Jakob B. Peters: community leader and farmer; born in the Bergthal Colony, Russia on 2 June 1869, son of Jakob F. Peters (1844-1922) and his second wife, Maria (Buhr) Peters (1850-1919). He married Anna Harder (1 December 1868 - 1937), daughter of Heinrich Harder (1846-1934) and Helena Harder (1847-1925) on 1 July 1890. The couple had eight children, two of whom died in early adulthood. Jacob died in July 1942 in Manitoba, Canada at the age of 73.
Jakob Peters came from a family of leaders. His grandfather, Jakob Peters (1813-1884), had been the Oberschulze (district mayor) presiding over the administrative affairs of the entire Bergthal Colony in Russia. His father, Jakob F. Peters, served as reeve of the Rural Municipality of Hanover, Manitoba, from 1894-1896. Jakob B. Peters served in the same position from 1917 to 1918, and also managed the Chortitzer Brandordnung, later the Mennonite Mutual Insurance Company.
Jakob B. Peters became a wealthy landowner. Much of Jakob’s success may have been due to his wife’s strong character, but he was also a meticulous and dedicated farmer who rose early each morning to start his day of caring for the animals and tending the fields. The farm had several sources of income; in addition to running a dairy farm that produced enough milk to sell some to a nearby creamery, the family cultivated grain and kept chickens, ducks, and hogs. A large garden provided fruit and vegetables that the family preserved for eating in the winter months, while cured and smoked meat gave variety to the diet.
Jakob B. Peters had a progressive farm in many ways, but he also kept to traditional ways of farming. He preferred to use horses instead of tractors to run the farm implements, and instead of buying automated equipment, the family hired extra workers to tend the fields when necessary. As the years passed, however, that changed. Eventually, Jakob bought his own tractor and threshing machine so that he could avoid waiting for his turn at the community’s thresher. His neighbors also received the benefit of his purchase as he did custom work for other farmers in the area.
For the Peters household, wealth was something to be shared. Anna’s parents lived in a house on Jakob and Anna’s land for some years, and her father moved in with his daughter and her husband after his wife’s death. Jakob and Anna’s daughter Marie also lived with her parents for many years. Throughout the years, children and grandchildren were welcome at the Peters household, and Jakob enjoyed interacting with his family. He imparted his generosity, discipline, and quiet dignity to the next generation, and the tradition of hospitality continued.
Family was very important for Jakob B. Peters. One daughter died of cancer and a son of scarlet fever, but Jacob’s gentle nature and Anna’s strength brought them through the difficult times. Anna was a very ambitious and competent woman. Her knowledge of farming was extensive, and she would often direct her sons’ work on the fields. She rode the horse and buggy to Steinbach every week to sell cream, butter, and eggs, keeping careful account of her earnings. In many ways, she was the energy behind Jakob’s success. Her death from cancer in 1937 was a severe blow for Jakob. He died five years later at the age of 73.
Jakob B. Peters lived a quiet, unobtrusive life in southern Manitoba, but his integrity and dedication were examples for future generations to follow.
GRANDMA (The Genealogical Registry and Database of Mennonite Ancestry) Database, 5.00 ed. Fresno, CA: California Mennonite Historical Society, 2006: #220405.
Plett, Elma Peters. "Jakob B. Peters, 1869-1942." Preservings No. 11 (December 1997): 69-72.
|Date Published||October 2007|
 Cite This Article
Huebert, Susan. "Peters, Jakob B. (1869-1942)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2007. Web. 6 May 2016. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Peters,_Jakob_B._(1869-1942)&oldid=132637.
Huebert, Susan. (October 2007). Peters, Jakob B. (1869-1942). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 6 May 2016, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Peters,_Jakob_B._(1869-1942)&oldid=132637.
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