Biography of Knute Nelson
Polk County, MN Biographies

When Knute Nelson, the present capable and obliging postmaster at Fertile, this county, was appointed to that office by President Wilson on August 25, 1914, he was well prepared for the duties he had been selected to perform, for he had already performed similar duties in other places at different times, had served as assistant postmaster at Fertile, and had rendered the public good service in other positions of trust and responsibility. Moreover, he is a tuan of extensive general intelligence, good judgment and a resourcefulness that makes him equal to any requirement.

Mr. Nelson was born in Norway February 28, 1857, the son of Nels A. Nelson, who died in that country May 16, 1915, at the age of eighty-nine years. His son Knute was the fourth of his eight children in the order of birth. He remained in his native laud until he reached the age of sixteen, then came to the United States, arriving in 1873. Tn June of that year he located in Dodge county, Minnesota. and for two years thereafter he devoted himself wholly to hard labor as a farm hand. During the next two years he worked on a farm and attended school, and in 1877 and 1878 he was clerk in a general store in Vernon Dodge county, in which the postofflee was kept, and he also acted as assistant postmaster in that town while clerking in the store.

On May 1, 1879, he started driving a “prairie schooner” across the state to the Red river valley and reached Crookston on May 15. He at once took up a homestead in Garfield township, this county, on which he filed on May 19, and at that time he, his brother Ener and his uncle, Lars Bolstad, were the only white settlers in that township. During the summer and spring of 1879 he worked on his homestead, and in the winter of 1880 began clerking in a store in Crookston, and after doing t.hat for about five months he returned to his claim and went on improving it and making it productive.

By this time Mr. Nelson’s ability had become known to his neighbors, and they looked upon him as one of the men among them best fitted for public office. In June of that year he was appointed assessor for the townships of Garfield, Gordon, Bear Park and Sundahl, and in the fall ha became assistant grain buyer at Edna station, a position which he filled for two months, after which he again turned his attention to clerking in a store and looked after the Edna postoffice until April, 1881.

Soon afterward he opened a store at a small place named Aldal, and there he was appointed postmaster during President Garfield’s administration and served until the office was discontinued in August, 1887. He was also in the lumber business at Fosston and in Columbia township, Polk county, until 1889, and from then until 1908 he gave his whole attention to his farming operations, which he had continued at intervals all the time. In 1910 and 1911 he kept a store at Rindal, Polk county, and during the next three years he clerked in a store in Clearwater county. Throughout a large part of this time his family was living at Fertile, and when he was appointed postmaster there he was reunited with it, and he also returned to an old job, for he had been assistant postmaster under his brother, Dr. A. Nelson, who died in 1909, and also under Brown Duckstad from May 1, 189S, to January 15, 1899.

Mr. Nelson was elected county commissioner in the fall of 1882. He has also been a justice of the peace and filled other local offices. Always enterprising and progressive, he has been an important factor in building up and improving his township and county, helping to organize the Farmers' Elevator company in June, 1893, and serving as its secretary for eleven years. In political affiliation he has been a Democrat since 1890, taking an active part in all campaigns and frequently serving as a delegate to county conventions of his party. His religious connection is with the Lutheran Synod church, and he has been zealous and energetic in its service also.

Mr. Nelson. was married in Garfield township June 24, 1882, to Miss Martha Brunberg, who was born in Wisconsin March 2, 1863. They have nine children: Norman O. Richard A., Edd R, Luella, Leonora, Knute M., Olga I., Arthur and Thea L. The parents own a good farm of 160 acres in Garfield township, on which the father has expended a great deal of labor to good advantage, making it productive and improving it according to present day ideas. The farm is located in Section 16, and was all wild land when he took possession of it. It is wholly the product of his skill and industry, and is highly creditable to him.

Compendium of History and Biography
of Polk County, Minnesota
Maj. R. I. Holcombe, Historical Editor
William H. Bingham, Feneral Editor
W. H. Bingham & Co.
Minneapolis 1916


County, MN

County, MN

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