Shawano In The News
Shawano County Journal
6 Jun 1918
Famous War Negro Dead at Leopolis
Came to Alex Peterson's Company
Was with Sherman on Great March
Well-Known as "Nigger Pete"
Leaves a snug amount of property to his surviving Widow and Children
In this weeks Advocate, there was a short write-up taken from the Marion Advisor upon the death of Everett Peterson, a Leopolis Pioneer. It is quite possible that many of you read this item and did not recognize in this pioneer a figure who in the old woods days was as well known as any man on the Wolf. He was called Nigger Pete, then, and many never knew he had another name. His coming to this state makes a story that in the hands of a novelist could be made a fascinating tale.
Peter was born a slave and was owned by a hard-fisted master down in South Carolina. When Gen. Sheridan made his raid through the South, Alex Peterson of Shawano was with him as First Lt in one of the companies. One day a negro boy, about 11 years of age the men judged, rushed into camp where Mr. Peterson's company was eating supper. At that moment the boy was transmuted from a slave to a free man. He went back to Shawano with his new found friend. Here he was taken into the family and until he was thirty years of age, he knew no other home. When he was almost thirty-two he was married to Miss Minnie Bucholtz, and to this union four children were born. At the time of his death he was well-off, for he had worked hard and had been careful and saving. He will leave to his widow and children a neat little fortune.
Back in the old river days, he was noted far and wide for his physical prowess. He never would pick a quarrel; for of nature he was peaceful and had a faculty of making friends, but if a person wished to pick on him, he had best think twice. There was at that time in New London a river bully named John Vader. He was the dreaded man all along the river from New London to Shawano. One day Peter met him, and when the smoke had cleared away John Vader had changed his mind and from then on he was as gentle as a kitten. The deceased was about sixty years of age. Had he remained in South his name would have been that of his master and Everett Peterson would never have been known.
Shawano County Journal
June 27, 1918
Man who has been in Shawano since early days died yesterday noon at his home
Anthony Zerwas, an old time resident of Shawano, died yesterday at his home in the first ward at half past twelve. He was eighty-two and a half years old. He was born in Germany and spent his early school days there. in 1842 he came to America and settled in Dodge County, Wisconsin. Just a few days later, he came to Shawano and started a shoe shop on the trail through the woods they called main street even at that early date. When the Civil War came on, he remained at his work for the first year and a half, and then in 1863 he enlisted from Green Bay in Company I of the 32nd regiment. He stayed with the colors until the end of the war.
After the war he returned to Shawano and went back to shoe-making. Then for several years he ran a saloon. Later he changed into the restaurant business. He retired twenty-eight years ago.
He was twice married. his first wife, who was Mary Fink, died in the early 80's. The children are Ida, who died at the age of 14; Bertha, Mrs. Lehman, now living in Canada; Will, a son who lives in Shawano; and Alice, Mrs. Wichman, who lives in Oshkosh. The funeral will be held at his house tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at two o'clock.