Elisha Nelson (Abt. 1790 – 1865) Sarah Elizabeth Henry (1791 – 1871)
Elisha was born about 1790 in Green County, Tennessee. He was the son of Southway Nelson and Miranda Tignor. Elisha married Sarah Elizabeth Henry who was the daughter of Judge James Henry and Sarah Scarborough.
In 1813, Elisha was about 21-23 years on and was listed on the “Taxable Property and Polls in the bounds of Captain William Williams’ Company of Militia for the Year 1813” in White County, Tennessee. He was taxed for one white poll; no black polls; no town lots and no acreage. His tax bill was 12 ½ cents for the poll; 12 ½ cents for board tax; 3 cents for poor tax; 12 ½ cents for state tax; 9 ½ cents for county tax for a grand total of 50 cents for 1813. In 1814, Elisha is listed on the Tax list for White County, Tennesse being taxed for one white poll and no black polls or land. His tax bill was just 25 cents.
On April 17, 1814 Elisha Nelson is mentioned in the White County Tennessee Court Minutes: “John Robertson was this day appointed constable in and for the county of White and there upon took the oath prescribed by law, and together with David Smyth and Elisha Nelson entered into bond in the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds conditioned as the law requires.”
In 1818, Elisha in on the tax list in Captain White’s Company. Still only being taxed for one white poll. Total bill was 37 ½ cents.
In the 1820 census, Elisha Nelson is listed as “Elijah” Nelson for Sparta, White County, Tennessee. In the tax lists from 1824 Elisha was also listed as “Elijah” but he was in Captain Potts Company and this total tax bill is 82 cents. From 1825 through 1829 he paid taxes in Captain Harris’ Company in White County.
On January 21, 1822, Elisha is mentioned in the White County Court Minutes: “Ordered by Court that Patrick Potts be appointed Overseer of the road from the forks at Jno Pratts to standing Stone and that the district in which the following persons reside be assigned said road. To wit: John Suttle, James L. Hargis, Jno. McCullough, James Corder, Francis Moore, Wm. Jay, Markland Southart, Geo Potts senr., Geo. Potts, Junr., Jno. McNatt. Wm. Price, Bartlett Harris, Jno. Potts, Thomas Williams, Jno. Roberson, James Netherton, Edward Elms, Elisha Nelson, ….and all persons who reside within said bounds and that he keep the road in repair as the law requires.” 1822 White County, Tennesse Court Minutes, page 357, as transcribed by the WPA
The 1830 and 1840 census records shows Elisha living in Crawford County, MO. On October 17 1850, Elisha and Elizabeth are living in Crawford County, Missouri with their two youngest children Mary Ann and Elizabeth Carolina. He was 60 years old and a farmer. His real estate is worth $1200.00 and he is listed as being able to read and write. 1860 Census records shows Elisha and Elizabeth Henry living next door to their daughter-in-law Joanna in Meramec, Dent County, Mo. Elisha is 71 and Elizabeth is 68 years old. Daughter Carolina age 26 is living with them. It states that Elisha was born in Tennessee and Elizabeth was born in Virginia. Elisha’s occupation was that of a farmer.
On August 6, 1839, on motion of sundry citizens of Merrimac and Watkins Township by petition for a road from Steelville by way of Benj. Cooksey’s, thence the nearest and best route to the county line between Crawford County and Ripley County, to intersect the road leading from Van Buren in Ripley County to Steelville, Crawford County and that Elisha Nelson, Washington Carter, and James Sullivant be appointed as commissioners to view, layout and make said road and make report to next term of court. Crawford County, Missouri Court Minutes
On June 25, 1841, Elisha and Elizabeth Nelson purchased 123.93 acres in present day Dent County from the Federal Government under the authority of the 1820 Sale-Cash Entry Act. The land is described as E1/2NW, Section 24, Township 35 North, Range 5 West and NWSE, Section 24, Township 35 North, Range 5 West.
In July 1842 – Peter Whittenburg vs. Elisha Nelson, Petition in Debt – “Now on this day comes the said plaintiff by his attorney and the said defendant although solemnly called comes not, but makes default whereby the same action remains against him therein undefended whereby the said plaintiff ought to have and maintain his aforesaid action thereof against him and because the demaria of the plaintiff is ascertained by the instrument of writing sued upon and that he sustained damages by the reason of the detention thereof. Therefore it is considered by the court that the said plaintiff recover of the said defendant as well the sum of sixty eight dollars and forty nine cents and the sum of three dollars and forty cents the debts and damages aforesaid ascertained together with cost of suit and that he have an execution therefore. Memorandum this judgment bears interest at the rate of ten percent per annum.” Crawford County Circuit Court records, July term 1842, Book “A”; page 184
On September 1, 1859, Elisha and Elizabeth Nelson Purchased a farm from George and Rebecca Cole. Dent County Deed Records
“Dent County’s first grist mill on the Merramec River was built by Elisha Nelson. It was known as the “Old Nelson Mill” in this area for a long time. The mill was located on the Old White River Trail and was just below the old McSpadden farm, now owned by James Hofer who lives near Salem, Missouri.”
“The first store on the Meramec River was operated at the McSpadden place near the grist mill. It is not known how long the Nelsons ran the grist mill, but the next entry is to Wilson Petty on June 20, 1885. Later this farm was kown as the Andy Pryor farm, before being bought by the Hedricks.”
The Old Nelson Cemetery located near the site of the grist mill near Short Bend is probably one of the first cemeteries in Dent County…Only a few of the many graves here have tombstones. The Nelson Cemetery, later known as Pryor Cemetery is abandoned.” Ozark Heritage, Dent County Historical Society, page 8
It is believed that before March 9, 1863 at about age 73, Elisha Nelson died in Dent County. In the newspaper publication, “Rolla Express” dated May 2, 1863 on page 2 is an Administrator’s Notice which states:
"Notice is hereby given to all persons interested that the Judge of the Probate Court in Dent County, Mo. granted to the undersigned on the 9th day of March 1863, letters of administration on the estate of Elisha Nelson deceased, late of Dent County. All persons having claims against said estate are hereby notified to present them within one year from this date and if not presented within three years they will be forever barred from any benefit of said estate. Henry Nelson, Adm'r."
Elisha Nelson was buried in the Nelson Graveyard, also known as the Cool Springs Cemetery and the Pryor Cemetery on Meramec River. This is one of the earliest cemeteries in Dent County located near the old Nelson Grist Mill. This is located on the first farm to be cultivated in what is now Dent County. (Elisha’s property). Ozark Heritage, Dent County Missouri Area Cemeteries and Families, Volume III, 1994
Sarah died in 1871 also in Dent County and is buried beside Elisha.