Biography of Peter Holmquist
This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1898. Pages 420-423 Scan and OCR by Joy Fisher, 1997.
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HON. PETER HOLMQUIST, whose portrait appears on another page, resides on section 22, Kidder Township. He is one of Day County’s pioneers and a successful and popular agriculturist. Mr. Holmquist was born in the southern part of Sweden, June 27, 1847, and is a son of John Isaacson and Martha Peterson, both natives of Sweden, where they still reside. John Isaacson is a farmer by occupation, and the father of four children, three sons and a daughter. Our subject, who is the only one living in this country, was compelled to assist on the farm when very young, and received little or no schooling, all his education having been picked up at various times since. He has, however, improved his opportunities wonderfully, and upon the principle that a thing which is hardest gained is best kept; is to-day a more accomplished man than many of his fellows who have spent years over the books. When nineteen years of age Mr. Holmquist came to this country, settling in Stillwater, Minnesota. He remained there for nine years, engaged in river driving and work in the neighboring woods. In 1875 he returned to Sweden on a visit, staying there four years. When he came back to the United States he brought a company of his friends to the number of thirty, all intent upon getting homes in the great west. The party went directly to Dakota and secured homesteads in Kidder Township, Day County. Mr. Holmquist himself filed upon a pre-emption and tree claim, where he has since made his home, He improved his land, added buildings, barns, granaries, etc., and by hard and energetic work succeeded in making one of the best farms in the county - for this much is admitted by all to-day. He is now the owner of eight hundred acres of land, half of which is under the plow and yielding excellent crops each year. In 1896 Mr. Holmquist's barn and granary were destroyed by a cyclone, and he at the same time lost four horses and other stock. The damage was speedily repaired, however, and the razed structures rebuilt in a short time, and the place presents even a more attractive appearance at the present time than ever before. Mr. Holmquist is independent in politics. In 1894 he was elected a member of the legislature on the People's party ticket, serving two years. He enjoys the distinction of having helped to organize the county and township, as, at the time of his arrival, in 1882, things were in a very chaotic state, and there was little or no local government to speak of. Mr. Holmquist has been a township officer every year since the organization of the township, and is at present a member of the school board and a township supervisor, having served as chairman of the former continuously since the organization of the district.
In 1878 our subject married Miss Ellen Johnson, in Sweden. Mr. and Mrs. Holmquist are the parents of four children: Herman, Albert A., Ida C. and Ann 0. Three of them are now attending high school at Webster, South Dakota. Mr. Holmquist and family are members of the Lutheran mission, Friends' church.