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. 217-18.

Transcribed by Paul Nagy

Biography of  Oscar M. Nelson

Oscar M. Nelson, one of the practical, progressive and respected farmers of Nokomis township, is living on section 13, where he owns and cultivates a farm of one hundred and twenty acres.  He is numbered among the old settlers of the county, for Buena Vista was still largely an undeveloped region when he took up his abode within its borders in 1873.  He was then a youth of ten years, his birth having occurred in the city of Rockford, Illinois, October 14, 1862.  His father, A. P. Nelson, was a native of Sweden, who in early manhood came to the new world, settling in Rockford, Illinois, where for fourteen years he worked at the miller's trade.  He was married at Rockford to Miss Mary S. Styf, also a native of Sweden and three sons were born unto them ere their removal to Iowa.  Mr. Nelson visited this state in 1872, purchased a tract of raw land and the following year removed his family to this place.  With characteristic energy he began to till the soil and improve the farm, and made it one of the well developed properties of that locality.  Both he and his wife have passed away and in their death the community lost two of its industrious and worthy citizens.

Oscar M. Nelson is one of two living sons, his brother, J. A. Nelson, being a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A younger brother, Emil, died at the age of twenty-two years.  Oscar M. Nelson was largely reared on the homestead farm in this county and to some extent attended the primitive schools of the neighborhood, but is largely self-educated, for it was necessary that he assist his father in the arduous task of developing a new farm.  He gave to his father the benefit of his services until he had attained his majority, and then purchased a. part of the old home place and began farming on his own account.

Mr. Nelson made further preparation for having a home of his own by marrying in June, 1888, Miss Anna C. Bladine, who was born in Sweden but was reared in America.  For a year after their marriage the young couple lived upon the northern part of the home farm and later Mr. Nelson purchased the interest of the other heirs in the property.  He has since rebuilt and remodeled the dwelling, has also put up a good barn and outbuildings, and has thus furnished ample shelter for grain and stock.  He has now a well improved place, the farm being divided into fields of convenient size by fences that are always kept in good repair, while the latest improved machinery facilitates the work of the fields.  He cultivates the cereals best adapted to the soil and climate and in addition he also raises some cattle, horses and hogs.  He and his brother owned one of the first steam threshers in the county and also one of the first corn-shellers, operating this for a number of years and thus adding materially to their annual income.  Aside from his farming, Mr. Nelson is a stockholder in the Farmers Elevator, the Alta Creamery and the Fair Association.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have been born three sons and six daughters, who are yet living:  Lenora, Ruth, Lillian, Elida, Elsie, Inez, Oscar H., Curtis and Everett.  They also lost their three eldest children in infancy. Politically Mr. Nelson is a republican and that he has the confidence, regard and good will of his fellow townsmen is indicated by the fact that he has served for fourteen years as township assessor.  In November, 1908, he was elected county supervisor for a three years' term.  He is likewise a member of the Alta Lutheran church and Ancient Order of United Workmen.  He is well known in Alta, Storm Lake and, in fact, throughout Buena Vista county, as a man of much business ability and as a public-spirited citizen, whose labors are not selfishly centered upon his own success but have constituted an element in the upbuilding of the community.