The Road to Civil War

Thomas A. R. Nelson

(March 19, 1812 — August 24, 1873) Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson, a Representative from Tennessee; born in Kingston, Roane County, Tenn., March 19, 1812; completed preparatory studies and was graduated from East Tennessee College in 1828; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1832 and commenced practice in Washington County, Tenn.; served two terms as attorney general of the first judicial circuit; appointed commissioner (diplomatic) to China March 6, 1851, and resigned July 2, 1851; elected as an Opposition Party candidate to the Thirty-sixth Congress (March 4, 1859-March 3, 1861); reelected as an Unionist to the Thirty-seventh Congress, and while en route to Washington to take his seat, during the Civil War, was arrested by Confederate scouts, conveyed to Richmond as a prisoner, paroled, and allowed to return to his home; upon the arrival of the Union Army in East Tennessee in 1863 he moved to Knoxville; delegate to the Union National Convention at Philadelphia in 1866 and to the Democratic National Convention in 1868; one of the counsel who defended President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial in 1868; elected judge of the state supreme court in 1870 and served until his resignation in 1871; died in Knoxville, Tenn., August 24, 1873; interment in Gray Cemetery. [Source: “Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 - Present,” available at]

Member of Tennessee Delegation - The Road to Civil War [this display].

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