Biographical Sketches.

from Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota
(Chicago, Geo. A Ogle & Co., 1904).


William Nash, one of the old-time residents of Big Stone county, built up a comfortable home in Tokua township, where he has been identified with the farming interests for over a quarter of a century. He has led an active life and has acquired a valuable estate, and the highest confidence and esteem of his fellowmen.

Mr. Nash was born in Ireland in 1835. His father, John Nash, came to America in 1835 and located in Massachusetts. He had visited this country as early as 1825 or '26. Our subject was reared and educated in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, and there learned the currier's trade, which he followed in Massachusetts. In March, 1877, he came to Big Stone county, Minnesota, and settled on a homestead in section 28, township 124, range 47. He was one of the first settlers to enter claim to land as a homestead in that locality, and he built the first house erected in that part of the county. He hauled his lumber and supplies from Morris, thirty-six miles distant. Oxen served him for his farm work for the first four years. His first crop was abundant, averaging about thirty bushels of wheat per acre. He lived alone the first two years on his farm. He has continued the cultivation and improvement of his place and is now the owner of three hundred and fifty-eight acres of land, about three hundred acres of which is under cultivation, and the rest is meadow and pasture. He engaged in grain and stock raising and met with success in general farming. He has a pleasant home, and is prepared to enjoy his remaining years in peace and comfort. Mr. Nash has recently purchased a home in Barry and now resides there and rents his land.

Mr. Nash was married in 1879 to Miss Elizabeth Maher. Mrs. Nash was born in Ireland. Her father, John Maher, came to America in 1872. To Mr. and Mrs. Nash three children have been born, namely: Mary M., John J., now attending Northfield College; and William F. Mr. Nash is a man of broad mind and active public spirit. He was in Tokua township at the organization of the same, and was elected township clerk at that time, in 1880, and filled the office continuously for twenty-two years. He assisted in the organization of the school district and has served as a school officer since that time. He also assisted in establishing the postoffice at Lowell, which was stationed on section 4. Mrs. White was appointed postmistress. Mr. Nash took an active part in the reform movement in its early stage, and organized the Farmers' Alliance in Big Stone county, and was one of the lecturers of the county, lecturing and organizing in different towns of the county. He assisted in the organization of an Old Settlers' Association in Big Stone county, and for several years this was a flourishing organization and held many celebrations on Big Stone Lake.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 421-22.


Rev. John P. Neander, well and favorably known in Cambridge, and throughout Isanti county, Minnesota, was born in Smoland, Sweden, and comes of an old and prominent family in that part of his native country. His father, S. P. Nelson, was a land steward, and had charge of an estate of several thousand acres, mill property, and other interests. When he reached the age of thirty-five years he suddenly died, leaving his son, John P., a lad of only five years of age. His widow also lived and died in Sweden, and there John P. Neander was reared and educated. When he was a young man he had aspirations for the ministry and studied in a Swedish seminary three years for that purpose in Sweden. After his arrival in this country he still continued his preparation for that calling, and in 1877 was admitted to the Swedish ministry of the Lutheran church, having completed his preparation at the Augustana College and Seminary in Rock Island, where he studied for six years. Mr. Neander devoted his vacations in these earlier years to teaching, having taught in the old country, and at Kansas City, Knoxville, Illinois, and elsewhere in the United States, teaching in all some five years.

As a Lutheran clergyman he had his first pastorate in a rural neighborhood in Iowa, where he remained some three years; he was at Kansas City about two and a half years, and at Clinton, Iowa, for the same period. In 1885 he came to Isanti county, to take charge of the congregation at Cambridge, and there for eleven years he faithfully dispensed the gospel, and during that time the congregation put up a fine brick building 40x65 feet, and an addition 20x36 feet for school and society purposes. A fine parsonage was also erected, and every interest of the church was well sustained. Mr. Neander helped to organize the church at Athens, Isanti county, though devoting all his time to the Cambridge church until 1896. From that year until 1899 Mr. Neander was pastor of a church at Marine Hills. In 1899 he resigned from the ministry, and located at Cambridge, to take a position as local manager for the Adams Lumber Company, now J. & W. C. Shull, lumber merchants.

Mr. Neander was married in 1877 to Miss Tilda Egnell, born at Moline, Illinois, though of Swedish parents. Gust Egnell, her father, was a carpenter, and also a furniture dealer and undertaker. Mrs. Neander died, and left four children: Victor, who is a law student; Esther, a trained nurse in St. Paul; Rudolph, who was a civil engineer, of great natural endowments, with the Great Northern Railway, is dead; Harold is a student at school.

In 1885 Mr. Meander [sic] was again married, Annie Lawson becoming his wife. She was born in Rockford, Illinois, her father, Jonas Lawson, being among the earlier emigrants from Sweden, after the movement of 1832. He was active in the organization of the Swedish church in Rockford, which has since grown to be the largest of its kind in America. He was a deacon, and on many occasions filled the pulpit very acceptably. He died in Rockford in 1894. To his second marriage were born nine children: Joseph, who is now a clerk; Hannah, Alma, Mauritz, Stanley, Elmer, Elvei, Pauline and Amy.

Mr. Neander is a Republican, and was president of the St. Croix Valley District of the Lutheran church. For twenty-two years he labored actively and zealously for the church, and for twelve years, with the help of his fellow citizens, kept saloons out of Cambridge. He took much interest in farming, and advocated the raising of potatoes long before it became the staple crop of Isanti county. Several valuable varieties, among them the Triumph potato, which is now the leading variety in this community, were introduced by him.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 281-82.


