My Mother Martha Sarah Betsey Amanda Nelson was born July 13,
1875 to Anders Peter (A. P. ) and Johanna Nelson at their farm
home at Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. She was a natural musician
and could play long before she learned the notes.
She taught music on the organ, piano, violin, mandolin and
Spanish guitar travelling about with horse and buggy not only
in the Prairie, but also in Henning and Vining area. She had a
good and clear singing voice. A lady from Duluth, Minnesota who
heard Mother sing, wanted her to return with her for singing lessons.
But Grandmother Johanna said, "Betsey is not going on the
stage." Mother loved the Lord and delighted to sing hymns
of praise. She was often called on for numbers singing with her
guitar sccompaniment even well up in years.
When my parents were growing up they lived on nearby homesteads
and attended District 50 country school and the young people's
activities at the Swedish Lutheran church east of town. Although
District 50 was organized in Grandpa Nelson's upstairs hall and
the first classes were held there, Grandpa had now built a school
house on land he and his neighbor donated.
My Father, Carl Albin Carlson, was born September 25, 1875
to John Peter and Johanna Carlson at Svartaback, Linneryd, Sweden.
He was talented in a variety of ways. He was a great reader and
a wanderer so I grew up in many different places. He was a farmer,
carpenter, real estate dealer, discoverer and miner of silica,
photographer, blacksmith, store clerk, tire vulcanizer, inventer,
and postal worker. He had a large camera and developed his own
pictures. He invented a one-hand flour sifter and secured patents
from U. S. and Canada in 1907.
He discovered silica on the land in Port Orchard, Washington
and washed and dried it and boxed it and sold as SeaFoam Silverpolish.
I still have a box. He learned the new craft of vulcanizing tires
and had a shop in Garrlson, North Dakota.
He built two claim shanties, one on each homestead to "prove
up" and then moved them together for a house. He built our
home at Port Orchard, Washington.
He built a home for his sister Lottie and Ralph Nelson where
they were farming on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation west
of Garrison N. D. He built a house in Garrison for his brother
Ernest and Lucy. He built the home in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota
in 1930 where he lived until his death in 1936 and where Mother
lived until her death in 1953.
He did all this although he had physical problems. He developed
varicose veins in one leg after it was hit by a rolling log when
he worked in the lumber camps near Cass Lake, Minnesota as a young
man. He had an enlarged heart from leakage of the heart. He inherited
his Mother's disposition to rheumatism and so could not take the
damp weather in Seattle and had to go east over the mountains
to recover, and that was why dry Dakota was better fbr him.
He was quiet, but good company once he started visiting. He
liked to gather stones along the shores of the Missouri River.
After Mother and Dad were engaged, he started out in October
1899 on his bicycle for North Dakota to see his Uncle David Carlson
on his farm at Coal Harbor and to look for a homestead. When he
reached Fergus Falls, Minnesota it started to rain so hard that
he took the train from there on. He filed on a homestead near
Coal Harbor and worked there that summer. Mother went out to Bismarck
and filed on a homestead near Dad's.
After the wedding while they were at Grandpa Carlson's home,
they were surprised by the congregation and given a large Swedish
Bible because Mother had been organist at the church with no salary.
The Bible was full of large pictures which I enjoyed.
When my parents arrived in Washburn, North Dakota by train,
they were met and escorted to the hotel: violin, mandolin, guitar
et al before it was discovered that Mom and Dad were not the expected
entertainers to give a program that nlght. Quite a reception to
North Dakota. Mother continued to teach music wherever we lived
and always had pupils who came to the house.
Because it was far to a doctor, Mother returned to Minnesota
for the birth of my sister Edith, July 5, 1902. Brother Lester
was born in the homestead house in North Dakota July 12, 1905.
They farmed and did well. Mother had planted a row of lilacs at
the edge of the yard.
In 1906 Dad made a trip to Seattle, Washington and liked it
so well they sold the homesteads and moved to Seattle.
Dad sold real estate at first and later worked in the post
office. I was born when we lived in the house Dad built on 40
acres at Port Orchard, Washington July 6, 1908.
They rented a home in West Seattle first, then 2 homes on 27th
Avenue So. and last on Queen Ann Hill on Armour Street.
In the spring of 1912 we left Seattle. Mother and we 3 children
first visited the relatives at Parkers Prairie, Minnesota and
then we all lived that winter with Dad's parents on their farm
8 miles west of Garrison, North Dakota. Dad and Uncle Ernest built
a granary for Grandpa. In the spring of 1913 we rented the Knutson
farm which was near Aunt Lottie's homestead and 10 miles from
town. Brother Ralph was born at the Knutson farm July 21, 1913.
Edith and I had gone to visit Grandpa and Grandma a few days and
I was put out that my constant companion, Lester, had seen Ralph
There Uncle Ernest helped Dad farm much land with a huge Mogul
tractor. We children went to a school 2 miles away.
But the farm was sold and we moved to a house in Garrison.
Dad went to Minneapolis and learned how to vulcanize tires so
he had a shop on main street. Then we rented the Glacier place
one mile east of town.
