Pueblo County, Colorado

Contributed by Karen Mitchell.

Hon. Wilkins O. Peterson, a prominent attorney of Pueblo and representative of his district in the state senate, stands at all times for the most progressive measures in relation to public affairs and is well known as the author of the bill which made Colorado dry, a work of which he has every reason to be proud and which will win him higher honors as the years go on and the country comes to a full recognition of what prohibition means in economic, sociological and moral benefit. Mr. Peterson is a native son of Colorado, his birth having occurred at Rye, on the 23d of October, 1876, his parents being Joseph and Carolina (Peterson) Peterson, who, though of the same name, were not related. It was in the year 1873 that the family home was established in Colorado, Joseph Peterson taking up his abode in the state in April of that year. He was a rancher and stockman and for many years was actively identified with the agricultural development of the state. He is now making his home with his son, Wilkins O., his wife having passed away. In the family were but two children, the brother being Scott R. Peterson, now a resident of California. In his boyhood days Wilkins O. Peterson was a pupil in the public schools of his native county and was afterward graduated from the Pueblo Centennial high school with the class of 1897. For the further development of his education he entered the University of Colorado, where he won the Bachelor or Arts degree as a member of the class of 1901. In May, 1901, he represented Colorado in the interstate oratorical contest held at Des Moines, Iowa, and was awarded first place in thought and composition on his oration, "The American Farmer." He began preparation for the bar as a student in the law department of the State University and was graduated in 1902. In that year he entered upon the practice of his profession in Pueblo and has since won a place as a successful attorney. His practice is now extensive and of an important character. He is remarkable among lawyers for the wide research and provident care with which he prepares his cases. At no time has his reading ever been confined to the limitations of the questions at issue. It has gone beyond and compassed every contingency and provided not alone for the expected but for the unexpected, which happens in the courts quite as frequently as out of them. He is recognized as a man of broad legal learning and of analytical mind and the court records bear testimony to the many favorable verdicts which he has won for his clients. Whatever else may be said of the legal fraternity, it cannot he denied that members of the bar have been more prominent factors in public affairs than any other class of the community. This is hut the natural result of causes which are manifest and require no explanation. The ability and training which qualify one to practice law, also qualify him in many respects for duties which lie outside the strict path of his profession and which touch the general interests of society. Recognizing his capability, Mr. Peterson's fellow townsmen have at various times called upon him for public service. In 1909 he became city attorney of Pueblo and filled the position for two years. He was a member of the charter convention in July and August, 1911, and 1914 he was elected to represent his district in the state senate for a four years' term. While in the upper house he handled the prohibition bill and in conjunction with leaders in the temperance movement wrote the bill that made Colorado dry. On the 29th of November, 1906, Mr. Peterson was united in marriage to Miss Mary Lowrey, of Fort Collins, a daughter of Wesley W. Lowrey, and to them have been born two children, Joseph L. and Sarah. In social circles of the city the family occupy a prominent position and the hospitality of their home is greatly enjoyed by their many friends. Mr. Peterson is deeply interested in all that has to do with the welfare and progress of his community and is now serving as one of the directors of the Chamber of Commerce. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons and with Sigma Nu, a college fraternity, and his religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Presbyterian church. He stands for all that is most worth while in life. He is never content to choose the second best but holds to high ideals of manhood and citizenship and does everything in his power to promote public progress. Many tangible evidences of his spirit of loyalty and devotion may be cited and in all of his public work he has looked beyond the exigencies of the moment to the opportunities, the needs and the possibilities of the future. History Of Colorado Illustrated Volume II Chicago The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 1918

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