Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson

1893 – 1945

 

 

            Harry Peterson was born on June 2, 1893 at Knoxville in Knox County, Illinois.  He was the third of four children born to Felix Harper “Frank” Peterson (1845-1927) and Emma Jane (Reynolds) Peterson (1857-1936).  He moved with his family from Illinois to Pleasant Valley Township in rural Cowley County, Kansas after 1900 but before 1905.  The family moved on to Wichita, Kansas shortly after that where Harry found work as an automobile mechanic.

            On July 5, 1914 and while residing for a few months in Terre Haute, Indiana, Harry was knocked unconscious and received several painful cuts and bruises when a motorcycle he was riding struck a stone in the road causing him to tumble from the bike.

            Harry was still residing with his parents in Wichita, Kansas in 1915.

            By 1917, Harry was stationed at Ft. Omaha near Omaha, Nebraska and was one of 91 men (seven from Wichita) serving in Company A of the balloon division of the U. S. Aviation Service.  In July of that year, his division shipped out for the war in France where he remained throughout most of 1918.

            In December of 1920, Harry was charged with assaulting Wichita garage owner William C. Burnham.  The judge said that he wished he could fine both participants in what turned out to be a fight but, since he did not have that authority, he dismissed the charges with a reprimand for both men for unseemly conduct.

In 1921, Harry formed a business partnership with William Henry “Bill” Lassen (1897-1945) that included lesser stake holders Hart Huraine Bowman (1893-1972) and Bill Lassen’s younger brother, Aldrich Henry “Buster” Lassen (1900-1924), to build the 1½ mile dirt Meridian Speedway north of Pawnee Street on South Meridian Street in Wichita, Kansas.  That venture was not a financial success and the speedway closed after its final event in July of 1923.  The facility was dismantled in December of that year.

Harry’s first known experience with racing automobiles came as a driver in July of 1910:

 

 

July, 1910 – Unknown dirt oval in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Car:  Peterson drove a Crawford automobile in races in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma but it has yet to be learned how he finished there or who won any of those races.  The car he drove was owned by John Henry “Jack” Baldauf (1875-1956) who, with partner John S. Liggett (1857-1923), owned Regal Auto Company which was a dealership for Crawford and Regal automobiles in Wichita, Kansas.

                                                                  

July 4, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack in Wichita, Kansas

Car:  Crawford owned by John Henry “Jack” Baldauf of Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  Peterson won the 10-lap Free-for-All race in 6 minutes, 17.0 seconds over Glenn M. Breed who was driving a Buick Model 17, and _____ Heller who was driving a Moon.  Peterson ran most of this race in third place, just moving into second place near the end.  This race was run during a blinding sand storm.  Given the conditions, Breed told a newspaper reporter that he was surprised that he had done as well as he had.  Peterson had Racine brand tires on this car when he won this race.

Feature race winner:  Harold R. “Harry” Peterson of Wichita, Kansas

 

November 11, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Pratt County Fairgrounds in Pratt, Kansas

Car:  Crawford owned by John Henry “Jack” Baldauf of Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  700 people saw these races sponsored by the Wichita Motor Club.  Peterson won the second 5-mile race driving Jack Baldauf’s Crawford.  He was followed across the finish line by Glenn M. Breed in second place in his own 1909 Buick Model 17.

 

June 20, 1915 – ½ mile dirt oval – Butler County Fairgrounds at El Dorado, Kansas

These races were promoted by Wilbur Beaumont

Car:  24 H.P. Buick

Finish:  Peterson won the 2-lap Free-for-All race over Billie Hedrick, Max Wilson, and “Mr. Anderson” in 1:30.0.

            Peterson finished second in the 6-lap Free-for-All behind Billie Hedrick who was driving a Model 10 Buick.  Following Peterson were Max Wilson and “Mr. Anderson”.

            Peterson dropped out of the 10-lap feature race when his Buick broke a steering arm and he nearly turned over.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a Ford.

 

July 4, 1921 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack in Wichita, Kansas

Car:  His own Harroun special #7

Finish:  Peterson was third fastest in time trials turning one lap in 38.5 seconds behind quick-timer Johnny Lee of Wichita in a Dodge and James I. “Toots” Higgins of Newton, Kansas in an Essex.  Billie Hedrick finished 4th in that event in a Mercer with a time of 39.0 seconds.

