William Layton Nelson (born March 3, 1945) is a singer, songwriter, poet and musician living in Jacksonville, Florida as of 2009. He has been known as the "Forestman" for many years and is rarely seen without his black or white cowboy hats.
William Nelson was born in the small village of Providence, in the Saint James Parish, Jamaica
He attended three different schools inconsistently over a number of years. At the age of thirteen he became a tailoring apprentice with his father. He began writing poems and composing lyrics between the age of 15 and 16.
In the 1980s he moved from Jamaica to New Jersey, USA, then Rochester, New York, where he worked as a tailor. Later, in New Hampshire he started his full-time ministry, through articles, poems and songs. In 1999 he moved to North Texas and in 2009 moved to Jacksonville, Florida.
He is married to Dr. Emmeline Lescouflair Nelson.
Nelson has a unique musical style of Christian country music, an uncommon combination from a Jamaican. He plays both electric and acoustical guitar left-handed.
From the early 1970s until 1978, Nelson performed with the group The Pleiades in Jamaica. He wrote all of the lyrics to their album Thunder & Lightning.
In 2002 he released the religious album I Promised God, which he performed in concert in Dallas/Fort Worth area churches. He still occasionally performs solos at churches and nursing homes.
The principal topics of Nelson's poetry and short stories are of a Christian religious nature. In addition to his personal website, his writings can be found on other websites such as jamaicans.com, virtualtourist.com and thestarlitecafe.com
I Promised God Ministries is a charitable ministry. It was officially founded in 2001 by a group of Christian friends who met at William and his wife Emmeline’s home to discuss ways and means by which the Ministries could make an impact on the lives of others.
It was agreed upon that the mission of this ministry was to provide necessary help to those who are less fortunate. There are so many children who have lost their parents and are living in dilapidated conditions. Its aim is to establish orphanages wherever possible to house, nourish, love and educate as many of these dear ones as possible, thus giving them an opportunity to develop their social and spiritual wellbeing.
The CD I Promised God was produced and released in 2002 as a result of a promise Nelson made to God 1996 after he found himself near death face down on a sidewalk in Rochester, New York.