The following biographical sketch was created as a script for the 2021 Argonne Centennial Cemetery Tour hosted by the Crandon Area Historical Society. The script was researched and written by Michelle Gobert with material provided by Jarmila Koepp.
Nelly Nelson Rasmussen portrayed by community volunteer Tammy Votis Stroik.
“Good evening. My name is Nelly Nelson Rasmussen and I am very pleased to make your acquaintance. My family and I are very pleased you are visiting our little piece of land here at the Town of Argonne Cemetery.”
“Many of you may not know that this cemetery was once known as the Woodlawn cemetery. Many of us older citizens that are buried here recall it being called this prior to the 1940’s. Sometime in the past 70 years the Town Board of Argonne must have made it official town business to change its name. I’m sure there’s a record of it somewhere in those town records. Of course, there’s now 100 years of Town of Argonne records to look through so good luck to whoever gets that job!”
“Town business has always been part of my husband Carl’s and my family. When I first moved to North Crandon with my father Peter, and brothers Nel and Fred Nelson, this town was a bustling village with numerous hotels, its own newspaper and plenty of rural school houses. Of course none of this compared to bustling city of Chicago where our family lived when we first arrived in American from Sweden.”
“My brothers and I began farming almost immediately after arriving in Forest county. My brother Nels and Fred owned what was commonly referred to as the Nelson farm – just a bit west of here on what is now Stephen Fulk’s farm. My brother Emil built himself a little log cabin on the farm in 1916 in hopes that his dear wife would benefit from the fresh Northern Wisconsin air that made her so sickly back in Chicago. I know each time I took the train from North Crandon to visit family back in Chicago, I too always felt a little sick from that polluted air and was always happy to be back on my farm here in North Crandon.”
“My husband Carl felt the same way about North Crandon although he himself was born in Waupaca county. He moved to North Crandon in 1911 a few years after his family purchased the Bouck place in 1902 – a farm of about 200 acres. They paid $4,500 for those 200 acres. Land in Forest county was quite reasonably priced compared to Waupaca county land where his the Rasmussen family originally settled after arriving in the country from Denmark.”
“Carl and I were married in 1916 by Justice Nightingale in Crandon. We were the proud parents of five children Frederick, Oliver, Donald, Dorthey and Percy. Sadly Carl and I were only married 16 years before his death in 1926 at the age of 48. During his short life he served on the North Crandon school board, was instrumental in organizing the North Crandon Mutual Fire Insurance company and was the president of the Farmers and Merchant Bank of Argonne when he passed. When he died the newspapers spoke of his host of friends and commented that he was a successful farmer. That was for sure true. He always took great pride in his farm, the Peshtigo Valley Farm. It was located near Grand avenue, I think you now call it Highway G and the Peshtigo River road, about where Tina and Jerod Littleton now own. We were dairy farmers but also grew potatoes and pumpkins. In 1917, Carl was chosen to represent North Crandon at the Wisconsin state fair and one of our pumpkins took first prize. Carl not only took great pride in his farm, he also trained and sold horses that earned him praise in the newspapers. Back when Dr. Decker bought a pair of dapple-grey horses from Carl the newspapers proudly exclaimed that Dr. Decker could now congratulate himself as having one of the best driving teams on the road.”
“When Carl died of a heart attack my children were so young: Carl Frederick was 14, Oliver, 12, Don and Dorothy my twins were 10 and Percy just 7. The years following his death were difficult. The great depression, World War II and the years following the war in which so many Forest county families left rural farming for jobs in manufacturing. Eventually my family spread out and I spent time traveling to visit my grandchildren in Madison and New York.”
“I died in 1953 at the age of 77 and am buried here next to my dear Carl.”
Source: Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/120230155/nelly-n-rasmussen : accessed 17 August 2021), memorial page for Nelly N Rasmussen (1875–1953), Find a Grave Memorial ID 120230155, citing Town of Argonne Cemetery, Argonne, Forest County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Michael Scott (contributor 47592981) .