NAME, Years Elected to City Council

James W Nelson (1852-?) served one term, 1891-1892 (or two?) and was President of the City Council from 1892-1893 if he was on the council that term.3



Non-partisanor Republicanor Democrat or all three6



James Nelson was educated in Maryland and was a salesman at Tillmann & Bendel of San Francisco. He then became the general manager of the Oakland Preserving Company, where he worked for ten years. After that he ran an asparagus factory in Antioch, making him the first Councilman in the asparagus business. In 1878 he moved to Oakland and married Lizzie Cook and they had 3 daughters. 

Nelson was president of the Oakland Exposition, hosted in 1892.4

In 1895, Nelson ran for Mayor as the non-partisan, Republican and Democratic candidate. Populist candidate (and future winner) John Davie accused him of being a shill for the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Oakland Waterfront Company and other companies. Nelson fought back, arguing that Davie was in it for the "liquor element" of the city. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, no ties could be found between Nelson and the railroads. The Southern Pacific Railroad said they didn't care about the mayoral race, because they were busy dealing with the City Council, like they had with John Towle.

Nelson lived at 1325 Linden St.5



1911- Secretary, Board of Public Works

1911- Board of Police and Fire Commissioners

1911- Board of Police Relief and Pension Fund Commissioners6


  1. "OAKLAND POLITICS: NON - PARTISAN MEETING LAST NIGHT." San Francisco Chronicle: Feb 25, 1893.
  2. Blake, Evarts. Greater Oakland. 1911.
  3. Blake.
  4. Blake.
  5. Husted's Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley Directory. 1911.
  6. "OAKLAND NEWS." San Francisco Chronicle: Mar 10, 1895.