Thomas Nelson, farmer and teacher, Lee, son of Nels and Guro Samson, was born in Hardanger, Norway, September 26, 1843. His youth from six to fourteen was spent in the district schools of the country; afterward he attended Voss higher school for teachers at Vossvangen, two years. He taught one year, beginning in the spring of 1861, and the following spring emigrated to America, and was engaged as a teacher in the Norwegian select school in Chicago. He taught till the autumn of 1864, and on November 1 enlisted for two years in the navy. His whole service was on the Mississippi transport Volunteer. He was retained but half his time, and was mustered out November 3, 1865. On his return to civil life he took one term of instruction at the Paxton University, in Ford County, Illinois, and then taught again in Chicago until the autumn of 1866. Having been previously engaged to teach in the Norwegian Lutheran Congregation in Willow Creek, he came here that fall. Until 1870 he was teaching and clerking; in that year he bought his present farm of forty acres; since that date he has taught both English and Norwegian schools, and clerked and farmed. His homestead is valued at $2000. In the autumn of 1868 he returned to Norway, and on April 2, 1869, took in marriage Miss Bertha Swassand. They embarked the same season for America. The fruits of this union have been three children: Nels William, Carrie Louise, and Andrew. These parents are members of the Norwegian Lutheran Church, and Mr. Nelson is a Republican. In 1880 he was commissioned notary public, and appointed census enumerator for Willow Creed Township. In the spring of 1881 he was elected to the office of justice of the peace.
Source: History of Lee County