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Rev. Elisha Nelson


     Rev. Elisha Nelson was born the 26 July 1804 in Carteret County, North Carolina, probably on the family estate, Hunting Quarters Plantation, near present-day Sea level, North Carolina. The plantation consisted of 697 acres. There is a large lake nearby called "Nelson Lake."

     Elisha was the son of Joseph A. Nelson, Sr. and Abigail Styron, daughter of Samuel Styron and Hannah Hamilton Hill, daughter of Capt. Wise Hill of Portsmouth, North Carolina. Joseph A. Nelson, Sr. was the son of William Nelson and Elizabeth Barrington, daughter of Nathan.

     Elisha was 19 when his family left North Carolina for Alabama by "oxen train." This trek took two to three months. We know they were there by 25 Sept 1823, when Lovey S. Nelson married Metzger Asa Litchfield in Marengo County, Alabama. Lovey was the daughter of Joseph A. Nelson, Sr. They probably left 1 June 1823.

     Someone had to walk every step of the way by the oxen. There were no roads, they followed Indian trails and laid logs to cross swamps and small streams, went through Indian Territory, and they had to take all their supplies with them as there were no stores along the way. It was beautiful country but rough going.

     On 11 Feb 1830 in Marengo County, Elisha took for his wife, Elizabeth "Eliza" Jane Fulford, daughter of Clifford Fulford and Alice Ann Fulford, daughter of Capt. John Fulford and Abigail Williston. Eliza was born 22 Sept 1813, Carteret County, North Carolina.

     Elisha and Eliza stayed in Marengo County, Alabama until 1842. As new sections of land were opened to the settlers, most of the other Nelson Families moved to Greene County, Alabama in 1830, and from Greene to Sumter County, Alabama in winter 1834-1835.

     When most of the Nelson Family decided to move to Baldwin County, Alabama in 1842, Elisha and Eliza decided to go with them. They settled in the Shell Banks area where Elisha preached at the Shell Banks Baptist Church. Shell Banks is on the Southern most peninsula of Alabama, near Fort Morgan. Probably at that time the easiest way to get there was by boat. Baldwin County was more like Carteret County, North Carolina, from whence they came.

     Elisha had become an accomplished and noted Baptist Minister in the South, as were two of his brothers, Rev. Thomas Nelson and Rev. Joseph A. Nelson, Jr. The Trio are given credit in Alabama History for bringing the Baptist Religion to the South.

     This trio of Baptist Ministers, Rev. Thomas Nelson of Bon Secour, Alabama, Rev. Joseph A. Nelson, Jr. of Barnwell, Alabama, and Rev. Elisha Nelson of Gulf Shores, Alabama, all brothers originally from Carteret County, North Carolina, made their mark in Alabama History and the Baptist Church as "Men of God."

     Rev. Elisha Nelson was considered a hardshell, foot washing, Baptist Preacher. He did not accept pay for his preaching. He considered preaching to be "his calling," and his duty to God and his fellowman. He made his living fishing, shrimping, and farming.

Elizabeth "Eliza" Jane Fulfford was the daughter of Clifford Fulford and Alice Ann Fulford. Rev. Elisha Nelson was the son of Joseph A. Nelson, Sr. and Abigail Styron. Eliza and Elisha were married February 11, 1830 in Marengo County, Alabama.

     In 1854, Elisha bought a parcel of land in the Lagoon Community. It consisted of 606.77 acres along the Fort Morgan road and is where Miller Memorial is today. They built a home about 200 feet west of where the cemetery is today and which is now a golf course. Elisha died first on 9 Oct 1880, Eliza died 27 Mar 1897. They both died at their home at the Lagoon, Gulf Shores and both are buried at Miller Memorial, Baldwin County, Alabama. There is a rose bush in the cemetery that had been beside their home that still blooms.

     Elisha and Eliza were parents of 11 children:

     The first five were born in Marengo County, Alabama.

  1. Eliza Rosetta "Rose" Nelson b 8 Dec 1830, my great grandmom.

  2. Julia Ann Nelson b 11 Nov 1832, d 16 Dec 1832.

  3. Abigail Nelson b 19 July 1834, d 21 July 1835, 18 mos.

  4. Alice Nelson b 25 Mar 1835.

  5. Asa Washington Nelson b 10 Aug 1839 - A boy!

    Their other six children were born in Baldwin County, Alabama:

  6. Samuel Wallace Nelson b 2 Sept 1842.

  7. Joseph Dudley Nelson b 8 Jan 1845.

  8. John Clifford Nelson b 10 May 1847.

  9. Elisha "Doc" Nelson, Jr. b 5 Aug 1849.

  10. Charlotte Virginia Nelson b 29 Mar 1851.

  11. Thomas Prince Brooks Nelson b 25 Oct 1853.

     Written 2001 for The Baldwin County Heritage Book.
Submitted by: Ella Rose Callaway, 28497 Burhart Drive, Orange Beach, AL 36561 and
Written by: Betty Callaway Parkins, 222 Hickory Ridge, Belleville, IL 62223