Nelson slaikeu (Slaiken)

Photos, documents and information submitted by Dianne Lindt, great-great-granddaughter of Nelson Slaikeu, February 18, 2020. She will be donating these items, as well as items she already sent to the Heatland Museum in Clarion, Iowa, check the donations page to see a wedding dress from 1893.


Nelson Slaikeu (all Military papers use Slaiken) was born in Schleswig, Denmark on November 10, 1840 and died in Palacios, TX on August 1, 1928. In 1859, he emigrated from Europe, leaving from Altona (Hamburg, Germany) to Hull (England). Hull to Liverpool by rail and then sailing from Yorkshire to New York. Took a train to Philadelphia and processed through Castle Gardens. He then traveled to Racine, IA. In 1860, he went to McLean County, IL. In 1861, unsuccesful in registering with the Illinois Regiment, he went to Burlington, IA and enlisted in Company L, but was transferred to Company G, First Iowa Cavalry. He received his Honorable Discharge in 1864 and settled in Wright County, IA. [source – his journal and obituary]

“His field of service was in Missouri and Arkansas.  He was in the battle of Pleasant Hill, Blackwater, Missouri, Little Missouri, Arkansas, also the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas and other minor engagements…He was a member of Hartman Post, No. 149 of the GAR…” [source - Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Hamilton and Wright Counties, Iowa; Lewis Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago; 1889]

He obtained his United States Citizenship in 1865. In 1868 he married Caroline Middleton (1849-1908). Caroline was the daughter of John and Lavina (McPherson) Middleton. They had five children, May (Slaikeu) Rasmussen, Lionel Slaikeu, Alva Slaikeu, George Slaikeu and Ruth (Slaikeu) Carse. A sixth child did not survive. Nelson was a farmer. His obituary indicates that he was involved in the creation of the some of the Churches in the town settlement including the Sunday School Program and a proud member of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) attending numerous Reunion events.

Diary of Nelson Slaikeu

ranscribed Diary          PDF format

Dianne's notes about the diary:

"I have the original in Danish -- it's cool because it is so old."

"His first born was my great grandmother, May (Slaikeu) Rasmussen. She had a guest book that is filled with notes from visitors. If I could only keep one thing I think it would be this book. Her Father's entry is telling of the man."

May all your years, in joy be passed.
And each prove happier than the last” Is the wish of your father – N. Slaikeu
March 2, 1884

Military Service

Transcribed by MaryAlice Schwanke

   Fifty-five years ago a beardless boy was one of an assemblage of neighbors who gathered at the schoolhouse over in Illinois or in Iowa. Men, women and children crowded the room in the semi-dust of the old fashioned lamps. War was the theme. The guns that had opened on Sumter echoed from the seaboard. Men were white under their tan and the women wept in the foreknowledge of widowhood and bereavement. And there that boy and other boys like him, signed the roll of enlistment in the volunteer armies of the United States and of freedom for all mankind.
   They came, those boys in the slyush of their first manhood from off every northern hilltop and out of every northern valley. They gathered in the cities, fell in and dressed ranks. The story of the next four years is the finest and most heroic on the great pages of history. Always they followed the flag. They lay with it on the glacis of Donelson, in the bitter sleet of lead and the bitterer sleet of the freezing rain; they died under it at Gettysburg and Antientam and Shiloh and Vicksburg and Nashville and carried it in triumph thru Georgia to the sea. Its colors shone in the smoky woods of Chickamauga and they gripped it in the desperation of defeat from Richmond to Harrison's Landing. They saw it in fevered dreams within the stockades of Andersonville and in the gloom of Libby; and when the war for American freedom and American integrity was over, all that were left of them followed the old flag home.
   It was then that the world say a new and marvelous display of citizenship and intelligent restraint. It saw an army of soldiers become a nation of citizens. If there had been any demoralization of the camp and garrison it faded and was as if it had never been. Those boys, now bearded and determined men, came quietly back to their homes and their citizenship. Perhaps he came back to find his business, if he had one, gone, his employment in the hands of another. Perhaps he married the girl who had waited and came west to found one of those families whose names are the insignia of leadership and honor in the trans-Mississippi today. But wherever he went the hammers rang and the song of the reaper rose and out of courage and determination he had learned in was was born a new cycle of prosperity and development that covered the stains of battle with the green fertility of peace.
   The boys are coming back again this week, coming to gather for a time, renewing old ties and greeting familiar faces, coming in the weakness of age and the strength of undying service. Marshalltown greets them decked with the colors those beardless boys of the sixties, raised and kept high as a signal to all the world, greets them at her gates with the truest welcome, glad of her guests and proud of the distinction they confer upon her. The spirit of the mighty past meets with the spirit of the splendid present and forecasts a future even mightier and more splendid.
   They are grown old and gray, these boys of the sixties . They die and fade as the leaf; but their service does not die or fade and shall never perishfrom the earth. They rewrote into the statutes of the continent the theory that all men are created free and equal. While that principle they established lives in America shall they live as their works do follow them.

(Click on image for larger view)

Left to right are Nelson Slaikeu (Slaiken) and Rasmus Marshall

They served in the same Company, 1st Iowa Cavalry, Company G.

Dianne's note: "When they returned from the war, Ramus and Nelson farmed together in Wright County. I am unclear if they traveled to the US together or just met during those travels."

