Lee County Biography

Haldor Nelson

Willow Creek Township


Lee County is indebted to the sons of Norway who live within its limits for what they have done in various walks of life to help forward its varied interests. our subject is a native of that far away country, although for many long years, forty in number, he has been a loyal citizen of this, and has made his home in Illinois since he landed on these shores. When he came he was poor in pocket, but rich in those qualities that go to the makin of an honest, capable man, and by using his faculties in a practical manner he has become one of the substantial farmers of Willow Creek Twp. and owns as good a farm as is to be found within its bounds.

Mr. Nelson was born in Bergensteft, Norway, AUgust 29, 1823. His father Nels Hillison was also born in that locality and spent his entire life in the land of his birth, his occupation being a farmer.

Our subject was an only son, and he grew up under good home influence. As soon as large enough he began to assist his father and in time became very useful in helping to carry on the farm. He remained with his parents until 1851, and then ambitious to see more of the world, and try life in the US, where he felt sure he could get better returns for his labor, he embarked at Stilanga in the month of April, on the sailing vessel "Ebenezer" and five weeks later found himself in the New World, with but $50 in his pocket with which to begin his new life. He immediately started for Illinois, leaving NY on a steamer bound for Albany, from there going on the canal to Buffalo, whence by the Great Lakes to Chicago, from that city to Peru on the canal and then by team to Sublette, Lee County, his final destination. A man of his capability and trustworthiness is always in demand among the farmers and he had no difficulty in securing work as a farm hand, being employed by the day or month in that township for the ensuing yar. After that he went to Lee Center, where he was similarly engaged for two seasons. By that time he had laid by money enough to become more independent, and he bought a tract of land in Bradford Twp. for which he paid $2 an acre. He built on the place and commenced at once to develop its soil, and had placed it in a very good condition when he sold it in 1865, having so increased its original value that he obtained $30 an acre for it. He then came to Willow Creek Twp. and invested in 230 acres of excellent farmland which forms his presnet farm. When it came into his possession only a part of the land was improved and there were no buildings on it. It now presents a very different appearance with its neatly fenced, well tilled fields, with its abundance of fruit and shade trees, planted by Mr. Nelson and a comfortable dwelling and substantial out-houses adorn the place.

In January 1868 our subject, was married to Martha Christopher who is a native of the same Norwegian town that is his place of birth. In her he has found a valuable helpmate and a devoted companion. They have four children living - Helga, Annie, Nellie and Christopher, Julia N., their second daughter, who was married, died in Feb. 1889, leaving two children, who are being tenderly cared for by their grandparents.

Lee County Portraits & Biographical 1892 Pg 365

Lee Co Bios
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