Benjamin E. Nelson, by general confession the leading opthalmologist and optician of western Minnesota, and a man of much scientific learning and wide acquirement, was born in Nicolet county, Minnesota, September 16, 1871, a son of Ole E. Nelson, a farmer, born in Norway, but brought to this country when only seven years old by his grandparents, and here given a good education. They settled in Nicolet county, and were pioneers at a very unusually early day.

Ole E. Nelson was very actively interested in the development of Granite Falls. He took an active part in political affairs, and was commissioner of highways in the days when the road question was important. He served in Company B, Minnesota Mounted Rangers, for three years and is remembered as a most active and enterprising man. He died January 23, 1897.

Benjamin E. Nelson was reared from childhood in Granite Falls, where he was graduated from the high schools, and then attended Carlton College at Northfield, Minnesota, for three years, after which he began in the drug business at Granite Falls, and from 1879 to 1882 was a clerk for Cressy & Johnson, a well known drug firm of that city, after which, Johnson succeeding Cressy, he continued working for said firm up to November 20, 1889. He then formed a partnership with C. J. Johnson, a school mate of his, and opened a drug store November 20, 1889, in which the two continued together until January 4, 1898, when Mr. Johnson retired, and Mr. Nelson is now sole owner. He has built a very large establishment, does about the largest business between Minneapolis and the far west, and employs from seven to nine clerks.

Mr. Nelson took a course in the Chicago College of Opthalmology in 1898, and is now a licensed optician in Minnesota. This forms a very substantial part of his business. He is also extensively interested in real estate and farm lands around Granite Falls, as well as in several important local business enterprises.

Mr. Nelson is a Republican, and was elected mayor of Granite Falls when only twenty-eight years old, the youngest man ever elected to that position. He was married June 6, 1893, to Miss Ida M. Laid, daughter of Dalles J. Laid, a prominent hardware merchant and old pioneer with an honorable record as a Union soldier, now living at Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have perhaps the finest residence in Granite Falls, which cost at least $8,000, and here they are rearing their two charming children, Lois Marette and Idella May, both born in Granite Falls.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 402-03.


Gustaf Nelson, who was born in Sweden, January 31, 1863, is both a farmer and a contractor and builder in Marietta, Lac-qui-parle county, and a very substantial measure of prosperity has rewarded his industrious years and strict integrity with which he has always met his patrons.

Nels Johnson, the father of Gustaf Nelson, followed farming in Sweden, but when he came to this country in 1885 he located in Minneapolis, where he lived for two years. His next move was to come to Lac-qui-parle county, where he located on a farm, which he is still engaged in cultivating.

Gustaf Nelson attended school in Sweden until he was nineteen, and in 1882 he came to this country, landing in the city of New York, and making his way promptly to Minneapolis, where he worked for four years as a carpenter, at the end of that time removing to Marietta, and engaging in the contracting business on a very considerable scale.

Mr. Nelson has done much to build up the town, not only in the matter of construction, but of public spirit and enterprise. It is said that he built a majority of the houses in Nassua and Marietta, both in the country, as well as the houses in the towns. He also owns a farm in section 32, Yellow Bank township. In politics he is a Republican, and in the community is a man of influence.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 445.


Jacob Nelson was born near Bergen, Norway in 1839, and is the son of a farmer who passed his entire life in tilling the soil in Norway. Jacob Nelson is now a good and highly respected citizen of Stony Run township, Yellow Medicine county.

Jacob Nelson remained in Norway until 1866, when he crossed the ocean, seeking a more fitting field for his labor than his native land afforded him. He spent about a year in Allamakee and Winneshiek counties, in Iowa, where he bought an eighty-acre farm and began its cultivation for himself. Just before he left Norway he married Britha Haugland. He has had eight children of whom the oldest, Nels, and Dortha, the second, are dead. The others are Nelsena, Nils Knute, Johan, Melius, who was in the Spanish-American war, and also served in the Philippines; Regina and Jacob.

In 1870 Mr. Nelson moved with his family from Iowa to Yellow Medicine county, Minnesota, making the entire journey with a yoke of oxen, and for thirteen weeks lived in a wagon. Their first home was a dug-out, with a few logs for a roof, and other rude and simple appointments of the frontier fashion. When he arrived in the county he had $10 in money, two cows, a calf and an ox team and wagon, and little else beside a persistent courage that was well drawn on by the recurrent failure of crops caused by the grasshoppers for three years. They lived in the dug-out for three years. He owns a fine farm of two hundred and forty acres well fitted up, and known as one of the choicest of the county.

Mr. Nelson's oldest son has a hardware store at Daisy, North Dakota, and Knute and Melius Nelson have a general store at Meyers, Minnesota, and have been very successful. Willmar and Benson were for a long time their nearest railroad trading stations, and many a time he has hauled flour from New London and Redwood Falls.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 365.


John Nelson, engaged in farming in Deerhorn township, Wilkin county, is a gentleman of wide experience, and has become well known throughout this region as a worthy citizen.

Mr. Nelson was born in Sweden, January 2, 1863. His father, Nels Nelson, followed farming in Sweden. He came to America in 1885 and located in Sergeant county, North Dakota, where he now resides.

