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 Nellie <I>Marston</I> Nelk

Nellie Marston Nelk

Woodland, Yolo County, California, USA
Death 12 Jun 1897 (aged 22)
Woodland, Yolo County, California, USA
Burial Woodland, Yolo County, California, USA
Plot Marston (SP SA 12)
Memorial ID 104608937 · View Source
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Nellie Marston was the daughter of Henry Frances Marston Sr. & Catherine Fallon Nolan Marston, the sister of Frances Collins, Henry Frances Marston Jr., John Marston, Thomas Nolan, and Californian Captialist, Timothy Nolan Hopkins. Nellie was also the wife of Jules Mark Nelk, and the mother of Catherine Sparks (1894-1932) and Mary Fern Quinn (1893-1983) of Sacramento.

A dark, ominous cloud had covered her life, as she dreamt and fought for a better life and opportunity for herself that California had offered her brother, Timothy Hopkins; she sought the route of a fast life at the tender age of 15, in 1890. Nellie had run away from home and had followed Robinson's Circus from Woodland, to Sacramento. Her father had brought her home once she had been arrested, but a little over a month later, she was captured and arrested again in Ione after running away. She had cursed her parents, calling them every foul word imagined. She was seen as a very tough, well-developed girl for her age, as well as being the wickedess of her sex as she could call out on many of the oldest stagers of the dives. She cursed her parents, if they were to put her in the Magdalene Asylum, she would astonish the natives when she got out.

She settled into womanhood when she married Jules Nelk, and had their first child, a daughter, Mary Fern. They had another daughter Catherine in 1894. Jules had abondened Woodland, Nellie, their two daughters, and his family on February 24, 1896 and set his eye for Los Angeles. No one heard word as to why he left, and Nellie reported troubles within their marraige, and didn't know his state; it was speculated that Jules' saloon and business ventures were kept secretive. Jules saloon was bought out by a local cigar manufacturer.

Nellie had lost her inhabitions, and was recruited by Madam Jennie Singer, the madam at the house of ill-fame notoriously known at "Hillertown," located in Woodland. The next two years Nellie spent exciting, and riling Woodland up and down Main Street all hours of the night. Her childless sister, Frances Collins and her husband James, fought for custody of Nellie's two young daughters, and won.

On April 1, 1897, Nellie applied for the use of a bathroom apartment at Beck's Barber Shop on the west end of Main Street at about 2 o'clock pm. Claims were made by people inside of the barber shop at the time that they heard one gun shot come from the bathroom apartment, and they immediately made their way to investigate. They found Nellie, lying for dead after shooting herself with a .32 caliber. Impact of the bullet was made underneath her left breastbone puncturing the lower chamber of her heart. She was attended by physicians and conflicting opinions were made whether she would die, or recover from the wound. She was asked by her attending physician why she would attempt her own life, and all she could coherently gather was that her mind was unhinged from the excessive abuse of alcohol.

Nellie gathered the strength of her family, and held on to recovery. For the next two months she restored herself to sanity, and was thought to recover. Unfortunately, she was in and out of the hospital for the few months battling for her life. She gave up the fight on Saturday night, June 12, 1897, and passed away in her mother's home on Railroad Ave. She was only twenty-two years of age.

A Woodland Daily Democrat reported on Monday evening June 14, 1897 Nellie's death, with the most honest words. It reads:

"No matter what may have been her early faults, anybody with the instincts of humanity or who is influenced by real christianity can afford to throw around them the mantle of charity. Her atonement was sincere and complete. During the greater part of her last illness her suffering was intense, but she bore it all with resignation and fortitude. She frequently expressed her readiness to answer the summons of her Master, and died fully inspired with hope and confidence of a glorious resurection and life everlasting. Peace to her ashes."

Forever in our hearts. We love you, Grandma.

Family Members



Nellie Marston
Wife of Jules M. Nelk
Died June 12, 1897
Aged 22 years, 5 mos, and 18 days
May thy soul rest in peace





  • Created by: Karen&Poodle
  • Added: 3 Feb 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 104608937
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Nellie Marston Nelk (25 Dec 1874–12 Jun 1897), Find A Grave Memorial no. 104608937, citing Saint Josephs Cemetery, Woodland, Yolo County, California, USA ; Maintained by Karen&Poodle (contributor 47997233) .