Albert J. Schimpke Collection of R. G. Peters Materials

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Albert J. Schimpke Collection of R. G. Peters Materials

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Albert J. Schimpke collection of R. G. Peters materials held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

This online Albert J. Schimpke collection consists of audio recordings collected by Mr. Schimpke relating to Manistee, Michigan, especially the activities of one of its most prominent local lumbermen, Richard G. Peters. Additional materials are available at the Bentley Historical Library.

Richard G. Peters was born on July 2, 1832 in Delaware county, New York. His parents, James H. and Susan Squires Peters, moved their family from the farm where R.G. Peters was born to Cincinnati, Ohio and Syracuse, New York, where they were employed as hotelkeepers. When his mother died in 1847, R.G. Peters moved to Tully, New York to live with his grandparents and where he worked as a gatekeeper on a toll road for his uncle.

In 1850, at the age of eighteen, Peters returned to the Midwest and was employed in the engineering department of the Michigan Southern Railroad Company. He served as assistant engineer in charge of a division of the road for five years.

Peters became involved with the lumber industry in 1855 when he managed the lumber and mill of Charles Mears at Big Point au Sable. He held this position for five years until he purchased a small tract of government land in order to do his own lumbering. This venture was abandoned, however, when he became superintendent for the next two years at James Ludington's mill and lumber operations in what is now the town of Ludington. During these early efforts to get established in the lumbering industry, he married Evelyn N. Tibbets of Oberlin, Ohio on April 6, 1862.

In 1866, Peters purchased the Filer and Tyson mill and timber property with M. S. Tyson and G. W. Robinson. The purchase included the sawmills on Manistee Lake and most of the site of the city of Manistee. In 1869, he bought the Wheeler and Hopkins mill on Manistee Lake, which he operated for the next thirteen years before it burned down. He also added forty acres and a mill on East Lake to his holdings. The old mill was rebuilt and a new one added. Salt was discovered in the area and became another Peters' venture. The Manistee and Luther Railroad, with its approximately eighty miles of track between East Lake and LeRoy, Osceola county, was part of Peters' operation.

In 1869, Peter purchased two large tracts of land near Manistee and established the town of Tallman. These two new acquisitions contained 130,000,000 board feet of pine. He also bought the mill property and salt block at Ludington and thirty miles of logging road. Peters' timber holdings in Michigan and Wisconsin were established at 150,000 acres with an additional 100,000 acres in Florida. Peters was known as "King among lumbermen." In addition to being president of the R. G. Peters Salt and Lumber Company, the Manistee and Luther Railroad, and Peters Lumber and Shingle Company of Benton Harbor, he served as vice-president of Butters and Peters Salt and Lumber Company of Ludington and the Batchelor Cyprus Lumber Company with holdings in Florida. He was director in the Manistee National Bank, the Michigan Salt Association, and the Manistee (Furniture) Manufacturing Company.

Evelyn Peters died on February 14, 1879. R.G. Peters married Janet Telford of Onekama, Michigan on June 15, 1898. He had no children from either marriage. His date of death is not known.

Please note:

Copyright has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

Access to digitized sound recordings may be limited to the reading room of the Bentley Historical Library, located on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan.

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