Biographical, Historical, Fiction

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The wedding of Captain Peters and Emma Williams was set for April in Wellington. The Peters family was coming from Auckland and would stay at Jonathon’s house. By the time the wedding took place, Theodore was no longer Captain Peters but was now Major Peters. They went on their honeymoon on one of the Peters trading vessels. They decided to go to Fiji and spend some time on the beach in the warm tropical air. They had a marvelous time.

On the return to New Zealand, Major Peters reported to Army headquarters in Wellington to get his new assignment. He was given a new assignment of Officer in Charge of recruiting. The British had decided that they needed to have larger Army in New Zealand and wanted it to be made up of New Zealand natives. Teddy got right to work. His first objective was to establish recruiting offices in the major cities of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. His second objective was to train military personnel to do the recruiting. He needed to ascertain that the people he chose were totally committed to the New Zealand military. He was able to get a cadre of seven men to be the field people. Two of the men were officers. The others were non-commissioned officers. Their duty was to man the offices and to visit the smaller towns and villages and the country side to search for willing recruits. It was Teddies job to train these people so they were able to obtain the best possible people for the military. The recruiting proceeded and they were able to achieve their monthly goals. They were pleased that a number of the Maori men were willing to sign up to serve. Many of the Maoris enlisted and there was talk of the Maoris being placed in a special battalion of only Maori. Major Peters vehemently opposed this move. He wanted to integrate the Maori into the regular units. He knew that it would be wrong to separate them. He wanted the Maori to feel a part of the country and to get them to know the white New Zealand men on a personal level. He also wanted the non-Maori men to learn the ways of the Maori. Major Peters prevailed and they had one division of all the recruits. The senior officers were pleased that Major Peters was able to get a full division from a country of less than a million people. Because of this success, Theodore Peters was promoted to Colonel and put in charge of all training. Another officer took over the recruiting chores.

To assist Colonel Peters in fulfilling his duties he was sent to England to the British Army command school. The school would last six months. To alleviate any hardship on the family, Emma was allowed to accompany the Colonel. Emma had not seen a lot of Teddy since the marriage. His duties kept him travelling a great deal. Emma was grateful for the opportunity to travel to England. It would give her some much needed time with her husband. It would also allow her to visit and get to know her English relatives. The long boat trip gave Emma and Teddy an opportunity to really spend time together. Teddy completed the command school. The British were very impressed with his leadership and command skills and were looking forward to working with him. The long boat trip back to New Zealand gave Emma and Teddy additional quiet time together. It was on the return trip that Emma became pregnant with their first child.

One of the decisions made while Colonel Peters was in England was that the forces in New Zealand and Australia would be combined into one unit. Neither country could put together a sufficient Army to be a stand-alone force. Together, they could achieve that goal. The new force would be called the ANZAC Force or the Australia New Zealand Army Corp. Neither country was particularly happy about this but the British were in power. They made the decision. The senior officers of the ANZAC force were very unhappy with the equipment that the British were furnishing. As new or improved equipment was developed, the British Army was issued that equipment. The equipment they turned in was sent to the Anzac forces or the Army of India or the South African force. Much of the equipment they received was unusable from overuse or poor maintenance or just general abuse. Colonel Peters volunteered to try and correct this injustice. He had never told anyone but he knew something about one of the senior British officers. This information could end the career of that officer if it became general information. Colonel Peters intimated to this officer that he had this information and solicited his assistance in obtaining the new equipment for the Anzac force. The equipment was on the next ship. The ANZAC senior officers thought that Colonel Peters was a genius. He never divulged to them how he had achieved this miracle. It would not help his career for his superiors to know that he had stooped to blackmail.

With the proper equipment and the proper training, the New Zealand Army had become a very effective fighting force. Tensions were high in Europe. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany was making war noises. The Austro Hungarians were siding with him. When the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, the war was on. The British were going to the continent and, in 1914 they ordered the ANZAC force to Egypt to protect that valuable entity from the Germans. They had to control the Suez Canal so that they would not have to ship all the way around Africa.

Theodore Peters was promoted to General Peters and was put in charge of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade. A senior Australian officer was in charge of all the ANZAC forces. General Peters and the Australian General got along well and they had a great deal of mutual respect. The ANZAC force sat around in North Africa for two years with nothing to do as the Germans made no move in that area.

The European War was not going well. It had devolved into trench warfare with gains measured in yards. It was necessary to have a second front to divert some of the Germans away from France. Russia was willing but did not have the means to wage war against the well equipped Germans. England and France had the means to equip the Russians but no way to get the equipment to them. The Baltic Sea was dominated by the Germans and the ability to go to the northern ports was too far and they were too ice bound.

