Magnus Nelson was born September 9, 1888 to Mathias and Malin (Anderson) Nelson, both recent Norwegian immigrants. Magnus was one of 8 children in the family, which settled on a working farm outside Granite Falls, Minnesota. Mathias came from the Toten area of Norway where they grew potatoes and onions, so it is most likely that they grew the same crops on their new farm in Minnesota.
As Magnus grew older, it was not possible for the entire family to make a living off of the farm. To help earn money for himself and the family, Magnus joined the Milwaukee Railroad where he ended up working for most of his life. For a time, Magnus and his brother Marcus owned a livery stable but the profession became a thing of the past once cars began to appear.
Magnus is one of the prominent characters in the letters as father and husband to the Nelson family. As years went by, Magnus’ health began to fail and by World War II he was unable to work due to his bad heart problems. You will read many references to Magnus and the current state of his health throughout the letters.