Hood Nelson was said to be jovial and to possess a kind heart. Many Montgomery Countians knew the man himself or at least his reputation as an eccentric, old war hero who spun amazing tales.
Not a large man, he stood but 5’8”, was of medium build, had dark eyes, hair and complexion. He could read and write well which was fairly unusual during the mid 1800s. He was found in census records with various occupations, including farmer, day laborer, grocer and tinner.
An intelligent man, he was often tinkering with inventing and was given credit for the idea which lead to the manufacturing of the Watson Cresting-lighting rod.
Born Clark B. Nelson in Bath County, Kentucky October 12th in 1833. On August 2nd, in 1855, he married Lucinda Hardee, daughter of Joseph and Mary Weir Hardee. Joseph’s father was a Revolutionary War soldier. To date, I’ve not discovered Clark’s parents nor siblings, but know that he came to Montgomery County at an early age. Hood and Lucinda were divorced by the time he received a pension in late 1893. Five years later, he went to Marion, Indiana where he lived at the Soldier’s Home until his death May 15, in 1905. Although he had but 7 cents on his person, he was well in advance on payments to the home at his $14/month pension. His son-in-law saw to his care. Lucinda was not mentioned in his obituary but perhaps to receive a pension she did not remarry and is mentioned as marrying Clark B. Nelson who passed away many years before in her own obit as well as on her death record. She lived to be 90 years old. They are buried together at Oak Hill Cemetery.
As far as is known, they had one daughter, India Josephine Nelson who married George Miller Vance. Although the Vances had three children, only one grew to maturity and he died at age 46. Fred Nelson Vance studied in Chicago and France and at one time helped his father paint murals. He and his wife Mary Sabastian purchased a home in Brown County not long before his death in 1926.
Not long after Hood Nelson registered for the Civil War Draft at age 31, married with a child, he found himself as a private in Co B, in the 120th Infantry mustered in at Crawfordsville just five days before Christmas in 1863. This was one of the most active of all the Indiana regiments having been in many battles, some of the bigger ones being Resaca, Kennesaw, Nashville, and the seige of Atlanta. It was also one of the latest to be mustered out not until January 8th in 1866 in Raleigh, NC. It is with pleasure we announce that Kim Hancock and Suzi Petrey have again Etched in Stone one of our local soldiers, this one having rested without a tombstone for 114 years. Rest in Peace, dear Clark Nelson!
Over the coming weeks and months I will write these columns highlighting each new stone. Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. And she writes Around the County, which appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. One by One: Etched in Stone is her latest offering and will appear periodically on Mondays in The Paper.