 In the first 4-car heat race, Peterson crashed the Harroun special through the fence at the first turn tearing out 50 feet of the rail and posts.  The car veered back across the racetrack with its radiator smashed and front axle bent but Peterson was uninjured.  The car had to be withdrawn from the remainder of the races.

Feature race winner:  Due to a shortage of both entries and paying spectators, no feature race was run.

 

September 8, 1921 – ½ mile dirt oval – Athletic Park in Newton, Kansas

Car:  Lassen special 16-valve Dodge owned by William Henry “Bill” Lassen of Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  Peterson turned in the fastest time in time trials running two laps of the racetrack in 1:10.0 over Bill Bryant, James I. “Toots” Higgins, Merle Warren, and J. F. Jones before a crowd of 2,000 people.

             Peterson won the first heat race over James I. “Toots” Higgins and Bill Bryant.  Peterson’s time for the 4-laps was 2:25.0.

             Peterson won the 6-lap Free-for-All in 3:40.0.  Merle Warren was second, James I. “Toots” Higgins finished third and J. F. Jones finished fourth.

             Peterson won the second heat race in 2:25.0 over James I. “Toots” Higgins and Bill Bryant.

             Peterson won the third heat race in 2:31.0 over Bill Bryant and James I. “Toots” Higgins.

Peterson won the 30-lap Free-for-All in 18:00.0.  Bill Bryant finished in second place and James I. “Toots” Higgins finished third J. F. Jones lost a wheel and dropped out while running in fourth place and Merle Warren dropped out while running in fifth place.

            Feature race winner:  Harold R. Peterson driving a Lassen special Dodge.

 

October 3, 1921 – 1½ mile dirt – Meridian Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Car:  Lassen special 16-valve Dodge owned by William Henry “Bill” Lassen of Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

October 5, 1921 – 1½ mile dirt – Meridian Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Car:  Lassen special 16-valve Dodge owned by William Henry “Bill” Lassen of Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  Peterson was driving one of the 15 cars that started this race but his’s mount broke a steering arm early in the 40-lap (60-mile) event and crashed or, as stated in the Wichita Eagle newspaper, “was thrown off the track.”

            Feature race winner:  Johnnie Mais who was driving a Dodge special

 

March 31, 1922 – ½ mile dirt oval – Anthony Downs at Anthony, Kansas

Car:  Lassen special 16-valve Dodge #4 owned by William Henry “Bill” Lassen of Wichita, Kansas.  The engine in this car had been built by Johnnie Mais.

Attendance:  Between 1,200 and 1,500 were in the grandstands at race time although most had slipped in without paying admission.

Finish:  Peterson turned in the 3rd fastest time in time trials running 2-laps in 1:12.4 which was behind Johnnie Mais of Salina, Kansas and Johnny Lee of Wichita, Kansas.  All three of these drivers were driving Dodges.

Peterson finished 2nd in the first 5-mile heat race.  That race was won by Johnny Lee.  The advertised purse for second place in this race was $50 but race promoter Fred R. Dunlavy only paid Peterson $25.

            Peterson finished 2nd in the second 5-mile heat race.  That race was won by Johnnie Mais who was driving his own Dodge special.  The advertised purse for second place in this race was $50 but race promoter Fred R. Dunlavy only paid Peterson $25.

Feature race winner:  Johnnie Mais of Salina, Kansas although Mais was claiming that Indianapolis, Indiana was his home at the time.

 

April 1, 1922 – ½ mile dirt oval – Anthony Downs at Anthony, Kansas

Car:  Lassen special 16-valve Dodge #4 owned by William Henry “Bill” Lassen of Wichita, Kansas.  The engine in this car had been built by Johnnie Mais

The races on this date were canceled due to poor paid attendance the preceding afternoon and only about 80 people being in the grandstands at race time on this afternoon.

 

September 4, 1922 – 1½ mile dirt – Meridian Speedway in Wichita, Kansas

Car:  Lassen special 16-valve Dodge owned by William Henry “Bill” Lassen of Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  Peterson’s name does not appear in the results of these races.

