"An Old Pioneer Departs on His 95th Birthday"
Joseph Nelson was born feb. 28, 1803 in Somerset Co., Penn., and in December of 1820, removed with his parents to Wayne County, Ohio.In 1822 he moved into Starke Co., Ohio, and in Januar of 1824, he married Susana Hart and they remained in Starke Co. until October 23, 1837, at which time they with their 5 children, loaded their few household effects on a wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen, and started for the state of Indiana.Many were the trials and hardships of that long and tedious journey through the wildreness, swamps and over the unimproved roads and Indian trails.Many times they were compelled to remain two nights at the same tavern by reason of the fact that they were so impeded by the difficulties that beset them on their journey.On the 14th day of November 1827, they reached their destination in Newbury twp., LaGrange Co.There Mr. Nelson cut the timber and raised his log cabin and called it home.In 1839, he purchased 80 acres of the then forest in Newbury twp. and by working almost every day and night and by the great assistance of his wife he managed to support his family and pay for his home.Rough fare and coarse diet satisfied their appetites.Indian corn meal and wild game constituted the banquet spread on their board.The Indians and the howling wolves were their most numerous neighbors.But, in that, humble home admist the forest his God was not forgotten.On Dec. 25, 1827, he organized and assisted his few neighbors in organizing and forming a church class which met in the different humble homes and prayer and preaching were held.Mr. Nelson was appointed leader of the little band and held the position until 1854, when he was licensed to exhort and then he held services at his home and elsewhere among his neighbors and continued as class leader and exhorter for over 30 years and has ever since been a faithful and devout christian and member of the M. E. church.In 1854, he purchased a farm in the northeast part of Eden twp. and built a house and barn and again he cleared the forest and assisted his children, who married, in providing homes for themselves.And on Feb. 10, 1868, his wife died, leaving 8 children all of whom were at the time married.There were born to them 12 children, only four of whom survive Mr. Nelson-viz: Daniel Nelson, who resises in southern Indiana; Mary Jane Sparks, Oklahoma; Almira Buzzard, Leroy, Kansas; and Rebecca Hart, Carl City, Iowa.He has 42 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren and no ess than 12 great-great-grandchildren.October 20, 1868, he married Mary Abraham, mother of Eliza A. Burden, and on Oct. 4, 1872, he moved to the Hawpatch, this county, and March 30, 1875, his wife died, ever since which he has lived with and has been cared for by Mrs. Burden, his stepdaughter.Oct. 27, 1892, he removed with Mrs. Burton from Hawpatch to LaGrange, where he lived until his death Feb. 28, 1898, his 95th birthday.His life any many respects has been remarkable.Almost a century has he watched the progress and development of our glorious republic.He has witnessed a weak, struggling, little repubilc of 16 states and five and one half million people develop into 45 states and a population of about 89 millions ane into the best and strongest form of a Republic government that the world has ever known.And he as been an eye witness to hte struggling efforts and hte many great conflicts through which the government has passes while being fitted to become the greatest and most enlightened nation on Earth.From the 9th to the 12th years of his age he witnessed the 2nd great conflict between the United States and England.The many conflicts with the Indians and the War with Mexico were but a few of hte important scenes upon the stage of his exsistence here.The grat debates over the slavery question he heard and read and saw it terminate into the most terrible fratricidal contest the world has ever known.He witnessed the liberation of 4,000,000 slaves and the course of slavery declared to have no longer an existence within the United States.And out of hte chaos he was the clouds of war dispelled and hte sates consecrated anew by the blood of their patriots and today a united and powerful nation that knows no North or South, no east, or west.What man could have hoped to witness more.In politics he was a Democrat - casting his first presidential vot for Andrew Jackson in 1824 and during his life voted for 18 candidates for president.He was a loyal and patriotic citizen and an ardent supporter and defender of the lawas of his country and those of his God.Let us pause for a moment and see if we can comprehend and realize the various scenes through which he has passed.A line of twenty men like him, if they were to join hands, would clasp the hand of Christ, and the 60th of such a line would tell us his name is Adam.And when we attempt to recall what has transpired within that time we are lost in thought and the scenes fade until the sky of the past eternity shuts down our vision..The most remarkable thing of Mr. Nelson's life was the fact that up to the day of his death he retained full control of his mental powers and his mind was as clear, his reasoning as perfect, and his memory as accurate as that of a man in the prime of his life.And of him it can be truthfully said that he spoke ill of no one and passed away without leaving an enemy, but on the contrary-everyone who knew him mourns his loss.He was an example of a well spent life.Well and truly did he say, just before his death: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not me only but unto all them also that love his appearing."Mr. Nelson was from a long-lived race of people; his father, Patrick Nelson, who was born in Ireland, died in this county at the age of 104 years, his mother, whose maiden name was Jane McMillan, of Scoth parentage lived to a very old age.He leaves surviving him 2 brothers who reside in this county, George Nelson born in 1809 and William Nelson born in 1812.An while with unfeigned regret we contemplate his seperation from us, it is with sentiments of the most hallowed gratitude that we remember that "Death is Life," and that by it we are taught the imbecility of all things human and made acquainted with the grandeur of eternity.These ceremonies are not rendered the deceased merely out of respect for him, but rather to the principles which have elevated, the virtues which have adored, and the benefits which have immortalized his character.May his example ever be a sacred presence, like a band of attending Cherubim bending down from a purer region, and like the smile of Heaven shed a rayof their own into our hearts and make them as beautiful as themselves.Long and often may those patient angels hover above us, watching for the spell in which is so seldom uttered and so soon forgotten.And while we mourn the loss of Brother Nelson, may his example shine like a pillar of fire before us to encourage our advance and impel us to vigorously seek the imperishable reward, so that we may receive the comendation of the searcher of hearts and made to realize that, "There is no death!What seems so is transition, this life of mortal breath.It is but a suberb of the life elysian.Whose portrait we call death!" - H.The funeral services were held at the M. E. Church.The pastor being absent the sermon was delivered by Rev. L. M. Coffman of hte Presbyterian church, Rev. J. P. Jones conducting the services at the grave. - Source: "The Standard," LaGrange, Ind., March 10, 1898.