From the 1885 History of Steuben County, Indiana

pages 838-839


Christopher Petre was born in Germany, Jan. 8, 1820, a son of Jacob and Elizabeth Petre.  His father was born in one of the German provinces conquered by Napoleon I., and served eight years in the army under him.  He participated in the campaign against Russia and witnessed the burning of Moscow, and was one of the remnant of that grand army that escaped the perils of that mid-winter retreat.  He was instrumental in saving the life of Joseph Bonaparte, King of Spain, at the destruction of the bridge, but the downfall of the empire followed too soon for him to receive his promised reward.  Jacob Petre was among the bravest of the devoted followers of that greatest General of modern history, and idolized him to the day of his death.  When Christopher Petre was ten years of age his parents embarked from Havre de Gras for the United States, and when in mid-ocean his father died.  Within a year after landing in New York his mother married Adam Zimmer, and thus was enabled to keep her family together.  She had six children, three of whom are now living -- Christopher, Jacob, Jr., and Mrs. Rachel Ketre.  Two years after their marriage they moved to Lehigh County, Pa., thence to Mahoning County, Ohio, and in 1837 to Portage County, Ohio.  In 1854 they came to Steuben County, Ind., and settled in Otsego Township, where Mr. Zimmer died in April, 1862, aged seventy-three years, and Mrs. Zimmer in June, 1864, aged sixty-four years.  Christopher Petre came to Steuben County in 1854 and settled in York Township, and in 1857 bought the 140 acres of land on section 3, Otsego Township, which is still his home.  He was married in Ohio, March 16, 1842, to Hannah Harper, who was born April 22, 1820, and died Feb. 17, 1856, leaving three children -- Margaretta is the wife of George Harmon, of Henry County, Mo.; Henry is a physician of Oregon; Henrietta died at the age of five years.  Henry was a member of the Fourth Michigan Infantry and served three years.  He was wounded at the battle of the Wilderness and for fifteen years carried two rebel bullets in his body, when one was extracted; the other is lodged in his left shoulder.  Oct. 19, 1856, Mr. Petre married Rowena Trowbridge, and to them have been born ten children, seven of whom are living -- Melvin, Jacob, Christopher, Jr., Elmer, Fred, Lina, wife of Joseph Layman, and Mary.  Mrs. Petre died March 2, 1872, and Mr. Petre subsequently married Mrs. Sarah Rhodes, a native of New York State, born Oct. 25, 1824.  Mr. Petre has been a Democrat from the days of James K. Polk.  Economy and industry have been rewarded and he has a competency for his old age.  He is happy in the prosperity of his children, who are all thrifty and are well established in life.


Submitted by Kim Davoli