Nels P. Nelson, attorney and member of the city ouncil, was born in the parish of Eldsberga, Halland, Sweden, Oct. 23, 1865. His parents, Nils and Petronella Bengtsson, who were farmer folk, both died in the old country. The son emigrated in 1885, having enjoyed an elementary education in the Swedish common schools.
Mr. Nelson located at Putnam, Ill., and there worked on a farm for five years. Then he went to the state of Washington and for three years was employed in a sawmill, of which his brother, John Nelson, was part owner. After that he spent a year in the mountains of Idaho, riding the range. While occupied as a cowboy and rancher, he also tried prospecting, but with indifferent success. He returned to Illinois in 1893 to get a glimpse at the World's Fair at Chicago, then went back to Putnam and farmed for another year in that locality. In January, 1895, he entered Augustana College and pursued an eclectic course there until the spring of 1899, when he assumed tempporary charge of a church in Buffalo, N. Y., for one year. Mr. Nelson, having settled on the law as his future profession, began preparation at the Drake University law school. The second year in the course he spent at the University of Nebraska, where he obtained his diploma in June, 1902, and was subsequently admitted to the bar. He did not engage in legal practice at once, but coming to Rockford secured a position as foreman of the stock rooms of the Illinois Sewing Machine Company. Leaving that position after three years, he took up the practice of law a Rockford in January, 1906, having passed the bar examination in Springfield in October, 1903.
In the spring election of 1907, Mr. Nelson entered the aldermanic contest in the Second Ward and came out victorious in the fight, being elected to the city council April 16.
His marriage took place Oct. 12, 1903. His bride was Miss Caroline B. Norlin, a daughter of Charles and Betsy Norlin of Putnam. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have had a son, who died in infancy. A second son, Carroll Homer, was born June 15, 1907. They are members of the Zion Swedish Lutheran Church, which Mr. Nelson has served as a trustee since 1903. He belongs to the North Star and Modern Woodmn orders.