Biographies -- P
Parsons, Thomas H.
Pierce, Charles L.
Pilling, H. H.
Pearson, Hon. John E. has ably represented his district in the state senate, proving himself a legislator of distinction. He is also a progressive and prosperous agriculturist, residing on section 16, Benton township, Minnehaha County, SD. He was born in Sweden, June 3, 1868, a son of Nils and Netta (Knutson) Pearson. The father came to the United States in 1869, locating in Wisconsin. A year later he removed to Kansas, but at the end of six months returned to Wisconsin, settling in Lafayette County. In 1871 he was able to send for his family, who joined him in the new world, remaining in Wisconsin until 1878, when a removal was made to South Dakota. The family home was established on section 7, Benton township, Minnehaha County, the father filing on a homestead there, but another man had also settled on the same quarter and a contest arose, which was settled by each man receiving eighty acres. In 1880 the family removed to Sioux Falls, where the father was foreman in a stone quarry. operating the first drill for the building of the Queen B mill. In 1884 he purchased his present farm of four hundred acres on section 15, Benton township, where he has since resided. He is a man of excellent judgment and has taken part in public affairs, serving as a member of the town board and in other ways influencing the progress of the community. John E. Pearson was reared at home and was a pupil in the public schools, passing from grade to grade until the course was completed. He also attended the Baptist College in Sioux Falls. Upon reaching mature years he was associated with his father in the latter's farming operations until 1902, when he located on his present farm, which he had purchased in the early '90s by an agreement with his father. Since locating upon this property he has continued to make it his home, has followed general farming, and has taken much interest in the breeding of horses. He is known as one of the progressive farmers in his section. He is a member of the board of directors of the New Hope Grain Company and is secretary and treasurer of the Crooks Lumber Company. Mr. Pearson is a republican in his political allegiance and has taken an active part in politics. He is at present chairman of the town board of Benton township and represented his district in the state senate in the session of 1911. He was again reelected to the 1915 session. Fraternally he is a member of Hartford Lodge, No. 136, A. F. &; A. M.; and of New Hope Camp, No. 6509, M. W. A., in which he served as clerk for five years. The honor which has come to him in election to the state senate has been amply deserved, as he is a man of much practical wisdom and of undoubted integrity of character. Mr. Pearson has visited, on several occasions, many places of interest in the East, and in the summer of 1911 took a trip to Europe, visiting the countries of Sweden. Denmark, and some of England.
Biography in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. V (1915) on pages 1236-1239
POWERS, WILLIAM M, Back to that cradle of so much of our national history, the Old Dominion state, must we turn in designating the place of nativity of Mr. Powers, who is one of the honored pioneer citizens of Yankton , SD and a veteran of the war of the Rebellion. Mr. Powers was born in Culpeper county, Virginia, in the year 1845, and is the only survivor of the three children of Thomas and Amelia Powers. Owing to the fact that both his parents died when he was a child he knows but little concerning the family history on either side. His father was born in Ireland, whence he came to the United States as a young man, and his marriage was solemnized in Virginia, where he lived for some time afterward. He then removed to Shullsburg, Lafayette county, Wisconsin. He was a miner by occupation, and his accumulations usually went back into the ground, as the subject of this sketch expressed it. In 1852 he made the long and perilous overland trip to California, making the journey with an ox-team, and in the Golden state he died about four years later, having sent back to his family as much money as possible. The mother of the subject died of cholera while he was a mere child. He was thus left dependent upon his own exertions, and in addition to this untimely burden he also had a younger brother for whom he felt it incumbent to provide. Under these unpromising conditions he secured a position in the New York hotel, in Shullsburg, where he blackened boots and shoes and did such other work as came to hand, sparing no pains to provide for the proper care of his infant brother, whom he placed in a private family, paying one dollar and a quarter a week for his maintenance, and in this way enabling the boy to attend school when of proper age. The task of making this provision often tasked his energies to the utmost and caused him to become most fertile in expedients, while there can be no manner of doubt that thus was fostered that spirit of self-reliance and independence which has so signally conserved his success in the mature years of his life. After being employed in the hotel for two years Mr. Powers secured a place to work on a farm in that locality and also found a position for his brother on the same farm, the latter becoming a general chore boy, and while thus engaged both attended school during the winter terms and applied themselves