IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Nels A. Olson

Nels A. Olson is one of the native sons of Clayton county who is here contributing a due quota to the agricultural prestige of the county, and he is one of the progressive and highly esteemed citizens of Wagner township, where he is the owner of one of the well-improved and highly productive farms of this favored section of the Hawkeye State. Further interest attaches to his career by reason of his being a scion of one of the sterling pioneer families of Clayton county and a representative of that fine Scandinavian element of citizenship that has played so important a part in furthering the civic and industrial development of the county.

Nels A. Olson was born on the old homestead farm of his father, in Wagner township, this county, and the date of his nativity was March 10, 1872. He is a son of Aslak and Gso (Westeleg) Olson, both of whom were born and reared in Norway, where their marriage was solemnized. In the early ‘60s Aslak Olson and his wife immigrated from the fair Norseland to the United States and established their home on a pioneer farm near Postville, Clayton county, Iowa, where they remained until about 1870, when they removed to a farm in Section 34, Wagner township, where Mr. Olson brought under effective cultivation a fine homestead of 170 acres. He was one of the energetic, industrious and successful farmers of the county and his sterling character gave to him secure place in popular confidence and good will. He continued to reside on his farm until his death, which occurred in 1895, and his widow passed to the life eternal on the 4th of October, 1915—an earnest and faithful helpmeet who had done well her part in aiding her husband to win independence and prosperity and who had proved a devoted wife and mother.

Of the children the eldest is Astri, who is the wife of T. Jacobson, of St. Olaf, this county; Sigre is the wife of E. T. Sensegard, of Wagner township; Ole and Nels A. are both prosperous farmers of Wagner township and latter is the immediate subject of this sketch; Lars is a resident of Decorah, Winneshiek county; Albert maintains his home at Forest City, Winnebago county; Martin A. is individually mentioned on other pages of this work; Julia is the wife of T. T Laftogard, of Marion township, Clayton county; and Oscar is a prosperous farmer in Wagner township. By his first marriage the father had three children: Gulik, who is a resident of the State of North Dakota; and Astria and Sigre, who are deceased. Aslak Olson aligned himself as a staunch supporter of the cause of his political party and took a loyal interest in local public affairs, both he and his wife having been earnest members of the Lutheran church.

Nels A. Olson was reared to the sturdy discipline of the home farm and continued to be associated with its work and management until about the year 1892; the while he had profited duly by the advantages afforded in the public schools of the locality. After leaving the old homestead on which he was born and reared he purchased his present fine farm of eighty acres, in Section 35, Wagner township, and he has not only brought his land under the best state of productiveness but has also made permanent improvements of exceptional excellence, including the erection of a substantial and modern brick house of two stories. He is known as one of the wide-awake and successful representatives of agricultural industry in his native county, as a liberal and progressive citizen and as one altogether worthy of the unqualified esteem in which he is held in the community that has been his home from the time of his birth. His political allegiance is given to the Republican party and both he and his wife hold membership in the International Bible Association.

On the 20th of December, 1897, Mr. Olson wedded Miss Mary Olson, who was born in Clayton county on the 18th of April, 1874, and who is a daughter of Gilbert and and Laura (Peterson) Olson, both natives of Norway. Gilbert Olson was another of the sterling pioneers and successful farmers of Clayton county, where he continued to reside until his death, his widow now maintaining her home at Elkader, the county seat. Of their children it may be recorded that Ole is a prosperous of Boardman township; Mary, wife of the subject of this review, was the next in order of birth; Peter is a resident of Elkader; Julia is the wife of Ole Olson, a farmer of Wagner township; Louisa is deceased; and Gustav resides at Elkader.

Mr. and Mrs. Nels A. Olson became the parents of three children: Aiph, who was born May 6, 1899; Millard, deceased; and Ira Rayme, who was born May 7, 1906.

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa; From The Earliest Historical Times Down to the Present; by Realto E. Price, Vol. II; page 309-310
-transcribed by Mary Cameron


Return to 1916 Biographies Index