IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


Nels Peter Petersen, one of the most prosperous farmers of Oakfield township, Audubon county, Iowa, who has been a resident of this country for nearly forty years, was born in Denmark, August 14, 1845, the son of Rasmus and Mary Ann (Nelson) Petersen. The father was a wagon maker in his native land and followed that occupation after coming to America in 1876. At that time, he located upon the farm where his son, who had preceded him to America, is now living.

Nels P. Petersen was one of three children born to his parents, the others being Hannah Marie and Anna Christina. In his native land, before coming to this country, he took up his fatherís occupation and was engaged in following this trade with his father. Incidentally, he also served the legal period of enlistment in the Danish army.

Upon coming to this country in 1870, Mr. Petersen located in Cass county, Iowa, where he worked for the Rock Island railroad for five years. He then purchased a farm of eighty acres at eight dollars an acre, and it is this farm upon which he now lives. The land consisted of raw prairie and the sod had never been broken, Mr. Petersen breaking it for the first time. From time to time he purchased more land, improving it as he bought it. Altogether it is fair to say that he has spent something like eight thousand dollars in various kinds of improvements. Most of the land is rented out now but Mr. Petersen himself raises sixty acres of corn and forty acres of small grain every year. For a young man who came into a strange country, where he was unfamiliar with the language and the customs of the people, it must be admitted that he has made a phenomenal success, being now one of the substantial landowners of Audubon county.

On July 3, 1876, Nels P. Petersen was married to Martha Johnson. To this marriage have been born seven children, one of whom, Anna, the second born, is deceased. The other children are, Clara, Regina, Edward, Charles, Rosa and Hannah. Regina married A. C. Knudsen and has one child, Ester. Edward married Lydia Herbert. The remainder of the family are all unmarried and live at home with their parents.

Mr. and Mrs. Nels Petersen are members of the Danish Lutheran church and they are prominent in the affairs of the congregation. Mr. Petersen is a Republican in politics and has served as school director in Oakfield township. Having been one of te earliest settlers in Audubon county, Mr. Petersen has seen it develop from year to year from a raw prairie to a county of the most fertile soil to be found anywhere in the great Hawkeye state. Mr. Petersen himself has had a large part in this splendid agricultural development, adding not only his labor and toil to the development of the country, but his wisdom and counsel as well. In his declining years, it is a just tribute to his early toil and patience, that he is comfortably situated to enjoy these years in ease.

Transcribed by Gunter Schanzenbacher, Waynesboro, PA, March 27, 2013 from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 864-865.

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