            Feature race winner:  Johnnie Mais of Salina, Kansas who was driving a 16-valve Dodge special

 

February 22, 1925 – 1 mile dirt – Douglas Fairgrounds at Douglas, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  Dodge special owned by Johnny Mais of Dallas, Texas and sponsored by “Hayes”.

Finish:  Peterson turned in the fastest time in time trials of 51.0 seconds.  Jimmy Randolph had the second-best time in time trials.

             Peterson won the 50-mile feature race in 46 minutes, 28.4 seconds finishing just 1.6 seconds ahead of Jimmy Randolph of Douglas, Arizona.

            Feature race winner:  Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson

           

June 14, 1925 – 1½ mile dirt – East Texas Motor Speedway between Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas – Sanctioned by AAA

Co-race promoters:  J. H. Welborn and Johnny Mais

Car:  #12 Marmon special owned by Johnny Mais of Dallas, Texas.  The Marmon was one of three cars that Mais entered in these races for which he was a co-promoter.  Mais’ other two cars and drivers were: a Hayes driven by Carl Schroeder and a Dodge driven by Austin E. Wetzler a.k.a. “Tex West”.

Finish:  Peterson’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

9-Lap Feature race winner:  Roy Huston of Houston, Texas

           

June 18, 1925 – 1 mile dirt – Brownwood Speedway at Brownwood, Texas – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #11 Hayes owned by Johnny Mais of Dallas, Texas.  The Hayes was one of three cars that Mais entered in these races.  Mais’ other two cars and drivers were: a #1 Hayes driven by Horace Folsom and a #12 Marmon that Mais drove himself.

Finish:  Peterson turned in the second fastest time in time trials of 52.0 seconds which was one second slower than the time trial lap turned in George Souders.

              Peterson won the 1st 5-mile heat race in 4:36.0 which was 4 seconds quicker than the 2nd place finisher George Souders.

              Peterson finished 2nd  in an 8-mile race, 28.4 seconds behind winner George Souders.

 Peterson finished second, 9.7 seconds slower than George Souders, in the 15-lap “Brownwood Opening” feature race.

Feature race winner:  George Souders of Austin, Texas

 

July 4, 1925 – 1 mile dirt – Douglas Fairgrounds at Douglas, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and entered in these races by his W & C Garage of Phoenix.  Waldo Welty also owned the Dodge that his business partner, Johnny Carminati, drove to a third-place finish in the feature race behind Harry Peterson and Jimmy Randolph on this afternoon.

Finish:  Peterson won the 50-mile feature race in 43 minutes, 10.2 seconds.  The second-place finisher was Jimmy Randolph.

            Feature race winner:  Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson

 

November 14, 1925 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and entered in these races by his W & C Garage of Phoenix.

Finish:  Peterson turned in the fastest time in time trials of 46.2 seconds, just in front of Jimmy Randolph who made the second fastest time of 47.4 seconds in Johnny Mais’ gold colored Ford Frontenac.

             Peterson dropped out of the second heat race and third heat races mechanical trouble.

Peterson dropped out of the 50-mile feature race with mechanical trouble but, since only six cars finished the race and Peterson was the last to drop out, he was credited with finishing in seventh place and picked up $100 of the posted $5,550 purse.  Jimmy Randolph, Jack Nunnally, Jimmy Owens, Charles Goldtrap, Jimmy Thomas and George Gardner all finished ahead of Peterson.

            Feature race winner:  Jimmy Randolph of Douglas, Arizona

 

December 25, 1925 – 1 mile dirt – Douglas Fairgrounds at Douglas, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Finish:  Peterson was credited with finishing in seventh place among the 9 starters in the 50-mile feature race after he dropped out on the 36th lap with engine trouble.  Jimmy Randolph, Johnny Lee, Slim Harper, Harry Milburn, George Souders and Doyt Atha all finished that race ahead of Peterson.

            Feature race winner:  Jimmy Randolph of Douglas, Arizona who was driving the Douglas special

 

January 17, 1926 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and entered in these races by his W & C Garage of Phoenix.

Finish:  Peterson turned in the fastest time in time trials of 46.2 seconds.  The second fastest time was 46.8 seconds turned in by Slim Harper.

             Only three cars finished the 50-mile feature race.  Peterson was credited with finishing seventh in the feature behind Charles Goldtrap, Jimmy Thomas, Ralph Miller, Jimmy Owens, Slim Harper and Jack Boody.

