Charles Henry Peters was born on June 23, 1848 in Mecklenburg, Germany to Ernestine and Henry Peters. His parents came to America in 1853. At age 13, he left public school and with his best friend Joseph Seemann apprenticed in a printing firm.
In 1864 during the Civil War Charles enlisted in Company D, Michigan 29th Infantry Regiment, playing the drums. A part of his drum head was placed in the time capsule buried in Bliss Park in Saginaw, Michigan. He was mustered out in 1865.
Together in 1880, Charles Peters and Joseph Seemann started a printing firm, Seemann & Peters which published “The Saginaw Evening News” now “The Saginaw News.” The paper was published every day except Sunday. The building was on Genesee which later housed the Mecca Theatre. The Saginaw publication of the German paper, “Saginaw Post-Zeitung” was also printed by the firm and had a circulation of four thousand copies reaching all of Michigan.
In 1881 a bookbindery department was added and Seemann and Peters published the two volume “Mills History of Saginaw County.” A stationery store was opened in 1906 to supplement the company.
In 1893 they sold “The Saginaw Evening News” in order to enlarge their printing business. “The Saginaw Evening News” continued to be printed in the building until 1916. The company continued to be run by members of the family, eventually moving the business into the Passolt house in Saginaw designed by Ludwig Bude.
Charles married Anna (Seemann), his business partner’s sister in 1869 and they raised their family in Saginaw. In 1884 Charles hired architect Franklin Boergeort to design a Queen Anne house on Sixth Street. He lived there until his death. At one time it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Charles and Joseph brought the sugar beet industry to the Saginaw Valley after Joseph got interested in sugar beets when traveling to Europe. He sent some seeds back to Charles and also sent some to the Michigan Agricultural College to conduct seed tests to see if sugar beets would grow well in the valley soil.
Seemann & Peters printed the pamphlets Joseph had acquired in Europe on growing sugar beets and distributed them through the “Saginaw Post-Zeitung” newspaper. A number of Saginaw businessmen including Thomas A. Harvey, Harry T. Wickes and George Morley raised funds to carry on the work of the sugar beet industry.
Charles and Joseph were volunteer firefighters together and Charles took a great interest in the city’s welfare. He served on the Saginaw Board of Education and was an original member of the Saginaw Board of Parks and Cemeteries. During his tenure, Saginaw parks improved because of his interest in plants and flowers.
He was an active member in the Germania Society and was on the board of the National League of Veterans and Sons, a post commander of Saginaw Post No. 38 and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was also on the board of the East Saginaw Club, the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks and the East Side Arbeiter Society.
Charles Henry Peters died November 12, 1910..
Copyright © 2018 Saginaw County Hall of Fame - All Rights Reserved.