Our subject was the second of a family of five children. He was reared in his native land and received a good common school education there. He began to earn his own way at the age of twelve years and in 1882 came to America, landing in New York in the spring of that year. He came direct to Prescott, Pierce county, Wisconsin, and worked there in the sawmill for about two years. He then worked a year in Richland county, North Dakota, after which he went to Sergeant county and took a homestead. He built a claim shanty and a sod barn and did his first land breaking with oxen. He lived on this farm for eleven years and in 1896 disposed of his farming interests in North Dakota and removed to Wilkin county, Minnesota, where he bought the farm upon which he now resides. He is the owner of 160 acres of land, nearly all of which is under cultivation and he has a complete set of good farm buildings thereon, a fine grove, which he has planted since coming here, and other valuable improvements, and altogether has a comfortable home and a well kept farm, and is classed among the substantial men of his township.

Mr. Nelson was married in 1892 to Miss Christine Pearson. Mrs. Nelson was born in Sweden in 1863 and was reared and educated in her native land. She came to America in 1888. Her father, Peter Pearson, followed farming and was also a tailor. He died April 1, 1898. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are the parents of five children, namely: Rudolph, Henning, Clifford, Arthur and Helena. Mr. Nelson is a Republican in political faith, but does not enter actively into public life and does not seek public preferment.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 588.


Among the financial enterprises of Milaca, the general mercantile establishment of Hallberg & Nelson, conducted by Mr. Nels N. Nelson and his partner, takes a leading rank. The business has been conducted a comparatively few years, but through judicious management it has become one of the first class business houses of Mille Lacs county. Mr. Nelson is widely known as a business man and worthy citizen, and enjoys a high degree of esteem.

Our subject was born in the village of Ostersund, Sweden, in 1867. His father, O. Nelson, emigrated to America and made his home in Minnesota. Our subject moved with the family to Norway at the age of one and a half years, and later came to Minnesota at the age of nineteen years. He was the seventh in a family of eight children, and received his education in Norway, attending the public schools there. He began to earn his own way at the age of seventeen years, and followed a sailor's life for two years, spending most of the time in southern Europe. After emigrating to America he located at Madison, Minnesota, and there further pursued his studies in the English schools. He spent three years at farm work, and in 1889 went to Milaca. He secured employment as teamster for the Mille Lacs Lumber Company, and continued in their employ nine years, the last six years of which time he acted as foreman. He entered into the mercantile business in 1898, renting a building for this purpose north of the railway tracks. He continued here a year and a half, and in 1900 moved to his present location, in partnership with Mr. Hallberg. They have a store 46x50 feet, and carry a general line of goods, including groceries, boots and shoes, dry goods, gents' furnishings, flour and feed, and conduct one of the largest stores in that part of the county. Mr. Nelson is classed among the prominent early settlers of that locality, and has, by his enterprise and good management, built for himself an enviable reputation.

Mr. Nelson was married in 1890 to Miss Mollie Thorsen. Mrs. Nelson was born in Norway, and came to America at the age of three years, receiving her education in this country. Five children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Nelson, namely: Lillie, Annie, Ruth, Esther and Victoria, all born at Milaca. Mr. Nelson takes a most prominent and active part in the affairs of his locality, and has been called upon to serve in various offices of trust. He was a member of the village council some three or four terms, and served one term as village treasurer. He was school treasurer some years, and during his term of office was one of the promoters of the scheme for the erection of the sixteen thousand dollar school-house. He is a "silver Republican," and has received numerous solicitations from his party to accept nomination for high official position, and in 1900 was the nominee of the fusion forces for representative in the state legislature. He is an active worker for the principles of his party, and has attended numerous county and state conventions as delegate.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 270-71.


Petter Nelson, whose home has long been established on the northwest quarter of section 2, in Providence township, has done more than his full share in promoting the welfare of Lac-qui-parle county, and in giving a fair name to the state of Minnesota as the land of honesty, industry and prudent thrift. He was born on a farm in Skona, Sweden, in 1844. His father was a farmer who lived and died in Sweden, leaving behind him a family of three boys of whom Petter is the oldest. He was reared to manhood on the old place, and came to this country in 1870.

Petter Nelson was married in 1865 to Miss Elsie Nelson, a daughter of a neighboring Swedish farmer. To this union have come six children, the two oldest of whom, Nels and Peter, were born in Sweden. The others, Ellen, William, Christina and Albert, were born in this country. The Nelson family came to this country by way of New York. Mr. Nelson found work in Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Central, and for several seasons worked on that road and the Northern Pacific, putting in his summers at farming. In 1872 some of the family who had been left behind, came over, and all settled on a farm in Chisago county, Minnesota, where they lived three years. In 1876 the Nelsons settled on their present farm, which they entered under the homestead laws, building a board and sod shanty, and making such simple preparations for living as was the fashion on the frontier at the time. Lumber and supplies were at first obtained from Canby, but later on Montevideo and Watson were the market towns. Mr. Nelson came with ox teams, and drove across from Eastern Minnesota with those slow moving animals. He had one dollar when he first came here, and for several seasons he worked out to earn the support of the family. He passed through the long and terrible winter of 1880-81, and for five years burned hay as his only fuel.

Mr. Nelson had some tobacco raised on his own farm that year which he gave to his neighbors and which was highly appreciated, as it was then difficult to get anything of the kind.

Mr. Nelson now owns a fine and well cultivated farm of two hundred and forty acres after having set his son up on a farm of eighty acres for his own. There are ample buildings on the place, and it is well provided with fruits and berries. Mr. Nelson's son, Peter, owns a threshing machine outfit, and has been engaged in its operation for the last ten seasons.

Mr. Nelson is a Republican, and has served as chairman of the board of supervisors, and has also held various school offices. He is numbered among the old timers, and is counted as one of the most highly respected of the pioneers, whose pluck and industry made the country what it is.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 475.


