Cottonwood County MN Biographies--William Arthur Peterson
"History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties of Minnesota, 1916"



William Arthur Peterson, a highly skilled draughtsman of Windom, Cottonwood county, was born at Stoughton, Dane county, Wisconsin, February 22, 1856. He is a son of Cyrus N. and Ellen Maria (Nason) Peterson, both natives of Vermont, where they spent their earlier years, moving to Ohio, then to Dane county, Wisconsin, about 1855, removing in 1858 to near Mankato, Minnesota, whither the father had come in 1857, taking up a pre-emption homestead in Blue Earth county—eighty acres—on which he resided until about 1867, in which year he went to Faribault county and bought a farm, but removed to Cottonwood county in 1870, locating in Springfield township, homesteading the south half of the northeast quarter of section 12. Here he developed a good farm on which he spent the rest of his life. He was also a carpenter and builder. His family consisted of two children, namely: Elias N., a veteran of the Civil War, having served in Company H, Fourth Regiment, Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and William A., the subject of this sketch.

William A. Peterson grew up on the farm and received a common school education, and he also attended the high school at Windom. He remained on the home farm until he was about twenty-three years of age. He taught two terms of school, the first one when eighteen years of age. On November 20, 1878, he began working in the field agents' department of what is now known as the "Omaha Railway," and was located at Worthington seven years, then was transferred to St. Paul as chief clerk and assistant land commissioner, which position he held until November 1, 1895. He returned to Windom, where he engaged in the real-estate business until 1905, later becoming chief draughtsman for C. W. Gove, ditching contractor, which position he still holds.

William A. Peterson has been twice married, five children being horn of the first union, of whom two are living, namely: Eva, the wife of Harry Strange, of St. Paul, and Edna, the wife of T. J. Jennes, of Windom. Mr. Peterson was married, secondly, to Richie Maxwell, February 23, 1908.

Politically, Mr. Peterson is a Prohibitionist. He was formerly village recorder of Windom. He was at one time surveyor of Nobles county, Minnesota, while living at Worthington. He was justice of the peace at Windom for six years. He and his family are Baptists, and he is treasurer and trustee of the local church of this denomination. He has also taken a good citizen's part in the general development of the communities in which he has lived. Fraternally, he has belonged to the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons since 1883, and to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows since about 1901.