JACOB NELL, a retired farmer of Norway, Benton county, Iowa, was born in Hesse Cassel, Germany, March 20, 1830.
Mr. Nell's grandfather, Henry Nell, was a schoolteacher in Germany, and his father, Henry Nell, Jr., after spending twelve years in the German army, was for thirty-six years a government forester at Hesse Cassel. He married Miss Elizabeth Kimm, who was of good old German stock, and who bore him seven children. Of this number, Jacob is the only survivor.
Jacob Nell attended school in his native land from his sixth to his fourteenth year. He was then apprenticed to the trade of interior wood worker, and learned every detail of the business. Afterward he gave his attention to stone cutting and worked at that trade until 1853, when he emigrated to America. Upon his arrival in this country he took up his residence in Herkimer county, New York, where for fourteen years he was engaged in farming. In 1867 he came to Iowa and bought 160 acres of land in Benton county, upon which he made his home and where for a period of thirty-two years he successfully carried on farming operations. In 1899, having acquired a competency, he turned the farm work over to younger hands, and moved to Norway. Here he has a comfortable home and is enjoying the evening of life, active in both mind and body, and happy in the companionship of his many friends.
Politically, Mr. Nell is a Republican. As a loyal citizen of his adopted country, he has always taken a deep interest in public affairs, never, however, aspiring to official position, as his home duties have taken up all his time and attention. While living in New York, in 1862, he was instructed to appear before a board for examination to determine his fitness to be drafted into the army. But experience had taught him better than to go with drafted men, so he enlisted for a term of three years, and was assigned to Company E, 152d New York Infantry. From Herkimer county he went with his regiment to Washington, D. C., and was stationed for awhile below Washington, at Fort Masse; later, the regiment returned and guarded the city. Having served in the German army, Mr. Nell, when he entered the Union army, was appointed color sergeant, and during his outpost service had charge of the guards. The exposure of army life, especially one night while he was guarding a point of danger, brought on a serious illness, on account of which he was discharged from the service.
His father, a devout Lutheran, Mr. Nell was reared in that faith, and he is one of the stanch members of the church near Atkins. He aided in the building of both the Lutheran church and school at this place.
In 1854, in Herkimer county, New York, Mr. Nell married Miss Ann Elizabeth Kimm, daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Kimm of that county, where he father was engaged in farming. Mrs. Nell was reared and educated in Germany. The children of this union, nine in number, are as follows: Kate, wife of Louis Krumptz of Calhoun county, Iowa; Leonard, of Newhall, Iowa; Anne, wife of Chris Renkentch of Von Home, Iowa; Alice, wife of Anton Vernicke of Benton county, Iowa; Mary, deceased; Henry of Montana; Emma, wife of Theodore Romer of Benton county, Iowa; Lena, deceased; and Lizzie, deceased.