Nels Nelson


Mr. and Mrs. Nels Nelson

Nels Berg Nelson was born in Helgeland, in northern Norway, on May 29, 1893. His home was on a small island, where the only means of travel was by boat. With his brothers and sisters, he would row across the water to a neighboring island for school. When he completed elementary school, he attended business college in Bodo, a town that woulr later be completely demolished from bombing during World War II.

On his twentieth birthday, he and his younger brother emigrated from Norway to Canada, where three older brothers had already moved. In 1915, after living in Canada for two years, he crossed the border and came to Garrison, North Dakota. The following spring, equipped with a Ford Runabout, a Ford truck, and a Waterloo-Boy tractor, he came to the Fort Berthold Reservation and leased Indian land, in order to try his luck at farming.

After several years as a bachelor, he married Gladys Hanson in 1923. From Austin, Minnesota, she had come to Reservation land to visit someone, and  had found some attractions that induced her to stay.

They settled on the farm, where Gladys still resided in 1967, when the Golden Jubilee book was published, along with their two boys, Bernard and Norlan, operating the farm.

Pioneering on Reservation land was not easy work, as they had to tough it out through the drought years and the Depression, with their many hardships. The roads in the area were poor, mostly trails. Mail had to be picked up in Raub, thirteen miles away. Later, the Elbowoods Stage Route was started, and mail came more often and with more ease.

Their nearest neighbors were a mile away. Recreational opportunities consisted of an occasional dance or a house party. Frozen radiators, mud holes, and snow drifts could dampen the spirits but once they arrived, there would be a good game of whist and a lively dance with good friends, and a party that might last until daybreak.

The Nelson children and grandchildren were Anna Mae (Mrs. W.H. Fuller), Yvonne (Mrs. Duane Beaver), Bernard, and Norlan.

Mr. Nelson passed away on April 23, 1964, at the age of seventy.