Nelson Family Bible
- BS 185.1762.C38 v. 2 (1X)
- Yorktown, Virginia
Transcript: Family History
- Thomas Nelson (1738–1789) was born in Yorktown Virginia and educated in England. He returned to Virginia in 1761 and a year later married Lucy Grymes (1743–1830), niece of Peyton Randolph. Thomas and Lucy Nelson had thirteen children, eleven of whom survived to adulthood. Although the Nelsons were very wealthy, they were not able to live within their income. A lavish lifestyle, an uncertain economy and large contributions to the Revolutionary cause put him in debt for most of his life. Nelson was elected to the House of Burgesses from York County in 1761 and by 1775 was an enthusiastic patriot. He participated in the “Yorktown Tea Party” in the fall of 1775 and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. He contributed both personally and economically to the Revolutionary cause, serving in the Continental Congress and as Governor of Virginia in 1781 and commanding the state militia.
- The loss of the family fortune made a great impact on the behaviour of the family. Habits of economy became a way of life for Lucy Nelson during her long widowhood: “… only a few nights before her death, and when a number of her children and descendants were sitting around the fire, and supposing she was asleep, the silence was broken by her saying, ‘Don’t bury me in my new gown,’ to which one of them playfully replied, ‘oh, no; don’t be troubled: we will put all the old rags around you that we can find.’” (Meade, vol. 1, p. 423)
- William (1763–1801) married Sarah Page (1785–1839) in 1785.
- Thomas (1764–?) married Frances Page (1766–1853) in 1794. William Meade recounts that Thomas and one of his brothers tried to join the army at Yorktown, but his mother saw them, and did not allow them to fight. Later on Thomas was a private secretary to George Washington, and “a great favourite with him and Mrs. Washington.” (p. 424)
- Philip (1766–1850) married Sarah Burwell ( 1769–1856) in 1789 and they lived in Clarke County at “Long Branch” and later at “Rosney,” where he died. “He was known as ”The Patriarch of our Church“. He was a vestryman of Frederick, now Cunningham Chapel Parish for 51 years. He was an excellent Lay Reader, having a most melodious and powerful voice.” (Proceedings of the Clark County Historical Society, Vol. 4, p. 31, note #3.)
- Francis (1767–1833) married Lucy Page (1770–1834), daughter of John and Jane (Byrd) Page of “North End,” Gloucester (now Matthews) County in 1793. William Meade reports that Francis and his wife lived economically on a Hanover farm with their fourteen children who were respectably educated. “He was himself an example of that self-denial which he required of his children … Thus did he live and die without debt.” (p. 425)
- Hugh (1768–1836) married Eliza Kinloch (1781–1834) in 1799.
- Elizabeth (1770–1854) married Mann Page (1766–1813) in 1788.
- Mary (1774–1803) married Robert Hill Carter (1774–1805) in 1794.
- Lucy (1777–1861) married John Carter Page (1758–1825) son of John and Jane (Byrd) Page of “North End,” Gloucester (now Matthews) County in 1799.
- Robert Nelson (1778–1819) married Judith Carter Page (1783–1845) in 1803. He became a professor of law and Chancellor of William and Mary College.
- Susanna (1780–1850) married Francis Page (1780–1849) in 1806. She wrote down some of her memories of her mother.
- Judith (1782–1869) married her cousin, Thomas Nelson (1780–1859), son of Colonel Hugh Nelson in 1804.
- The closeness of the Thomas Nelson family and the John Page family of Rosewell is evident from the marriages—five of Governor Nelson’s children married five of Governor Page’s children.
- American National Biography, “Thomas Nelson,” vol. 16, pp. 285–286.
- Meade, William. Old Churches, ministers and families of Virginia. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1910.
- Pyne, Frederick Wallace. Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, vol. 6, “Virginia,” Rockport ME: Picton Press, 2000, pp. 509–810.
- Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol 33, #2, April 1925, pp. 188–193. Discusses Thomas Nelson’s father and grandfather.