Jens Rosenquist Nelson was born on July 26, 1860 at Efveröd, Kristianstad, Sweden, the son of Niels Olson and Karna Anderson. He was the fifth in a family of eight. The children were Ole. Hannah, Andrew, Anne, Jens, Per, who died as a baby, Per and Nels.
When he was nine years old he spent the summer herding cattle with his father. This he continued to do during the summers for three years. He started school on the first of October following his ninth birthday. When he was twelve he began to herd sheep for Adolph Falkman, the rich man of the district. He continued this work until he was fifteen years old when Falkman allowed him to drive a team for plowing, hauling, etc.
At the age of nineteen he joined the army and at twenty was called into the regular for the yearly ninety day drill which was required of all men for several years, after which the time was reduced to twenty-two days. Here his name was changed to Rosenquist. During the remainder of the year he worked for Falkman who gave him a contract as driver of the carriage team.
In September 1882 he married Elsa Nelson. After their marriage they settled in Efveröd and Jens became foreman for Mr. Falkman. Because of his army service in June he was forced to quit his job as foreman. However, he continued to work for the same man –in the distillery during the winter and on the farm in the summer. For this work he received the sum of 1 ½ crown (about $0.30) a day. Finally he quit this job and began to work as baggage man on the railroad during the summer and in the winter at a sugar factory which was located about two hundred miles from his home.
When he was thirty-three years he quit this job and returned home to work for Falkner shoveling snow from the roads. In March of that year he heard the Gospel as preached by Elder Peter Bjorklund, a former acquaintance of army days. A few months later (1893) he and his wife were baptized by Niels Monson who also confirmed them.
That winter he worked again for the sugar factory. On his return in the spring they held an auction where they sold their home and all their goods in preparation for emigration to Utah. They moved into a rented place where Helding (Helding Rosenquist Nelson) was born. Jens spent the summer cutting timber for wood pulp.
To Be Continued…