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Jay County Obituaries

October 26, 1930 Portland, Indiana

 William M. Nelson "Colonel Bill", Jay County Showman Dies

            William M. Nelson*, aged 67, died at this home in this city following an illness of two weeks of inflammation and blood clot of the brain. The deceased was one of the picturesque characters of the county, and was well known among his show friends as "Colonel Bill" Nelson. He was a candy maker and had the record of operating a concession at the Jay County Fair without missing a single year since the fair started here. He started the work with his father. Nelson had traveled extensively through the south and west, following fairs and expositions. He was also well known as an impersonator and had appeared as an entertainer. During the last few years he had appeared only on local programs. He was united in marriage to Sarah E. Loy, who survives with two sons and two daughters, eight grandchildren and two brothers. Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday afternoon from the Methodist Episcopal Church. The Rev. Lee Tyndall will officiate, assisted by the Rev. H.R. Carson, pastor of the church. 

*William Morris Nelson was born 25 September 1863 in Jay County, Indiana the son of Jonathan Ross Nelson and Mary Jeanette Bell. He married Sarah Elizabeth Loy on 24 November 1888 in Portland, Jay County, Indiana.

October 26, 1930

William M. Nelson

           William M. Nelson, the well-known candy maker of Portland, was born in that city and has lived there all of his life. Mr. Nelson was born on September 25, 1863 and is the son of Jonathan and Mary Jeanette (Bell)   Nelson, formerly and for years well-known residents of Portland. Jonathan Nelson was born in Jackson County, Ohio, a son of Moses and Polly (Childers)   Nelson, who became pioneers of Jay County. Moses Nelson was a Virginian by birth, who had settled in Jackson County, Ohio, where he was married and where he made his home until in the thirties of the past century, when he came over here with his family and settled in Wayne Township, this county, where he entered from the Government a tract of 80 acres of land where he established his home and spent the remainder of his life, one of the influential pioneers of that section of the county. Jonathan Nelson, was but a boy when he came to this county with his parents and he was reared on the pioneer farm in Wayne Township, receiving his schooling in the neighborhood schools. He remained there until after his marriage when he made his home at Portland, where he became an engineer in the first steam flour mill operated in that city and was thus occupied for years. He later became engaged as a teamster in Portland and in that city spent his last days, his death occurring in 1896. His widow survived him for more than fifteen years, her death occurring in 1912.

           They were the parents of five children, all of whom are living, the subject of this sketch having three brothers, James A., Frank Edward and Charles D. Nelson and a sister, Cora I. [He was] reared at Portland where he was born, William M. Nelson received his schooling in the schools of that city and early became engaged as a painter, a vocation he followed until his marriage at the age of 26, when he became engaged in his present line, that of candy making, and has since been thus engaged, his products having a wide sale hereabouts. It was in 1889 that William M. Nelson was united in marriage to Sarah E.  Loy, who was also born in this county, and to this union there has been born four children, Rita D., Morris W., Anita B. and Dorris E., the two latter of whom are unmarried and at home with their parents. Rita D. Nelson married Homer I.  Sheffer, of this county and has four children, Violet Pauline, Lawrence Everett, Bonita Ursel and Fahien Allen.  Morris W. Nelson married Glee Shaw, also of this county, and is living in Colorado. Mrs. Sarah E. Nelson was born in Pike Township, this county, and is the daughter of Adam and Sarah (Bickel)   Loy the latter of whom died in 1883. Adam Loy was born in this county, a member of one of the pioneer families here, and during the Civil War enlisted as a soldier of the Union and died at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, October 6, 1864, while in service, a sergeant of Company E, 89th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He left his widow with three children, two of whom are still living, Mrs. Nelson having a brother, Plina   Loy. Their sister Mary C. died on May 5, 1872.


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