From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Nelson, James

(born: 1845) 

James Nelson, born into slavery in Kentucky, was a blacksmith. As a freeman, Nelson moved to Springfield, OH, where he maintained a successful business manufacturing IXL and Whiteley plows, wagons, and carts. His business catered to customers throughout the United States.

Both Nelson and William Dixon are mentioned in  The Sage of Tawawa as being "owners and operators of prosperous blacksmith shops" in Springfield [p. 33]. James Nelson's company is mentioned on p. 274 of William's Springfield City Directory for 1890-91; the business was located at the corner of Main and Jackson, and Nelson lived at 12 N. Light Street. By 1893, the business name had changed to James Nelson and Sons, according to the city directory.

For more, see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings, p. 499 (full text at UNC Documenting the American South website).

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The sage of Tawawa: Reverdy Cassius Ransom, 1861-1959
NKAA Source: Williams' Springfield city directory (serial)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Nelson, James,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 18, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-19 18:21:55