Note: All of the information from which this post was written can be found on Edmund Nelson’s person page on Family Tree.
Edmond Nelson was born on December 12, 1799 in Orange County, North Carolina. His parents, Thomas Nelson and Martha “Patsy” Williams, taught him that his family should always be his first consideration.
Like his father, Edmond loved to work the soil and see things grow. He was particularly fond of animals and took a great deal of pride in caring for his horses and his cattle. Having been raised on the American Frontier, Edmond also loved to work in the timber.
When he was three years old, Edmond moved with his parents to Bedford County, Tennessee. The family moved to Monroe County, Illinois sometime before Edmond turned 18.
Edmond married Jane Taylor on October 3, 1820 in Monroe County. Jane was the daughter of Billington Taylor and Mary Elizabeth Modglin. The Taylors, like the Nelsons, had moved from North Carolina to Tennessee to Illinois. When they got married, Edmond was 20 years old and Jane was 15.
For the next several years, Edmond and Jane moved around a bit, working timber on the Mississippi River. By 1824, they had settled in Jefferson County, Illinois. Edmond’s father and brothers moved there soon after.
The following is written by Mansel H. Nelson:
Edmond Nelson and his brothers had heard a lot of talk about the Mormons. It seems that they were coming in from all over the world, and people were getting worried that they would soon be so numerous that they would take over the whole country. Some steps had been taken against them but Edmond did not like some of the stories and evil boasting he heard from men he met. He felt that no people should have been treated so cruelly just because of their belief in a strange prophet.
Then came the day when the first Mormon missionaries stopped at his home. He invited them in and treated them kindly. He was interested in hearing their side of the controversy. But they seemed to have no enmity toward their persecutors. They answered quietly and simply that if those who had been guilty of the many atrocities against their faith and people had known and understood the true principles of the Gospel as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith, they would never have mistreated his people. Edmond wanted to know about these principles for which they were willing to suffer and die. He listened with sober interest to every word of their message. There was a ring of pure and undefiled truth in what they claimed. Their answers to his questions came without hesitancy as if these men actually knew God. Edmond called in his brothers, and perhaps his parents, to hear this new message from God. He made the decision that would shape the rest of his life and his death. He was baptized in 1836 and from that time forth his whole life was built around his faith and service in the church.
According to an account given by William Goforth Nelson, his father Edmond was baptized by a man named Burquett. His mother was not baptized until 1838.
William Goforth was the fifth child of Edmond and Jane Nelson. The couple eventually had 13 children.
This is taken from the account of William Goforth Nelson:
In the year of 1836, my father sold his home in Illinois and his livestock, with the exception of five head of horses and started, together with the Church, to Missouri. My father and his three brothers: James, Abraham and Hyrum and their families also went. The four brothers were located within two miles of each other. James and Hyrum located on the west bank of the Grand River. Abraham bought a ferry right and one flat boat and one canoe on the Grand River one mile below. My father filed on a quarter section of land one mile from the river. He then bought quite a number of stock and a head of hogs. It was while we lived here that the Prophet Joseph Smith stayed overnight with us. That was the first time any of us had ever seen him.
We lived there one year and a half when in the fall of 1838, a general conference of the Church was held at Far West, Missouri. My father was one that attended. The Prophet counseled the Saints to gather there at Far West, Missouri, forthwith. My father was the only one of the four brothers to immediately comply with the counsel of the Prophet. He started at sunrise the next morning after getting home, taking a wagon in which his family could ride comfortably. He left 34 head of cattle and fifty head of hogs in the woods. His brothers were slow to comply with the word of the Prophet and the mob robbed them of nearly all their property. They took possession of Abraham’s ferry and then charged him for crossing on it when he started to Far West.
Our first day’s travel was through thinly settled country. We often saw in the distance, the smoke rising from burning houses and we frequently saw members of the mob riding through the fields on horseback, but we were not molested by any of them. At night we camped with a family whose house was then burning, having been set on fire by the mob. My father helped the man, whose name I do not remember, to build a rack to take the place of his wagon box which was also burned. The man traveled with us one day and then went on another road so as to travel with some of his relatives.
