Robert Sparks Nelson and
  Catherine Jane (Blacklidge) Nelson

Robert Sparks Nelson (11/15/1826 - 2/20/1907) was the son of Lemuel Nelson (5/22/1804 - 11/6/1871) and Rebecca ___________ (3/16/1804 - 4/1/1862). They were married in South Caroline in 1823.

On 9/19/1850 in Franklin County, Alabama Robert married Catherine Jane Blacklidge Nelson (1/13/1826 - 3/3/1918, Belmont, Mississippi). Catherine was the daughter of Salem Blacklidge and Moriah Silvertooth . Robert & Catherine migrated to Franklin Co., Alabama in 1832. The community where they lived was called "Nelsonville" in 1870 and since has been renamed Nauvoo and Old Nauvoo. Many members of the Nelson family are buried in the Old Nauvoo Cemetery there in Belgreen, Alabama. This community was thriving in the late 1800's and one of the Nelson relatives now lives in the house which was once used as a post office.

"Pioneers has problems keepin the wolf away" was the title of a newspaper clipping written on behalf of the Nelson family back in those days. Countians who talk about the high living cost and burn the midnight oil on methods to "keep the wolf from the door" at least have something more concrete than a cow's horn to blow. This horn blowing bit comes to light from a story in a 1907 edition of the Franklin County Times in regard to the wild and wooly days of Franklin County in 1832.

The story goes that Robert Sparks Nelson came to this area with this parents, Mr. And Mrs. Lemuel Nelson, and settled among the Choctaw Indian Nation west of Little Bear Creek. The family was allegedly the first white people to cross the line and settle among the Indians. The area was a vast canebrake inhabited not only by the Indians but by panthers, bears, and wolves which were more numerous than cattle, hogs, and sheep. The story related that the nightly music was the howl of the wolves and scream of the panthers. Six year old "Bob Nelson" was the fellow who was given the task of literally keeping the wolves from the door, so the story goes. The lean and hungry beast had a habit of gathering at the cabin door at night when the lad's mother began cooking supper. The aroma of frying meat was the dinner bell for the bears which gathered in a pack around the cabin door and set up a "most heinous" howl which could be heard for miles in the still air. Young Nelson was given the horn made from a cow's horn and brought from the family's former home in South Carolina. He, being of strong wind, blew the horn long and loud to frighten the wolves from the door. This task was continued for the youngster in both winter and summer since doors were left open the year round for light which was confined to the fire in the fireplace where a combination of cooking and heating was a part of the hardships of the era.

Despite the rugged life, the youngster grew to man hood and married the late Catherine J. Blacklidge when he was 18 years old. The couple had a large family of sons and daughters. The father was affectionately called "Uncle Bob" in his later years.

Children of Robert Sparks Nelson and Catherine Jane Blacklidge Nelson were: (1) Benjamin F. (2), William T., (3) Mary E., (4) John L., (5) Mahala Alice, (6) Rebecca Caroline, (7) James Jefferson who moved to Tishomingo County, Mississippi, (8) Robert Augustus, (9) Rosa Lee, (10) Annie L., (11) Henry Luther, (12) Veto B., (13) Lucy Fort, and (14) Clemmie.


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Edited with Arachnophilia

2003 Gary Hester