By 1920 we moved back to Minnesota and lived at Mother's home
farm and ran it for a year. Ralph and I attended District #50.
Lester attended Parkers Prairie High School. Edith stayed in Garrison
to finish high school. The new church was just built in town.
When we came to Parkers Prairie in 1920 we were surrounded
by relatives. Relatives on my grandmother Nelson's side were the
Andrew Petersons (including John Bergquists and Algot Johnsons),
Murrays and Perkins. Relatives on my grandmother Carlson's side
were Elof; Charlie and August Lindblad, Otto Lindells and Loth
In 1921 we moved to the Arthur Nelson farm place, "Capitol
Hill", just east of Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. Dad worked
in the post office and we had a cow and chickens. Mother continued
teaching music pupils in our home. She was also asked to lead
the choir which met in our home once a week in the evening. This
she did for several years whileRev. Ford was our pastor.
In 1924 Dad bought a lot in town on which was a funny little
house and we moved there in November. Mother was happy, no more
moving. Dad improved the house and finally in 1930 built a new
house on the lot.
Dad died March 25, 1936 at the University Hospital in Minneapolis
from a perforated ulcer. Mother died February 23, 1953. She had
walked the 3 blocks to church that evening of February 22nd and
home again and died just after midnight of a cerebral hemorage.
They are buried in the town cemetery at Parkers Prairie, Minnesota.
They raised 4 children: 1) Edith, 2) Lester, 3) Elvera and
1) Edith Winifred Minnekota (a name Grandpa Nelson made up)
because Mother came back to Minnesota for her birth. Born July
5, 1902. She attended Moorhead Minnesota Teachers College and
became a teacher. Married Adolf Herman Just (known as Buster)
June 24, 1928 in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota and went to live at
Wood Lake, Minnesota and later at Glencoe and Norwood, Minnesota.
Buster, born May 11, 1897 in Wood Lake, Minnesota, died November
3, 1976 in Waconia, Minnesota, was an electrician for Northern
States Power Co. They had 2 daughters: i) Patricia Ann and ii)
a) Patricia, barn June 19, 1929 married Robert F. Pomeroy,
a pastor, August 20, 1949 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have
5 children: i) Gwendolyn Louise (called Wendy) born February 11,
1951 in Minneapolis, Mn. , became a pastor and married a pastor,
Paul Dirdak, and lives in Calfornia; ii) Daniel Just, born November
21, 1952, unmarried, lives in California; iii) Joy Ann, born June
13, 1954, married Michael Ahearn and they live in Boston, Massachusetts;
iv) Katherine Marie, born January 1, 1960 married Charlie Kampa
in Brainerd, Minnesota and has 2 girls, Samantha Rae born July
29, 1984 and Josie Kate born February 14, 1987 (Katherine and
Charley aredivorced); v) William Robert, born January 11, 1962,
married Amber Guest and lives inCalifornia.
b) Beverly Edith, born October 29, 1932 in Wood Lake, Minnesota,
died June 16, 1982 at Salt Lake City, Utah, married Arnold Swenson
and lived in Minneapolis.
They had 3 children: Janice Gay, born March 2, 1962, married
Michael Evjen September 21, 1991 and lives in Gig Harbor, Washington;
David Brian, born August 6, 1964, is in a special program in Minneapolis;
and John Allen, born March22, 1966, joined the army. Beverly and
2) Lester Albin Peter Carlson, was born July 12, 1905 on the
homestead at Underwood, North Dakota.
He worked as a telegrapher on thePennsylvania Railroad and
then attended Lutheran Bible Institute in Minneapolis,Minnesota.
There he met Alva Marian Thorson, born April 11, 1908, and they
were married June 26, 1938 at Edinburg, North Dakota.
For 5 years Lester served as a missionary to Bolivia, South
America. He attended Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul
and became a pastor serving churches in North Dakota, Texas, Iowa
and Saskatchewan, Canada. They had 3 children: a) Grace, b) Ruth
and c)Leighton. a) Grace Enid, born April 20 in Minnesota. Married
Gordon Kay Magney, born September 7, 1938 in Tanzania, Africa.
They married April, 1967, in Tehran, Iran and lived in Afghanistan
b) Ruth Astrid, born June 10, 1945 in North Dakota. She married
Edward Hugh Bradby from England, born in Sri Lanka, who is principal
of a school in India. They have 3 children: Mark Humphrey, born
November 25, 1976 in India, Kirsten Marian, born September 7,
1978 in India and Robin Edward, born July 27, 1984 in India.
c) Leighton Edward was born November 19, 1948 in Minneapolis,
Minnesota. He attended Luthern Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul,
Minnesota and is serving 2 churches in Tower City and Buffalo,
North Dakota. He married Carla Nissen, born in West Germany, October
17, 1981. Carla manages food services at the coflege in Jamestown,
4) Ralph Goodwin Murot, born July 21, 1913 at the Knutson farm,
Garrison, North Dakota, died December 11, 1977 at Los Angeles
California at home. He died of emphesema and poor circulation.
