Alfred Ejudias Persson Peterson
Picture of Alfred before he left for America circa: 1887
Picture taken circa 1899 with Alfred, wife Tekla and probably Elmer (their oldest son.) I believe Tekla may have been pregnant with my grandmother, Olga in this picture taken in East St. Louis, IL
Alfred was born July 31, 1869 in Ålem Parish, Kalmar Co., Sweden. His parents were Per August Olsson and Wendla Sofia Andersdotter. As a young man he spent most of his life in this area. When he was 20 years old, on February 10, 1888 he sailed to America from the port at Gothenburg. It states on the passenger list that he was heading for St. James. We now know that this was St. James, Minnesota. Alfred would live with his mother's brother, Johan Peter Andersson and work on his farm there until he saved enough money to go out on his own. Alfred worked one year on Uncle Johan's farm and was given his salary and a new suit. Alfred felt that he could do better on his own and set off to St. Louis to sell bibles on the street corners.
He was the first of three brothers and one sister to come to America. He sold bibles until he made enough profit to buy a horse. He bought an untamed horse and 'broke' it until he could train it to pull a wagon. Then he bought more horses and he finally had enough horses to make a team and he built roads for the New World's Fair in St. Louis. This was a lucrative business for a young Swedish immigrant and Alfred was a smart business man. He hired numerous young men to work for him--'driving his teams of horses' until he had enough money to buy more and so on.
Within a short time, Alfred met and married Tekla Matilda Jonsson (Johnson) who had come to America when she was only a child and although they had not met in Sweden, they managed to find each other in America. They married April 21, 1896 in Pulaski Co., Missouri. They had the following children:
Elmer Peterson born September 8, 1897
Olga Linnea Peterson born November 27, 1899
Carl Peterson born 1907
Ethel Peterson born 1910
Alfred was a very prosperous man during his life in America. At one time he employed over 100 men. His brothers each came to America after him. Joseph was the only one that worked with Alfred and died having never married. Alfred's sons Elmer and Carl carried on their father's business many years after he died in 1940 in St. Louis County, Missouri. Alfred's beloved Tekla died when she was only 40 years old, leaving him with four young children--he never remarried. At the time of his death he was living with his daughter, Olga and her family in Baden in North County. Alfred Peterson never returned to Sweden to visit his family.
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