diligently to study at night. They passed about three years on the farm and our subject then secured a position as driver of a stage on the route between Shellsburg and Benton, receiving in recompense for his services the sum of ten dollars a month. After being thus engaged for one year he apprenticed himself to learn the trade of harness making, at Shullsburg, receiving thirty-five dollars a year for the first two years and fifty dollars the third. Of his brother, Richard, it may be said that he died at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1894. In 1861, at the age of sixteen years, Mr. Powers tendered his services in defense of the Union, whose integrity was in jeopardy through armed rebellion. He enlisted in Company C, Seventh Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and he continued in active service for three years, gaining the record of a loyal and valiant son of the Republic, and participating in many important battles. In the battle of Gainesville, Virginia, he was engaged with Jackson's division of Bragg's brigade, known as the "Iron brigade," which lost eight hundred and seventy five men in that memorable conflict. He also took part in the second battle of Bull Run, and in the battle of Antietam he was wounded so severely as to render it necessary for him to remain for two months in the hospital at Washington. He then rejoined his regiment, with which he proceeded into Virginia, and he was at the front in the battles of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, the three days' battle of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, etc. His command was a part of the Army of the Potomac and was engaged in conflict with the Confederate forces all the way to Petersburg. He was mustered out in 1864, receiving his honorable discharge in September of that year, and he then returned to Lancaster, Wisconsin, where he had enlisted. He was ill for a period of six months after his return and then entered into partnership with a Mr. Collins, under whom he had served his apprenticeship at the harness trade. Three months later he purchased his partner's interest in the harness shop, where he gave employment to nine workmen, and he worked assiduously, secured good prices for his products and accumulated money. Finally his health became so impaired that he found it necessary to seek other occupation. He accordingly purchased a livery business in Lancaster, and one month later disposed of his harness business. He continued the livery enterprise about three years and was successful in the same. In 1873 he came to the territory of Dakota, arriving in Yankton, which was then the capital, on the 10th of April of that year, and shortly afterward he purchased, for a consideration of ten thousand dollars, a livery and transfer business in this city, and he built up an extensive and important enterprise, operating an omnibus and transfer line and general livery and also engaging in the buying and selling of horses, which he shipped in from Iowa and Wisconsin. He showed much discrimination and good judgment in this branch of his business and his success was cumulative from the start. In 1897 Mr. Powers retired from active business, since which time he has given his attention to the buying and handling of farm and city realty, in which he has dealt upon an extensive scale, being the owner of much valuable real estate in Yankton and in other portions of the state. He is a Republican in his political proclivities, his first presidential vote having been cast for Lincoln while he was with his regiment at the front, and he has ever maintained his allegiance to the grand old party which stood exponent of the government policy during that most crucial epoch in our nation's history. He served four terms as a member of the board of aldermen of Yankton, while the strong hold which he has upon the confidence and esteem of the people of the city is manifest when we revert to the fact that he was mayor of the city for four terms, giving an administration which redounded to his credit and to the best interests of the municipality. He was for two terms a member of the board of county commissioners and for four years served as a member of the board of trustees of the state hospital for the insane, having been president of the board during his last year of service. In the spring of 1903 a further appreciative distinction was given Mr. Powers. in his appointment as a member of the state board of charities and corrections, comprising five members, the board having control of seven state institutions. Fraternally, he is identified with the Grand Army of the Republic, the Masonic order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In July, 1896, Mr. Powers was united in marriage to Miss Hattie Ury, of Wisconsin, one child having been born of this union, Ida Powers, now living in Chicago. The subject was again married, in Yankton, to Mrs. L. M. Purdy, who was born in Yankton, there being no issue from this marriage. Mr. Powers was on the World's Fair Commission from Dakota, at Chicago. Religiously he supports the Congregational church. He is one of the well-known pioneers of the state and it is a matter of satisfaction to be able to enter this brief outline of his career in this history.
Biography in "History of South Dakota" by Doane Robinson, Vol. I (1904) on pages 815-817
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