Thomas "Scotch Tom" Nelson

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Nelson's house in Yorktown

Thomas "Scotch Tom" Nelson (1677–1747) was an American businessman and politician who immigrated from England to became a merchant at Yorktown in the Colony of Virginia. He was from Penrith (in present-day Cumbria).[1] Arriving at the beginning of the 18th century, he was the first Virginian of the Nelsons, one of the First Families of Virginia.

The Nelson lineage includes his son, William Nelson (1711–1772). William inherited the family business and went on to accumulate extensive land holdings throughout the colony. William also became a powerful politician, serving as both president of the Governor's Council and as acting governor.[2]

William Nelson's son, Thomas Nelson Jr. (1739–1789) (grandson of "Scotch Tom"), was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Brigadier General during the American Revolutionary War and a governor after statehood. Nelson County, Virginia and Thomas Nelson Community College in the Virginia Peninsula subregion of Hampton Roads are named in honor of Thomas Nelson Jr.

Scotch Tom's great-grandson, Hugh Nelson (1768–1836), would later serve in the U.S. Congress.[3] Among his other notable descendants were U.S. diplomat and noted author Thomas Nelson Page (1853–1922) and industrialist William Nelson Page (1854–1932), who co-founded the Virginian Railway with financier Henry Huttleston Rogers.

Nelson House[edit]

The circa 1730 "Nelson House" built by "Scotch Tom" Nelson in Yorktown, Virginia is a National Historical Landmark maintained by the Colonial National Historical Park of the U.S. National Park Service.[4] The site of the Nelson House had originally been settled after the 1620s by immigrant Nicolas Martiau, another ancestor of Governor Thomas Nelson Jr.[5] Its grounds were designed by Charles F. Gillette in 1915.[6]

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