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
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
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.
Also see [ Railway Officials in America 1906