Neilson History

Neilson, the railroad junction in section 23 of Southern township, was built on land bought by Alexander C. Neilson in the forties. He was a Methodist preacher, and a charter member of nearby Fountain church. In 1875 he served in the legislature and won the sobriquet (nickname), the Egyptian orator. A sketch of his life will be found in the section devoted to members of the general assembly.

When the railroad was extended south from Marion, Burke Brothers Contracting Company located a construction camp on the Neilson farm. The Chicago and Eastern Illinois station called Neilson had its beginnings in delivering materials to that camp.

A railroad from Herrin junction to Neilson was built in 1909 and 1910 by the Herrin and Southern Railroad Company. E. A. Neilson, grandson of the original owner, worked on that construction. The line became the property of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Company on October 29, 1914. Now two great railroads intersect where Preacher Neilson would have mounted his horse, if he wanted to go traveling.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939 which is on sale at the Williamson County Museum)