Elsa Nelson was born April 21, 1858 at Efveröd, Kristianstad, Sweden; the daughter of Niels Nelson and Anna Anderson. She was the third child in a family of five. The children were: Nels, Andrew, Elsa, Hannah, Anna, and a half sister, Elna.
At the age of six or eight she herded geese for her father. This duty was heartily disliked by the children so one day she hit some of them over the head and killed them. Her parents thought they were bewitched and sold the remainder of the flock. She was then allowed to remain in the house and learn to spin, weave, sew and knit. These activities interested her greatly. An amusing story which she often told was how she learned to knit.
Her mother has knitted her some long woolen hose. One day during the mother’s absence Elsa cut the feet from the hose and, using them for a guide, knitted some new feet in the hose. Since she used red yarn for her work her mother easily discovered what she had done. She early learned how to do household tasks and at the age of fifteen began to do housework for others.
At the age of nineteen her early interest in handiwork bore fruit and she learned the trade of dressmaking. While she learned the trade, she received one crown (about $0.25) a week and her board and room. At the age of twenty-one she took a class of students and earned enough to buy her a sewing machine, which was a rare luxury.
When she was twenty-four she married Jens Rosenquist Nelson. After her marriage she continued to card, spin, weave, sew and knit all the clothes for her family.
Her mother was converted to The Mormon Church and soon after her sister Anna joined. Elsa was converted to The Church and attended many meetings before her husband was very interested. They were both baptized and emigrated to Utah where they made their home in Pleasant Grove.
She was the mother of eight children: Nels, Anna, Hannah, John, Edward, Helding, Ella and Effie. Of these, Nels, Hannah and Ella preceded her in death, the two girls having died in childhood. She died March 13, 1931 at Pleasant Grove, Utah.