pen rainbow

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throw-Back Thursday—Nelson Nauvoo

Nelson family history in Nauvoo, IL_family pix from the personal collection of Verna Hohl Nelson

Nauvoo Electric Light and Power Company

The Nauvoo Electric Light and Power Company
Organized 1 March 1909

Joseph B. Nelson, President (Steve's grandfather)
Mulholland Street, Nauvoo, IL (still standing)

An earlier version
"NELSON" sign at the top

It looks like the sun cornice cap may have been part 
of the original sign (barely visible) 

The sign fell off during a storm years ago & now lives on our deck
The sun cornice cap slot is visible from the top

From the Democratic Historical Association
Springfield, IL, 1935

"Joseph B. Nelson, who since 1930 has been chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Hancock County and who makes his home in Nauvoo, was born April 21, 1887, in the city where he still resides.

His father, Joseph Nelson, whose birth occurred in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1851, died in 1913.  He was a lumberman there for some years and afterward engaged in the implement business.  Later, he became the organizer of the Peoples State Bank of Nauvoo.  His activities, however, were never confined to a single line, and from 1874 until 1880 he was editor and publisher of the Nauvoo Independent, a weekly newspaper.  He was successful in his business affairs and became a recognized leader in connection with civic welfare.

His fellow townsmen again and again called him to public office.  He acceptably filled the offices of mayor, alderman, city clerk, member of the school board, and supervisor, being Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Hancock County at the time of his death.  

His wife, who bore the maiden name of Katherine Knaust, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1852, a daughter of Conrad and Gertrude (Ketteman) Knaust, who were natives of Germany.  Her father was born in Prussia and on coming to America settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived for a time, but later became a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois.  In politics, he was always a staunch democrat.

To Joseph and Katherine Nelson were born seven children, as follows:  Lettia, wife of Ralph Shipman of California; Nelly, deceased wife of Wesley Schneider; Orville, who is stationed with the United States Army in California; Joseph B. of this review; J.A. who is a captain in the aviation department of the United States Marine Corps, at present stationed at Port au Prince, Haiti; Ralph, who is in the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company of Dayton, Ohio; and Willa, a stenographer in Jacksonville, Illinois.

The public school training of Joseph B. Nelson was received in Nauvoo, and he made his entrance into business life as an employee in a drug store, working along that line for seven years.  In 1910 he became connected with the Nauvoo Electric Light & Power Company, and mastering the various details of the business until qualified for control, he was made manager in 1913.  For more than twenty years, he has occupied this position, never swerving from his determination to give the patrons of the company the best possible service.

On the 22d of June, 1920, Mr. Nelson was married to Miss Verna O. Hohl, a daughter of Lewis E. and Odille Hohl.  They now have two sons, Joseph L. and James C.  Mr. Nelson is a Mason and an Odd Fellow.  His greatest activity outside of the field of business, however, has been in the realm of politics.

He has served in various public offices and the interests of the community are dear to his heart.  For eight years he filled the position of the city clerk and for four years was alderman of Nauvoo.  He acted as chief of the local fire department for eleven years, served for sixteen years on the school board and for two years of that period was president of the high school board.

For the past eighteen years, he has been a member of the Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, a record of continuous service which is indicative of the confidence reposed in him and of his faithfulness in the discharge of his duties.

He has always voted with the Democratic Party since attaining his twenty-first year, has been a precinct committeeman for the past twelve years, and in 1930 was elected chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Hancock County, being re-elected in 1932.  He is also senatorial committeeman from his district, and he has been a delegate to many of the district and state conventions.  For four years he has filled the office of the chairman of the Unity Club of Nauvoo.  

He possesses a keen sense of humor and a ready wit that enriches and enlivens his conversation and contributes in marked degree to his popularity, for Joseph B. Nelson is one of the best known and best liked men in Hancock County."

Enjoy your family history!