Peter Gregorius, who died at Salina May 20, 1914, was one of Saline County’s best known business men and in many ways was a notable character. He was a veteran German soldier, and had occupied many places of distinction and honor in the German government during the reign of Kaiser William I, father of the present German Emperor.
He was born October 15, 1844, in Prussia, a son of Peter Gregorius. He was liberally educated, had the training of a soldier, and for two years was with the Prussian armies in the war against France in 1870-71. He won several medals for his faithfulness and efficiency as a soldier, and was also an honored official under Kaiser William I. For several years he served as an official forester under the Kaiser’s government, and was many times a guest on state occasions in the emperor’s household, dining at his table.
In 1880 he left Germany and came to America, locating in Saline County. He bought unimproved land eight miles east of Salina and improved it into a fine farm. He subsequently bought other tracts in different parts of the county and at one time owned two valuable farms, all of which he had improved under his personal supervision. In 1884 Peter Gregorius built the first and only flour mill at the Town of Assaria in Saline County, and he operated that mill for several years. After coming to America he followed farming, milling and contracting, and was very successful.
At the time of his death he was a member of the German Lutheran Church, but had been reared a Catholic. In December, 1876, in Germany, he married Miss Susana Wilhelmy. She was born in Prussia March 19, 1846. Her father was a physician and also a minister of the Lutheran Church. Mrs. Gregorius died at Salina, Kansas, August 13, 1913. She was a life-long member of the German Lutheran Church. There were three children, but two of them, Selma and Lawrence, died in infancy.
The oldest of the children of the late Peter Gregorius was Frieda Louise, who was born in Prussia September 28, 1878. She grew up in Saline County, and on July 8, 1901, became the wife of Harvey Hepner. He was born in Michigan September 24, 1866, and came to Kansas with his parents in 1877. They located as pioneers in Ottawa County. Mr. Hepner for many years had followed farming and still lives in Salina. Mr. and Mrs. Hepner have one child, Frances Adella Dorothy, born on a farm in Saline County, August 29, 1902. The family are members of St. John’s Lutheran Church at Salina.