History of Idaho, Volume 3, by Hiram T. French, M.S.
The Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago and New York 1914, Page 913
Lewis Peterson had the will; he found the way. A little more than twenty-five years ago, an Illinois youth still in his teens, he started out in business life with no capital in the way of money but with strong assets in the way of energy, an industrious disposition, good business acumen and a tenacity of purpose that has made him the master of every adverse situation. Today he is one of the substantial men of Payette, Idaho, and during the few years of his residence there that thriving city has found him a veritable bundle of energy and enterprise. The story of his struggle upward may give incentive to other ambitious youth, for however much opportunity may abound, the law of success remains ever the same.
Lewis Peterson was born to Lewis and Frances L. (Lee) Peterson in McHenry county, Illinois, September 17, 1866. The father, a native of New York, had removed to Illinois early in the '60s and there followed farming with moderate success until his death in 1872 at the age of forty-eight. The mother, born in St. Charles, Illinois, remained a resident of that state many years but now lives at Mandan, North Dakota. Three children came to these parents, Lewis being the youngest and the only son. He was educated in the public schools of Richmond, Illinois, to the age of sixteen and at the age of eighteen became apprenticed to learn the tinner's trade. He served two years, receiving $25 and his board and room the first year, and the same the second year, except that his remuneration in money was increased to $50. The next three years he spent as a journeyman at his trade, and following that he worked two years as a tinner at Mandan, North Dakota. Then returning to Richmond, Illinois, he purchased the business from the man under whom he had learned his trade and also purchased a hardware store there. Combining the two lines, he was engaged, in this business two years; then he sold his interests there and removed to Duluth, Minnesota, where he followed the real estate, loan and insurance business until the panic of 1892-93 wiped out all of his savings. Undaunted by this misfortune, he started over again, bravely, determinedly. Returning to one of his former locations, Mandan, North Dakota, he made arrangements to enter into the hardware and furnace business there, having practically no capital of his own, and there he set about resolutely to retrieve his losses. Mr. Peterson continued this identification at Mandan until 1905, when he sold his interests and realized from them a very comfortable capital. He then purchased a hardware business at Devil's Lake, North Dakota, but sold this establishment three years later and in 1908 came to Payette, Idaho. Here he formed a partnership with D. D. Hambly, the firm known as Hambly & Peterson, to engage in the real estate, loan and insurance business, but after a year and a half the partnership was dissolved and Mr. Peterson took up the same line of business independently. He was the first director and one of the organizers of the Payette Heights Irrigation Company and he is also an active promoter in the Dead Ox Flat Irrigation Company, the largest irrigation project in this section and one affecting over 7,000 acres of land. Among the personal holdings of Mr. Peterson is a forty-acre orchard one mile from Fruitland, and he also has other city and landed interests here, as well as an eighty-acre farm on the Payette, Oregon, slope. He is a member of the Payette commercial club, and fraternally is affiliated with the Free and Accepted Masons and the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Devil's Lake, North Dakota. In church membership he is identified with the Presbyterian denomination. Mr. Peterson is well satisfied with Idaho and feels that the United States affords no place where are combined better climatic conditions and better advantages for a home and business than are to be found in this state.
At Mandan, North Dakota, Mr. Peterson was married on November 27, 1900, to Miss Jennie M. Miller, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and of German descent. Mrs. Peterson is a highly accomplished musician and is prominent in the church and social life of Payette, being a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and of different women's clubs of that city. Mr. and Mrs. Peterson have one son, Everett M. Peterson, born November 14, 1908, at Mandan, North Dakota. The family enjoys one of the modern and attractive homes of Payette, built in 1911 and located at 1612 Second Avenue, south.