One of the excellent pioneer citizens of Watonwon county was the late Niels Skjedser, who, through his own efforts
forged to the front as a general agriculturist, becoming owner of a good farm in Long Lake township, where he was
held in high esteem by his neighbors and friends for his manly qualities. He was born in Norway, June 5, 1847,
and was a son of Pcter Nelson and Anna Nelson. The parents of the subject of this sketch were natives of Norway,
where the father lived until the seventies, when he came to America, locating near Cassen, Minnesota, but soon
thereafter moved to Watonwan county, this state, where he spent the rest of his life on a farm. The mother died
in Norway when our subject was nineteen years of age.
Niels Skjedser grew tip in Norway and there attended school, immigrating to the United States during the latter
sixties, and homesteaded land in Odin township, Watonwan county, Minnesota, hut never proved up on it; however,
he developed three farms in Long Lake township. He resided in St. James during his last days, where his death occurred,
April 16, 1907. He was a member of the school board.
Mr. Skjedser was married on November 11, 1881, to Sophia Onstad, who was born in Nicollet county, Minnesota, and
is a daughter of Ole and Ingeborg (Onstad) Onstad, both natives of Norway, from which country they came to America
in 1863, locating at Coon Prairie, Wisconsin, their nearest market being LaCrosse, about thirty miles distant.
In the spring of 1865 they moved to Nicollet county, Minnesota, about the time of the Indian outbreak, and the
father hauled provisions to the soldiers at Ft. Ridgelv. Later he came to Watonwan county and took up a homestead
on the shore of Long Lake, to which he moved in 1867, and there continued to reside for a period of fifteen years,
with the exception of three years spent at Oclair, during the grasshopper plague. He finally removed to Polk county,
this state, where he and his wife still reside, now living retired, after successfully farming for a number of
decades. The house they built in Watonwan county, served for the first postoffice in the community, and was also
the general stopping place for all travelers. Mr. Onstad cut the timber near Mankato, which he had sawed there,
then hauled the lumber to his homestead here. The postoflice was retained at his place several years, even after
the village of St. James was started. It was known as Norwegian postoffice. Mr. Onstad's wife and two children,
Peter, who now lives at Ada. and Sophia, widow of the subject of this sketch, lived in a dugout, while he was away
getting lumber for their house. During this period a terriffic snow storm drove three pioneer trappers to the dugout,
where they remained three days, and traded furs for mittens which Mrs. Onstad had made.
The widow of the subject of this sketch remarried, in to Andrew Shellum, of Nelson township, Watonwan county. He
was a son of ndrew Shellum, Sr. The second husband died on February 15, 1910. To her first marriage two children
were born, namely: Anna, who married Ole Iverson; and Olaf, still at home. Their father was a member of the Norwegian
History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties
Their People, Industries and Institutions
John A. Brown, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen and Company, Inc.
Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, MN Biographies
Also see Railway Officials in America 1906