Senior Connections Senior Connections Dec. 2018 - Page 2

Albion Township resident honored a century after his death in World War I BY NANCY DASHWOOD Staff Writer More than a century ago, August and Beda Peterson, both Swedish immigrants, farmed and raised their family in Albion Township in Wright County. The Petersons had 12 chil- dren. A son, named Lawrence (some- times spelled Laurence) was their third-born, arriving in late August 1892. The Peterson children attended Knapp School District 102. August died in 1914, leaving Law- rence, 21, with a family farm to run. Lawrence’s mother later wrote that Lawrence was “ambitious to work on the farm.” Beda also wrote, her son “took part in anything that tended to better the community, and was an ac- tive church member.” Life changed quickly Feb, 24, 1918, at the age of 25, Lawrence was inducted into military service in Buffalo, as a private dur- ing World War I. He trained at Camp Dodge from Feb. 26 to April 5. Lawrence served his country at posts in France and Belgium, begin- ning that May. He was fi rst sent into action July 4. September found Lawrence and his colleagues facing the battlefront at the Hindenburg Line, a German de- fensive position between France and Belgium. The ultimate sacrifi ce World War I hero Lawrence Peterson. PHOTO COURTESY OF HIS FAMILY 2 Senior Lieutenant Colonel Joel Anderson read a speech in his great uncle Lawrence Peterson’s honor at a memorial for the World War I hero. One of Lawrence’s great- nephews, Lieutenant Colonel Joel Anderson, recently shared the rest of Lawrence’s story. “When the Germans discovered the presence of the Americans, they were desperate and fi red millions of artillery shells to stop them,” Olson stated. “As that man from Knapp, Lawrence Pe- terson, took up the duty of staying up in the trench to watch no-man’s land for a German counterat- tack, so his fellow soldiers could take better cover, one of the shells killed him. He died a genuine hero on the toughest battlefi eld in France.” A brief announcement was printed in the Nov. 7, 1918 issue of the Cokato newspaper. It read, “Lawrence Peterson, son of Mr. Peter- son, who has charge of the Knapp telephone cen- tral and brother of R.L. Peterson, proprietor of the Knapp store, was killed in action the latter part of September, according to advice received by rela- Connections December 2018 SUBMITTED PHOTO tives. Cokato now has two gold stars in the service fl ag. The entire community grieves the bereaved mother.” Lawrence’s mother completed the State of Min- nesota’s information form, providing information to the military for its Gold Star Roll. As time passed, those who remembered Lawrence Peter- son dwindled. Moving generations ahead It has now been a full-century since the end of WWI. To mark the occasion, LTC Joel Olson, accom- panied by his mother and sister, visited France. “We were on a 100-year WWI anniversary tour and visited battlefi elds, monuments, museums, and cemeteries,” Olson recently stated. “At the ceme- teries, we participated in very moving ceremonies. Senior Connections HJ.COM