Living retired from active pursuits in his pleasant home at Climax, this county, Charles Nelson has plenty of
food for interesting meditations in the many features and numerous thrilling experiences of his long years of useful
labor. He was born at Nummedal, Norway, June 30, 1844, and lost his mother by death when he was but two years,
seven months old. In 1857 his father brought him to the United States, locating in Dane county, Wisconsin.
In 1862 Mr. Nelson and his father moved to Kandiyohi county, Minnesota, with a view to bettering their opportunities
for advancement. But the time was badly chosen, for six weeks after their arrival and the filing on a preemption
claim by the father the Sioux outbreak came and, with many others, the newcomers were obliged to leave that part
of the state. Many of the settlers gathered on Indian island, and on the historical Wednesday afternoon of that
period thirteen neighbors of the Nelsons were massacred by the Indians there. Mr. Nelson and others afterward visited
the neighborhood to ascertain if there were any wonnded persons on it, but they found only dead bodies.
Sixteen wagonloads of fleeing settlers left the country Saturday morning under the guard of an escort, which conducted
them well out into the prairie and then left them. The teams proceeded to Paynesville and from there to Goodhue
county. The Nelsons never returned to their claim, and the father passed the remainder of his life in Goodhue county,
where he died at the age of fifty two. Charles’ brother Nels died in 1901 by falling from a tree which he was pruning.
Charles remained in Red Wing working at his trade as a painter until 1878, when he was married in Minneapolis to
Miss Carrie Olson Romoe of Goodhue county, whither she was brought by her parents from her native town of Stordalen,
Trondhjem Stift, Norway, when she was twelve years old.
After spending some months at the home of his wife‘s parents he visited Crookston and other parts of Polk county
on a tour of inspection, in July, 1879, and in May, 1880, bought a proved-up homestead of 120 acres of Halvor Steenerson
in Section 29, Vineland townsbip. He also bought 200 acres of railroad land at an average price of $7.50 an acre
with a rebate of $3 an acre on all that he broke and seeded within three years. He broke up three-fourths of the
tract and got it sowed, and thereby he saved the rebate on that much.
On April 17, 1880, Mr. Nelson arrived at Crookston with a carload of live stock and farming implements, and the
wife and child arriving in May. When the railroad was constructed through here it was built along the section line
nearly the whole length of his land, and when Climax was made a railroad station Mr. Nelson sold a part of his
land along the road in town lots, and he has since sold more, as the village of Climax is partly on his farm, and
his own residence is in the village, although the farm buildings are half a mile away.
The Nelson farm now contains 295 acres. Mr. Nelson cultivated it in wheat, oats and barley for about twenty years,
and since he retired it has been farmed by tenants under his direction. He has served four years on the village
council of Climax, but has given his attention mainly to his farm. In politics he is a Democrat, but in connection
with local affairs he is independent of party ties. His first presidential vote was cast for Gen. George B. McClellan
in 1868. His religious connection is with the Lutheran church at Climax, but he was confirmed in a class with R.
B. Anderson, the Scandinavian writer of Wisconsin, in a church near his old home built the year of his birth, which
is the center of Norsk activity in Wisconsin. He and his wife have had six children. Nels Olaf, the first born,
died in 1911, aged thirty-two. Carl Marcus is a rural mail carrier at Climax. Clara Cecilia is the wife of Jas.
Crook, of near Beach, North Dakota. Lilly, who formerly taught the Climax and other Polk county schools, is the
wife of C. N. Knutson, assistant cashier of the State Bank of Climax. Valborg is the wife of Gust Benrud, of Goodhue
county, and Ralph Melvin is a student at the high school in Crookston.
Compendium of History and Biography
of Polk County, Minnesota
Maj. R. I. Holcombe, Historical Editor
William H. Bingham, Feneral Editor
W. H. Bingham & Co.
Also see [ Railway Officials in America 1906