The prosperity of the republic has always been regarded as resting on the hard working and prudent farmer, and the men who dig things out of the earth, and grow things out of the soil, are the real producers of riches the world over. This country owes much to its farmers, and much to the men who have made the Northwest a garden instead of a wilderness. And prominent among these are men like the one whose name introduces this article. Mr. Ness is one of the solid and substantial citizens of the township of Providence, and has done much for Lac-qui-parle county.

Mr. Ness was born in Norway on a farm in 1849. His father was a farmer, who was born, lived and died in Norway. Andrew O. was sixth in his family of nine children, and grew up in Norway, where he was inured to farm work. In 1871 he determined to leave the old home and seek a kindlier destiny in America. Making the journey by the Quebec route, he came to Blue Earth county, Minnesota, where he worked out on a farm the year following his arrival, and then removing to Goodhue county, in 1872, spent four years there. In 1876 he came to Lac-qui-parle county, and took up a homestead claim in the township of Providence, making his location on the southwest quarter of section 24, where he put up a board shanty, hauling his lumber for that purpose from Benson. He is regarded as the settler who first located in Providence township, and it is certain that he plowed the first ground opened up for cultivation in that section.

Mr. Ness kept "bachelor's hall" the first year of his stay, but in 1874 he was married to Miss Engeborg Sand, Norwegian born and reared. Of their nine children, the oldest, Olaf, was born in Goodhue county, and the others, Oscar, Mary, Sarah, August, Alice, Esther, Grover and Ruth, were all born on the Lac-qui-parle county farm.

Mr. Ness lost his crops by grasshoppers the first year of his stay, and since then has experienced considerable loss at different times by hail. During the long and severe winter of 1880-81 he experienced all the privations common to the frontier. He ground wheat in the feed mill for the family flour, and fed his cattle through the roof of the barn. He has held steadily to his farm however, and the rich reward to all his privations and labors comes in a fine and well appointed farm of four hundred and eighty acres, with over four hundred under the plow and the harrow. The Lac-qui-parle river runs through it, and makes it specially desirable for stock, to which it is being increasingly devoted, though grain is still largely raised. His farm buildings are all of high grade. His granary is ample to his needs, a splendid well of water is close to the house, among his machines will be found a gasoline engine and a cream separator, showing him adept at the most modern methods of farming, and an operator on a large scale.

Mr. Ness is a Republican in his politics, and is chairman of the town board and clerk of the school district. Among the old settlers he holds an honored place, and has done his full share in the development of the county.

Mr. Ness once dug up, on his farm, a human skeleton, supposed to be that of a soldier, with a revolver of the army on an adjoining farm, indicating that at an early day a detachment of United States soldiers had a fight with the Indians in this vicinity.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 469-70.


Robert Nessel, one of the pioneer settlers of Chisago county, and classed as one of the most substantial farmers of that locality, is the owner of two hundred and forty acres of land in the township which bears his name and he has gained a good income and the respect of his fellowmen by his integrity and industry.

Mr. Nessel was born in Baden, Germany, March 27, 1834. His father, Francis X. Nessel, was a fruit grower by occupation. Our subject was reared and educated in his native land and at the age of fourteen years began earning his own way. In 1848 the family, consisting of the parents, five sons and five daughters, emigrated to the United States and located at St. Louis, Missouri. The parents died at Burlington, Iowa. Robert spent two years on the Mississippi river, and traveled from St. Louis to New Orleans. The family moved to Burlington, Iowa, in 1850, and there our subject was engaged in clerking in a general store one year. He then was employed with a surveying party and assisted in the survey for the Burlington and Missouri Railroad. He went to Minnesota in 1854 and in the fall of that year located in Chisago county. He was engaged in lumbering in the woods and on the log drives two years and then settled on his present farm in section 19 of Nessel township. This was wild timber land and Indians were still residing in that neighborhood. Six Indians are buried in the front yard of Mr. Nessel's home. Until about 1865 his home was a stopping place for travelers, as he had constructed a story and a half log house, 24 by 36 feet, a very pretentious and commodious dwelling for those times. Mr. Nessel did considerable trading with the Indians. In the spring of 1865 he enlisted in the Second Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, and saw service in North and South Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky. He has devoted his entire attention to farming and is now the owner of a well-improved estate from which he derives a good income, and he has placed a complete set of substantial buildings thereon and enjoys the comforts of rural life.

Mr. Nessel was married in 1856 to Miss Catherine Johnson, a native of Sweden, who came to America with her parents in 1854. Her family were early settlers of Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Nessel are the parents of three sons and eight daughters. Seven daughters are graduates of the Normal School and six are successful teachers in Minnesota, while the seventh is following the same profession successfully in Oklahoma. Two sons are graduates of the Minnesota Agricultural College. Mr. Nessel's sons are engaged in farming. Our subject is one of the leading citizens of his community and he has served in many of the local offices of trust, including assessor, township supervisor, township treasurer for twenty years, and school clerk since 1866. He was elected county commissioner in 1882 and served in this capacity six years. He is a Democrat, politically, and stands stanchly for the principles of his party. On another page of this volume we present a portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Nessel.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 388-91.


William Neuman, one of the well-to-do and probably one of the best known farmers of Meeker county, is a young man who has devoted his career to the pursuit of farming. He has assisted his father in developing a fine farm and since taking the management of the estate upon himself he has also prospered to a marked degree. He is a gentleman of enviable reputation and enjoys a pleasant home.

