Francis A. Neilson was born in Oxford, Mississippi, June 2, 1860, eighth child in a family of twelve of W. S. Neilson, a prominent merchant of Oxford, and before the war a very wealthy man. Francis A. received his education at the State University, leaving his sophomore year at the age of twenty-one, after which he began a mercantile life as book-keeper in a large general merchandise store in Oxford, and remained in this occupation for three years. In 1885 the subject of our sketch went West to Arkansas City, Kansas, and there formed a partnership in the hardware business, but this becoming uncongenial Mr. Neilson went to Bartholsville, Indian Territory, and entered the employment of J. H. Bartles, as book-keeper, and remained three years. In March 1888, he was married to Ella May Pratt, stepdaughter to J. H. Bartles, and immediately moved to Claremore, where he engaged in the mercantile business, which he still continues successfully. Mrs. Neilson’s father was Lucius B. Pratt, eldest son of Rev. John G. Pratt, of an old Boston family, and many years agent to the Delawares. Her mother was Miss Nannie May “Journey Cake,” daughter of Rev. Charles J. Journey Cake, present chief of the Delawares. Mrs. Neilson is a highly educated lady, and is accomplished and refined above the average of her sex. By this marriage Mr. Neilson has two children, Nonie, born March 12, 1889, and Ada May, born May 8, 1891. Mr. Neilson’s mother was a Miss Mary C. Bowen, of East Tennessee, and a member of a very wealthy and aristocratic family. Mr. Neilson has, in addition to a large stock of merchandise, two farms aggregating 1100 acres, 700 of which are in cultivation, with good buildings and orchards thereon. He also owns 90 acres of land near Kansas City, valued at some $20,000, also 320 acres in the Texas Panhandle, 50 lots in Caney, Kansas, and 31 lots and 11 buildings in Claremore, making him one of the wealthiest men in the Cherokee Nation, while his mercantile business alone, successfully conducted of itself, is capable of yielding a comfortable competence. Mr. Neilson is six feet high, weighs 165 pounds, and is an active, energetic, brainy man, calculated to make a very decided mark in the world.
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