The pluck and spirit of our subject is shown in his arduous labor which in the face of misfortune he has continued and brought success out of failure and victory out of defeat. He is now one of the substantial and well to do farmers of his section and a man of good standing.

Simon Nellsen was born in Winneshiek County, Iowa, on October 24, 1866, being the son of John and Elizabeth (Hammer) Nellsen. The father, who was born in Germany, June 1808, was a pioneer in Wisconsin, and died on February 28, 1897. The mother of our subject was born in Austria and died September 11, 1882. The following named children were born to them. Nicholas, Joseph, Drina, died when she was young, Simon, Henry, John, Frances, Elizabeth.

Our subject was reared and educated in his native place and remained with his parents until twenty-two. Then he went to do for himself, and took up the business of baling hay. He followed it for nine years and did well, but finally a crash came and he lost all. He was not to be discouraged, however, and came west with the determination to dig out another fortune and at once set himself to the task He started cutting cord wood near Walla Walla, then harvested, and at the opening of the reservation he came hither and secured a quarter section about four miles northwest from Morrow. He has twenty-five acres of meadow and one hundred and twenty fenced.

In addition to this land, Mr. Nellsen and his brother John, who is in partnership with him, rent three hundred acres on Mason prairie which they farm to the cereals. He threshed about five thousand bushels of grain this year, including oats, barley, flax, timothy seed and so forth.

When Mr. Nellsen and his brother started here they had a capital of twenty-five cents cash and an unlimited amount of pluck and courage. The former has increased until they have a fine holding of land, farm stock and tools and are prosperous, but their courage is none the less abated, and could hardly be increased. They are men of good standing and vote for the man rather than the party.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903