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Thomas Nelson, Jr
Birth: Dec. 26, 1738
Yorktown
York County
Virginia, USA
Death: Jan. 4, 1789
Hanover County
Virginia, USA

Declaration of Independence Signer. He was born to one of the wealthiest merchant families in Yorktown, Virginia. His father, William Nelson, had been Virginia's Governor twice. At age 14, Thomas was sent to England to attend school, a common practice among colonists, and he was educated at Christ's College at Cambridge University. Graduating in 1760, he returned to Virginia the next year, when he was 22. While aboard ship on the return journey, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1762, he married Lucy Grymes, a talented harpsichord player and daughter of Philip Grymes, Esquire, of Brandon, Virginia. With an ample fortune given to him by his father, Nelson was able to live a style of common elegance and hospitality; together, they would have 13 children. Their son, Hugh Nelson (1768-1836), would later serve in the US Congress. In 1772, his father died, leaving him 20,000 acres of land and more than 400 slaves. Just two years later, in 1774, after hearing about the Boston Tea Party, he performed an act against the British Tea Tax by boarding a merchant ship, Virginia, which was anchored near his home, and dumped several chests of tea into the York River. In an age when destroying another person's property was a serious crime, this was a very risky act, yet he was not punished for doing this. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1777, and again in 1779. He was one of the first congressmen to favor independence, and urged his fellow delegates to support the cause of independence. The following spring, in May 1777, he suffered the first of many strokes. Returning home, he seemed to recover, but would have additional strokes as well as periodic bouts of asthma. Despite these health problems, he kept active in politics, and in 1781, he was elected as Virginia's Governor, succeeding Thomas Jefferson. In addition, he commanded the Virginia Militia with the rank of General. In the fall of 1781, General Nelson led 3,000 Virginia Militiamen as part of George Washington's Army besieging Yorktown. When the British took refuge in his home, American artillerymen refused to fire on the house, in respect to General Nelson. Nelson then aimed and fired a cannon at his own home, and ordered the men to fire at his house, destroying it. The British surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, marking the end of the major fighting in the American Revolution. Thomas Nelson had sacrificed his health, his home and his fortune to help win independence. He died in 1787 at the age of fifty while living at his son's home in Hanover County, Virginia. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  William Nelson (1711 - 1772)
  Elizabeth Burwell Nelson (1718 - 1798)
 
 Spouse:
  Lucy Grymes Nelson (1743 - 1830)*
 
 Children:
  William Nelson (1763 - 1801)*
  Thomas Nelson (1764 - 1804)*
  Philip Nelson (1766 - 1851)*
  Francis Nelson (1767 - 1833)*
  Hugh Nelson (1768 - 1836)*
  Elizabeth Nelson Page (1770 - 1853)*
  Mary Nelson Carter (1774 - 1803)*
  Lucy Nelson Page (1777 - 1863)*
  Robert Nelson (1778 - 1818)*
  Susanna Nelson Page (1780 - 1850)*
  Judith Nelson Nelson (1782 - 1869)*
 
 Siblings:
  Elizabeth Nelson Thompson*
  Thomas Nelson (1738 - 1789)
  Nathaniel Nelson (1745 - ____)*
  Hugh Nelson (1750 - 1800)*
  Robert Nelson (1752 - 1818)*
  William Nelson (1754 - 1813)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Grace Episcopal Churchyard
Yorktown
York County
Virginia, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Apr 26, 1998
Find A Grave Memorial# 2771
Thomas Nelson, Jr
Added by: Helen L. Smith Hoke
 
Thomas Nelson, Jr
Added by: Ed Burk
 
Thomas Nelson, Jr
Added by: Erik Lander
 
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Happy 4th of July Thomas! May the Lord bless you and your for all that you have done to birth our great nation. I am so bless to know you my 8th cousin.
- vl beck
 Added: Jul. 6, 2014
A founding father, remembered on the 239th Independence Day.
- Robert Fowler
 Added: Jul. 4, 2014

- MFPS
 Added: Jan. 4, 2014
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