About this Famous Person
Thomas NELSON, JR.
American planter, soldier, and statesman, 4th Governor of Virginia, a signer of the Declaration of Independence
Source : Tim DOWLING
Thomas, Jr. was the grandson of Thomas "Scotch Tom" Nelson, an immigrant from Cumberland, England who was an early pioneer at Yorktown. His parents were Elizabeth (Burwell) and William Nelson, who was also a leader of the colony, and briefly served as governor. Thomas was born at Yorktown, and like many Virginians of his time, was educated in England. He attended Newcome's School for six years and was at Eton in 1754, before entering Christ's College at Cambridge University in 1758. He graduated in 1760 and returned home the following year. He helped his father with his farm at this time.
Thomas was first elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1761. The following year he married Lucy Grymes (her maternal uncle was Peyton Randolph-the brother-in-law of Congressman Benjamin Harrison V; her paternal aunt was the mother of "Light Horse Harry" Lee). Their son Hugh Nelson (1768–1836) would later serve in the U.S. Congress.
Nelson's first term in the Congress continued until 1776, when a bout of illness forced his resignation. While a member of Congress, Nelson still found time to return home and play a key role in Virginia's Constitutional Convention in the spring of 1776. He returned to Congress in time to sign the Declaration of Independence.
- Category American politician