Ralph S. Nelson (1879 – )

“Hon. Ralph S. Nelson, lawyer,  practices his profession in Coeur d’Alene and since 1916 has represented Kootenai county in the state senate.  He was born in Marissa, Illinois, July, 10, 1879, a son of James K. and Anna (Gray) Nelson.  The father died in Kansas City, Kansas , in 1893 and is still survived by the mother, who makes her home with her son in Coeur d’Alene and has reached the age of seventy years.  The family comes of Scotch-Irish ancestry in both the parental and maternal lines.

Ralph S. Nelson was reared in Kansas City, Kansas, for he was but a young lad when his parents removed from Illinois to the Sunflower state.  He was there graduated from the high school when eighteen years of age and had the honor of being chosen president of his class.  Determining upon the practice of law as a life work, he entered the law department of the University of Kansas at Lawrence, where he spent three years in study and was graduated in 1902 with the LL. B. degree.  During his college days he became a member of Phi Delta Theta.  The elemental strength of his character is shown in the fact that he paid his way through the law school chiefly with money, saved during his high school days, earned as a newsboy.  He was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1902 and began practice in Kansas City, where he remained until the latter part of 1910, when he came to Idaho, establishing his home in Couer d’Alene, where he has since continuously and successfully practiced.  He is now accorded a large clientage that connects him with much of the most important litigation heard in the courts of his district.  His analytical mind enables him to readily determine the salient features of his case and his logic enables him to present his cause in strong and forceful manner.

On the 19th of June 1097, in Topeka, Kansas, Mr. Nelson was married to Miss Jeannette H. Ware, a daughter of the famous Kansas lawyer and poet, the late Eugene F. Ware, whose  writings over the nom de plume of ‘Ironquill’ were so widely read.  Mr. and Mrs. Nelson have become the parents of two sons and a daughter: Spencer Ware, Ralph Ware and Jean Ware, the mother’s name being thus perpetuated in that of her children.

In his political views Mr. Nelson has always been a stalwart republican from the time he attained his majority.  He served as city attorney of Kansan City, Kansas, from 1905 until 1909 and in 1913 was elected mayor of Coeur d’Alene.  Because of ill health which necessitated a surgical operation he resigned his office before the end of the term an upon recovering his health he resumed the practice of law.  He is a member of the State Bar Association an enjoys the high regard of professional colleagues and contemporaries.  He hold membership in the First Presbyterian church of Coeur d’Alene, of which he is one of the trustees.  He is also a Knight Templar Mason and a member of the Mystic Shrine and in club circles he is well known, having membership in the Spokane University Club, and Hayden Lake Golf Club and in the game finds chief recreation.”

Source:  History of Idaho, Vol. 4, by James Henry Hawley, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1920, page 7


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