During the Mexican-American War, Nelson served as a captain in the Kennesaw Rangers with another future mayor, Cicero C. Hammock, as well as the father of mayor John B. Goodwin – Private Williamson H. Goodwin. Nelson later served as a brigadier general under General Narciso López, in a failed attempt to free Cuba from Spain.
In a close election for mayor, Nelson, running as a Democrat, defeated the Know Nothing candidate, Ira O. McDaniel, but resigned in July when the city council reduced a fine he had levied on two young men for destroying city property, thus leaving John Glen as acting mayor.
Nelson left for Kansas during the border disputes, then moved to Meridian, Texas, where he was involved with Indian affairs, serving under Lawrence Sullivan Ross and in 1860 was elected to the state legislature. During the American Civil War he served as a brigadier general in the Confederate army until he contracted typhus in September 1862 and died a month later. He was buried in Little Rock, Arkansas.
William M. Butt
|Mayor of Atlanta
January,1855 – July 6, 1855
John Glen (acting)
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