Thus began the most ill conceived and poorly planned campaign that the British had ever taken to war. They intended to go through the Bosporus to the Black Sea and a Russian port. To do this they needed to capture the Dardanelle Straits and the city of Istanbul. The Turks had a loose alliance with the Germans and were opposed to the British and French capturing their capital. The Ottoman Empire was crumbling but it was still a force. The original plan put forth by Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, was to take the Dardanelles by overwhelming naval action. The ships to be used were second line ships that were deemed unfit to battle the Germans in the North Sea. The timidity of the navy commanders doomed this plan from the start. They backed away when they should have pressed forward. Another plan was put forth which was to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula and then march overland to Istanbul. It took four months to get all of the troops in place for the landing. The ANZAC troops were called from Egypt for a part of this action. British and French troops were sent and the landings were made. Because of the long delay in getting the troops in place, the Turks had adequate time to prepare their defenses. The ANZAC troops landed and gained ground but, again, the British were timid and did not continue their assault so the ANZAC troops were stuck in the area close to the beach. On May 2, the Turks mounted a serious attack to remove the ANZAC troops from the peninsula. The ANZAC leaders learned of the attack and were prepared. The Turks suffered over 13000 casualties with more than 3000 killed. The ANZAC troops had performed admirably on their first serious campaign. General Theodore Peters, in charge of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, was seriously wounded. He was evacuated with the other wounded and sent to an Army hospital in Egypt. His injury had caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down. After he was stabilized, he was sent home with the other wounded. General Peters would be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life.

The ill conceived Gallipoli campaign continued for 7 months before the British and French gave up on the plan. By that time, the U.S. had entered the war and the tide in Europe was turning. The major result of this campaign was that the Ottoman Empire was brought down by Ataturk and Turkey became a republic.

General Peters stayed in the Army but was now limited to staff duties. He was placed in charge of planning and logistics. The officer he replaced had been very inefficient. General Peters was promoted to three stars. He was charged with getting this area fixed and it was promising to be a monumental task. This job would not require him to travel and he had subordinates to do the running and fetching. After a year in the position, the planning and logistics department was one of the most efficient in the New Zealand Army. He now had only one officer superior in rank to him. He knew that he would never be the number one officer in the Army. With his injury it would be a mistake for him to take on that task. He was pleased that his career had not ended and also pleased that he could spend considerable time with Emma and their three children.

Life was not perfect but it was good.


Birmingham was an industrial town. Albert Dailey was born into a poor family. His father was drunk most of the time. When he wasn’t drunk he worked in a steel mill. Working in a steel mill was a hard life. The heat and the dust and the dirt would shorten the life of a strong man. Albert’s father was a strong man but Albert could see his strength diminish almost daily. Albert was not strong. As a young man he had many diseases which weakened him. The dust and dirt and smog from the steel mills were very hard on Albert’s lungs. Albert had to work and he took a job in a mercantile store. Albert was fourteen when he started working. In the beginning he did mostly cleaning work, sweeping and washing windows. As he got older he was allowed to work in the store helping customers. When he was twenty he was promoted to manager of the men’s hat department. This promotion meant that Albert was earning more money and was able to move into a flat of his own.

Albert was doing so well that he had a difficult time admitting to himself that the foul air of Birmingham was continuing to damage his lungs. He knew that he had to get somewhere with cleaner air or he would not live long. Albert was not happy with the English social system. It did not matter who you were or what you accomplished. If you were not a member of a socially acceptable family then you will always be a part of the underclass. Albert decided to try his luck in another part of the world. He was leaving nothing behind. He considered Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, or the United States. In all the countries, other than the United States, he would be dealing with the same problems as he was encountering in England so he chose to go to the United States. He sold all of his possessions and booked passage on a sailing ship for New York. In 1839 Albert landed in New York. He took an immediate dislike to New York. The crowds and the dirty air all reminded him of what he left behind so he made arrangements to leave. He heard of a city on the Ohio River called Cincinnati and thought that may be a good place to make his fortune. He was able to get a train part way and a coach the remainder of the way. When he got to Cincinnati, he found that there were not many opportunities. The only job he could get was to help on a barge taking goods down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. The barge carried farm produce for shipment on sailing ships. After he arrived in New Orleans he found that the barge owners sold the barges for the wood to build sailing ships. He would have to walk back to Cincinnati if that was where he wanted to be. He found he did not want to return to that town. He got a job on a stern wheel riverboat that was going to St. Louis. His job on the boat was serving food to the paying customers. Albert slept in a dingy, stinking cabin with seven other workers. When they got to St. Louis, Albert decided that was not a career he would be interested in pursuing so he quit and thought he would try St. Louis. After a short time, he found that the heat and humidity of St. Louis was not good for his lungs. He took his earnings from the boat and in 1842 took a boat to Omaha, this time as a paying passenger.

Omaha was a promised land for Albert. He immediately was hired by the largest mercantile company in the city. Albert’s previous experience proved to be a big bonus to Mr. Adamson, the owner of the company. He immediately hired Albert to work in the men’s department in the store. Albert found a boarding house close to the store. The price was affordable and Albert moved in. Albert loved living in Omaha. The business in the store was very good. There were many people coming to and through Omaha. Some of the people came to Omaha looking for an opportunity and some were passing through on the way west. Omaha was the place where wagon trains departed for the Oregon Trail. Omaha was the end of the rail line but they were already building the rail line west to California. Albert sensed that Omaha would be a significant city. It would be the center of commerce for a very large area and service most of the country between Chicago and California.

