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Mini Bios of People of Scots Descent
Peter Philp

PETER PHILP.—Prominent among the representative citizens and honored officials of Codington county is the well-known and widely respected gentleman whose name introduces this review. Peter Philp, farmer and for four terms county commissioner, is a native of Scotland and inherits in a marked degree the sterling qualities of head and heart for which his sturdy nationality has for centuries been distinguished. His father, James Philp, a teamster by occupation, met with an accidental death when the subject was but one and a half years old; his mother, whose maiden name was Catherine Wilson, subsequently remarried and lived to a very old age, bearing her second husband one daughter, Peter being the only issue of her first marriage. 

Peter Philp was born in Thronton, Fifeshire, Scotland, on August 27, 1838. After securing a good education in the schools of his native land he learned the trade of iron moulding and followed the same in various parts of Scotland until about 1875 or 1876, from which time until his removal to America, in 1880, he followed agricultural pursuits. June 19, 1866, he contracted a matrimonial alliance with Elizabeth Anderson, of Fifeshire, daughter of Robert and Margaret (seas) Anderson, and in 1880, as stated above, he brought his family to America, making his way direct to Codington county, South Dakota, and entering several hundred acres of land in what is now the township of Waverly. Mr. Philp reached his new home in August of the above year and during the ensuing fall he put up a house and as best he could prepared for the winter that was soon to follow. The winter of 1880-81 is remembered as the most severe ever known and the vicissitudes, hardships and sufferings of the settlers during that season of awful cold, piercing winds and frightful blizzards, cannot be described by either tongue or pen. Mr. Philp's stock of provisions was exhausted long before the terrible winter ended. and for weeks at a time the only food of the family consisted of wheat ground to the consistency of course flour in a coffee-mill. To keep from freezing after their fuel was gone, they had recourse to hay, and to make this last as long as possible, only small quantities were burned at a time, the members of the family huddling closely around the fire so as to utilize every particle of the precious heat. 

After this trying experience, a more favorable season dawned and from that time forward matters progressed favorably with the pioneer family. Mr. Philp improved his land, brought it to a high state of cultivation and in addition to agriculture devoted considerable attention to live stock until in due time he became one of the leading stock raisers in the county, as well as one of its most prosperous men in other lines of activity. He has taken a lively interest in public affairs ever since coming to the state, and is now on his fourth term as county commissioner, having been first elected a member of the board in the year 1900. He has held the office of school treasurer for over twenty-two years, besides serving two terms as township clerk, having pointedly refused to be a candidate a third time for the latter position. Mr. Philp is a zealous Republican and since arriving in Codington county, twenty-three years ago, his ability as an organizer and his success as a campaigner have made him one of the party leaders in this section of the state. His services on the central committee have been greatly appreciated and the success of the Republican ticket in a number of local elections has been largely due to his effective and thorough work. By close attention to business and successful management, he has succeeded in accumulating a handsome competence and recently he disposed of the greater part of his landed property and retired from active life. 

Mr. Philp was made a Mason in Scotland in 1864 and ever since his initiation into the order he has been one of its most earnest and zealous members. In his native land he subscribed to the Presbyterian creed and for a number of years was active in the church, having risen to the position of elder and superintendent of the Sunday school. Since coming to this country, however, he attended the Methodist church and is now, with his wife, identified with the Congregational church. 

Mr. and Mrs. Philp are the parents of seven children, namely: Alison J., wife of Henry Esington, of Summit, South Dakota; Margaret, now Mrs. Charles N. Slauson, Graceville, Minnesota; Catherine, who married G. L. Henderson, of Kansas City, Missouri; James and Robert A., both married and living in Watertown; Agnes P., wife of George Burt, editor of the South Shore Republican, and Peter, who is also the head of a family with his home in Watertown.



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