust and hearty notwithstanding their advancing years and their lives of strenuous toil. Of the Erickson sons and daughters Olaf, who resides in Denver, Colo., has a family of six children, Axel, Olaf, Jr., Hjalmar, Selma, Carrie and Golda. John Malcolm married Emma Swenson and has six children, Hjalmar, Malcolm, Ellen, Hilda, Esther and Emma. Matilda married Eric Johnson and they and their son reside in Sonoma county. The youngest of the Erickson girls is Hilda, who resides in Sweden, is married and the mother of three children.

Reared in a firm belief in the doctrines of the Lutheran Church, Peter Petersen has remained loyal to the religion of his youth and is a consistent upholder of the Lutheran denomination, a contributor to its missionary enterprises and a champion of its creed. Not only the cause of religion, but also all worthy movements, receive his sympathetic co-operation and he has been interested particularly in the public-school system and in securing for future generations the educational opportunities he was denied. Since becoming a citizen of our country he has voted with the Republican party and upheld by his ballot the men and measures associated with the history of that political organization. Our state and county have been benefited by the accession to the population of men as progressive and patriotic as Mr. Petersen.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011