Bio: Peterson, Peter O. & Gilbertson, Caroline (Looking Back)
Contact: Stan

Surnames: Peterson, Gilbertson, Dokken, Noble, Emerson, Giere, McGillivray, McKinley, Spencer, Cooper, O’Hearn, Olson

----Source: The Banner Journal (Black River Falls, Jackson County, Wis.) October 30, 1996

Looking back: Peterson - Gilbertson Wedding 100 years ago

Just 100 years ago the largest wedding ever held in Jackson County to that time was that of Peter O. Peterson and Caroline Gilbertson, which was held on Oct. 28, 1896.

The 22-year-old bride was the daughter of Engebret "Albert" and Kari (Dokken) Gilbertson of Irving and the 23-year-old groom was the son of Peter and Bertha Peterson of rural Black River Falls. The parents of both the bride and groom were immigrants of Norway.

Both the Badger State Banner and Jackson County Journal (Black River Falls newspapers) carried "write-ups" on the wedding of their friend "Big Pete" as the groom was always known.

The Banner correspondent wrote "Peter O. Peterson, of the town of Albion, and Miss Caroline E. Gilbertson, of the town of Irving, were married at the Little Norway Church, in Albion, at 10 o'clock, on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 1896, by Rev. N. A. Giere.

"This is an alliance between two of the prominent families of this section and a life conjunction of an eminently successful young farmer and a very worthy young lady. A reception was given at the home of the groom's mother after the ceremony, and we understand it was continued throughout the day and until the morning. Dinner and supper were served and dance given during the night.

"It is reported that between 200 and 300 guest participated in the festivities."

The Journal correspondent had attended a political rally with State Senator James J. McGillivray who was promoting the election of William McKinley for President of the United States that fall.

"A very pleasant and largely attended wedding took place at the Little Norway Church in Albion last Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock, in the presence of quite a number of guests. Rev. N. A. Giere of this city performed the ceremony which united Mr. Peter O. Peterson and Miss Caroline E. Gilbertson in the holy bond of Matrimony.

"Anton Gilbertson was best man and Miss Carrie Peterson, bridesmaid. The young couple are worthy young people, the groom being a successful young farmer of the town of Albion and the bride a worthy and well respected young lady of the town of Irving.

"After the nuptials the wedding party assembled at the home of the groom, where a bounteous feast for the 250 guest were spread, of which all indulged. A dance hall had been erected and dancing and other amusements were indulged in until evening.

"Supper was begun early and practically lasted all night, there being nearly 400 people partaking of that meal.

"The orchestra from this city, (Black River Falls), consisting of Messrs. Spencer, Cooper, O'Hearn and Olson furnished the music and everybody tripped the light fantastic toe till early morning. A little 'extra' which was not on the program was the inviting of the speaker, band boys and spectators, who were arriving that evening, to stop and partake of the hospitality of the wedded couple, also supper.

"Senator McGillivary took the stand and, after extending congratulations to the young couple in behalf of the crowd, gave the groom a sure 'mascot' with which to follow through the new life that was before him, and that was to cast a vote for McKinley.

"The wedding was the largest ever held in the county and was well carried out, there being nothing but harmony throughout the entire festivities. The Journal proprietors, who of course are always present upon such occasions to partake of a good square meal, extend to Mr. and Mrs. Peterson the hope that their lives may be as happy hereafter as it was last Wednesday, and we rise to say that we fully appreciated the extra large piece of the bride's cake which were permitted to sample.

"The couple were the recipients of numerous and costly presents, thus showing how high they are held in the estimation of the people of the county."

Caroline and "Big Pete" were the parents of nine children...Pliny, Cora, Merlin, Raymond, Norman I and II, Price, Esther and Harriet. Only their daughter, Esther Emerson of Black River Falls survives.

The Peterson's celebrated their golden wedding in 1946 and their 60th wedding anniversary in 1956.

In reporting the 60th anniversary Banner Journal editor Harriet Noble wrote: "Mr. and Mrs. Peterson are widely known and for many years the name 'Big Pete Peterson' has had special meaning in our community. A fine book could be written on this popular couple who have now completed 60 years of wedded life together.

"Sixty years ago they were married at the Little Norway Church not far from their present home. After the ceremony guests gathered at the Peterson farm where 250 persons were present for dinner. Dancing was enjoyed all afternoon and evening on a pavilion built especially for the occasion. Some 400 guest were served supper during the evening. That was a tremendous undertaking and it proved to be the biggest wedding in the county at that time.



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