He is buried at Anchorage, Alaska in the Pioneer section as he
wished. Ralph helped around at the relatives, graduated in 1932
and then joined the CCC camp at Deer River, Minnesota. In March,
1938 he moved to Alaska. He entered the service in Alaska and
trained at various camps, but the war was over just as he was
to leave for the Pacific area. He worked in the cannery and copper
mines and for the railroad building cars and then got on as accountant
in the office for the Alaska railroad and did well.
He married widow Pearl Peters at Anchorage, Alaska October
4, 1969. Later they retired to Los Angeles, California.
3) Elvera Betsey Johanna, born July 6, 1908 at Port Orchard,
Washington, worked as an office secretary in Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 years before attending teacher's college at St. Cloud, Minnesota.
She taught at Newfolden, Harmony, Sherburn and Pillager, all in
She married a farmer, Elmer Frederick William Larson on June
4, 1938. Elmer was born December 27, 1908 on the home farm 4 miles
northeast of Parkers Prairie, Minnesota.
During the depression of the 1930's we couldn't afford much
so we measured the furniture to see what space we needed and drew
and re-drew the plan below. The little house cost $700 and we
mortgaged the horses in order to build it. It was built in 90
Elmer built our small house on his parent's farm in 1938 and
we lived there from 1938 to 1951 when we bought the farm from
his parents, Fred and Sophie Larson, and traded houses. We improved
the original log house and added more rooms. We lived there until
Elmer's death in 1983.
We had a general farm. I raised chickens and sold eggs in 30
dozen cases. We had Holstein cows and raised alfalfa, oats, corn
and soybeans. We lived the changes from hand milking to milking
machines, cream separator to bulk tank for whole milk, horses
to tractors, hand corn picking to machine pickers, loose hay to
baled, corn binders to corn choppers for silo filling and threshing
machines to combines. The children were active in 4-H.
We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on June 4, 1978.
Our children surprised us with a trip to Sweden. We erjoyed many
wonderful days in Scandinavia (including both Sweden and Denmark)
and were able to visit many of the ancestoral landmarks and homes.
We had three children: a) Carl, b) Lois and c) David. They
all attended the country School District #41, Parkers Prairie
High School and Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.
a) Carl Frederick William, born July 2, 1939 at Bertha Hospital,
became a college English teacher at Dickinson, North Dakota. He
got his Masters from the University of Chicago in Illinois and
his Doctorate from the University of Southern California. He married
Esther Constance Hagen, a teacher, born October 15, 1943 at Keene,
They were married Juiy 16, 1966 at Dickinson, North Dakota.
They have one son, Carlton Frederick William, born Septmber 13,
1974 at Los Angeles, California.
b) Lois Elaine Johanna, born January 20, 1942 at Bertha Hospital,
became a teacher- and also a weaver and has a desktop publishing
husiness in her home. She married David George Larson, born July
11, 1942 at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on June 21, 1964 at the
church in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota.
David received his Masters from the University of Delaware
and his Doctorate fromOhio State University at Columbus, Ohio.
He teaches biology and entomology at Augustana University College
in Camrose, Alberta, Canada. They have 3 children: Debbie, Scott
and Todd. i) Deborah Lynn, born December 19, 1968 at Columbus,
Ohio is a teacher in Calgary, Alberta. She graduated from the
University of Calgary, Alberta. She married Paul (Paolo Carlo)
Campanelli of Montreal, Quebec on June 30, 1990 at Messiah Lutheran
Church, in Camrose,. Alberta. They live in Calgary, Alberta where
Paul is manager of Valley Ridge Golf and Country Club.
ii) Scott David, born August 1, 1972 at Camrose, Alberta, is
a high school student and
iii) Todd Michael, born December 17, 1980 in Seattle, Washington,
is in grade school in Camrose, Alberta.
c) David Elmer Roger, born May 29, 1944 at Bertha Hospital
entered the Air Force and served in Viet Nam. He attained the
rank of Lt. Col. and now flies for Alaska Airlines. He married
Deborah Kay Burke, an airline attendant, born April 23, 1952,
on June 16, 1984 in Seattle, Washington. They live in Bellevue,
Washington and have one son, Erik David Elmer, born November 14,
Elmer died on March 25, 1983 in the hospital in Fergus Falls,
Minnesota convalescing from pituitary brain tumor surgery in Methodist
liospital, St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In August 1983 we had our
farm auction and I bought my Aunt Minnie Bergquist's former house
in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. I lived there until July 1989 when
I moved to Camrose, Alberta Canada to be near my daughter Lois
and family. Ancestoral history has always been an enjoyable adventure
for me-the information contained here has been carefully gathered
over my lifetime. For those of you who hold a similar interest,
I am happy to share the results of my research with you. And now
as a new chapter unfolds in my life in Camrose, Alberta with my
daughter's family, I look forward to enjoying my children and
grandchildren and numerous visits to my sons in Seattle, Washington
and Dickinson, North Dakota.