Woman of the Century/Alice E. H. Peters
PETERS, Mrs. Alice E. H., church and temperance worker, born in Dayton, Ohio, 13th March, 1845. Her father, Lewis Heckler, was an enterprising and successful man of business. From the date of his death, on her seventh birthday, misfortunes came in rapid succession. In her fourteenth year the family removed to Columbus, Ohio, and Alice undertook the herculean task of providing for the necessities of her loved ones. Inexperienced and without previous training, she found few occupations open to girls, but desperation prepared her to meet every emergency, and she managed to keep the wolf from the door with the help of a sewing-machine. ALICE E. H. PETERS. Hard and unjust were the experiences she encountered. Sometimes the purse was so low that she met all her obligations by undergoing the most rigid self-denial; not one dishonorable act or discourtesy marred her conduct to others during the four years of struggle. She had a fine sense of justice and an insatiable longing for knowledge. There being no public library, Alice often burned the "midnight oil." poring over her Bible and hooks procured from the Sunday- school. Biographies of the Wesleys and Fletchers made a deep impression on her mind. At the age of eighteen she became the wife of Oscar G. Peters, a christian gentleman, twenty-one years old. Together they economized to secure capital. Mr. Peters was then chief clerk in the Commissary Department. While her husband was stationed in Cleveland, Mrs. Peters took an active interest in the Sanitary Commission, making garments and scraping lint. In Fort Leavenworth she gathered one-hundred-fifty neglected children together and taught them unaided every Sabbath for eleven months, the length of time she remained there. Returning to Columbus in 1866, Mr. Peters engaged in the grocery business for ten years. A daughter was born to them in 1868, but died in 1869. That great bereavement has been an abiding sorrow. A year later their only son was born. When he was three years of age, his mother entrusted him daily to the care of her sister-in-law and devoted her energies to the temperance crusade for eleven weeks, speaking and praying in saloons and on the street. She has contributed by pen and means to furthering the Woman's Christian Temperance Union movement since its inception. Identifying herself with the Methodist Episcopal Church in her fifteenth year, Mrs. Peters became a charter member of both foreign and home missionary societies. The woman suffrage cause enlisted her active sympathy many years ago. She has delivered lectures on the subject and in every way in her power advanced its principles, being a member of the national executive board. For seven years her efforts have been given to the work of the Woman's Relief Corps. Through journalistic writing and poems Mrs. Peters has voiced the philanthropic and reform methods she advocates, her diction is fluent and graceful, yet incisive, her address forceful and magnetic, her presence stately; her private life is the embodiment of persevering adherence to an exalted ideal. Deprived of text-book education, she has become through ceaseless endeavor a woman of broad general information and rare culture. By rigid application to systematic study, prescribed in the Chautauqua course, she graduated in 1887 with nine seals on her diploma. Mr. Peters with his brother and a friend organized a large manufacturing company, which has become a business enterprise of world-wide reputation, and made it possible for Mr. and Mrs. Peters to further their philanthropic endeavors.