Mr. Neuman was born in Meeker county, Minnesota, October 6, 1872. His father, John Neuman and mother, Mary (Speering) Neuman, were natives of Germany. The family settled on a homestead farm in Meeker county and there our subject was reared and received his education. He assisted his father in farming until he was nineteen years old at which time (in 1891) his father's death occurred. After his father's death he worked the farm for his mother until he was twenty-seven years of age. At that time he purchased the farm from the heirs, and has since worked it. This is a well improved tract of one hundred and sixty acres being located in sections 13 and 15, Manannah township, and is one of the valuable estates of Meeker county. The residence is a comfortable and commodious one comprising seven rooms and the barn is a large structure with storage room for many tons of hay. The farm has an abundant supply of excellent water and a windmill facilitates the work of pumping the same. Mr. Neuman has plenty of farm machinery for operating a model farm and he has placed one hundred and twenty acres of his land under high cultivation. The rest of the tract is devoted to meadow and there is some timber on the place. He keeps five head of horses and five cows and he personally supervises the work and directs the farming operations in a profitable manner.

Mr. Neuman was married in December, 1899, to Bertha Ruhn. Mrs. Neuman was born in Germany, October 15, 1881. Our subject is a gentleman of intelligence and enterprise and he keeps pace with the times in public affairs and lends his influence for good government, local and national. He has done his share toward the development of the agricultural resources of Meeker county and is one of the prominent citizens there. He is a member of the German Lutheran church.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 530-31.


George H. Newbert, who is known throughout Kanabec county as the bright and up-to-date young banker at Mora, is a native of Minnesota, having been born in Bethel, Anoka county, on a farm, in 1872, and is a son of Henry Newbert, who was born in England, and came to the United States in 1860. The father was postmaster at Bethel, Minnesota, many years, where he was engaged in a general store. In 1882 he removed to Princeton, where he engaged in the hotel business.

George H. Newbert is the second member in a family of four children, and was reared and educated at Princeton, where he attended public school. The greater part of the time between his sixteenth and eighteenth years he spent in a drug store at Princeton, when he secured a position in the Mille Lacs County Bank, a Princeton institution, organized in 1892, and in which he held the position of assistant cashier until its consolidation with the Citizen's State Bank in 1894. In July of that year Mr. Newbert came to Mora, and effected the organization of the Kanabec County Bank, which was opened for business July 9, 1894, with Charles Keith, of Princeton, as president, R. F. McClellan, of Princeton, as vice-president, and himself as cashier. This was the first, as it is the only bank in the county, and from the first has done a very good business, handling real estate, making loans, and dealing in fire insurance, and is regarded as one of the most substantial banking enterprises in Minnesota. The bank building was put up in 1897, and is a handsome two-story structure, 33x42 feet. The upper floor is occupied as a Masonic hall, and the bank requires all of the first floor.

Mr. Newbert was married, in 1894, to Miss J. Mildred Rines, daughter of C. H. Rines, a noted dealer in potatoes and other farm products at Princeton. To this union was born one daughter, Mary, in 1895, at Princeton.

Mr. Newbert is a stanch Republican, and has filled all the village offices at Mora, having also been court commissioner and treasurer of the school board. He is a Mason, a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Modern Woodmen of America, and of the Knights of Pythias. He was a delegate to the national Republican convention of 1900 at Philadelphia, and from his first arrival in the county has taken an active interest in its development, having been court commissioner for several years.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 162.


Gust Newstrom, for many years a prosperous merchant of Chisago county, has a pleasant home at Kost. He is the owner of a good farm, and is well known in Chisago county, and enjoys the esteem and confidence of his fellows.

Mr. Newstrom was born in the central part of Sweden in 1855. His father was a farmer by occupation and our subject was reared on the home farm in his native land. He remained there until 1882, when he came to America. He had received a good education in Sweden, and prior to coming to this country had engaged in farming. He spent the first six months of his time in America in the state of New York, and then went to Vermont, where he followed farm work for about a year and a half. He went to Minneapolis in July, 1884, arriving there July 5, after spending some days in Chicago. He worked as a laborer during the summer, and in the fall of 1884 settled in Chisago county at Kost postoffice. He opened a small store in a portion of his residence, and the postoffice was removed there. The office was established in 1881 and in 1886 Mr. Newstrom was appointed postmaster. In 1886 he purchased the store owned by Erick Engline and combined the business with that of his own. He prospered and added to the store and stock from time to time, and the store now occupies a building 30 by 50 feet. A line of general merchandise is carried. Mr. Newstrom sold the store in the summer of 1902 to Peter Farsje, and moved on his forty-acre farm he purchased in 1897, which is located adjoining his former place of business. He built there a fine residence and store building 28 by 70, where he is now conducting a general merchandise business on a larger scale than ever before.

Mr. Newstrom was married in 1894 to Annie Johnson. Mrs. Newstrom came to America from Sweden in 1880. Her parents still reside in that land. To Mr. and Mrs. Newstrom three children have been born, one of whom is now living and bears the name of Rose Elizabeth. Mr. Newstrom is actively interested in public affairs and has served as town clerk for three years. He has also been school clerk for many years. He is a staunch Republican, and has been a delegate to numerous conventions of his party.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 367-68.


Frederick W. Nickerson, an enterprising and intelligent agriculturist of Elk River township, is a resident of section 2. He has passed his life in Sherburne county and is one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of that locality.

