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David H. Nelson, 67, long prominent wheat grower of Umatilla County, and one of the first four in this county to use caterpillar-and-combine, died at 8 o’clock this morning [May 22, 1939] at his farm home. Death came without warning, his passing being due to a sudden attack of heart disease.
Mr. Nelson was born in Finland, Nov. 30, 1872, and came to America in 1881 with his parents who settled in Duluth. He came westward in 1889 to Clatsop County and with the industry which was characteristic of him, worked as a life guard and fisherman at Astoria, where he was later fire chief.
He came to this county in 1893, worked as a farm hand for four years and later rented land on the reservation. In 1901 he bought his present holdings, known as Locust Hill farm, a short distance from Pendleton on the Nelson grade. It now comprises 1600 acres for the Pendleton airport site. He also owned a Seaside home, bought in 1910.
In addition to his farming interests here, he was interested in Montana holdings and was president of the Brady (Mont.) Irrigation Co. He is given the credit for the success of this enterprise. In addition, he introduced the summer fallow method in Montana, as well as modern machinery methods.
He was, for years, one of the most active and staunchest republicans in this state and served as county chairman for the party. With the New Deal, he embraced its politics and had been active in support of the New Deal administration. He was ever a Good Roads enthusiast and was a member of the Good Roads Association of America.
Mr. Nelson had scores of friends and they much regret his death. He was a member of the Lutheran Church, was a 32nd degree Mason, member of the Shrine and Eastern Star, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, the Elks, the Knights of Pythias and the Finnish Brotherhood.
Surviving are his widow, Marie Hilda Molstrom, to whom he was married here in 1897; and the following children: Mrs. Larry Mobley of Port Arthur, Texas; Harry Nelson, David Carl Nelson, Miss Eva Nelson and Mrs. Marie Nelson Bates, of Pendleton; a half sister, Mrs. Hilda Point of Cloquet, Minn.; and two half brothers, Charles Erickson of Duluth and Wester Erickson of Boring. There are four grandchildren. The funeral will be announced later. [Interment at Olney Cemetery in Pendleton]
Contributed by: Shelli Steedman