Lee County Biography

Nels Olsen

Willow Creek Twp.


Nels Olsen has been well prospered since he sought a home in tbis country, and is now numbered among the well-to-do farmers of Lee County. His farm lies in Willow Creek Township, and is one of the average in the neighborhood in regard to cultivation, productiveness and improvement. Mr. Olsen was born on the rugged shores of Norway, in the town of Stavanger, in the Province of Ampt, April 14, 1833, His father, Ole Williams, was a farmer, and spent his entire life in his native land, he and his wife both being drowned in 1840. They left five children, of whom these three Came to America; Andrew, Mary and our subject.

The latter was only seven years old when he had the misfortune to lose his parents, and for two years he lived with his grandparents, but from the time he was nine years old he has eared for himself. He worked for his uncle for his board and clothes until he was fifteen years old, and then was employed by others, receiving his board, clothes and $10 a year in payment for his services, In 1856 Nels Olsen, who had now grown to sturdy, self-reliant manhood, and had taken unto himself a wife, emigrated to this land of plenty, where he hoped to do better for himself than was possible in his native country. Accompanied by his wife, he set sail from Stavanger in May, and landed at Quebec in July, after a voyage of ten weeks. From that city he came to Illinois, and the ensuing three years he worked by the month or day as a farm hand in LaSalle County. He then bought a team and tilled a tract of land on shares. He was prudent and and economical and in 1864 he laid by money enough to become independent, and then invested in a tract of wild prairie on section 13, Willow Creek Township. He has ever since been identified with the farming interests of Lee County, and by constant and well-directed toil has brought his land to a fine condition, has erected a neat set of buildings, and has added to the acreage of his farm, which now comprises two hundred acres of exceedingly fertile land,

In 1855 Mr. Olsen and Martha Olsen united their lives and fortunes in a marriage that has been a happy union, and has been blessed to them by these seven children: Lena, Swan, Lizzie, Willie, Oscar, Martin and Sarah A. Mrs. Olsen was born in the same Norwegian town that was the birthplace of her husband, and she is a daughter of Ole Svenson, Both she and Mr. Olsen were reared in the Lutheran Church, and have ever remained true to the faith of their fathers, being devoted members of the church of that denomination in this township, and none know them but to respect them for the genuineness of their Christianity, and for their kindly dispositions.

Lee County Portraits & Biographical 1892 Pg 480

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