Kittson County Historical Society

Kittson profiles and photos from the past and present

August (Persson) Peterson (born April 1842 in Sweden and died 24 January 1933 Crookston, MN) left Sweden as a young man and lived for a time in Germany where William and his siblings were born. Mrs. August Persson (still searching for her name) was listed as German on William’s census records and died there prior to the family’s move to America.

Willie's obituary confirms that August Peterson of Stephen, Marshall County, MN is the father of William Peterson. A Willie Peterson, son of August, is found in Stephen in the 1895 Minnesota Census, living with his father August, stepmother Anna, brother Edward, and step-brother Carl Johnson. (August, Anna, Carl and Christian Johnton are located in Stephen in the 1885 Minnesota Census in agreement with the belief  that the widowed August came alone, remarried, and then brought his children and brother-in-law over after he was settled.) Further corroboration is found in the consistent listing of August’s occupation as “livery stable.” The livery stable would be the home base for Willie’s stagecoach and where his horses were refreshed. His father would have been in a strategic place to help his 23 year-old son get a job as a driver. 

August and some portion of his family came to Stephen, MN in 1883 after a brief stay in Warren, MN, and he indicates on the 1895 census that they did not reside anywhere else in Minnesota prior to this time. August is a consistent resident of Stephen or the neighboring village of Tamarac between the years 1883-1930. He lists his year of immigration from 1881-1883 depending on which census you consult. He and his wife Anna divorced c. 1896 or 1897, and he remarried a Scottish woman, Jane (Jennie) around 1898. Curiously, with his third marriage, he sometimes adds John, Johon, or Johan with the August or an A. All other surrounding details are reasonably consistent. Given the Swedish spelling of John, it’s unlikely she, a scot, made it up but instead was resurrected something from his youth. It’s a good hint when it comes to searching for those elusive immigration records.

In the 1930 census, we find August a widow and again using just August in the Stephen census. I also found an August J. Peterson living with his son Edward in Crookston, Polk County, MN also in the 1930 census. The dates and locations of birth for both Edward and August J. are reasonably close and Willie's obituary lists a brother Edward in Crookston.  At 89/90, he may have been moving in with his son. August died in Crookston on January 24, 1933. 

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