Nels John Nelson Opheim
By O. D. Purinton, Clerk and Historian of the Old Settlers' Association
Nels John Nelson Opheim, son of Omund Nelson Opheim and Karei Nelson Opheim, was born Oct. 23 1869 in Winneshiek County, Iowa. In the spring of 1879 his father came to Griggs County and located on land in the SE ¼ of Section 12-146-58, and built the first house of a permanent settler in Griggs County. Then he went back to Iowa, and in September, 1879, returned with his wife, his son, Nels, his daughter Martha, his son-in-law, and grandchildren Martin and Oscar, and established residence on the Homestead.
They came all the way by team and covered wagon. They were about two weeks on the road and lived in the covered wagon, sleeping in it nights and traveling by day. When they arrived at the homestead and looked about they found that their nearest neighbors were about twenty--four miles to the east, Near Mayville. There they bought groceries, and the father went to Grand Forks when he had wheat to grind.
On one trip to Grand Forks he was caught in a snow storm, and was three weeks making the trip. During this time the family were without flour, and were terribly oppressed by a terrible fear that the father had perished in the storm on the prairie. But at the end of three weeks he came home, bringing some food. Both he and his team were exhausted by hard work and exposure, having been three days coming home from the nearest neighbors.
The first crop of wheat was cut with a cradle, and threshed with sticks, on the floor of the log cabin.
The family were greatly rejoiced when settlers began to come in around them the following year.
Nels lived with his parents until they were called to trier Eternal Home.
On June 4th 1893 Nels was married to Ingeborg Larson Haugse. They have three sons and one daughter; Omund Nelson born April 8, 1894; Edward,Nov.23 1895; Clara Inez, May 4 1898; and Carl, Nov.17 1900.
In later years, although the family did not live in the old log house, it was kept as a memorial to the pioneers Mr. and Mrs. Omund Nelson Opheim.
The neighbors and townspeople of Nels Opheim have honored him with various positions of trust. He has been a member of the school board for 17 years, several years as President. He was elected Secretary of his Church in 1893, and holds the office now (1915) He is also assessor of Washburn township.