Hon. William F. Peter. In recalling the representative men of Riley County, who, during life, were earnest and useful, faithful and efficient and so left an impress on the history of their time that is honorable and creditable, the late William F. Peter is called forcibly to mind. Forty-seven years of his life were spent in Kansas and to her interests he was devoted heart and soul, working personally and in public office to further her progress.
William F. Peter, twice elected a member of the State Legislature of Kansas, was born in Jackson County, Indiana, January 28, 1854, and died in Riley County, Kansas, March 2, 1916. He was a son of Jonas and Barbara (Bruenner) Peter, who were natives of Switzerland. They came as young people to the United States and were married in Jackson County, Indiana, where both subsequently died, the father at the age of fifty-three years, and the mother after the birth of four children, the only survivor being Charles Wesley Peter, a sketch of whom appears in this work.
Reared on his father’s farm in Indiana and educated in the public schools of Jackson County, William F. Peter remained a resident of his native place until 1869. Ten years earlier, or in 1859, his father had purchased 500 acres of land in Fancy Creek Valley, in Riley County, Kansas, as an investment. In 1869 William F. Peter came westward and being pleased with the property and seeing evidences that careful cultivation would make it one of the most valuable in this section, decided to locate permanently here and in 1872 he was joined by his brother, Charles W. They labored together in developing productive farms and for seven years managed their own domestic affairs, probably not entirely to their satisfaction because both married in the same year, by that time having comfortable homes to which to bring their brides.
On March 30, 1880, William F. Peter was married to Miss Anna Wiesandanger, who is a daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Pfeil) Wiesendanger. The father of Mrs. Peter was born in Switzerland. He came to the United States and located first in Wisconsin, coming from there in 1861 to Riley County, Kansas. Four sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Peter: Edwin, Harry, Leslie and Arthur.
Mr. Peter was successful financially in his undertakings, prospering greatly as a farmer and stock-raiser. He was intelligent and public spirited and early manifested interest in public affairs as they related to Riley County and the state, and when called upon to serve in public office was ready to accept such responsibilities as his fellow citizens deemed desirable. He served in such township offices as trustee and later was elected, on the republican ticket, a member of the board of county commissioners. In 1904 he was called still higher, being elected to the State Legislature as representative from Riley County, and as indicative of the value placed on his services, he was re-elected in 1906. In all the public positions to which he was called he served with distinction and was generally recognized as a man of more than ordinary ability, foresight and wisdom, and there was no one who ever doubted his honesty or sincerity of purpose. Broad-minded and generous, fair and just, kind and temperate, his family and community lost a most worthy husband, father and citizen when his earthly life closed.