(Beda Nelson Soderstrom was the daughter of John Nelson and Emma Osell. Beda donated several family heirlooms to Maine Swedish Colony.)
The Family of John Nils Nelson and Emma Ossell Nelson
John Nils Nelson was born January 24, 1884 in Klofsjo, Jeemtland, Sweden to Lucie Zakrisdotter and Karl Nelson. He was christened in 1898 at Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in New Sweden, Maine.
He was a farmer. He was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church of Stockholm, Maine. His name was given as Nils Johan Nilson. He became a citizen of the U. S. at Caribou, Maine on December 9, 1901. He registered to vote in March 1902.
He was the eldest son in the family. He had one brother George Nelson (born 1896 and employed as a carpenter in Presque Isle, Maine, commuting 26 years from Stockholm) and four sisters: Hilma (born Madawaska Road in New Sweden, married Olof Elliot Hede, had twelve children and died 1991), Lena (married August Sodergren and had seven children), Martha (born in Sweden February 6, 1886 and married Martin Osell), and Anna (married Mr. Noren and resided in Jefferson, Missouri).
John Nelson died July 9, 1974 and was buried on July 13, 1974 in New Sweden.
John Nelson married Emma Osell (daughter of Olof Osell and Caroline Hagstrom) on August 22, 1908. They had five children: Leonard (resided in Worcester, Massachusetts), Beda (more later on her life), Karl, Florence, and Vincent.
John and Emma Nelson had six grandchildren.
Emma Osell’s paternal grandmother was Martha Osell. A framed fabric piece was given to Maine’s Swedish Colony for display. It was woven by Mrs. Martha Osell in 1889 and she made a dress using the fabric she wove for Emma M. Osell in 1890 inSweden.
Great grandmother Martha Osell brought a large square kerchief with fringe from Sweden. She passed it down to her granddaughter Emma and then it was passed to her great-granddaughter Beda Soderstrom. It is now on display with Maine’s Swedish Colony in the Capitol School Museum.
Martha Osell had two sons, Martin and Olof. Martin Osell married Martha Nelson (her father had to learn English to become the janitor at the Stockholm, Maine school.)
Martin and Martha (Nelson) Osell had two children, Eva and Martha Viola.
Olof Osell and Caroline Hagstrom had eleven children including Emma Osell. Emma had five sisters: Martha (married Fred Jepson and had one daughter Anita and two sons Clyde and Kenneth), Elba, Olga, Evelyn (born February 7, 1907, married Earl Peterson who was killed in Westmanland in an accident while spraying potatoes, and remarried Charlie Harmon and moved,) and Myrtle (born September 23, 1895 in New Sweden.) Emma had five brothers: Hubert W. (born May 1 1897 in New Sweden), Walter, Olof (born February 23, 1899 in New Sweden), John, and Axel.
Pictured aboved: John Sjostedt, John Nelson, Sievert Ostlund in back; front row Martha Nelson, George Ostlund, Anna Nelson; Photo was donated to Maine Swedish Colony by Beda Nelson Soderstrom.
Beda Nelson, daughter of John and Emma (Osell) Nelson, was born September 2, 1910. She married Sigfrid Soderstrom. Beda Nelson Soderstrom resided in Lexington, Massachusetts and died on July 10, 2004 in Newbury, Massachusetts at age 93.
Beda Nelson Soderstrom donated many items to Maine’s Swedish Colony. Among the donated items that are on display are the following:
- 1. large floral china serving platter (a wedding gift to John and Emma Nelson according to a handwritten note citing wedding date August 1907)
- 2. a framed cloth sample woven by Mrs. Martha Osell in1889 who made a dress for Emma M. Osell in1890 in Sweden
- 3. a Swedish kerchief brought by Beda’s great grandmother Martha Osell from Sweden and passed down to her granddaughter Emma and then to great-granddaughter Beda
- 4. a metal coffee percolator given to John and Emma Nelson as a wedding gift
- 5. set of six etched crystal tumblers given as a wedding gift
- 6. set of crystal goblets given on the occasion of John and Emma Nelson’s 30th wedding anniversary by members of the family
- 7. miniature white flowered china cup and saucer given by John Nelson to Emma Osell in 1905 prior to their marriage
- 8. John Nelson’s shaving set
- 9. John Nelson’s razor
- 10. John Nelson’s metal lunch bucket set
- 11. sugar tongs brought from Sweden by John Nelson’s parents, Karl and Lucie (Zakrisdotter) Nilson
- 12. large metal bell for an animal
- 13. New Sweden anniversary plate
- 14. stereographs with stereograph viewer
- 15. Emma Osell’s wedding gown from 1908 with bride and groom handkerchiefs accompanied by wedding portrait of Emma and John Nelson
- 16. Large framed portrait of six Swedish friends: John Sjostedt, John Nelson, Sivert Ostlund, Martha Nelson, George Ostlund, and Anna Nelson
- 17. John Nelson’s psalmbook
- 18. Guest book from John Nelson’s funeral
- 19. Three large original documents issued by the church: John and Emma Nelson’s marriage certificate signed by O. P. Fogelin of the Covenant Church of New Sweden, Baptismal certificate of Beda Nelson from the Lutheran Church
- 20. Psalmbook given to Emma Nelson by her father John Nelson in 1903
- 21. John Nelson’s billfold
Emma Osell Nelson’s paternal uncle Martin Osell married Martha Nelson and they were parents to Eva Osell Janney and Viola Osell Laflamme, Osterasen Oct. 24, 1880. Signed: Beda Nelson Soderstrom (from a handwritten note accompanying artifacts donated to Maine’s Swedish Colony)