[Source:Biographical Souvenir of the States of Georgia and Florida,
Containing Biographical Sketches of the Representative Public, and many
Early Settled Families in These States. F. A. Battey & Company, 1889]

James F. Nelson was born in Twiggs County, Ga, August 30, 1833. His family is of English extraction, being related to the late Lord Nelson, who fought and put to rout "all the might of Denmark's crown." His grandfather was a native of Virginia, but settled with his family at an early day in Georgia. Alfred Nelson was our subject's father. He was born in Virginia, but reared in Georgia, where he was a planter all his life. Mr. Nelson's mother was a Miss Jenkins before marriage, her christian name Mary, and she was a daughter of William Jenkins, a successful planter of Houston County, Ga. His brothers and sisters are: John Nelson, planter of Pulaski County, Ga; Martin, a lumberman of Houston County, Ga; Margaret, wife of N. C. Greer, of Brunswick, Ga; Rebecca M., wife of Columbus Mitchell, sheriff of Wilcox County, Ga; Caroline S., wife of Columbus Murray, a planter of Coffee County, Ga; Fannie Pugh, widow. Mr. Nelson received a common-school education in Perry, Houston County, Ga, and finished by taking an academical course at Holly Springs, Ga. On quitting the latter place he began teaching, and followed this successfully for a number of years, first in Houston County then at Midway, and then at Dawson. He gave up teaching in 1868, and embarked in the general mercantile business, which he followed for one year at Dawson, and moved in 1870 to Brunswick, Ga, where he continued in the same business for the period of twelve years. At the end of that time he closed out his mercantile interests and in connection with his sons built the Ocean Hotel at that place, then the largest hotel in the city. He was interested in the management of this house for some time, but afterward sold out, and, on account of his failing health, moved to Florida and located in Orlando. During his residence in Brunswick he was for six years an alderman of the city, for four years mayor, and for five years clerk and treasurer, and on leaving there the city council presented him with a beautiful golden crowned staff in grateful remembrance of his faithful services while filling these various offices. Mr. Nelson married Miss Martha Ann Summerford, daughter of William Summerford, planter of Dooly County, Ga. To this union have been born four children: Annie May, wife of H. H. Dickson, of Orlando, Fla; Eugene A., of Brunswick, Ga,...; James F., Jr., conductor on the B. & W. R.R., and William H., in the printing business in New York city. Mr. Nelson is a Mason and a zealous member of the Baptist Church.

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