Tuesday, May 14, 2013

York River: Historic Yorktown Part 2

The Nelson House and Gardens
The Nelson House on Main Street
William Nelson inherited the home built by his father, Scotch Tom Nelson, but preferring to live in his own house, he passed it to his son, Thomas Nelson, Jr. (the Junior title distinguishes him from his uncle Thomas Nelson). Thomas Nelson, Jr. (1738-1789) married Lucy Grymes, niece of Peyton Randolph and cousin of Light Horse Harry Lee, and served as Burgess before being elected to the Continental Congress. He was one of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Despite ill health, he served as Governor of Virginia from June until October 1781, commanding the Virginia Militia during the Siege of Yorktown.
The early Georgian home was built around 1730, with bricks possibly imported from England aboard Scotch Tom Nelson's ships. The brighter color of the bricks around the door and windows was made by rubbing the bricks together to create a sharper, straighter edge. The National Park Service has restored the house to its colonial appearance. Most of the house is original.
The Nelson House Gardens are not original. They were developed in 1914 by the Blow family, who owned the house at that time.

Legend has it that Governor Nelson directed George Washington to fire on his home while British General Cornwallis was using it as headquarters and that the home was destroyed in the process. The house was not destroyed, but it did sustain damage. Note the cannonballs and cannonball damage in the following photos:



The Nelson House is open for tours when staffing permits. It is furnished with period pieces which are not original to the house.














The Waterfront

The path from the Nelson House to the waterfront

Return to Part 1

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