            Feature race winner:  Charles Goldtrap of Phoenix, Arizona

 

February 22, 1926– 1 mile dirt – Douglas Fairgrounds at Douglas, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona.  Waldo Welty also entered a second car for Welty to drive himself but he did not finish the feature race.

Finish:  Peterson won the 50-mile feature race in 41 minutes, 43.4 seconds.  Jimmy Randolph finished in second place.

            Feature race winner:  Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson of Phoenix, Arizona

 

April 11, 1926 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and entered in these races by his W & C Garage of Phoenix as the “W & C special”.  Waldo Welty also owned a second car, also known as the “W & C special”, that was driven to the seventh-place finish in the feature race on this afternoon by Charles Goldtrap.

Finish:  Peterson turned in the fourth fastest time in time trials of 47.4 seconds which was slower than the times turned in by Jimmy Randolph, W. E. Harper and Chuck Anderson.

              Peterson finished in third place in the first 10-mile heat race behind Jimmy Randolph and Chuck Anderson.

  Peterson won the 10-mile consolation race in 8 minutes, 13.2 seconds.  Charles Goldtrap finished that race in second place.

 Peterson was credited with the eighth-place finish in the 20-mile feature race after he dropped out on the sixth lap.  Finishing ahead of Peterson was Jimmy Randolph, Chuck Anderson, Jimmy Thomas, Slim Harper, T. E. Manzy, Jack Boody and Charles Goldtrap.

            Feature race winner:  Jimmy Randolph of Douglas, Arizona

 

May 23, 1926 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and entered in these races by his W & C Garage of Phoenix.  Waldo Welty also owned a second car (a car #15) that was driven to the fourth-place finish in the feature race on this afternoon by Charles Goldtrap.

Finish:  Peterson turned in the fastest time in time trials of 48.8 seconds.  Waldo Welty’s second car, driven by Charles Goldtrap, had the second fastest time in time trials of 50 seconds flat.

             Peterson won the first 10-mile heat race in 8 minutes, 25.6 seconds.  Jimmy Randolph finished in second place in that heat race.

Peterson finished in third place in the second 10-lap heat race behind Jimmy Randolph and Leo Lathan.

Peterson second among the six cars that started the 25-mile feature race.  Peterson finished five seconds behind winner Jimmy Randolph.

            Feature race winner:  Jimmy Randolph of Douglas, Arizona

 

August 29, 1926 – 1 mile dirt – All American Speedway at Albuquerque, New Mexico – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  Dodge special owned by Jimmy Randolph of Douglas, Arizona.  Randolph also entered a #25 Ford Frontenac in these races to drive himself.

Finish:  Peterson’s name does not appear in in the published results of these races.

            30-mile “Southwestern Classic” winner:  Cliff Bergere of Hollywood, California

 

November 13, 1926 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  Red #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and entered in these races by his W & C Garage of Phoenix.

Finish:  Peterson ran the fastest time in time trials covering the two-lap distance in one minute, 49.0 seconds.

             Peterson won the first 5-mile heat race over Jimmy Randolph.

             Peterson won the second 5-mile heat race over Ralph M. Miller who was driving a Studebaker.

             Peterson won the 5-mile Australian Pursuit over a Chrysler, whose driver’s name was not given.

 Peterson won the 25-mile feature race in 21 minutes, 26.0 seconds to collect a total of $1,325 of the total purse of $2,100.

            Feature race winner:  Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson of Phoenix, Arizona

 

January 2, 1927 – 1 mile dirt – All American Speedway at Albuquerque, New Mexico – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #16 Duesenberg owned by Harry T. Milburn of Ft. Worth, Texas.  Milburn also owned a ow #12 Miller that he entered in these races for driver George Souders who won the 25-mile feature race.

Finish:  Peterson’s name does not appear in in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  George Souders of Austin, Texas

 

February 22, 1927 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona was entered for Peterson to drive.  Waldo Welty also owned a #44 Chevrolet special that was driven to the 5th place finish in the 50-mile feature race on this afternoon by F. A. Reed.

Finish:  Peterson ran the second-best time trial lap on this afternoon with a time of 47.0 seconds.  That was only bested by Chuck Anderson who was driving a #9 Ford owned by Waldo Welty’s business partner, Johnny Carminati.

