PETER J. VALTER,
vice-president of the Gallatin County Bank, of Ridgeway, Illinois, and one of his section's leading capitalists, has been engaged in various lines of business for a number of years in Ridgeway, has associated himself with enterprises for the development of Gallatin county land, and is now the owner of much valuable real estate in this part of the state. Mr. Valter is a product of Brown county, Ohio, and was born December 26, 1864, a son of Nicholas and Barbara (Pfarr) Valter.
Nicholas Valter was a native of the province of Alsace, France, and came to the United States as a young man, settling in Ohio, where he was married to Barbara Pfarr, a native of Bavaria, Germany. During the spring of 1883 he came to Gallatin county, Illinois, and purchased a tract of sixty acres of farming land adjoining the village of Ridgeway, erecting the present family home during that same year. He also owned a farm near Bartley Station, and the remainder of his life was devoted to clearing and cultivating these properties, on which he erected four tenant houses. His death occurred in 1887, when he was fifty-eight years of age, in the faith of the Catholic church. His widow survived her husband three years and was also fifty-eight years old at the time of her death. Three of their children grew to maturity, as follows: Mary, wife of Alexander Drone, of Evansville, Indiana, whose son, Marion, is cashier of the First National Bank of Ridgeway; Peter J.; and Katie, who is the widow of Henry Zirkelbach.
Peter J. Valter assisted his father to clear the home farm until he was twenty years of age, and then, having secured a good public school education in Ohio, became a teacher and continued as such for four years. At the time of his father's death he returned home and took charge of the farm, being appointed administrator, of the estate, and subsequently laid out Valter's Addition to Ridgeway, a tract of nine acres. He acquired the Bartley Station farm and a part of the old homestead, and subsequently sold the addition, on which the public school now stands. In 1890 Mr. Valter embarked in the lumber and building material business at Ridgeway, but after five years of successful operation sold his interests and rented his farms. He had been one of the original stockholders when the Gallatin County State Bank was organized in 1895, and since that time he has served as its vice president and also acted for a time as assistant cashier. In 1898 the Ridgeway Dry Goods Company was organized, and Mr. Valter was its president for three years, devoting a part of his time to the store, but
eventually sold his interest and began to invest in land. He added to the Bartley farm and secured twenty acres inside of the corporation limits, which has subsequently become the Citizens Addition to Ridgeway. This farm is operated by tenants, as is also his 280-acre tract situated east of Ridgeway, and both are in an excellent state of cultivation. This land, which cost Mr. Valter from twenty-two to seventy dollars per acre, is now all worth in excess of one hundred dollars an acre. Mr. Valter is possessed of the happy faculty of recognizing an opportunity and being able to grasp it, and his large operations have made him known in the business, realty and financial fields. No man stands higher in the esteem of his business associates and fellow townsmen, and any enterprise with which his name is connected has the entire confidence of the people.
On June 20, 1906, Mr. Valter was married to Miss Celia Zirkelbach. who was born in Indiana and reared in Illinois, and they have had two children: Arnold, who is four years old; and Dolores, who is two. The family is connected with St. Joseph's Catholic church. Mr. Valter is a Democrat in his political views, and has served very acceptably as village clerk and as a member of the board of trustees.