More about Rasmus Marshall:

Family Search Tree  (you need to login to view this information)

FindAGrave Burial Information

Dianne's note: "All the letters I have from him to Nelson are from Wadena, MN. I have a business card of his son, Frank, an insurance agent in Des Moines."
Nelson's Discharge - Front
full size PDF

Nelson's Discharge - Back
full size PDF

 "At some point, my folks had his discharge paper photographed resulting in the size reduction. Denver University did a nice preservation process for them."

Dianne Lindt

G.A.R. dues Receipt

"Nelson's wife had passed away the year prior to this -- based on letters he traveled between his kids"

G.A.R. - YMCA Card

Nelson's Calling Card
View PDF of his
Calling Card Collection

View PDF of his
G.A.R. Reunion Ribbons

G.A.R. Reunion, Carancahua TX
March 29, 1917

Left to right are:
Charles C Jordan, 1840 - Unk
28th PA Infantry, Co D

Nelson Slaikeu/Slaiken, 1840 - 1928, 1st IA Cavalry, Co G

John A Gishwiller, 1841 - Unk
38th OH Infantry, Co A

Dianne's note: "Mr. Gishwiller's great-great granddaughter had posted it and tagged my great-great-grandfather, Nelson. Lucky for her, her photo was labeled- mine was not"
Eagle Grove IA
Unknown year

Image showing Nelson Slaikeu (Slaiken) circled
1886 1st Cavalry Reunion
Cedar Rapids IA

Being Transcribed


1906 1st Cavalry Reunion
Boone IA

PDF format
 1912 GAR
Mason City IA

1913 GAR Encampment
Des Moines IA
PDF format

1913 GAR
Chattanooga TN
Advance Information
Town Settlers
TL Knight, D McCallum, Walter Sawin (Savin), Nelson Slaikeu

Samer Farmer, Mrs Pierce,
Mrs WC Moseley and WC Moseley

TL Knight, Walter Sawin (Savin), Nelson Slaikeu (Slaiken), Samuel Farmer, WC Moseley

Death Claims Nelson Slaikeu  Posted in the Goldfield Chronicle, August 16, 1928

   Word was received by Mrs. F. A. Rasmussen Tuesday morning of the death of her father, Nelson Slaikeu of Palacious, Tex.  Mr. Slaikeu was 88 years of age, and has been in failing health for several weeks. Funeral services will be held in Goldfield, but as we go to press no definite arrangements have been made.

N. Slaikeu Buried Sat. At Goldfield  Posted in the Goldfield Chronicle, August 23, 1928
Wright County Octogenarian Passed Away at the Home of His Son at Palacios, Texas.

   Brief mention was made in this paper last week of the death of Nelson Slaikeu at the home of his son, L. J. Slaikeu, at Palacios, Texas.


   Nelson Slaikeu was born in Denmark on Nov. 10, 1840, and died at Palacios, Texas, on Aug. 14, 1928, having reached the ripe old age of 87 years, 9 months and 4 days.

   Mr. Slaikeu came to this country as a young man of nineteen years and first settled in Wisconsin, where he attended school.  After having been here but a short time the call for volunteers was made and he responded, and after first trying to get into an Illinois regiment he came to Iowa and enlisted in the First Iowa Cavalry.  In this unit he served during the entire Civil War and at its close received his honorable discharge.  At the close of the war he settled on the farm which afterwards became known as the Slaikeu farm south-west of Goldfireld.

   On February 13, 1868, he was united in marriage to Miss Caroline Middleton.  To this union six children were born, one having died in infancy and the others survive.  These are Mrs. May Rasmussen of Goldfield; Lionel J. of Palacios, Texas; Alva N. of Eagle Grove; George A. of Luck, Wis., and Mrs. Ruth Carse of Los Angeles, Calif.  The mother and wife receded him in death on November 13, 1908.  All of the children were present for the funeral except Mrs. Carse.  Besides the children there are sixteen grandchildren and two greatgrand-children, and a host of friends who mourn his going.

   Mr. Slaikeu early in life became a member of the Methodist church, and was one of the charter members of that church at Eagle Grove, Iowa.  He served on the official board and was one of the board of trustees who signed many of the papers of the early church of Eagle Grove.  He served as one of the class leaders and is well known to many with regard to his active work in organizing the Sunday school in the Evergreen neighborhood.  Besides the church and its associated activities, Mr. Slaikeu belonged to the G. A. R. and was a great believer in the splendid work of that organiztion.  He transferred his membership to the Goldfield Methodist church in October, 1906.

   Friends who knew him best testify to his life bein one that radiated with good.  His living was an example to those with whom he came in contact.  His reward is certain to be "well done."

   Burial was made from the Methodist church at Goldfield on Saturday afternoon and in the goldfield cemetery.  Rev. D. M. Simpson had charge of the services and he was assisted by Mr. W. E. Warnes, and old time friend and fellow church-man from Eagle Grove.

   Out of town people attending the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. George Slaikeu of Luck, Wis.; Lionel Slaikeu of Palacios, Texas; Roger Slaikeu of Houston, Texas; Mr. and Mrs. Harry McElroy and daughter, Alice, of Burt; Mr. and Mrs. George Hansen and son, George, of Titonka; Mr. and Mrs. John Lindhart and E. T. Gunderson and sone of Humboldt, and Mr. and Murs. Chris Hansen of Fort Dodge.