C. O. Nelson. A thriftier body of citizens the United States has obtained from no one country than from Sweden. While representatives of that land are not so numerous in Champaign County as in other sections of Illinois, to at least one family, that of C. O. Nelson, the county owes a tribute for what it has accomplished in the years that have passed. Mr. Nelson and his wife came to this county many years ago and began work on a tract of raw prairie land. Their possessions have increased and they now enjoy the comforts of one of the most beautiful country homes in the entire county.
Mr. Nelson was born in Lockneve, Province of Kelmar, Sweden, a son of Nels Magnus and Annie Marie. He grew up in his native land, and in 1872 married Miss Charlotte Nelson, who was born in the same province in Sweden.
For their wedding journey they crossed the ocean to America, landing in New York and going on to Paxton, Illinois, where they had friends and relatives from the old country. Here they started out to make a home and living, and for two years lived in Ford County, where Mr. Nelson worked at regular wages. While he and his wife did the duties that lay nearest them, they were also seeking a long look ahead and were making their present efforts conform to their future prospects. In time by economy they had accumulated enough to enable them to purchase forty acres of land in section 8 of Champaign County. For this land they paid $27 an acre. It was not a large farm, and the land had been little developed. It was prairie soil, and part of it was covered every year by water. They had a small house and a small barn. In those humble surroundings may be found the beginning of their present generous prosperity.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson moved to that farm in Champaign County in 1881, and since then year after year has seen some increase in their holdings. They subsequently paid $3,000 for eighty acres, and. then bought 160 acres at a price of $10,000. They now own 360 acres of as fine land as can be found in the entire county.
In the meantime three children were born to them, Alfred Gustav, Carl Oscar and Hulda Marie. To these children Mr. and Mrs. Nelson gave the best possible educational advantages, at first in the district school of Maple Grove, while Alfred attended school at Gibson.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are active members of the Lutheran Church at Farmersville, and had their children baptised and confirmed in the same church. Politically Mr. Nelson is a stanch Republican. While they have endured the usual privations and vicissitudes of early settlers, their later prosperity tastes all the sweeter for what they went through to acquire it. In 1915 Mr. Nelson erected one of the most beautiful country homes in Champaign County. It is a ten-room modern residence, located four and three-quarter miles west of Ludlow, on Rural Route No. 30. Many city homes have not the complete facilities of this place. It has a water system operated by compression tank in the basement and with gasoline power. There is hot and cold, soft and hard water, and bathroom, and Mr. Nelson is now planning the installation of an independent electric light plant. The home is heated by a hot air furnace.
Mr. Nelson is a true type of the American citizen, and Mrs. Nelson is a fine example of the American mother. They came to this country empty handed”, though with big and courageous hearts and with all the energy and courage required for success. Thus they may with pardonable pride look back over the past. Mr. Nelson has demonstrated what a man can do by earnest, honest and efficient energy. Such a career commands the admiration of all who appreciate the value of the good, sound elements of life. America’s most substantial citizens are made up of such people as Mr. and Mrs. Nelson. They have won prosperity for themselves, and in so doing have contributed something to the task which the world has to perform. As a farmer Mr. Nelson has distinguished himself by an ability to make mother earth respond with bountiful prodigality to his touch, and his ability and achievements in this direction are known and admired all over Champaign County. In the parlor of the home of these worthy people hang two paintings, showing the king and queen of Sweden, King Oscar and Queen Sophia. While Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have pleasant memories of their youth in Sweden, they have never had a desire to give up America. and all this country means to them for the sake of returning to Sweden.