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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Deuster, Peter Victor 1831 - 1904


newspaperman, politician, Congressman, b. near Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), Rhenish Prussia. He migrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1847 and settled on a farm near Milwaukee. He began his newspaper work as an apprentice on the Wisconsin-Banner and later became business manager of the Milwaukee Seebote. From 1854 to 1856 he edited the Port Washington Zeitung, and in 1856 returned to Milwaukee where he was co-publisher of the Seebote with August Greulich (q.v.) until 1860. Deuster became sole proprietor of the Seebote in 1860, and with various partners formed P. V. Deuster and Co. (publishers) in 1879. In 1885 the Seebote absorbed the Wisconsin Banner and Volksfreund, and, although not actively engaged in the editorial work, Deuster was editor-in-chief of the Seebote (1860-1904) and was responsible for its general editorial policy. Under his direction the Seebote became one of the leading German-language Democratic newspapers in Wisconsin, and won widespread readership for its vigorous opposition to the Civil War and its attack on the Bennett Law in the campaign of 1890 as an infringement of parental rights and personal liberty. A Democrat, Deuster was state assemblyman (1863) and state senator (1870-1871). In 1878 he was elected to Congress, and served three terms (Mar. 1879-Mar. 1885). A leading figure in Milwaukee's German community, Deuster's newspaper connections made him a powerful force in Democratic politics. In Oct., 1882, he founded the Milwaukee Daily Journal to secure support for his Congressional campaign; with his re-election secured, he sold his interest one month later to Lucius W. Nieman (q.v.). After leaving Congress, Deuster was appointed commissioner to diminish the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon (1887), and from 1896 to 1897 was U.S. consul at Crefeld, Germany. He was a founder of the Society of German-American Journalists and Writers (1882). Biog. Dir. Amer. Cong. (1928); J. A. Watrous, Memoirs of Milwaukee Co. (2 vols., Madison, 1909); W. Hense-Jensen, Wis. Deutsch-Amerikaner (2 vols., Milwaukee, 1900-1909); Milwaukee Evening Wis., Dec. 31, 1904; Milwaukee Free Press, fan. 1, 1905; WPA field notes.

View newspaper clippings at Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]
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