"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Peterson, Gust proprietor of Crystal Creek Dairy Farm in the town of Birch, Lincoln County, is one of the best known farmers in this county, and also one of the most prosperous, and in his active and successful career he has been the architect and builder of his own fortunes. He was born in Sweden March 4, 1882, son of Hans and Sophia PETERSON, the parents being farmers. The family came to the United States in 1888, locating at Grand Rapids or Centralia, Wood County, Wis., those two former cities being now united in one under the name of Wisconsin Rapids. Hans PETERSON worked for two years in a mill at Rudolph, that county, for Clark & Scott, and later went to Hazelhurst, Oneida County, then the scene of lumber operations, where he remained four years. In 1896 he came with his family to Merrill, Lincoln County, where he worked in mills and lumber yards, from there going to Harshaw, Oneida County, where he worked in lumber yards for two years. At the end of that time he bought 160 acres of land in the town of Birch, Lincoln County, 12 acres of which were cleared, there being also some log buildings on the place. There he and his wife took up their residence, and began to develop a farm. By 1919 he had a good place, with 40 acres cleared, and he then sold it and moved to the farm of his son Fred, on which he built a small residence for himself and wife, which is their present home. They have had ten children, of whom eight are now living, namely: Mrs. John MAGNUSON of Rock Falls; Charley, a farmer in the town of Birch; Mrs. Eli JOHNSON, farmer in the town of Birch; Fred, a farmer in the town of Birch; Amanda, wife of Charles GAUTHIER of Lac du Flambeau; Gust, subject of this sketch; Otto, a farmer in the town of Birch; and Oscar, who makes his home with his parents. Oscar was inducted into the United States' service in the spring of 1918, trained at Camp Grant, Illinois, and was discharged at the end of the war without having gone overseas. Freda, who became the wife of Nels MICHAELSON, is now deceased, and the other child died in infancy. Gust PETERSON, who came to the United States with his parents and the rest of the family, took part in their wanderings as his father sought work in different places successively. He attended school in Hazelhurst, Merrill and Hershaw, and after his parents had settled on their farm he assisted his father to clear and improve it, being thus occupied until he was 21 years old. That summer (1903) he was employed in the lumber yard of J. N. COTTER at the Cotter's mill but in the following winter worked at home again, chiefly helping to cut timber. The next year he and his eldest brother, Charley, bought 40 acres of state land covered with timber, which they started cutting, and from that time to this he has been engaged in logging more or less. In the fall of 1906, with his brother Fred, he bought a tract of 80 acres in Section 6, town of Birch, on which a small clearing had been made and a log barn and small frame house built. This was the nucleus of his present magnificent farm, which he and his brother Fred operated together until the spring of 1908, Gust bought Fred's interest and has since remained sole proprietor. It would take too much time and space to relate each successive step in his onward career, but when the results are glanced at it is plain that he has been a worker and has worked for some purpose. Seventy-five acres of his land are now under cultivation, and having from time to time bought additional land, he now has 220 acres in the home farm, and also owns another tract, of 120 acres, across the road in Section 5, of which ten acres are broken, the rest being in pasture. Thus the total area is 340 acres. He has built a 12-room frame house and in 1911 he put up a barn 40x80 feet in size, with a full basement and modern equipment, including running water. In 1917 he installed a Delco lighting system, which furnishes electric light for all his buildings. In addition to this lighting plant, the house has furnace heat, with hot and cold running water and bath. Other buildings on the place are a garage of 20x36 feet, a machine-shed 24x40, a meat house, blacksmith shop, ice-house, horse barn, silo and corn crib; furthermore the farm is fully provided with modern machinery. Mr. PETERSON does general farming and diarying, keeping a herd of abut 40 head of high grade Jersey cattle, with a pure-bred bull, and is milking from 20 to 25 cows. He also raises some hogs, and with his brother Fred owns a grain separator and silo filler. They do their own threshing with a 15-horse power gas-engine. Another of Mr. PETERSON'S achievements is the development of a fine orchard of apples and plums, and in addition to the fine property constituting his home farm, he owns a summer home on Sand Lake, at Flambeau. He is the president of the Crystal Creek Cheese Factory and is a member with his family of the Swedish Lutheran Church and the societies connected with it. Mr. PETERSON was married in Merrill on May 14, 1907, to Olga PEARSON, daughter of Otto and Emily PEARSON, the parents being natives of Sweden, in which country they still reside. It was there also that Mr. and Mrs. PETERSON spent their wedding trip of four months. They are the proud parents of seven fine children, who were born as follows: Rosella, April 11, 1908; Margaret, Aug. 6, 1909; Violet, July 6, 1911; William, April 24, 1913; Signa, July 25, 1915; Elva, Dec. 6, 1917; and Elaine, Aug. 9, 1921. When Mr. PETERSON started in life on his own account his cash capital consisted of five dollars. It is therefore most fitting that such a record as he has made should be known and preserved for posterity as an example of what may be accomplished by well directed industry and perseverance.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 681-682; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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