Hon. Edwin S. Nelson. Among the rising men of Republic County who are standing prominently before the people because of their achievements in public life, Hon. Edwin S. Nelson, of Belleville, is entitled to more than passing mention. Not yet thirty-two years of ago, this stalwart son of Republic County had won recognition of his marked abilities and had attained a place in the public confidence that many other men of talents have worked long years to possess. As a member of the Kansas Legislature he is working indefatigably in the interests of his constituents, and as a member of the legal fraternity is attending to the legal business of a large and rapidly increasing practice.
Hon. Edwin S. Nelson was born in Republic County, Kansas, in 1885, and is a son of Gust and Edla (Swenson) Nelson. The family originated in Sweden, where Gust Nelson learned the trade of mason, and from that country both he and the lady who later became his wife immigrated to the United States when young. In 1874 they located in Republic County, Kansas, where they took up a homestead of 160 acres. This was put under a high state of cultivation and gradually developed into one of the really valuable farms of the locality of Norway Township. For a number of years Mr. Nelson carried on mason contracting, and in this direction his skill and good workmanship were contributing factors to the development of the community. When his farming interests became so important that they needed his undivided attention he gave up the contracting business, but the effect of his work may still be seen in the solid nature of the buildings in the county where his activities were prosecuted. Through his industry and good management, his foresight and acumen, he became a large landholder and was considered one of the substantial men of his county. While he did not aspire to public position, Mr. Nelson was a natural leader. To him his fellow-citizens appealed for counsel and guidance in their affairs concerning local matters, confident that he could adjust differences. His advice was always timely and frequently was the means of preserving peace and quietness in his township. His children were as follows: Minna, Ida, Edna, Leona, Albert, Amit and Edwin S. All the children are a credit to their parents and their communities, all have grown prosperous, and all, with the exception of Albert, who is manager of the Daily Express of Beatrice, Nobraska, are engaged in agricultural pursuits.
Edwin S. Nelson was given good educational advantages in his youth and made the most of them. After securing his primary training in the public school in the vicinity of his father’s farm he took a conrse at the Republic High School, and followed this by attending and graduating from the Kansas State Normal School and the Kansas University. With this preparation Mr. Nelson began teaching school, having adopted the vocation of educator, and in addition to having country schools under his charge was for three years principal of the school at Cuba, in the eastern part of the county. Mr. Nelson was so engaged when, in 1910, he was elected clerk of the District Court for a term of four years. It would seem that he was specially fitted for public service, for he took up the duties of his office in a business like manner and established a record that at once gained him the favor of the people. In 1914 he announced his candidacy for the Kansas Legislature, and was elected to that body by a handsome majority at the election of that year. While he had not been spectacular in his activities in the House, and had not displayed a wealth of bombast in his speeches before that honorable body, he had been a quiet, foresful worker in behalf of his community, its people and his state, and had had a hand in the passage of some decidedly important and beneficial legislation. While serving as clerk of the District Court, Mr. Nelson decided to enter the law, and during the time he was discharging the duties of that office spent his spare hours in faithful and energetic study. In June, 1915, he passed the state examination and was duly admitted as a member of the bar. Mr. Nelson had been engaged in practice but a short time, but already had a large and influential clientele. He belongs to the Kansas State Bar Association and the Republic County Bar Association, and is considered a thorough legist, appreciative of the responsibilities and ethics of his calling.
Mr. Nelson married in 1913 Miss Edna Clark, daughter of E. J. and Augusta Clark, of Nebraska. Mr. Nelson is a member of Belleville Lodge of the Masonie order and also fraternizes with the Odd Fellows.