Captain Peterson and His Two Wives

Peter Peterson
July 20, 1839 – August 15, 1916 (aged 77)

Anna (Miller) Peterson (married in 1868)
February 3, 1843 – December 31, 1879 (aged 36)

Bertha (Rathke) Peterson (married in 1881)
December 11, 1846 – September 25, 1930 (aged 83)

(reposted from @postsinthegraveyard, January 10, 2021)

After seeing a picture of this absolutely stunning headstone on the cemetery’s website, I went on a quest to find it and after tramping around for ages, I did!

The design honors the life’s work of Captain Peterson who was master and half-owner of the Winnie Wing schooner. His obituary in the Chicago Tribune called him “one of the pioneer navigators of the Great Lakes.”

There’s already a nice write-up about Captain Peterson on the find-a-grave website which I will not summarize here. It details his life at sea and only touches on his marriage and children. The bio mentions that he and first wife Anna had five daughters and two sons, but in the 1880 census shortly after her death, the captain is living as a widower with only Peter (11), Thomas (7), Clara (5). As Anna’s cause of death (RARE FIND) is given as consumption, and considering the time period, I can only guess their other four daughters did not survive childhood and predeceased their mother.

The captain remarried, and the brief bio given for Bertha on the same site mentions two children who died in infancy. The captain’s obituary says he is survived by Bertha and only his two sons, so Clara passed away at some point before her father. I attempted to figure out a bit more about both Anna and Clara, but due to how common the names of everyone involved are (and the notoriously lost 1890 census), it’s far too complex a project.

RIP Petersons

Please visit my Instagram for any questions or comments on this post!


error: Content is protected !!