Marcus Nelson Graverholt

Submitted to the Dixon Co., NE, GenWeb Pages by: Sharon Hagler, Gr.Gr.Gr. Grandaughter of Marcus Nelson Graverholt. The information for Marcus Nelson was obtained from a book: Marcus Nelson Graverholt and his Descendants , Written by: Carl W. Tvedt.

Marcus Nelson "Graverholt" immigrated to Nebraska from Norway in 1870. Marcus, after the death of his first wife Inger (abt. 1869), decided to go to America with his family of 5 small children which included, Nils (Dec. 21, 1859), Maren Olive (Dec. 8, 1861), Lena Emelia (Sept. 8, 1863), Gunda Marie (Sept. 24, 1865) and Johanna (Jan. 3, 1868). Marcus sold his share of "Graverholt", the farm (in Norway refereed to as a gaard) that he had inherited from his father. There were others from this community who also went along, including his in-laws, Gunder and Gunnild Amundson. Included in this group was Bolette Johnson, whom had worked at "Graverholt" since she was 9 years old. Marcus and Bolette were married upon arrival in the United States once they reached Omaha, NE.

Once in America, the name Graverholt was not used much and Nelson became the surname. All of Marcus's boys used the name Nelson.

The group wound up at Red Wing, Minnesota in May of 1870. They did not stay long in Red Wing and went by boat down the Mississippi to St. Louis, MO and then up the Missouri River to Omaha. They settled in Florence, Nebr., and for a short while they were in IA, and then they went on to the homestead in Dixon Co.

This was in the fall of 1871, that Marcus got his homestead and moved his family there, all except Lena who stayed with her maternal grandparents, the Gunder Amundson's, for about 2 years in Florence, NE.

The Amundson's later moved to Dixon Co., about May of 1874, as did son Bastian, with whom they lived with until they both died. (This info is from a book by: Donna Maskell, called: MY MOTHER'S FAMILY , The Gunderson's and The Johnson's)

The first home on the homestead in Dixon Co., located near Maskell, 6 miles south of town, was a dugout. A house was not built on the homestead until about, 1884. Marcus and Bolette lived there until 1914. They then moved into a house that they had built in Maskell, near the Luthern Church.
Marcus also bought 160 Acres of timber and pasture land near the river, 7 miles north of his farm. (This info from Raymond Nelson, Newcastle, NE, grandson of Marcus)

Marcus and Bolette were the parents of twelve children all born on the homestead in Dixon Co., except as noted; George (May 19, 1871- IA), Elmer (May 14, 1873), Julius (May 15, 1875), Alfred (Jan 14, 1877), Minor (Nov. 13, 1878), Ole (Sep. 13, 1880), Mattie (Nov. 14, 1882), Ida (Dec. 31, 1884), Millie (Jul. 24, 1886), Albert (Aug. 22, 1888), Mathilda (died at birth) (1890), and Melvin (Aug. 2, 1891).

At the homestead, Marcus carried cottonwood shoots from the Missouri River and planted them. By 1917, they had grown so much that he had a Mr. Breney, set up a sawmill and cut and saw enough lumber for the frame of a new barn on the original homestead. (This info courtesy of Raymond Nelson of NewCastle, NE, grandson of Marcus Nelson)

In addition to farming his land, Marcus also had skills as a carpenter and built many of the buildings in the community. He built the first school house in Cedar County. They used to trade and go to Vermillion, SD and to Ponca, NE. When they went to Vermillion they had to cross the Missouri River on the ICE in the winter time.

Bolette and Marcus Nelson were religious people. They were charter members of the Lime Creek Lutheran Church. At first there was no resident minister there. (When they did get their first minister at the Lime Creek Lutheran Church, his name was, Rev. N. G. Tvedt and on Feb. 6, 1879 at Gayville, SD, married Lena Emilia Nelson , daughter of Marcus Nelson, and the third child from his first marriage.) The center of the church work at that time was Vermillion, SD where they had a church. Bolette and Marcus Nelson, carrying their son, George, and Mr. and Mrs. Chris Johnson (Chris was a brother of Bolette), carrying their son, James, walked to the Missouri River and stayed overnight at the home of Olaus (?) Gilbertson. The next morning they crossed the river in a skiff, walked to Vermillion and had the two boys baptized. After the service they walked back to the river, crossed it and spent a second night at Gilbertson's and walked home Monday. Marcus was a good singer and before they had the organ at the church, Marcus led the singing.

Nature was not always so good to the settlers.

-1874, the great grasshopper plague struck Grand Ridge, they ate everything available, clothes on the line, even fence posts.

-1888 of course brought the Great Blizzard. It came up in the afternoon about 2:30. Marcus Nelson walked home from the place he was working which was 4 miles away. He made it okay, but there were some that did not.

Elmer Nelson, youngest son of Marcus and Bolette, related many years later that he, George and Julius stayed home that day because it had snowed hard the night before. The day began as a quiet, beautiful day so the three boys helped shovel out the stable, which was completely covered with snow. At noon Julius and Elmer went to school. Not long after the afternoon session had commenced Andrew Gran came and told them that there was a terrible storm and that they had better get started for home. Andrew Gran took his son, Oscar, and James Johnson with him. The teacher, a Mr. Foote, and Willie Weidenfeldt walked to the Weidenfeldts. Syverin Gran took the other children, including the younger ones of Chris Johnson and Andrew Gran families and the Weidenfeld youngsters along with others that lived in the district to his place. Then he took Julius and Elmer home.

-1894 was one of the driest years to hit northeast Nebraska. The corn, about a foot to two feet in height, turned white in a single afternoon from a hot, dry wind. That was on July 22, 1894.

Marcus became ill Dec. 25, 1922, and passed away March 28, 1923. He lived to be over 85 years old, having been born in Setskog, Norway on Dec. 25, 1837.

Bolette lived alone until 1939 except for grandchildren whom stayed with her part of the time as they attended high school in Maskell. Bolette died May 30, 1949, having lived to be over 98 years old, having been born in Norway on March 4, 1851.

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