Nelson, Caroline

From Lane Co Oregon

The Morning Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Tuesday, January 24, 1928, section 1 page 2, col 3-4.

"PIONEER OF 1839 DIES, Mrs. Caroline Nelson Came West Over Old Oregon Trail."

"SAN FRANCISCO, Cal., Jan. 23--(Special.)"

"Mrs. Caroline Nelson, 89, one of the last of the 'covered wagon' pioneers, died here today. Mrs. NELSON as an infant came west in 1839 from Monmouth, Ill., and endured through many pitched battles with Indians on her way across the plains and mountains by way of the old Oregon trail.

With her husband she later settled in Junction City, Or. When he died a few years ago Mrs. NELSON came to San Francisco to make her home with relatives. She is survived by a son, Thomas, who is the editor of the Junction City Times.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Community church in San Bruno, a suburb of this city." - - - - - - - - (Research Note: Caroline's age, listed in the January 1928 obit, was 89. That means when she came West over the Oregon Trail, in 1839, she must have been a baby of age 1 or 2 years old and had to come with her parents (maiden name not given). The 1930 Federal census showed her son, Thomas, as age 59 (born about 1870 in Illinois). That means Caroline returned to Illinois, for some reason, after being out "West" for a little over 30 years. Evidently they didn't move all the way to Oregon in 1839, but lived for awhile in the states of Iowa and Colorado on the way to Oregon. Caroline probably told her family this story several times, but I wonder who supplied the information for the article, and if more of the story was published in the California newspaper.)

Junction City is in Lane County, Oregon.

San Bruno is in Mateo County, California.

Monmouth is in Warren County, Illinois.

- - - - - - - - 1900 Federal Census, Trevett Precinct, The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon, sheet 2B, E.D. 143, Dwelling 57, Family 74, lines 91-93. Date: 20 June 1900. (A possible census match for Caroline NELSON, mother of Thomas.)

NELSON, Caroline, Head, W, F, Mar 1841, 59, Widow, 5 children born, 5 children living, Illinois, Tennessee, Tennessee, Propr. Boarding House.

FRENCH, Mary, Dau, W, F, Sep 1863, 37, Widow, 0 children born, 0 children living, Iowa, Kentucky, Illinois, Housekeeper.

NELSON, Luella, Dau, W, F, June (Jan?) 1885, 14, S, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Attend School.

1910 Federal Census, San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, S. D. 5, E. D. 50, Sheet 10B, Dwelling 222, Family 224, Lines 70-73. Date 29-30 April 1910

Caroline NELSON is listed as a widow, age 72, Mother in Law, White Female, born in Illinois, both parents born in Tennessee. She is with her son in law, Horace A. Bula (Bulo?), age 26, widower, and his daughter Mary A., age 3.

1930 Federal Census, Junction City, Lane County, Oregon, E.D. 20-77, S.D. 6, Sheet 5A (stamped 170), Dwelling 116, Family 126, Lines 17-23. Census Date: 11 April 1930.

NELSON, Thomas Head, M, W, 59, Married, married at age 25, Illinois, Kentucky, Illinois, Publisher, Newspaper.

NELSON, Bertha S (D?), F, W, 43, Married, married at age 29, Pennsylvania, New York, New York, Reporter, Newspaper.

NELSON, Nordell (Nardell?) T, Son, M, W, 22, Single, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, Machine Operator, Cannery.

NELSON, Eugene H, Son, M, W, 17, Single, Idaho, Illinois, Pennsylvania, no occupation. Also living with this family was Thomas' daughter, married name BURKHART, with her husband and one daughter.

BURKHART, Ruthyle (Berthyle?), Daughter, F, W, 31, Married, married at age 25, Idaho, Illinois, Illinois, no occupation.

BURKHART, Yvonne, Gr-daughter, F, W, 4 10/12, Single, Oregon, Oregon, Idaho, no occupation.

BURKHART, Richard C, Son in Law, M, W, 28, Married, married at age 22, Oregon, New York, California, no occupation.

(Research Note: Thomas may have been married more than once.)


Good candidates for Caroline NELSON's son and daughter-in-law: Oregon Death Index 1903-1998

Name: NELSON, Thomas

County: Lane County

Death Date: 30 Apr 1952

Certificate: 4119

Spouse: Bertha

Oregon Death Index 1903-1998

Name: NELSON, Bertha D

County: Lane County

Death Date: 15 November 1964

Certificate: 15360 Age: 78

Spouse: Thomas


Research Note: From census records, it looks like Caroline's husband, and Thomas' father, was James H. NELSON, born in Kentucky. Other children listed for Caroline and James H. NELSON were: James H. Jr. (born in Illinois abt 1859); Willie W. (born in Illinois abt 1864); Mary M. (born in Illinois abt 1866). Thomas was born about 1870 in Illinois. 1900 Census, The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon, shows another child, Luella, born about June 1885 in Colorado. In 1900, Caroline's daughter, Mary, is listed as Mary FRENCH, age 37 and a widow (no children). All 5 of Caroline NELSON's children are listed as still living in 1900, her date of birth is given as March 1841 and she is listed as a widow, and proprietor of a boarding house.

Census for 1870 and 1880 lists James H. NELSON as husband of Caroline. He was born about 1830 in Kentucky, occupations of brickman and plasterer. 1870 shows a Matilda NELSON, widow, age 60, born in Virginia in Dwelling and Family #118, on the same page as James NELSON and his family. Matilda may be the mother of James.

Federal Census: 1880, Boulder, Boulder County, Colorado; Dwelling and Family # both 53, lines 39-44, page: 56D.

Federal Census: 1870, Independence, Jasper County, Iowa; Dwelling and Family # both 119, line 40 page 16, and lines 1-4 page 17.

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