JOHN P. NELSON. - These paragraphs are designed to give some account of the popular and progressive Nordes Venner Society, of which John P. Nelson is a leading officer, rather than of the life of Mr. Nelson himself, although there is considerable in his personal record that is worthy of high commendation. He is now occupied very extensively with the affairs of the society, and its enterprise and success in the work it is doing for the advancement of its members and the welfare of the community will make it easy to infer what the amount and value of his services must be.
The Nordes Venner Society was organized in 1887. It was designed to promote social enjoyment and benevolence among its members, make them mutually helpful to one another, and to hold up a high standard of citizenship in the city of its home and work. Its founders were: Theodore Hassel, now a resident of Chicago; Edward Hambee and Frank G. Forsberg, living in Kansas City; Peter Peterson, a prosperous farmer in this county; Charles W. Green, who lives at Chelsea Point, and Charles Baker, who was killed some time ago, and whose widow has her home on Grandview avenue, Kansas City, Kansas. These gentlemen builded more wisely than they know. From the seed they sowed in hope has grown a large and vigorous organization that has a good name throughout this part of the state, is regarded as very worthy and well managed, and wields a considerable influence in support of all that is useful in the promotion of the city's best interests.
The present officers of the Society are: John Anderson, president; John Peterson, vice president; Conrad Walter, corresponding secretary; John P. Nelson, financial secretary; O. M. Smith, cashier; Oscar Swanson (machinist) custodian; Charles A. Anderson, master of ceremonies; Ernest Peterson, ordinance man; Oscar M. Oleson, inside guard; Tobias Dahlgren, outside guard; and Henning Lindberg, building custodian. They all show capacity and fidelity in the performance of their duties and make it manifest that they have unwavering loyalty to the Society and an abiding practical interest in its present welfare and future progress.
John P. Nelson, the financial secretary, whose home is at No. 40, South Porter street, secured his preparation for the office he holds in an extensive and varied experience, some of which was very trying, some decidedly agreeable and all helpful to his development and in his training. He was born in Sweden, December 22, 1858, and there grew to manhood, obtained his education and learned the carpenter trade. He was industrious and frugal, and made every day of his labor tell to his advantage. But he longed for wider opportunities and better results than his native land gave promise of affording him, and determined to seek them in another country.
At the age of twenty-five he came to the United States and direct to Riley county, Kansas. A short time afterward he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was employed for two years on the Rock Island and Union Pacific railroads. In 1889 he came to Kansas City, Kansas, and this has been his home ever since. He has worked in the meat department of several packing houses and also done much as a contractor. These lines of endeavor still engage his attention and employ his faculties, and he has an excellent record in both, showing great intelligence and skill and the utmost integrity in all his work of whatever character.
The fraternal features of his nature find expression almost exclusively in the Nordes Venner Society, although he belongs to another Swedish order, the N. N. E., in which he holds his membership in Missouri. He is also a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, of the Kansas City camp, and has belonged to other orders, but has dropped out of them. The ordinary duties of life have been too exacting of him to admit of his giving the required attention to many lodges, and he has wisely limited his membership to those which are most in accord with his tastes and serviceable to his needs, and these have his full devotion.
He was married in Kansas City in the fall of 1896, being then united with Miss Anna Westman, who was born in Sweden on August 13, 1878, and was brought to this country in her childhood. They have become the parents of five children: Carl John, Oscar Clarence, Ann Amelia, Albin Edward and Mabel Eveline. Mrs. Nelson, the mother of these children, died on November 23, 1909. The father and his children attend religious services at the Lutheran church, and take an active part in its evangelizing work and social undertakings of every kind.
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