On the third day, my father sold one horse for $30 and loaned the oxen to another man to drive. I do not remember how many days we were on the road to Far West, but it was not many. When we reached Grand River, my mother was baptized by Lyman Wright.
Far West was soon packed with people so that before we reached there, instructions had been given for the rest of the Saints to camp at Shoal Creek, two miles from Far West, so we remained there for the winter. All who camped there lived in their own wagons and tents. I do not know of one house being built.
It was during this winter that the Saints were called upon by the governor of Missouri to deliver up their arms which request was complied with. My father and oldest brother were among those who delivered their guns to members of the mob. The mob was on horseback and the men all had painted faces. The next coming were three light wagons, each pulled by two large horses. Our brethren were commanded to follow in behind the wagons. The next company of the mob came in behind our wagons. They stopped in a little prairie about half a mile below, and our brothers were ordered to lay their guns and ammunition in the wagons. When the third party came up, half of the men dismounted leaving two horses and two guns with one man and then the footmen started to plunder the wagons in the camp, claiming that they were hunting for ammunition. Our people had their homes and cattle all tied up because they had no other place for them and thus were our wagons searched and much property stolen by the mob.
It was while camped on Shoal Creek that Joseph Smith Nelson was born. My oldest brother, Price, was sick nearly all winter. My father could not find employment of any kind by which to help secure a living so that our food during the eventful winter consisted entirely of beef and boiled corn. On 6 December 1838, father in company with sixty of the brethren were taken prisoners by General John E. Clark and were held for two days. They were released by a Court of Inquiry held in Far West under the direction of Judge Adam Black.
In the early spring of 1839, we started for Quincy, the place which had been designated by the Prophet Joseph for the Saints to cross the Mississippi River. But before we reached there, we were compelled to stop on account of the sickness of Price and myself. Father rented a house in which we lived until we had regained sufficient strength to continue on our journey. We crossed the river at Quincy and then started north. But we traveled very slowly, it being spring and the rainy season of the year. We rented a house about thirty miles east of Commerce (afterwards named Nauvoo). Father helped a man fence a piece of land and then got the privilege of planting six acres of corn which yielded an abundant crop.
Late in the fall, father and Price went to Nauvoo and built a two roomed log house but we did not move to Nauvoo until early the next spring of 1840. Father bought a lot and a half that ran east west in Nauvoo. The house referred to was built on the east end of the plot. We opened a rock quarry on the west end. Hyrum and I helped father quarry rock, most of which we sold in the city. Father paid his temple work and most of his tithing in rock from this quarry, all of which was used in the temple. We also rafted a great deal of wood and saw timber down the river. We at one time went eighteen miles up the river after a raft of saw timber which we sold to a man by the name of Ellis, for $3 per thousand feet. He ran a sawmill on the bank of the river. Hyrum and I spent one summer in Nauvoo working the brick yard making brick which was used in building the Nauvoo House. We remained in Nauvoo until the first day of May, 1846, at which time we started west with the Church.
During the years that we lived in Nauvoo, I had the privilege of almost daily seeing some of the leaders of the Church. I was personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph and his brothers, Hyrum and William more especially. I well remember many of his sayings, many of which are now on record in the Church. But one which I will mention here is, “I will give you a key that never will rust. If you will stay with the majority of the twelve apostles and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray.”
I was personally acquainted with Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wright, President William Marks, Wilson and William Law, Chancy Higly, John C. Bennett and other leaders of the Church at that time. I have upon different occasions heard all of these men speak to the people in meetings. I was also one of the hundreds who saw the Prophet and Patriarch after they were martyred and on the circumstances as they were brought from Carthage and prepared for burial. They were placed in the west room of the Prophet’s house, which was a two-roomed building and was long ways east and west. The people came in the lot at the west gate then in the west end of the house, viewed the remains of the Martyrs which lay to the right of the first door. They passed to the next room and out the south door and out the south gate into the street.
