John J. Nelson, conductor in the employ of the Iron Mountain Railroad, was born near Ogdensburg, N. Y., December 25, 1850. His father, Robert Nelson, was born near Dublin, Ireland, and immigrated to the United States about 1810, settling in St. Lawrence County, N. Y., where he was constable of the town of Lisbon over thirty years, and collector ten or twelve years. John J. Nelson was reared on a farm and received his education in the common schools of his native county. When sixteen years of age he was employed as second cook on the steamer "Ackron," plying between Chicago and Ogdensburg, one year, and then on the "Empire" one season, as cabin boy, the next season he was on the "Nashua" as lookout man, and subsequently engaged in railroading, which he has since followed. In October, 1872, he located in Bismarck, Mo., and the following February in De Soto, whence, in 1874 he went to St. Louis, returning to Jefferson County in 1883, where he lived on a farm until the following year; he then removed to Decatur, Ill., where he resided until November, 1885, and then again located in De Soto as
conductor, in which capacity he has served the Iron Mountain Railroad fourteen years. July 1, 1874 he married Jennie N., daughter of William B. Elkins. They have one child, Hazel E., who was born January 24, 1881, and was named from the noted drama, Hazel Kirk. Mr. Nelson owns two farms, one consisting of 527 acres, two and one half miles north of Hillsboro, Jefferson County and the other consisting of fifty-four and one quarter acres adjoining the corporation of De Soto. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Legion of Honor and Venice Cahpter O. E. S. of South St. Louis. Mrs. Nelson is a member of the Episcopal Church.