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To George Washington from William Nelson, 22 February 1753

From William Nelson

York Feby 22d 1753


I have received yours of the 12th Instant,1 in which you express a Desire to be removed to the Adjutancy of the Northern Neck.2 I think the Thing so reasonable that I wish you may succeed: however, I presume You are not unaquainted, that two Gentlemen have apply’d for it, & both strongly recommended; yet, Reason I hope will always prevail at the Board over Interest & Favour, upon which Principle You may expect all the Service that can be done you in the Affair by the Secretary,3 as well as by, Sir, Your most Hble Servt

Wm Nelson


William Nelson (1711–1772) was the son of Thomas (“Scotch Tom”) and Margaret Reade Nelson. His father immigrated from England to Yorktown in the late seventeenth century. The family soon became prominent in Virginia political and mercantile life. William served in the House of Burgesses 1742–44 and on the governor’s council 1744–72. As president of the council he was generally called President Nelson and was well known in Virginia as a horse fancier and racing enthusiast. Nelson was heavily involved in opposition to British policies of taxation in the 1760s and early 1770s and in the early 1760s was closely associated with GW in the formation of the Dismal Swamp Company.

1The letter has not been found.

2See GW to Dinwiddie, 10 June 1752, n.2. GW eventually received the appointment as adjutant of the Northern Neck. No record appears in the council journals of William Fitzhugh’s resignation or of GW’s appointment as his replacement, but by midsummer 1754 GW had obviously been in the post for some time. See GW to Dinwiddie, 21 Aug. 1754.

3Thomas Nelson (1715-1787) of Yorktown was a brother of William Nelson. He was secretary of the colony from 1743 to 1776 and a member of the council from 1749.

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