Laura E. Peters materials
Washington State Historical Society
Laura E. Peters. From Seattle Times obituary, January 29, 1902.
Laura Etta Crane was born in Portland, Indiana to Daniel and Catherine Crane on October 7, 1840. She spent her youth in Indiana, and married Isaac M. Hall in 1859. The Halls moved to California in 1864, and then relocated to Seattle a year later. Laura and Isaac Hall had three children: Eudora, Llewella, and Frank. The Halls divorced in 1883.
"...she was radical, aggressive and progressive, strong and positive in her convictions, and plain mannered to an unusual degree." -Progressive Thinker, March 15, 1902
Laura Hall was a Spiritualist and a Populist. In the early 1880s, she traveled around the state lecturing and organizing for the Good Templars. She was involved in the Woman's Christian Temperence Union. Like other Seattle Populists, Laura was part of the anti-Chinese activism in the 1880s that culminated in the 1885-1886 riots. Another anti-Chinese activist, George Venable Smith, co-founded a utopian community, the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony. Laura Hall was the corresponding secretary for the colony as it gained momentum, and in 1887, she moved with other colony members to Port Angeles, the site designated for the utopian community. She became a member of the colony's first board of directors and editor of the colony paper, The Model Commonwealth. In 1888, Laura married another colonist, Charles Peters. When the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony morphed into a for-profit enterprise around 1888, the Peters left rather than be associated with the new ideology. However, they remained in Port Angeles.
Laura Hall Peters was a long-time proponent of equal rights for women. She served as the president for the Port Angeles Equal Suffrage Club, and traveled the state lecturing and organizing Equal Suffrage Clubs in other communities. In 1896, 1898, and 1900, Laura served as the Clallam County delegate to the Populist state convention, fighting for women's suffrage amendments to be considered or passed. On January 11, 1902, Laura Peters died of cancer. Spiritualist minister Esther G. Thomas conducted her funeral, and she was buried in Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles.
- Barbara Cloud's article, "Laura Hall Peters: Pursuing the Myth of Equality," Pacific Northwest Quarterly v.74 #1, January 1983
- A detailed biography of Laura Peters appears in Equal to the Occasion: Women Editors of the Nineteenth Century West by Sherilyn Cox Bennion, p.49-55
- HistoryLink article on the Puget Sound Cooperative Colony
- Stacey Davis posted materials about Laura Peters and her family members, including photographs, transcribed newspaper articles, and obituaries