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Donald Nelson


Lynne Nelson


6th Grade 1994, Lancaster School, Lancaster,MN


Donald Nelson, my grandpa, was born in 1913 at Minneapolis,MN. He and his family lived there for seven years. In March 1920, hisfamily moved to Lancaster, MN. They reached Lancaster by train. He methis uncle and they started to their new home.

On the way there, my grandpa quoted, "Gee it stinkshere!" He said this because he had not been in farm land before.

On their farm, they raised sheep, cows, chickens, and pigs. The sheep were raised for their wool. The cows provided their milk andcream, the chickens for eggs, and the pigs for their meat.

At Minneapolis, his teacher was going to move him to fourthgrade because he was getting such good marks. When he started school inLancaster, the kids were studying different things. That year he flunkedsecond grade.

Six to seven years after that the depression started. By that time the mortgage on the farm came due. My grandpa's dad didn'thave the farm. My Great Grandpa took a carpenter job building a county shedfor the county, so they could get enough money to pay off the mortgage.

While his dad was gone, Grandpa had to miss the first sixweeks of school. When he went to school, the kids were working on Algebra. To my grandpa it seemed impossible to catch up on. The professor at theschool suggested that he divide the subjects up and take five years to getthrough high school. That was just what he did.

He graduated in 1932 and got a job at his uncle's farm. He bought a 1928 Dodge car. In 1937, he traded it for a 1931 Model A Ford. That year he, his brother, and two friends went to California. They werethere for three months.

It didn't cost them much to go to California. Gas wasabout twenty cents a gallon. One service station had a sign saying 10 gallonsfor $1.00. Once they filled up with that, but the motor would start pingingwhen they went uphill. So, after that they didn't get any more of thattype.

They went to the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. They plannedon getting some work there. First, they got a job at a lettuce field. The job laster two hours. They got laid off because the field was finished.

Later, they saw an ad that a dairy farm needed some help. They went there and the boss told them he was sure they didn't want tosit and milk cows all day.

The four men decided to go back to Minnesota. They gotback in March. My grandpa got his job back on his uncle's farm.

He got married in 1940 and later bought a farm where hisis still living.


Interviewed Donald Nelson, March 5, 1994

Interviewed Donald Nelson, March 5, 1994