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Mini Biographies of Scots and Scots Descendants (N)
John Nelson


JOHN NELSON, SR.--This is the life story of one of Scotia’s rugged sons who left his native land in 1871 to build a home for himself and family and to carve out a fortune in the "land of the free and the home of the brave". That he succeeded and is now one of the stable, forehanded citizens of Larimer county (Colorado, USA), is due to his courage, perseverance and industry and to a prudent management of his personal affairs. Mr. Nelson was born July 6th, 1840, in Ayrshire, Scotland, and received his education in his native land. He was born and reared on a farm and upon reaching his manhood, learned the linen bleaching industry, drawing such wages as were paid in those days for that kind of work. In 1867, he married Mary McPherson, and four years later came with his family from Scotland to the United States. He spent about two years in Chicago, working in the stone yards and about the docks and doing such other work as fell to his hands. He moved with his family from that city in the spring of 1873, to Fort Collins (Larimer CO, Colorado, USA), and bought 240 acres of raw land, situated three and a half miles southeast of Fort Collins, of the late Judge A. F. Howes. He began at once to improve his purchase by building a small frame house upon it, fencing the tract and by preparing the soil for a crop. In 1874 he planted part of his farm to wheat and oats and was the first white man to draw irrigation water from Larimer county Canal No. 2, which was completed that year. The grasshoppers swooped down upon his fields in August and destroyed the most of his crop, and they came again and did a great deal of harm in 1875 and in 1876, leaving him barely enough of his fruits of his toil to keep the wolf from the door. Since then, to the time he sold his farm in 1906, his operations have been uniformly successful. In 1877, Mr. Nelson bought a few head of registered Jersey cows, the first registered animals of that breed brought into the county. To these he added others until he had acquired a fine herd of Jersey cattle, including thirty milch cows, from which he made 200 pounds of prime butter per week. His thoroughbred and well-kept Jersey cattle attracted a great deal of attention and were prize winners at the county fairs. He also raised and dealt in thoroughbred Clydesdale horses, his stallion, a splendid animal-winning many premiums at the annual fair. Mr. Nelson sold his farm in 1906, for $22,000 and had built for himself and family a beautiful home at  704 Remington street, Fort Collins, where he and his good wife are enjoying the well earned fruits of their strenuous early day labors, with all of their surviving children, save one daughter, near them. They were the proud parents of eight children, all of whom are living except one son who died in 1908, and all of them are well situated in life. The names of their surviving children are Mrs. Janet Laidlaw, John R., Alexander, Murdock G., Mary and James Nelson, all of Fort Collins, and Mrs. Ellen Silcott of Idaho. One of the sons, Murdock G. Nelson, is a cashier of the Commercial Bank & Trust company, and also City Treasurer of Fort Collins. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson are quietly, peacefully and contentedly passing the closing years of their lives, surrounded and beloved by their children and in the enjoyment of the confidence and esteem of all who know them.


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