John Nelson (lawyer)

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John Nelson
John Nelson, bw photo portrait, Brady-Handy collection, circa 1855-1865.jpg
17th United States Attorney General
In office
July 1, 1843 – March 4, 1845
PresidentJohn Tyler
Preceded byHugh S. Legaré
Succeeded byJohn Y. Mason
United States Chargé d'Affaires to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
In office
October 25, 1831 – October 15, 1832
PresidentAndrew Jackson
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byEnos T. Throop
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 4th district
In office
March 4, 1821 – March 3, 1823
Preceded bySamuel Ringgold
Succeeded byJohn Lee
Personal details
Born(1791-06-01)June 1, 1791
Frederick, Maryland, U.S.
DiedJanuary 18, 1860(1860-01-18) (aged 68)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyWhig
Spouse(s)Frances Harriotte Burrows(daughter of William Ward Burrows I)
Matilda Tennant
Alma materCollege of William and Mary
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer

John Nelson (June 1, 1791 – January 18, 1860) was Attorney General of the United States from 1843 to 1845 under John Tyler.


Nelson was born in Frederick, Maryland, the son of politician Roger Nelson. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1811 and was admitted to the bar in 1813, starting practice in Frederick. He held several local offices before being elected to the United States House of Representatives representing Maryland's 4th district. He served only one term, March 4, 1821, to March 3, 1823, and was not a candidate for reelection. Nelson received an A.M. degree from Princeton University in 1825. In 1831, he was appointed Chargé d'affaires to the Two Sicilies, a position he served in from 1831 to 1832. President John Tyler appointed him Attorney General of the United States on July 1, 1843, which he served until the end of the Tyler administration. He also served as United States Secretary of State ad interim for about a month in 1844 after the sudden death of the previous Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur. Nelson retired from public life and died in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 8, 1860.

External links[edit]

  • United States Congress. "John Nelson (id: N000037)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  • John Nelson at Find A Grave
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel Ringgold
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 4th congressional district

March 4, 1821 – March 3, 1823
Succeeded by
John Lee
Legal offices
Preceded by
Hugh S. Legaré
U.S. Attorney General
Served under: John Tyler

July 1, 1843 – March 4, 1845
Succeeded by
John Y. Mason
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
United States Ambassador to Italy
October 24, 1831 – October 15, 1832
Succeeded by
Enos T. Throop