Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
PETER WAGENAAR, a prosperous
farmer living seven miles northeast of Ritzville, was born in Ostfrisland,
Germany, May 24, 1852, the son of Albert and Anna (Weber) Wagenaar, natives
also of Germany. The parents came to America in 1871 and located
in Peoria, Illinois, where they lived the remainder of their lives.
They were the parents of nine children, seven of whom are living, Paul,
Edward, Henry, Katharine, Peter, Alfred and Albert.
At the age of fourteen, having received a
common school education, he learned the blacksmith's trade, and entered
life upon his own responsibility. Three years later he came to Peoria,
Illinois, from Germany, and commenced work as a blacksmith in the coal
mines. He also farmed to a limited extent in Illinois, but worked
principally at his trade until 1888, when he came to Washington and located
a homestead in Adams county. Being a poor man with six children at
the time of coming here, he experienced many hardships and inconveniences
before getting fairly started in the country, which at that time was quit
new. In 1895 he found it necessary to take a position as lineman
on the construction of the Northern Pacific telegraph line, which he followed
all through the states of Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Since coming here he has continued to acquire land as he became able to
buy until now he has two sections of agricultural land, one thousand acres
of which are under cultivation, which he farms himself. He has his
home well improved with good buildings and all modern conveniences, also
an excellent orchard. He harvests annually an average of ten thousand
bushels of wheat.
On September 25, 1875, occurred the marriage
of Peter Wagenaar to Gretja Herrenga, daughter of John and Hanke Herrenga,
natives of Ostfrisland, Germany, where they lived and died. They
were parents of five children, Herman, Gretja, Martha, Dietrich, and Hartjen.
Mr. and Mrs. Wagenaar have been parents of nine children, Lena, Albert,
Annie, Martha, Katie, Harry, Paul, John and Mabel.
Politically Mr. Wagenaar is a Democrat and
an active party man. He has been school director in his district
four years, and road supervisor two years. He is a well-to-do and
scrupulously honest farmer, wide-awake and up-to-date in all his methods.