Sharing a namesake

Chester, SD

It started with the creation of our Arthur T. Peterson Post 136 Centennial page. We didn't have much to start with: an old preamble, the permanent charter and a few scant photos had followed the move from our original post home to the community center following a tornado in the early 1990s. Interviewing older members turned into a lot of shrugged shoulders - the ones who knew firsthand why we were named after Arthur Terry Peterson were a few decades gone. We knew Arthur was buried in Dodge Center, Minn., based upon his service record listed on our post picture, but still no direct connection to Chester, S D. The hunt for more information was on!
Researching on the internet, we reached out to the Dodge County Historical Society, which provided an obituary and his birthplace of rural South Dakota. provided his draft card. We pieced together that Arthur Terry Peterson was born near Dell Rapids, S.D., on Jan. 4, 1896. His parents moved to Dodge Center in Arthur’s early childhood. A family or friend connection brought Arthur back to Chester to work for Peter Louis Larsen as a young adult. He was drafted into WWI from Chester. He died in 1918 after contracting the Spanish flu. He was brought back to the United States in 1921, and buried in Dodge Center where his parents lived.
Fast-forward to 2020, and an impromptu road trip brought me to Dodge Center, where Arthur is buried. As I drove into town, I noticed that their American Legion post was named Wells-Peterson Post 384. Recognizing the name, and realizing that this had to be more than a coincidence, I called around. I met with Minnesota District 1 Commander Dale Wellik at the cemetery, and he confirmed that, indeed, their post was named after the same Peterson. We went back to the post, took pictures and exchanged histories. The fact that a doughboy of relative obscurity has not one, but two posts named after him is pretty amazing. Arthur, rest well knowing that you are well remembered. I hope we're doing you proud.

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