The farming and stock-raising industries on Roberts Island contribute in large measure to the prosperity and wealth of San Joaquin county. Much of the land is in possession of men of marked enterprise who in their farming pursuits follow advanced ideas and most progressive methods. Such a one is James A. Nelson, who located on the island in 1882 and has since made his home there. He took up his abode at his present place of residence in 1897 and its spleendid appearance is indicative of his life of usefulness and industrial activity.

Mr. Nelson is a native of Sweden, his birth having occurred on the 7th of September, 1855. He spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his native country, attended its public schools and resided in Sweden until about twenty years of age. His outlok for the future and his study of business conditions at home and abroad led him to determine to come to America, believing that he might gain more rapid advancement in the business life of the new world. Accordingly he made his way to Liverpool, England, where he took passage on a westward-bound steamship. In due time he landed at New York city, but did not tarry on the Atlantic coast. Instead he made his way direct to California, locating first in Sonoma county, where he resided for a short time. Subsequently he settled in San Francisco, and in 1882 removed to Roberts Island in San Joaquin county. It has since been his place of residence, and here he has conducted farming interests which have made him one of the leading agriculturists of his community.

On the a8th of June, 1890, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Nelson and Miss Mary A. Thomas, who was born in Vallicita, Calaveras county, California, and is a daughter of Edward and Jeannette A. (Powell) Thomas, both of whom were natives of Wales, and their life history is given elsewhere in this work. To Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have been born six children, of whome five are living: Ellsworth P., Edward T., Erwin W., Grace I, and James V. They lost a daughter, Elizabeth Q.

Mr. Nelson is a member of the Modern Woodmen camp at Stockton, and in politics is an independent Democrat, usually supporting the principles of the Democracy, yet not considering himself bound by party ties. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to come to the United States, for he found here favorble business opportunities and realized that advantages were open to young men of courage, perseverance and industry. As the years have advanced he has prospered, has gained a good home and the favorble regard of many friends.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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