from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Few citizens are better or more favorably known throughout Mahaska county than James L. Nelson, who was born in Madison county, Indiana, February 13, 1848, his parents being Arbuckle and Jane (Greenlee) Nelson, natives of West Virginia and the former a farmer by occupation. The sons of the family are Marshall, John M., French L., Clarke G. and James L. Nelson, and the daughters are Mrs. Martha Vallers, of Illinois; Mrs. Mary E. Miskimins, of Centerville, Iowa; Mrs. Mary Jane Chapman, of Humeston, Iowa; Mrs. Elizabeth McCutcheon, of Leon, Iowa; and Mrs. Fanny Sedoris, of De Witt, Iowa. James L. Nelson in 1854 accompanied his father's family on their removal to Wayne county, Iowa, where he became familiar with farm labor, being trained to the work of the fields. He took up his abode in Mahaska county in 1883, and has since been a resident of Oskaloosa. He was engaged in the realestate business for a number of years but since 1893 has devoted his time exclusively to the fire insurance business, in which he has a large clientage, representing the American Fire Insurance Company, of Newark, New Jersey; the British Assurance Company, of Toronto, Canada; the Hawkeye Company, of Des Moines; the Capital Company, of Des Moines; and the State Insurance Company, of Des Moines. Mr. Nelson is a diligent and enterprising business man, and yet finds time for other interests in life, which tend to promote the social and intellectual nature. He belongs to the Modern Woodmen camp and votes with the republican party. In his home he has always been devoted to the welfare of his family and for many years he and his wife traveled life's journey happily together, but at length were separated in death. On the 21st of January, 1866, he married Harriet Agnes Clark, a native of Cambridge, Guernsey county, Ohio, who was born May 8, 1844, and spent her girlhood days in Newcomerstown, Ohio. About 1862 she and her mother removed to Wayne county, Iowa, and in 1866 she gave her hand in marriage to Mr. Nelson, Unto them were born the following named: Mrs. Arizona Williams, who is living in Pasadena, California; Mrs. Fannie Amelia Wisdom, of Escondido, California; and Mrs. Ella Estie Briggs, of Des Moines. The wife and mother was called to her final rest February 24, 1906, after they had traveled life's journey together for over forty years. Upon the removal of the family to Oskaloosa she transferred her membership from the Cambria Baptist church to the Baptist church of this city, of which she remained a most devoted and consistent member until her death. The funeral services were conducted by her pastor, Rev. A. M. Duboc and F. M. Whitcomb. She was a lady of most earnest Christian character in act as well as word, and was beloved and mourned by all who knew her. She had been long a patient sufferer and after being told that she could not recover from her illness she penned the following stanzas on her deathbed: "The hours and the days must be shortened By the hand of the Master, I know; The time of suffering lightened That we may endure the blow. It came so heavily on us With the surgeon's final decree That they never could relieve us From the disease that came to stay. There the Master hastens this way To have a care for his own; And now I am hearing him say `My love to My children is known. `Nor will I afflict them more Than the least are able to bear, But with the afflictions will show Unto them My loving care.' Now He is walking by my side, I can almost see His face, And whatever may betide, Sufficient will be His grace. He is my shepherd, too, And beside the still water leads, And the green pastures through, Supplying all of my needs. When the valley of the shadow of death I reach by my trembling feet, He will breathe in my soul a breath That will make the victory complete. When our tears have been blotted up, Our sufferings are all complete, And we have drained our earthly cup Of all its bitter and its sweet. Our Saviour will say, `It will do, My child, you are free at last, And the gates are wide open for you; Earth's last milestone is passed.' Then when we reach our home, When our sorrows all are passed, We will wait for our friends to come And rejoice with us at last. (TO MY HUSBAND.) We have journeyed long together, Dear husband, you and I; But soon the bond must sever, And one of us must die. And one of us must tarry here, Perhaps to walk alone, No wife to love and cheer, And make a welcome home. Flowers have not been strewn All the way we come, And many times the thorns Have hushed a joyful song. Troubles came our way That were so hard to bear; Clouds would o'ercast the day, We had hoped to be so clear. I will be with you, dear, When the river you must cross; My child, keep up your cheer; For you there is no loss. Just draw away your hand From your husband's by your side And close to me stand Until the waters do divide. There, give me your hand, my dear, And we will enter in. You see there is no fear Where I before have been. Now trust them all to me- Your children, husband, all. I will their Saviour be, And will never let them fall. Now lift your eyes to me, Put your arms around me so, And the waters you will see Can never you overflow. There, the sting of death is past. The waves just touch your feet; You are homeward bound at last, Your conquest all complete. Bereavements, too, were ours, When friends were called away, And we could only scatter flowers O'er the poor returning clay. Yet step by step we climbed The first hillside of life Or little did we mind The roughness of the strife. For we were strong and young, Life's vigor coursing swift; Our love was wondrous strong, As a most gracious gift. Time flew with rapid strides, Our children grew apace. Oh! with what loving pride We watched eacn budding grace. When years sped on and on Through their childhood and maidenhood, Until they, too, were gone- And alone again we stood. On the summit of the hill, Just ready to descend, Yet God was with us still, As He will be to the end. We've been walking hand in hand A'down the natural grade Until at last we stand Within the valley's shade. The valley of the shadow Of death we plainly see, And perhaps before the morrow The call will come to me."
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy