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Eleck Nelson family

Neighbors of the Ingalls family when living on their preemption claim north of Walnut Grove.

Mr. Nelson’s house was long and low and its board walls were whitewashed. His long, low sod stable had a thick roof made of hay… They cuddled to the ground… and they looked as if they spoke Norwegian. – On the Banks of Plum Creek, Chapter 27, “Rain”

Eleck C. Nelson was born in Norway on September 29, 1846, one of four children of Christopher and Martha (Eleck) Nelson. He came to America in the late 1860s, settling in Fillmore County, Minnesota. On September 15, 1871 he married Olena Olson, daughter of Ole and Aasa Olson. Eleck and Olena Nelson were early settlers in Redwood County, North Hero (then Barton) Township, occupying the SW 18-109-38. The Nelson farm was just south of Charles Ingalls’ preemption claim. Although Eleck Nelson moved to Redwood County in the 1870s, he did not file on the land as a homestead claim until 1881 because his intent to become a citizen was not filed until that time.

The Nelsons had seven children: Anna, Mary, Fred, Albert, Samuel, Julia, and Hjelmer. Anna C. (Annie) Nelson was born October 7, 1872; she died February 10, 1890. Anna was the only Nelson child mentioned in On the Banks of Plum Creek, although both Mary and Fred had been born prior to the Ingallses’ move to Dakota Territory. See Chapter 29, “The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn.”

In 1892, Eleck Nelson sold his farm and moved permanently to the town of Walnut Grove, purchasing 80 acres adjoining the townsite and working as a stock buyer and dealer; his firm was called Nelson & Son. For fifteen years, he was a supervisor of North Hero township; for ten years a member of the village board of Walnut Grove; and for four years he served as mayor of Walnut Grove.

Olena Nelson died June 10, 1921. Eleck Nelson died July 15, 1931; when he died, he was the oldest resident as to the number of years lived in Walnut Grove. Eleck and Olena and other family members are buried in a cemetery northwest of the Ingalls preemption claim. A portion of a home on the Eleck Nelson property was purchased by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove and moved to the museum grounds. The photo at left shows the structure prior to renovation; it is not part of the museum tour.


Eleck Nelson family
     Eleck (BPC 1, 5-9, 16, 18, 24, 27-30, 33; SSL 1; PG)
     Olena (BPC 6, 27, 29; PG)
     Anna (BPC 29; PG)
     Anna Nelson won’t give up Charlotte (BPC 29)
     Laura gives Roxy (her doll) to Anna Nelson (PG)
     Laura discovers Roxy frozen in a puddle (PG)
     Nelson farm (PG)