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Olaf Peterson

Olaf Peterson was among the pioneers in the development of the farming and dairying interests of the Chimacum valley. He was among the first to settle in that section of the state and was one of the first to recognize that the country might be available for other than lumbering and logging interests. In imagination he saw the country cleared of its forests and recognized the fact that farming must eventually follow. It is almost a half century since Olaf Peterson arrived in the Chimacum valley, reaching his destination in July, 1868. He made his way to San Francisco and thence to Port Ludlow as a sailor before the mast, but at that point he left his ship and came to Chimacum.

He was born in Sweden, January 13, 1844, a son of farming people who spent their entire lives in Sweden. In his boyhood he attended the schools of his native country and in the late '60s he came to America, making his way to San Francisco, where he secured a position on a sailing vessel. He afterward followed the sea for nine years and in that connection made his way up to the Puget Sound country in 1868. But the attractions of land life proved irresistible and, leaving his ship at Port Ludlow, he made his way to Chimacum, where he soon secured employment as a farm hand. He was thus employed for three years and during that period saved his earnings in the hope of soon engaging in farming on his own account. Taking up a homestead claim in the Chimacum valley, he developed this through hard labor into one of the finest farms to be found anywhere, and in later years he bought another farm in the town of Chimacum upon which he developed dairy interests. There he built fine barns and also an attractive residence for his family and upon that place he lived until called to his final rest July 19, 1916, enjoying the comforts of life, the associations of a loving wife and family and the interests of business activity. His course was always such as to commend him to the confidence, goodwill and high regard of those with whom he came in contact.

On the 25th of November, 1878. in Port Townsend, Washington, Mr. Peterson was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Peterson, whose parents were natives of Sweden. Emigrating to the United States, she settled first in Minnesota and subsequently took up her abode in Port Townsend, Washington. By her marriage she has become the mother of four children. Charles E., who was born at Chimacum on the 9th of July, 1880, obtained his education in the schools of that place and is now managing the home farm and looking after the family's interests. Clara, whose birth occurred at Chimacum, Washington, October 12, 1881, acquired her education in the schools of that town and is now the wife of Howard L. Bill, who conducts a wagon making and blacksmithing establishment at Chimacum. Mr. and Mrs. Bill have four children: Howard, Gordon, Caroline and Clara. Mary, twin sister of Clara, is now the wife of William Eldridge, son of one of the pioneer dairymen of the Chimacum valley. Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge reside at Hadlock and have five children: Reuben, Howard, Irene, Irvin and Willis. James, born at Chimacum on the 19th of April, 1884, wedded Miss Zena Knapp and makes his home at Chimacum.

In political affairs Mr. Peterson never took a very active part but at national elections always voted with the democratic party. For many years he served as road supervisor in his district and deserves the credit for the present excellent condition of the highways of his section. In religious circles he was well known as a loyal member of the Methodist Episcopal church. His life, at all times honorable and upright, compassed a period of untiring activity in the business world, bringing him steadily from a humble position to a place of prominence as one of the substantial citizens of Chimacum, and his record is one well worthy of earnest consideration by all who would win success along the lines of straight- forward endeavor.

Source: Washington, west of the Cascades; historical and descriptive; the explorers, the Indians, the pioneers, the modern; (Volume 2); by Herbert Hunt; Publisher: Chicago, Seattle, etc., The S. J. Clarke publishing company; 1917.

Deb Nelson, Webmaster and County Coordinator