The first settlement in Boone County was made in 1872. John Peters, an agent for the railroad, moved to Nebraska in the 1870s and took up a homestead near the spot where Petersburg was located. On June 8, 1887, Mr. Peters dedicated the plot of land on which Petersburg now stands. Newspapers announced on June 10, 1887, that Petersburg was the new town on the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad. Sale of town lots commenced June 15, 1887.
John Peters-Our Founder
When Petersburg was settled and long before, there was not a man in Boone Co. that did not know John Peters personally, and hardly one that he did not know by name. He was County Clerk for twelve years at Albion when all the county offices occupied one room, and when Albion was practically the only trading point in the county. Mr. Peters was agent for the railroad lands in the county, and was interviewed by every prospective settler. He was so long in office that he had the affairs of the county more in hand than any other individual, and much credit was due him for the efficient business management of the county during its early history. He was a member of the legislature and his ability and prominence as an organizer placed him in line for the best political office in the state, that of Collector of Internal Revenue. He received this appointment, and his temporary residence in Omaha during the four years in which he held this office, is the only break in his forty years of living in Boone Co. He afterwards served as postmaster at Albion for two terms.
John Peters was born in Alton, IL, June 16, 1844, where his youth and young manhood were passed. He learned the painters trade and worked at that until he came to Nebraska in 1872. He took up a homestead near where Petersburg was afterwards located; Mr. Peters was a joint owner with the railroad company in the town site. During the war of the rebellion, Mr. Peters enlisted in Company D, 10th Illinois Volunteers and served until the close of the war. He had been a member of Kit Carson Post G.A.R. since its organization.
He married his wife, Sarah Widaman, at Brighton, IL. They had five children: Nellie, Blanche, Guy, Norman, and Leona.
For forty years, he was a factor in the development of this part of the great and new West. He came here in the earliest days, and with his wife, participated in the hardships of pioneer life. Here his children were born and grew to man and womanhood. His talents were early recognized, and he received the recognition and honors which they were merited. He was blessed with moderate financial success, and the acquisition of a family which brought him honor and pride.