Buena Vista County, IA
USGenWeb Project

Extracted from:  Wegerslev, C. H. and Thomas Walpole. 
 Past and Present of Buena Vista County, Iowa
Chicago:  S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1909, p. 433-34.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Cornelius Corneliussen

Cornelius Corneliussen is one of the thrifty and wide-awake farmers of Buena Vista county, owning an excellent tract of land of four hundred acres in Nokomis township.  This is a well improved and valuable property and constitutes one of the attractive features of the landscape.  Upon this farm Mr. Corneliussen resided until 1904, when he purchased a farm a half mile east of Alta, where he lived for two years, and then removed to the village.  Six months later he went to California.  He dates his residence in Iowa from 1868, in which year he settled in Story county, but the following year came to Buena Vista county and through four decades has been a witness to the changes which have occurred transforming this part of the state from a pioneer region into one of the leading counties of the commonwealth.


As the name indicates, Mr. Corneliussen is of Norwegian birth, having first opened his eyes to the light of day in Bergen, in April, 1852.  He remained in the land of the midnight sun until thirteen years of age, when he crossed the Atlantic for the United States.  Friends who had already come to the new world had reported favorably concerning wages paid here and conditions existing in business circles, and he believed that he might more rapidly develop in business lines than he could by remaining in his native country.


Mr. Corneliussen spent six months in Story county, Iowa, and in 1869 came to Buena Vista county, where his brother, S. R. Corneliussen, had secured a claim of eighty acres.  He helped to break the sod and improve the farm and eventually he purchased eighty acres of land from his brother.  He then began farming on his own account and as the years have passed he has added to the property from time to time until he became the owner of over four hundred acres.  His extensive holdings are the visible evidence of his well directed labor. He started out a poor man, having no assistance from friends or relatives, but he has builded [sic] his success upon the sure foundation of industry, determination and business integrity.  Aside from his farming interests he is now in partnership with his brother in owning and conducting a general mercantile store in Alta.


Mr. Corneliussen was married in Alta, in March, 1888, to Miss Ragna Holverson, who was born in Norway but was reared in Iowa.  They have become parents of four children:  Carl W., Cora, Hazel B. and Norman C.  Since 1904 the family have resided in Alta.


Since becoming a naturalized citizen he has given continued support to the republican party, but while he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day he has never sought nor desired public office.  He has preferred to give his entire time and energy to his business affairs, and has led a useful and active life, during which time he has been closely identified with the development and progress of this county.  He has owned and improved a number of farms and in the conduct of his business affairs has won a competence which should crown earnest and honorable labor.  He manifests public-spirited devotion to the general good and his cooperation in many movements has made him an important factor in the progress and improvement of his portion of the county.