We are getting ready to go on a journey……a journey and a study of the people and places of the Northstate. It is my hope that we will see how close a connection we all have to each other when we get to know these important people and places that make up our history.
The beauty of this journey is that the itinerary has already been set for us. My father-in-law, Edward Petersen, between 1964 and 1974, wrote 5 books on Shasta County History. These books have set out a roadmap for us. Over the weeks and months to come, I will be highlighting main sections of his works as we get an overview of the important people and places of our region’s history. All the while, if you want to go into more detail on a specific topic or place, I will be encouraging you to visit Edward’s Published Works on this website where you can find all of Edward’s historical works.
Edward’s works include: In the Shadow of the Mountain; Pierson B. Reading: Shasta County Pioneer; Cottonwood: A Brief History; Anderson, A Centennial History; and Redding, The First Hundred Years.
Without bragging too much on my father-in-law, I do want to say a few things about this great man. Actually you do not have to go far in this county before you will hear from someone who was in some way impacted by Edward Petersen. Edward, in many respects was a small town, Renaissance Man. The only child of Danish immigrants, Edward was born and raised in Cottonwood. His father, William Petersen, ran the Cottonwood Feed Store between 1934 and 1944. Edward grew up in Cottonwood and graduated from Anderson High School in 1950. He attended Shasta College and CSU, Chico and then he received his Masters Degree in History from the University of Michigan.
Edward married Nadiene Brown on June 16, 1956. He and Nadiene would have three children- Becky, Elizabeth and Sarah and 11 grandchildren. Edward began his career as a teacher and counselor at Anderson School. In 1965, Edward became a counselor at Shasta College and remained there until his retirement in 1992. During his tenure, he became Counseling Division Chairman.
Edward served on numerous school boards over the years (Cottonwood, Anderson Union High, and Shasta College). Edward also helped start numerous county programs which assisted those in need, including PlusONE Mentors Inc. and LifeLight Pregnancy Center.
In 1972, Edward was part of core group that founded Anderson/Cottonwood Neighborhood Church. Edward served as elder from its inception to his passing. He performed hundreds of marriage ceremonies, hundreds of funerals and he counseled thousands. On August 14, 1997, William Edward Petersen passed away at the age of 65 years. About 2,000 people attended his funeral on August 17, 1997.
Before I sign off, I want to share with you that on the this website, under the Edward Petersen Menu Tab, is a biography that Hannah, my youngest daughter, wrote about her Grandpa. Please take the time to read this article, as I feel it will give you a greater sense of who Edward was, what and who was important to him, and the impact he had on Shasta County.
Our first stop, or should I say, our first stops on our journey will revolve around the Father of Shasta County, the first settler to arrive here in the Northern Sacramento Valley…….Major Pierson Barton Reading.
I look forward to seeing you then and thanks again for joining me on Northern Posts.