Nelson, Edward William
- Keir B. Sterling
Nelson, Edward William (08 May 1855–19 May 1934), naturalist and government official, was born in Amoskeag, New Hampshire, the son of William Nelson, a butcher, and Nancy Martha Wells. Nelson’s father enlisted in the Union army and was killed near the end of the Civil War. Nelson lived with his maternal grandparents in upstate New York while his mother served as an army nurse in Baltimore. For several years the Nelson brothers worked on their grandfather’s farm while Edward began learning something of the natural history of the area. Following the war, Nelson’s mother became a dressmaker in Chicago. Her sons attended the local public schools, and Edward began collecting bird and insect specimens. His mother lost all of her possessions in the Chicago Fire of April 1871, but she found temporary housing and gradually rebuilt her business....