  Peterson won the 50-mile feature race in 39 minutes, 52.8 seconds.  Chet Gardner finished in second place behind Peterson in the feature race.  Reed was 5 laps behind the winner at the finish.

Feature race winner:  Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson of Phoenix, Arizona

 

November 12, 1927 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona.  Waldo Welty also owned a #44 Chevrolet special that he entered in these races for driver F. A. Reed.  There was also a #5 car entered in these races by V. S. Davis for Harry Peterson to drive.

Finish:  Peterson ran the seventh fastest lap in time trials of 48.0 seconds in Waldo Welty’s #1 Dodge special but then changed to V. S. Davis’ #5 car for the races.

  Peterson was eliminated in an accident on the 18th lap of the 25-mile feature race.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Hiett of Rock Island, Illinois

 

October 7, 1928 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and sponsored by Simplex Piston Rings.

Finish:  Peterson won the 50-mile feature race in 42 minutes, 7.2 seconds.  F. B. Merzney finished second, in a #4 Studebaker special, 37.8 seconds behind.

Feature race winner:  Harold Reynolds “Harry” Peterson of Phoenix, Arizona

 

November 18, 1928 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and sponsored by Simplex Piston Rings.

Finish:  12,000 spectators looked on as Peterson’s engine suffered a broken camshaft before he could qualify for these races.

30-Mile Feature race winner:  Johnny Sawyer of Waco, Texas

 

January 1, 1929 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #1 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and sponsored by Simplex Piston Rings.

Finish:  Peterson’s name does not appear in the published race results.

50-Mile Feature race winner:  Ernie Triplett of Los Angeles, California

 

November 16, 1929 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #79 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and sponsored by Simplex Piston Rings.

Finish:  Peterson’s name does not appear in the published race results.

40-Mile Feature race winner:  Babe Stapp of Los Angeles, California

 

August 24, 1930 – 1/2  mile dirt – Coconino County Fairgrounds at Flagstaff, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #101 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and sponsored by L & K.

Finish:  Credited with the 9th place finishing position in the 15-lap feature race after he retired from the race.  Finishing ahead of Peterson were Guy Deulin, Tony Radetich, M. J. Pilkington, Bud Miller, Ralph Miller, John Pierce, Jack Cousins and Jimmy Thomas.

15-Mile Feature race winner:  Guy Deulin of Portland, Oregon

 

November 15, 1930 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #71 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and sponsored by L & K.

Finish:  Peterson was listed as a “did not start” in the 30-mile feature race but no reason was given.

Feature race winner:  Ernie Triplett of Los Angeles, California

 

November 16, 1930 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  #71 Dodge special owned by Waldo Kenneth Welty of Phoenix, Arizona and sponsored by L & K.

Finish:  Peterson finished second to Floyd Bobzien in the fourth 10-lap heat race.

              Peterson received serious head injuries when his car was struck from behind on the first lap of the 50-mile feature race by a Ford Frontenac driven by Johnny Krieger.

Feature race winner:  Ernie Triplett of Los Angeles, California

 

November 18, 1934 – 1 mile dirt – Arizona State Fairgrounds at Phoenix, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Car:  Ford special

Finish:  Peterson did not start in the 40-mile feature race for an undetermined reason.

Feature race winner:  Rex Mays of Riverside, California

 

October 6, 1935 – 1/2 mile dirt – Pima County Fairgrounds at Tucson, Arizona – Sanctioned by AAA

Finish:  Peterson’s name does not appear in the published race results.

25-Lap Feature race winner:  Frank Wearne of Los Angeles, California

 

 

 

            Harry Peterson moved from Kansas to Arizona sometime after 1922.  In 1925, he was residing in rural Maricopa County, Arizona where he was working as a machinist and auto mechanic.  He moved into Phoenix, Arizona and lived there for at least sixteen more years before moving to Weatherford, Texas.

Peterson passed away on November 14, 1945 at Santo in Palo Pinto County, Texas where he had been living with a friend and said he had been unemployed for the last several years.  He is buried beside his parents in Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas.  His death certificate lists the primary cause of his death as being “cardiac and edema dropsy” with a contributing cause being a toxic goiter.