Thomas Nielsen, a popular hotel proprietor of Denison, owns one of the be§t equipped hostelries west of Des Moines. His birth occurred in Denmark on the 12th of March, 1857, his parents being Niels and Mattie (Qausen) Thomsen, who spent their entire lives in that country. They had a family of five children, of whom our subject is the only survivor.
Thomas Nielsen was reared to manhood in Denmark and obtained his education in the schools of that country. He has continually broadened his knowledge by reading, experience and observation and is now able to speak fluently in three languages: Danish, German and English. When twenty-five years of age he bade adieu to his native land and crossed the Atlantic to the United States, wishing to test the truth of the many favorable reports which had reached him concerning the advantages and opportunities to be enjoyed in the new world. After landing on American shores he came direct to Denison, Crawford county, Iowa, and secured employment as a farm hand, working thus for a year. He then became a clerk in the store of G. P. Miller & Company, remaining in the employ of that concern for twelve years. On the expiration of that period he embarked in business as a hotel proprietor of Denison, where he has remained continuously since, conducting an up-to-date establishment which has been well patronized. He now owns the hotel building, which is a three-story brick structure containing over fifty rooms and which the citizens of Denison erected at a cost of sixty-five thousand dollars. Coming to this country empty handed, he has since worked his way steadily upward to a position of considerable prominence and prosperity and may therefore well claim the proud American title of a self-made man.
While still a resident of Denmark Mr. Nielsen was joined in wedlock to Miss Mary Chrestensin, who was born in that country in 1857. Her father emigrated to the United States in 1885 and both he and his wife are now living in Denison. Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen are the parents of six children, as follows : Ever, who is a resident of Montana; Maurice C, at home; Mattie, the wife of R. B. Smith, of Denison; and T. W., Albert and Emma, who are likewise still under the parental roof.
Mr. Nielsen is a stanch republican in politics but has never sought office as a reward for his party fealty. His religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Lutheran church, to which his wife also belongs. His life has ever measured up to a high standard of manhood and honorable purpose and the years have brought him a circle of friends almost coextensive with the circle of his acquaintances.