from A Twentieth Century History of Mercer County, Pennsylvania: A ..., Volume 2 edited by John G. White
. . .John Nelson, was born in Huntingdon county, Pennsylvania. December 24. 1774, a son of William Nelson.
William Nelson was a native, it is supposed, of Ireland. He came to America in colonial days, settled in Pennsylvania, and during the French and Indian wars fought under General Braddock, being with him at the time of his defeat, in 1755. Subsequently locating in Huntingdon county, he there resided during the remainder of his life.
Although very young at the time of the Revolution, John Nelson remembered many incidents connected with its closing years, the sufferings and terror caused by the Indians, who cruelly murdered women and children in the neighborhood in which he lived, making a vivid impression upon his childish mind.
In 1794. prior to attaining his majority, he left home and spent two years on the frontier in Kentucky and Ohio.
In 1802 he settled in Franklin, Venango county. Pennsylvania, but at the end of eight years,
in 1810, he returned to the parental homestead, in Huntingdon county near Petersburg, and there assisted in building upon the place a commodious stone house, which is still standing and is in good repair. He was subsequently there actively engaged in farming and stock-raising for a number of years.
In 1836 he came to Mercer county on a prospecting tour, bought a large tract of donation land in Springfield township, paying eight dollars an acre for it. In 1837 he came here with his children and their families to live, making an overland trip and bringing all of their earthly effects. The heavily timbered country roundabout was then the home of the wily red man and of numerous wild beasts of the forest. Locating in the eastern part of the township, he built a house close to that of his oldest son, and here resided until his death in 1859.
John Nelson married, in 1802, Margaret, called Peggy, Graffius, who was born October 27, 1776, and on her mother's side belonged to the Carroll family and was a relative of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, and of Capt. Henry Lee, famous as "Light Horse Harry," the father of Gen. Robert E. Lee, of Virginia. She bore him seven children, as follows: John, Nicholas, James, Daniel. Harriet, Margaret, and Lydia.
Accompanied by his wife and two children, James Alexander Nelson left Franklin, his native town, in 1837, and with his father, brothers and sisters, and their families, came to Mercer county and located in Springfield township on a tract of land which his father the previous year had purchased, paying for it with gold which he brought with him in his saddlebags. This part of the country was then in its primitive wildness,