The Signers Thomas Nelson, Jr.

Thomas Nelson's house still stands in Yorktown

Thomas Nelson, Jr.


On November 7, 1774, Nelson joined others in boarding a British vessel at Yorktown and dumping tea into the York River. He resigned his commission as Colonel in the militia when he was elected to the Second Continental Congress. Nelson returned to Virginia in early 1776 to support the colony's resolutions for independence, then delivered the resolutions to Philadelphia, and saw them evolve into the Declaration of Independence. Nelson served in Congress until the spring of 1777, continued to serve in the Virginia legislature, commanded the state's militia in 1777, was a brigade commander in 1780-81, pledged his own private security in support of the state's loan drives, and served as governor from June 1781 until illness forced him to resign in November.

At the siege of Yorktown Nelson directed fire against his own home, then occupied by Cornwallis. Prewar debt, neglect of private affairs during the war, and the state's failure to reimburse his loans prevented him from reestablishing his business and his family's former status.

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