J. G. Nelson
Many of the most successful and respected citizens of Iowa came from Sweden and in this state have gained a position of financial prosperity which would have been practically impossible of attainment under the fixed conditions of the old country. Among this number is J. G. Nelson, who owns one hundred and twenty acres of good land in Willow township, which under his excellent care has become highly valuable.
He was born in Botelsater, Wurmland county, Sweden, September 25, 1859, a son of Nels and Sarah (Kajsa) Johnson, both natives of Sweden. The father was a farmer and continued at his old home until his death, which occurred in 1887. Soon afterward the mother came to America and she has since resided with the subject of this review, having now reached the venerable age of eighty-two years. She is the mother of four children: Mary, now Mrs. Carlson, of Sweden; J. G., of this review; Hannah, the wife of August Arenson, of Willow township, Crawford county; and Carl A., who lives in Sioux City, Iowa.
J. G. Nelson was educated in the common schools of his native land and worked on the home farm until after reaching manhood. In 1884 he bade farewell to his relatives and friends and embarked at Gutenburg for the United States, landing at Castle Garden, New York. He came direct to Iowa and located in Crawford county, working in Willow township for three years. He then rented land for three years after which, having by economy and good management accumulated sufficient capital, he purchased one hundred and twenty acres on section 17, Willow township, which he has since brought to a high state of cultivation. He has erected a complete set of farm buildings and raises a good grade of stock, which he places upon the market in prime condition. A self-made man, he has become through his well directed efforts one of the most prominent factors in the community.
In 1889 Mr. Nelson was united in marriage to Miss Anna Swanson, who was born in Sweden and arrived in the United States in 1888. Their union has been blessed by the birth of eight children, Alben, Arthur, Robert, Mary, Alma. Gustave, David and Elsie, all of whom are living at home.
Ever since he cast his first ballot in this country Mr. Nelson has given his allegiance to the republican party and is in thorough sympathy with its principles, Three years ago he was elected township trustee and was again elected to that office. He has served as a member of the school board and is connected with the Free Mission church. Coming to this country as a young man whose only fortune was in his own strong arms and an unalterable ambition to attain a worthy place in life, he worked his way from the bottom of the ladder and won recognition through the power of industry and application that seldom fails to lead to deserved success. He is well entitled to the credit he receives as one of the most successful farmers of this section and also as one of the most honored men of the community.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.