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Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


The following paragraph contains briefly the salient facts of the life of a plain, honest man of affairs. Hans P. Petersen, the proprietor of a well-known mercantile establishment at Exira, this county, who, by correct methods and a strict regard for the interests of his patrons, has made his influence felt in that section of Audubon country, having won for himself distinctive prestige in the business circles of this community. Hans P. Petersen would be the last man to become the subject of fulsome eulogy. Nevertheless his life presents much that is interesting from the biographer’s viewpoint, and which may be studied with profit by the young men whose careers are yet to be achieved, Mr. Petersen himself being a comparatively young man, whose integrity and strength of character call for public notice which his modesty never would seek. Mr. Petersen commands the respect of his contemporaries and has left his individuality deeply stamped upon the community in which he lives.

Hans P. Petersen

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Hans P. Petersen was born in Denmark on December 16, 1871, the son of K. S. and Carrie (Sorenson) Petersen, both natives of that country, the latter of whom died in 1879 and the former in 1886. K. S. Petersen was a farmer in Denmark and farmed there all his life. He served throughout the Danish-Prussian War in 1864. At the time the war broke out he was living near the Danish-Prussian border. He and his wife were the parents of ten children, seven of whom are now linving, Peter K., Christena, Margaret, Soren, Hans P., Minnie and Chris. All of these children are living in America except Christena and Minnie, who still live in Denmark.

Hans P. Petersen attended school in Denmark until he was fifteen years old, after which he worked out as a farm hand, receiving a very small amount of money for wages, just about enough to clothe himself. In 1889 he came to America and located near Minden, Nebraska, on a farm. He worked there for ten dollars a month during the first summer and the following summer he received thirteen dollars. After working there for a year and a half, he went to Shelby county, Iowa, and took a course in the Danish Lutheran College at Elkhorn. After completing that course, he engaged in the creamery business at West Hamlin, Iowa, where he worked for sixteen months, and then removed to Marne, Iowa, where he operated a creamery for a short time, after which he returned to West Hamlin and about one year later took charge of the Elkhorn creamery. Later, returning to West Hamlin, he managed the creamery there for three years and then took charge of the Audubon township creamery, of which he was manager until 1901. In that year he moved to Exira and engaged in the implement business with H. P. Hansen, being thus engaged for a year and a half, at the end of which time he bought one-third interest in the Hansen-Lohmer Company, dealers in general merchandise, and in February, 1910, took over the entire business. Mr. Petersen handles a complete line of general merchandise, occupying three storerooms on the north side of Washington street, at Exira, and has built up a large and flourishing business.

On December 7, 1895, Hans P. Petersen was married to Catherine Jessen, daughter of Peter A. and Maren (Jessen) Jessen, to which union three choldren have been born, Henry, Carrie and Milo, all of whom are living at home. Mrs. Petersen was born in Schleswig, Germany, and her parents also are natives of that country. They came to America in 1893 and after a time located in Audubon county, where they took up farming, which they followed until 1904, in which year they retired and moved to Exira. They are the parents of nine children, Jens, Peter, Marten, Chris, Mary, Katherine, Lena, Andrew and Nis.

Mr. and Mrs. Petersen and family are members of the Danish Lutheran church. At one time Mr. Petersen served as councilman at Exira. He is independent in politics, having lost all faith in the promises of political parties. Mr. Petersen believes in supporting men for what they are and for what they have done, rather than voting in a blind, partisan sense. Since coming to this country, Hans P. Petersen has worthily discharged his duties as an American citizen and has become a potent factor in the civic life of Exira township.

Transcribed by Gunter Schanzenbacher, Waynesboro, PA, March 19, 2013 from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 432-434.
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