"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Nelson, James R. proprietor of the Hotel Three Lakes, at Three Lakes, Oneida County, who has served at various times in important public office, including that of sheriff, was born in Denmark, July 27, 1863, son of Robert and Helen (BOISON) NELSON. The parents also were born in Denmark, where they still reside, the father being a millwright by trade; they have had six children. James R. was educated in his native land, where he learned the carpenter's trade from his father, which he followed until he came to America in 1885, landing at New York. He located first in Oxford, N.J., where he followed his trade for a year, in 1886 going to Port Chester, Conn., and from there to Greenwich, the same state, where he helped to build a factory. From there he went to Lawrence, Mass., where he woarked on a woolen mill, subsequently returning to Port Chester, where for the next few years he was employed in a pattern shop. His health failing, he resolved to seek a different climate and occupation, and accordingly came west; first to Racine, Wis., where he stopped a short time, then to Chicago, where he remained a year. In 1888 he went to Antigo, Wis., where he remained a year, during that time helping to build the Menasha Woodenware mill. In 1889 he came to Rhinelander, Oneida County, where he bought a residence and remained for 11 years, being employed as foreman for the firm of Woodruff & McGuire, contractors. In 1900 Mr. NELSON came to Three Lakes and purchased 200 acres of wild land and started farming, in which occupation he continued for 20 years, during which time he considerably improved his property, clearing 70 acres of the land. Then in 1920 he sold the farm and for the next two years lived in a rented dwelling-place, after which, in March, 1922, he purchased the Hotel Three Lakes, which he is now operating. During the 34 years that Mr. NELSON has lived in Oneida County, he has become well and favorably known and his fellow citizens have thrust public office upon him on various occasions. He served four terms of supervisor and also four terms as deputy sheriff. He also helped to lay out and build the first roads in the town of Three Lakes. He was first married May 8, 1885, to Anna JOHNSON, who died April 7, 1892. By her he had two children: John, who is deceased; and William J., now residing in Fond du Lac, Wis. On April 5, 1894, Mr. NELSON was married secondly, in Rhinelander, Wis., to Bertha BRANDT, of Marshfield, Wis., daughter of Fred and Anna (GANETTS) BRANDT. Her parents were born in Germany and came to this country in 1884, settling in Stratford, Marathon County, Wis., among the pioneers of that locality. The father is still living on the old homestead at the age of 72 years, the mother having died Jan. 3, 1912. Of the second marriage of Mr. NELSON six children have been born: Gladys, deceased; Arthur, of Three Lakes; Mabel, deceased; Mildred, who is attending the high school in Three Lakes; Lillian, who is a common school pupil; and Margaret, at home.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 358 (with picture); History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others; H.C. Cooper Jr. & Co, 1924

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