Mr. Nickerson was born in Sherburne county, Minnesota, April 12, 1866. His father, Henry O. Nickerson, was a native of Maine, and his mother, Mary A. (Barnard) Nickerson, was born in Vermont. The father left Maine in 1850 and located in Sherburne county, Minnesota. He conducted the first store in Elk River and after operating the same for several years he took a homestead in Lavonia township, and on this farm our subject was born. He resided there until he was fourteen years of age, when his father returned to Elk River to reside. Our subject attended the high school and later took a three years course in the State University of Minnesota. He was a member of the class of ’90. After leaving college he worked one year for the Chicago & North Western Railroad, as civil engineer. He then spent a year as bookkeeper for the Nickerson Lumber Company and in 1895 bought an interest in his father's farm. He purchased his father's interest in 1895 and is now the owner of four hundred acres of valuable land in Elk River township. He has two hundred acres under cultivation, and the rest is pasture, woods and meadow. He keeps seventy head of cattle, forty hogs and thirteen head of horses. He has a commodious ten-room residence, and a substantial barn, 40 by 110 feet with eighteen-foot posts. A windmill pumps good water for all the uses on the farm and he has a thoroughly equipped and improved property.

Mr. Nickerson was married in 1891 to Augusta W. Tarbox, who was born in Maine, February 10, 1869. Mr. and Mrs. Nickerson are the parents of three children, who are named as follows: Francis F., Neal Clinton and Pearl A. Mr. Nickerson is a member of the Psi Upsilon Society of the State University of Minnesota, and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He worships in the Union Christian church.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 672-73.

The following is from the history section of Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota, an excerpt from Chapter II: The Discovery and Early History of the Province of Louisiana, etc.; Early Explorers; Purchase by the United States; Division into States and Territories; Birth of Minnesota.

Jean Nicolet

As early as 1635 Jean Nicolet, who had been one of Champlain's interpreters, and who had come from his native land, France, to Canada in 1618, reached the western shores of Lake Michigan. In the summer of 1634 he ascended the St. Lawrence river with a party of Hurons, and thence onward to Lake Michi-gan, and during the following winter traded with the Indians at what is now Green Bay, Wisconsin. In 1635 he returned to Canada. He was married in Quebec, October 7, 1637, and lived at Three Rivers until 1642, when he died. Of him it is said, in a letter written in 1640, that he had penetrated the farthest into these distant countries and that if he had proceeded "three days more on a great river which flows from that lake (Green Bay), he would have found the sea," for such was the common belief in those days, even among geographers and other scientists.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 24.


Lang R. Niles, a well and favorably known citizen of Corina township, is the owner of a fine farm in section 20. He is an old settler of Wright county, Minnesota, and has become one of the substantial and prominent men there.

Mr. Niles was born in Ohio, April 1, 1833. His father, Jonathan Niles, was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and his mother, Esther (Hart) Niles, was a native of Ohio. Our subject received his education in the common schools of Indiana, and at the age of twenty-five years he removed to Michigan. From there he enlisted in Company E, Sixth Michigan Volunteer Cavalry. He moved from Eaton, Michigan, in 1865. Later his company was joined to Company H of the First Regiment, Michigan Veteran Cavalry. He served loyally and well and was discharged from the service at Fort Bridger, Utah, March 25, 1866. He returned to Michigan and remained there until 1870, when he removed to Minnesota. He was engaged in blacksmithing in Michigan for some twelve years and followed the same in Minnesota about ten years after locating there. He purchased fifty-four acres of land on sections 17 and 20 of Corina township and has continued the improvement of this farm and is now owner of a valuable estate. He has a comfortable house, good barn and all other necessary farm buildings, and he follows general farming successfully and has a good living from his property. He is a man of industrious habits and is energetic and honest in all his dealings and consequently is honored by his fellowmen.

Mr. Niles was married June 23, 1856, to Sarah A. Weir. Mrs. Niles was born in Indiana and died at Annandale, Minnesota, in April, 1888. Twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Niles, four of whom are deceased. The surviving children are as follows: Lulu, William, Schuyler, May, Ida, Don, James and Florence. Mr. Niles was married to Mrs. Martha A. Weir, July 24, 1888. Mrs. Niles was born in Ohio, July 28, 1847. She is the mother of four children by her former marriage, namely: Keren, Lionel, Ralph, and Vena. Mr. Niles is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and is prominent in the affairs of this lodge. He is a communicant of the Baptist church of Fairhaven, Minnesota.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 760.


Nels Nordahl, who has spent the past ten years in building up a fine farm in Garfield township, is one of the early settlers of Lac-qui-parle county. He is a man of wide experience and by his earnest labors and integrity has gained a good home and the confidence and esteem of his associates.

Mr. Nordahl was born in Nordalen, Norway, in 1844. His father was a farmer in Norway and spent his life there. Of a family of eight children our subject was the seventh in order of birth. He was reared in his native land and followed carpentering there for a short time. In 1866 he came to America, landing in Quebec, and from there came to Chicago. After four days he came to Stoughton, Wisconsin, where he secured employment at haying and harvesting. He spent two years at farm labor and learned in the meantime the carriage maker's trade of T. C. Mant. He followed this line of work five years in Stoughton, Minneapolis and St. Paul. He then followed carpentering two years, most of the time in Minneapolis and then went to Roscoe, Wisconsin, where he followed his trade and also did farm work. In 1878 he came to Canby, Minnesota, and took a homestead in section 26, township 117, range 45. He broke seventeen acres of land the first summer and built a sod house 12 by 18 feet on the place. At one time three families, consisting of fourteen persons, lived in this shanty. Our subject did his first farm work with oxen. He lived on his homestead farm for ten years and built up a good home. He planted a fine grove of soft maple, cottonwood, and box elder trees, and also has some fruit trees on the place. In the summer of 1879 he built a frame house and in this spent the winter of 1880-81, the severest winter in the history of the country. Travel was done on snow shoes and supplies were hauled on hand sleds, the teams being snowbound in the barn. Mr. Nordahl ran the Lac-qui-parle county poor farm from 1889 to 1893. He then bought a farm in section 23 of Garfield township. This place had but few improvements thereon and he has erected a complete set of farm buildings, including a comfortable house, good barn, granary, machine shed, and all other necessary buildings. He has a grove of three acres of box elder and pines, an apple orchard of one hundred and fifty trees, and also plums, cherries, and small fruits. His farm contains two hundred and forty acres, of which one hundred and twenty acres is under plow. He has opened up three farms in this county and has done his full share toward the development of the agricultural resources of this region.

