John Edward Nelson (1874-1955), father of Charles Pembroke Nelson and a U.S. Representative, was born in China, Maine on July 12, 1874. He attended the common and high schools of Waterville, was graduated from Friends School, Providence, Rhode Island in 1894, from Colby College in 1898, and from the law department of the University of Maine at Orono in 1904.
Nelson was admitted to the bar in 1904 and began his practice in Waterville. He moved to Augusta in 1913 and continued the practice of his chosen profession. He was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-seventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John A. Peters, and was reelected to the Sixty-eighth and to the four succeeding Congresses. He served from March 27, 1922, to March 3, 1933, but was an unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1932.
A trustee of Colby College 1926-1931, he also served as trustee of Monmouth Academy. Nelson practiced law until his retirement in 1946. He died in Augusta April 11, 1955, with interment in Pine Grove Cemetery, Waterville.