Clara Matilde Peterson Maloney (b. 1866) having a
companion with which to explore Chicago and enjoy
the theater may have made visits from her younger
sister especially welcome. Not that Clara
too timid to set out on her own. As
a small town sheriff and postmaster, Clara
was probably accustomed to
drawing attention and
Still, her hometown in Preston, Minnesota was a tiny
burg and Chicago’s
many museums, restaurants and theaters
must have been a little daunting.
Clara had married
Maloney (b.1859), in 1887. They had
aged eight to thirteen when they lost their mother: Joseph F. Maloney (1895-1962),
Gladys A. Maloney (1890-1988) and Paul V. Maloney (1891-1937).
In 1903 the family lived at 6050 Washington Blvd in Chicago.
One newspaper reported that James was a plumber but
according to the 1903 city directory he worked as a
Before relocating to Chicago he and Clara had owned
the Tibbetts House hotel in Preston, experience that
would have overqualified him for a maintenance
For thirty-five-year-old Toinette,
nicknamed “Nettie” and “Tennie,”
Caroline Peterson (b. 1868), a matinee at an elegant
new theater would have been a nice finish to her
1903 Christmas holiday visit in the big city.
saw an audience filled with children, Nettie
would have felt right at home; she had
been teaching since 1891. A graduate of the
Winona State Normal School and Columbia University,
at the time of her death Nettie was principal at Central High School in
Fargo, North Dakota.
1900 Nettie roomed at 607 Broadway in Fargo and gave
her name as “Toinette” short for
Clara and Nettie's parents, Norwegian immigrants Christian Peterson (1839-1912)
and Ingeborg “Isabel” Knudson Peterson (1840-1883),
raised their family of nine children in Preston,
Minnesota where Christian sold farm machinery and
served in numerous public service positions. When
Isabel died, Christian remarried and had five
children with his second wife.
Funerals and burial
James identified both women's
bodies. Reportedly Nettie's body was
identified by a calling card in her purse. A
memorial service was held for Nettie at the Catholic
church in Fargo on January 5, 1904. It is
assumed that both women were buried in Preston but
that has not been confirmed.
In the years after the
1910 found Clara and James
fifteen-year-old son, Joseph, living with his uncle
Ingeman Peterson in Preston. A few years later
he and his brother Paul both served as soldiers in World War I. At age eighteen son Paul also
lived in Preston, working as a farm hand. He
later became a barber and married Ruth Neff.
Daughter Gladys became a school teacher, married
Arent H. Olson and had two children. Husband
and father James D. Maloney lived with his daughter
and her family during the last twenty years of his
life, dying some time after 1940, probably in
special thanks to Clara’s great great granddaughter
for these wonderful photos of the
Peterson girls and Maloney family.