Mr. Nordahl was married in Minneapolis and Mrs. Nordahl died, leaving one child, Lawrence E., who also died, aged seventeen years. Mr. Nordahl was married a second time, Miss Genilla Iverson, becoming his wife. Mrs. Nordahl was born in Wisconsin, and her father was formerly engaged in farming. He is now a resident of Madison, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Nordahl are the parents of the following children: Annie C., now married; Silas G., Nathan P., George S., Lyle G., Selma E., Luther, Lillie E., Ida J., Mable G., and Judith E. All were born in Lac-qui-parle county. Mrs. Nordahl and the children have ably assisted Mr. Nordahl in the upholding of the home farm and the family have a pleasant and comfortable home. Mr. Nordahl is a leading citizen of his township and was the first township clerk of Garfield township and held the office four years. He has also served as a member of the school board. Politically he is a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 737-38.


Paul P. Norderhus, an extensive farmer and well-to-do citizen of Swift county, whose home place is on section 24 of Kildare township, has a productive farm of one hundred and sixty acres on which he resides, and is the owner of one hundred and sixty acres on section 7 of Hayes township, one hundred and twenty acres on section 19 of the same township, and an additional two hundred and eighty acres near Swift Falls, Polk county, Minnesota, aggregating in all seven hundred and twenty acres of very valuable farming land.

Mr. Norderhus is a native of Norway, and was born November 20, 1850. His parents were Paul T. and Anna O. (Belle) Norderhus, and to them were born nine children, five of whom are still living. Our subject was the "one in the middle," or the fifth in order of birth. The parents emigrated to the United States in 1867, at which time Paul, Jr., was a lad of sixteen years. He had received considerable schooling in Norway, and his studies were later continued in America. After landing at New York the family came direct to Minnesota and the father secured a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres in Polk county in the town of Gilchrist and later added by purchase one hundred and twenty acres, all of which is now the property of our subject. The father died December 4, 1882, and the mother January 30, 1900. Both were buried in the family graveyard on the Polk county homestead.

Paul P. Norderhus secured a homestead of eighty acres in Swift county, where he now lives and afterward added eighty acres as a tree claim. These two tracts were later embodied in a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres. The residence of our subject and family is large and is comfortably furnished. A very fine grove planted by him when he first came to the place is excellent shelter and an ornament to the home. Good buildings for all farming purposes and adequate machinery testify to the taste and prosperity of the owner.

Mr. Norderhus was married in Polk county, Minnesota, July 26, 1882, to Bertha Belle, daughter of Siever O. and Bertha H. (Lofthingome) Belle. The mother of Mrs. Norderhus died at the time of the latter's birth, and the father passed away in 1894. To Mr. and Mrs. Norderhus four children have been born, two of whom are still living. Both are bright and obedient children. Alta Sophia was born January 24, 1893, and Ole S. was born April 2, 1896. In politics Mr. Norderhus is a Republican and in religious belief the family worship in the faith of the Seventh Day Adventists. Ole P. Norderhus, a brother of our subject, has been an active member and missionary of the above named church, devoting all his time as a minister since 1872 to the interests of the denomination. He was county commissioner of Swift county for two terms and was also town clerk of Hayes township for a number of years.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 377-78.


Knute S. Nordgaarden, who enjoys the distinction of being the pioneer business man of Madison, Minnesota, is a gentleman of exceptional business capacity and has prospered despite some severe losses. He is one of the prominent citizens of Lac-qui-parle county, and his high standing and success are well merited.

Mr. Nordgaarden was born on a farm in Norway in 1853. His father was a farmer by occupation and he came to America in 1861 and settled in Goodhue county, Minnesota. Our subject was the eldest of the children and he was reared in Goodhue county and there assisted his father with the farm work, receiving but a limited amount of schooling. He worked for others when about eighteen years of age and at the age of twenty-one years began as a clerk and spent seven years clerking. He came to Lac-qui-parle county in 1882 and opened a store two miles from the present town of Madison. This was a small store and in 1884 he moved to Madison and opened the first store of the town. He was appointed postmaster and held the office for four years, being the first postmaster here. October 24, 1895, he lost his building and stock by fire, loss amounting to about $4,000. Within a month from that time, with his characteristic enterprise, Mr. Nordgaarden was again in business. He built his present store buildings, 25 by 65 feet, with basement, in 1896, and now carries a complete stock of general merchandise and has a large patronage. He is interested extensively in farm lands and owns one hundred and sixty acres in Lac-qui-parle county, four hundred and eighty acres in Pierce county, North Dakota, and one thousand nine hundred and twenty acres in Canada, and devotes considerable of his attention to the real estate business.

