Thomas Alvin Nelson, postmaster of Stockton, California, was born in Plain Grove, Lawrence county, Pennsylvania, in 1862. His parents, James D. and Margaret (Gealey) Nelson, were both of Pennsylvania birth and members of families long resident in this country. His maternal grandfather was a soldier in the war of 1812. James D. Nelson was for many years engaged in farming and still lives on the old homestead in Pennsylvania. His family consists of seven children, five sons and two daughters.
Thomas A. was reared on his father's farm and received his education in the district schools near his home, remaining on the farm until he reached his majority. Then he started out to make his own way in the world and came to California. For about five years he taught in the country schools of San Joaquin county. In the spring of 1890 he engaged in a mercantile business at Lathrop, which he conducted for a period of four years. As a teacher and business man he gained a wide acquaintance, and his election to the California state legislature in the fall of 1894 showed the popular favor in which he was held by the people of San Joaquin county. He served one term of two years in the legislature. His next business venture was in the real estate line, and this occupied his attention until 1898, when, in March of that year, he was appointed postmaster of Stockton, under President McKinley. He was re-appointed under President Roosevelt's administration, and is still filling the office.
Mr. Nelson married, in December, 1888, Miss Mary A. Howell, a native of Stockton and a daughter of Christian Y. Howell, one of the early settlers of San Joaquin county. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have two daughters, Velma G. and Veda A.
An enthusiastic Republican since he became a voter, Mr. Nelson has served his party in various ways. Previous to appointment to his present position he was chairman of the Republican county central committee. He is a member of the following fraternal organizations: I. O. O. F., B. P. O E. and K. of P.
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