On 1 May 1846, father’s family excepting Price and Hyrum, who remained to work on the steamboat, started west with the Saints. We started with two wagons, one which had no tires on the wheels. It was drawn by four cows and two two-year old steers; the other by two ponies. We led one cow behind the wagons. We crossed the Mississippi River during the first day’s travel from home, just above the shoals at the main crossing. On the third day, father traded the ponies for a yoke of oxen. We traveled on the main road leading to Council Bluffs.
The Saints had been counseled to camp and remain at least one summer any time after crossing a small stream called White Breast. Just after we crossed this stream we found a camp of the Saints south of the road called Garden Grove and another on the north of the road called Lost Camp. We continued on our journey until we reached Mt Pisgah on the Grand River. We lived there for about four years. As soon as we camped, we plowed some ground and planted three and one-half acres in corn and one-half acre of buck wheat and a good garden. Shortly after locating there, father and most of the children took sick with the chills and fever and did not recover until September. During the month of July, I was bit by a rattlesnake on my heel but was only laid up for about ten days. Late in the Fall of the same year, I was bit by a dog on my right leg just below where it had been cut with the foot-ads spoken of above. I got along pretty well for about two weeks after which time father and Mr. Mansfield went hunting. While they were away, the children were playing near the house when a small tree fell. A limb hit my brother, Mark, who was then about two-years old and broke his skull. Father was sent for and got home in about forty-eight hours after the accident. All was done for him that could be, but he was left a cripple for life, his right side being paralyzed. It was about one year before he could walk at all.
It was on the 8th day of May, 1850, that we started from Mt. Pisgah to Council Bluffs. Thence we crossed the plains to Salt Lake Valley. We started with two good wagons and good ox teams. We also had a number of cows. We traveled pretty much alone until we had come four miles west of Council Bluffs where we found a camp of Saints. On June 4th, the camp was organized with Thomas Johnson as captain and we were ready to start our journey west the next day. There were fifty wagons in the company. My brother, Price, met us at Council Bluffs and came to the valley with us while Hyrum came in another company the same year.
Our journey was quite a pleasant one. We had good luck. There was no Indian trouble at all and only three deaths occurred in our company on the trip. The first one of these was a woman, the wife of a man named Wilkinson. She was buried on the west bank of the mouth of the Ash Hollow. The next was my cousin, R. Thomas Goforth.. He was buried a little east of Chimney Rock. The next, a few days later, was a Brother Borum’s little child. Melvin Ross and I dug the grave and buried it. These persons were buried in grave with a vault in the bottom, the bodies were wrapped in a blanket or a wagon cover, and placed in the grave and then timbers were placed across and then straw and then filled with dirt.
When we were at Sweet Water, my father contracted the Mountain Fever and never fully recovered. We reached Salt Lake City on 9 September, 1850. We camped on the public square for two days. My brother Hyrum, was taken sick during the winter of 1850. He was bed fast a great deal of the time up to his death, which occurred 19 February, 1856. He was buried at Alpine. He did not have a family.
My father wanted to live on a farm. Accordingly, we went about thirty miles south to Mountainville (Alpine) which is about four miles northeast of American Fork. We built a log house and moved the family into it. Price, Thomas and myself then went to the Mill Creek Canyon and began getting out shingle timber. We cut and hauled two loads into the mill in a day. The miller sawed and packed the shingles and sold them at $10/thousand, paying us half. We worked eighteen days and cleared $300. Father’s health was still failing him, so we stopped logging and went home. He died on December 13, 1850, and was buried on December 15th on a little knoll just north of Alpine City. Hundreds have been buried there since, but he was the first.
The connection between Lucile Eastman and Edmond Nelson is as follows: Lucile Brimley – Lola Samantha Nelson – Samantha Madsen – Elizabeth Mary Jane Nelson – Thomas Billington Nelson – Edmond Nelson