Mr. Nordgaarden was married in 1881 to Miss Karron Marie Kvernroder, who was born in Goodhue county, Minnesota. Mr. and Mrs. Nordgaarden are the parents of five children, all but the eldest of whom reside in Lac-qui-parle county. They are named as follows: Severt T., Effie Lenora, Amanda, Clara B. and Myra T. Mr. Nordgaarden takes an active part in the affairs of his home town and is a member of the city council, having filled the office a number of terms. He has also served on the school board. Politically he is a Republican and is an earnest worker for the principles of his party.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 629-30.


Swen S. Nordgaarden, general merchant of Madison, Minnesota, is one of the early settlers of Lac-qui-parle county and a prominent citizen. He is a gentleman of good business judgment and has built up a good patronage in Madison and from surrounding country and enjoys prosperity.

Mr. Nordgaarden was born on a farm in Goodhue county, Minnesota, in 1871. His father, Swen Nordgaarden, was a farmer by occupation, and was a native of Norway. Our subject was the second child of his mother's family and he was reared on the home farm and remained at home until he was sixteen years of age. He received the advantages of a liberal education and in 1887 came to Lac-qui-parle county, where he was employed as clerk for K. S. Nordgaarden, and he was engaged in clerking for seven years. He spent two winters at the Normal School. In 1895 he became interested in the general merchandise business in partnership with his brother, and they continued together for five years and our subject then spent one year in the hardware business. He established his present store in 1902, and now carries a line of general goods. His stock is complete and he supplies the needs of many patrons from the town and vicinity. He has built up a good business through good management and honest dealings.

Mr. Nordgaarden was married in 1895 to Miss Mary Westby. Mrs. Nordgaarden was born in Red Wing, Minnesota, and her father, Swan Westby, was a carpenter by trade. Mr. and Mrs. Nordgaarden are the parents of four children, all of whom were born in Madison, Minnesota, and they are named as follows: Lillian I., Myrtle L., Selma E., and Marion E. Our subject is one of the leading men of his home community and he takes a commendable interest in all local affairs. He served as a member of the city council for three years and for about five years served as a member of the Madison fire department, during which time he was secretary and treasurer. Politically he is a Republican.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), pages 653-54.


George Nye, M. D., of Hubbard county, Minnesota, is an able representative of the profession to which his life is devoted. He has followed the practice of medicine in that locality for the past decade, and has become one of the substantial citizens and prosperous men of his community. He has a drug store and office in the village of Hubbard, where he also has a comfortable home and enjoys a large practice.

Dr. Nye was born in Indiana March 12, 1845, and was a son of Ira C. and Elizabeth (Pardell) Nye, the former a native of Connecticut, and the latter born in Ohio. He was raised on a farm in his native state. He attended school, and at the age of eighteen years had a first-grade certificate and began the study of medicine. He taught for some time, and in 1870 graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, after completing a four-years course. He first practiced his profession in Papillion, Sarpy county, Nebraska, where he remained three years, after which he located in Minnesota. He continued his residence and the successful practice of his profession there for twenty-five years. In 1880 he located in Houston county, Minnesota, practicing in Caledonia for a short time, and later removed to Wadena. In 1889 he went to Hubbard county and purchased four hundred acres of land and followed farming extensively in addition to his medical practice. He is now the owner of five hundred and sixty acres of excellent land, and his farm is well improved with good buildings and is stacked with horses, etc. Dr. Nye takes a foremost place among his medical brethren, and he is a recognized practitioner of merit and ability. He is United States examining surgeon for pensions. He is a member of the blue lodge in the Masonic fraternity, and is a Knight Templar and a member of the chapter. Politically he is a Democrat, but he takes little interest in political affairs.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 271.


Gunder Nygaard, who has been a potent factor in the upbuilding of Freeland township, owns a fine farm here and is a respected and highly esteemed citizen and old settler of Lac-qui-parle county.

Mr. Nygaard was born on a farm in Norway, in 1842. His father was a farmer and spent his life in Norway, his native land. Of a family of eight children our subject was the fifth in order of birth. He was reared in Norway and there saw much hard work. He was employed in the grist mill for five years and served five years in the Norwegian army. He came to America in 1871, landing in New York City, and from there came to Illinois, where he spent the first summer and the following winter went into the pineries of Michigan. He then worked five years at his trade of wagon maker at Stoughton, Wisconsin. In 1878 he settled in Lac-qui-parle county, locating on a homestead claim in section 30 of Freeland township. He built a dugout for his first home here. He came by team from Stoughton, Wisconsin, and he worked with his team for others for $2 per day. He lived in the dugout about sixteen years. During the severe winter of 1880-81 he lived here and he ground flour in a coffee mill for a family of six, and they burned hay for fuel. Mr. Nygaard broke his ankle the same winter and was confined to his bed six weeks. He raised his first crop in 1880 and the yield was ninety-one bushels. He has prospered at farming and now owns three hundred and twenty acres of land. He has a set of fine buildings, commodious and substantial and has all equipment for conducting a model farm.

Mr. Nygaard was married in Norway in 1868 to Miss Helena Jensen. Mrs. Nygaard was born in Norway. Six children have been born of this union, namely: Oscar, born in Norway; Arthur, born in Wisconsin; Gunde, born in Wisconsin; Joseph, Jose, and Alonzo, born in Minnesota. Mr. Nygaard is a man of intelligence and he has served his township as a member of the board for three years and has also been a school officer. He assisted in the organization of Freeland township and is one of the leading citizens here. He votes independent of party and lends his influence for good government, local and national.

From: Compendium of History and Biography of Central and Northern Minnesota (Chicago, Geo. A. Ogle & Co., 1904), page 752.

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