Mr. Adamson was very pleased with the work that Albert was doing. All of the customers liked and trusted Albert. With Albert working, the owner did not have to spend all of his time in the store. He found that he could enjoy life by taking some time off. He gave Albert a big raise and made him the assistant manager. Any time Mr. Adamson was not in the store, Albert was in charge. Albert loved the additional responsibility. He made many suggestions for changes and improvements that would increase the stores business and profitability. These suggestions further endeared Albert to the owner and he implemented most of the suggestions that Albert gave him.

Albert was pleased with the direction that his life was taking. However, something was missing. Albert wanted a family to care for and to care for him. In 1844, the Mormons were on the move. Joseph Smith was moving his faithful from their headquarters in Illinois to a new land not yet found. One large group of faithful went to Independence, Missouri to head west. A second large group went to Omaha before heading west. Omaha was to be the winter camp for this group. They would wait out the winter and continue West in the spring. They would be in the area for about four months. While they were in the area, many of the faithful would patronize Albert’s store for needed supplies. Albert noticed one young lady, Alma, would come in frequently. She was a very nice young lady and very polite and soft spoken. Albert took an immediate liking to Alma. He found that she was unmarried, which was unusual for a Mormon girl of twenty.

Alma was an unusual young Mormon woman. While she embraced the Mormon faith, there was one belief that she disagreed with. She knew in her heart that polygamy was wrong. She was strong in her belief that monogamy was not the way that God wanted his people to live. One man and one woman, living and working together and raising a family. She suffered for this belief and was threatened with ex-communication by the elders of the church. Her family tried to convince her to adhere to the church law but Alma was adamant that she would not be some man’s property and share him with other women.

Albert finally got the nerve to approach Alma and ask her to accompany him on a ride in the country. Alma had also noticed Albert and admired how hard he worked in the store. The fact that Albert was not a Mormon was also attractive to Alma. During the winter, Albert and Alma saw a great deal of each other. Albert had purchased a house and was tired of the bachelor life. In March, he asked Alma to marry him and stay in Omaha. Alma readily agreed and two weeks later they were married. Alma said goodbye to her family and friends as they left to continue their westward trek.

Mr. Adamson was delighted with Albert’s choice of a wife. He thought that Alma was the perfect mate for Albert. The owner had never had any children and his wife had died giving birth to a stillborn baby. He had grown very fond of Albert and considered Albert and Alma as his kin. Not long after the marriage, Alma became pregnant and presented Albert with a strong, healthy little boy which they named Christopher. Just about the time that Christopher was beginning to walk Alma was pregnant again. They had another beautiful little boy which they named John. Soon the little girl Ruth was born. Albert’s family was growing fast. Fortunately, Albert was doing very well in the store and his income continued to increase.

Mr. Adamson had been running the store for 42 years. He was tired and longed to make a trip to England to visit his brother and sisters and get to know his nieces and nephews. He offered to sell the store to Albert. He knew that Albert did not have the cash to buy the store. Mr. Adamson knew that Albert would be successful running the store so he offered him very attractive terms for paying for the store over a period of time. Albert and Alma accepted the terms and they were now the owners of the largest mercantile store in Omaha and the surrounding area. Albert and Alma were able to pay off the store in three years and now had no debt. Albert was able to find and hire an aggressive and able young man from Germany that had experience in a mercantile store in Berlin. Albert trained him and soon was able to make him the assistant manager. Other immigrants with experience started to line up for jobs at the store. Albert was not able to hire all of them as he was fully staffed. With the abundance of good people available, Albert thought that he should expand to different areas. They should be close enough for supervision but far enough not to infringe on the success of the current store. He also had to be certain that he had hired and trained competent and honest people to manage the new locations.

It was time to start looking for new locations. He eyed two population centers that met the criteria he had set. One was the town of Shenandoah in Iowa. This town was about 50 miles southeast of Omaha. Another was the town of Sioux City in Iowa. Sioux City was about sixty miles upriver from Omaha and was easily accessible by riverboat. After thoroughly analyzing the situation and getting the valuable input of Alma, Albert decided that expansion, while possible, was not practical. He loved his family and wanted to spend time with them. Expansion would have him travelling to the various stores and travel was time consuming and exhausting. They were making a good income from the Omaha store and decided against expansion. They were interested in helping others to have the success that they had. If one of the people that Albert hired and trained was interested in owning his own store, they would help them so long as the store was not in or close to Omaha. Over the next ten years they helped five young men start their own stores.

Life was good. Albert and Alma settled and continued to work the store. As time went on, their children became interested in the mercantile business and they prepared for the children to take over the store. Omaha was getting larger and they looked at expansion within the Omaha area so that each child could have their own store. Council Bluffs, across the river was an ideal location and would not impact the Omaha Store. South Omaha was eight miles from the store and was growing with an increasing number of immigrant families. That was the other chosen location.

Now Albert and Alma could rest and relax and enjoy their success.

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