Saturday, July 9, 2011




Christian Hansen was born 20 October, 1866 in Laasby, Gern, Skanderborg, Aarhus, Denmark.  The last child of Marie Kisten Jensen Pelsen and Hans Nielsen Herning.  In the spring of 1877 Chris age 11 with his two brothers, Niels 22 and Jens (James) 17 immigrated to America with the help of Mormon Elders.  Niels was listed as lost at sea.  Chris it seems did arrive at Richfield and did live with the family for a time but left home as a young man to live in the Spanish Fork area.  The Denver and Rio Grand Railroad had bought the Calico Railroad from Milan Packard and was building a regular gauge railroad in its place.  The D&RG already owned the Pleasant Valley Coal Mine at Winter Quarters.  The railroad was called the Pleasant Valley Railroad and Chris worked for it from building it to running it. 

While he was living in Spanish Fork he met and married Louisa Mary Mead.  They were married 24 January, 1887.  Their first child, Verne Orlando Nelson was born in Provo, Utah 17 January, 1888.  Other children were born in various other railroad towns where they worked and lived.  Hans Herning Nelson was born in Clear Creek in 22 December, 1890.  Christian Herning Nelson was born in Price 20 April, 1892, Emron Monroe Nelson was born in Spring Glen in 16 December, 1895.  Chris had saved and bought a large farm and house here at Spring Glen.  Two years later he was transferred to Thistle, Utah where he worked for the next several years.  There four more children were born;  Della Larue 23 February, 1898, Norma Presley Nelson 1900, Chester Louis Nelson 1902, and Kisty Gwendoline Nelson 24 May, 1903.  Henry Mead Nelson 30 May 1907 and Helen Louisa Nelson 1908 were born in Provo, Utah. 

Chris asked his brother, James Nielson to leave Richfield to live and run Chris's farm in Spring Glen until Mary decided to let her family run it.  Chris was quite successful and worked himself up to a high position on the railroad.  Ella Nielson Boothe said, "I had an Uncle Chris.  You should hear about him.  He is a famous guy in my life.  He was the head of the trains.  His office was way up high in the store.  When he would come over he would put me in his arms and love me and give me a book or something.  I remember standing up on the hill when I had the mumps, waving at the men on the track.  When Uncle Chris came they would throw out lumps of coal for us and we would go and get it." 

Chris remained the "the head of the trains" for the D & RGW serving the Carbon County coal companies until he moved from Provo to Salt Lake City.  The Bingham Canyon mines were mining ore faster than the D & RGW could ship the ore to the Magna mills.  Two or three new lines were constructed but this was not enough, so, they built the Bingham & Garfield Railway (the B & G) from the bottom of the Utah Copper Pit directly across the mountain to Magna.  It was a 20 mile railway built high up on the steep mountain side high above the town of Bingham.  It was a major project with three huge steel trestles across three canyons and four tunnels totaling almost a mile long.  The spectacular 190 foot high Carfork Bridge was completed in late 1910.  Utah Copper then brought its ore cars to the B&G’s Auxiliary Yard for shipment to Magna. 
Christian Nelson was the “Roadmaster”, the head of the railroad.  It was quite a step from a poor Danish speaking emigrant boy to the head man of the railroad that served both the coal and metal mining industries of Utah.  

I have yet to find a family member of the Nelson family to talk to.  A newspaper article and what Ella Nielson Boothe tells about her famous Uncle Chris is all that I know about him.  Chris was killed in my home town, at Bingham Canyon, Utah on the 19th of March, 1935. 

Newspaper Headline;  Falling Trolley Pole kills man at Highland Boy
Christian Nelson, 68, of 154 West North Temple Street, roadmaster of the Bingham & Garfield railroad, was killed at 10 a.m. today (19 March, 1935) at Highland Boy.  Mr. Nelson was killed when a crane on the wrecker struck a trolley pole crashing it down on him. 

Mr. Nelson was born in Denmark, 20 August, 1866.  He had resided in Utah for the past 55 years and had been connected with the Denver and Rio Grande, Salt Lake & Utah, Southern Pacific railways prior to his last position with the Bingham and Garfield railroad. 

Surviving are his widow, Mrs. Louise Nelson, Salt Lake;  five sons, V. O. Nelson, Norman P. Nelson,  Chester Nelson, Henry Nelson, Salt Lake;  Mrs. Kisty Williams, Winnemucca, Nevada;  Mrs. Helen Hade, California.   (three children missing)

Mary died in Salt Lake City on the 8th of May, 1948.  They are both buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Obituary of Christian Herning Nelson; (son of Christian Nelson)
Christian Herning Nelson, 82, 5504 Elaine Avenue, died 14 March, 1975, at a son's home here after a lengthily illness. 

Born 20 April, 1892 in Price to Christian and Louise Meade Nelson.  Married Ella Driggs.  She died in 1947.  Former engineer.  Member of LDS Church. 

Survivors;  sons, Raymond C., Salt Lake City, Spencer K., Maywood, California; brother and sisters, Verne O., Norman P., both Salt Lake City;  Chester L., Sacramento, California; Della Malcolm, Helen Marlowe, Watsonville, California. 

Funeral, Monday noon, 260 East South Temple where friends call one hour before services.  Burial Salt Lake City Cemetery.   

 Obituary of Raymond Chris Nelson; 
Raymond Chris Nelson, age 81, passed away 4 May, 1998 at the home of his daughter. 

He was born 16 October, 1916 in Salt Lake City to Christian Herning and Ella Ann Driggs Nelson.  He married Helen Gladys Winkelkotter on 11 August, 1941.  She preceded him in death. 

Raymond was an avid outdoors man who enjoyed hunting and fishing with his family and friends. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, retired from Interstate Brick and was a member of the LDS Church. 

Ray was the father of three and is survived by his daughter, Kristine Blue; son-in-law, David Blue; Grandsons, David R. Blue and Ryan Blue.  He was preceded in death by his daughter, Claire, and his son, Wade.  Buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery. 

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