NELSON, John (deceased), formerly a prosperous farmer in Eldorado Township, McDonough County, Ill., was born in Butler County, Ohio, March 29, 1823, and there received his mental training in the public schools. He was a son of Joel and Rachael (Dennis) Nelson, natives of Ohio, where his father died. His parents had but three children: John; a younger brother — David — who died when about to be admitted to the bar, and a younger sister.
At the age of eight years, the subject of this sketch came with his mother and his grandparents to Schuyler County, Ill., where he remained until he was able to care for himself. In 1850 he crossed the plains with ox-teams to California, where he was engaged in mining for two years. He then came to McDonough County, Ill., where he lived with his uncle, Isaiah Dennis, until the spring of 1854. He then went again to California, where he conducted a cattle ranch for eleven years. In 1865, he returned to McDonough County, and bought a farm of 320 acres, embracing the northwest quarter of Section 33, and the southwest quarter of Section 28, Eldorado Township. There he lived until his death, February 13, 1899. He was buried half a mile away from his farm.
On November 13, 1870, Mr. Nelson was united in marriage with Serina Fowler, who was born in Schuyler County, Ill., where her girlhood's mental training was received in the public schools. Mrs. Nelson's parents, Jesse B. and Catherine (Bruner) Fowler, were natives of Kentucky. Her grandparents, Thomas J. and Mary (Fowler) Fowler, and Jacob and Maria (Beghtol) Bruner, were also natives of that State. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson became the parents of nine children, namely: Katie (Mrs. William Kennedy), of McDonough County; Clara, who is under the parental roof; Alta, who died in infancy; Edith, Alice, Annie, Maria Elizabeth, Laura Fern, Ralph Waldo and Jesse Ward.
Religiously. Mr. Nelson affiliated with the United Brethren Church. In politics, he was a Republican, and he held the office of School Director for twelve years. A man of excellent traits of character, he lived an irreproachable and useful life.
Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, pages 965-966, extracted 17 Mar 2020 by Norma Hass.
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