William Nelson

He died the 19th of November Anno Domini 1772.  Aged 61.

Here lies the body of the Honourable William Nelson Esquire.  Late Resident of His Majesty's Council in this Dominion in whom the Love of Man and the Love of God so restrained and enforced each other and so invicurated the mental power in general as not only to defend him from the vices and follies of his country but also to render it a matter of difficult decision in what part of laudable conduct most excelled whether in the tender and endearing accomplishments of domestic life.  As a neighbor, a gentleman or a magistrate.  Whether in the graces of hospitality or in the possession of piety, Reader, if you feel the spirit of that excellent ardour which aspires to the felicity of conscious virtue animated by those considerations and divine admonitions perform the task and expect the distinction of the righteous man.

​​William Nelson (President Nelson) (1711-1772) joined his father on the York County Court and entered actively into his father’s mercantile business, which included a store, a waterfront warehouse and wharf, several lots in Yorktown, as well as great acreage in York County, mills on a nearby river and a ship called the Nelson. Eight days after his father died in 1745, William was sworn in as a member of the Governor’s Council, joining eleven of the most distinguished men in the colony as an advisor to the Governor, a member of the upper house of the General Assembly and a judge of the General Court. Nelson served many years as President of the Council, thus earning the title “President Nelson”.

"Scotch" Tom Nelson

Hic jacet
Spe certa resurgendi in Christo
Thomas Nelson,Generosus
Filis Hugonis et Sariae Nelson
de Perith in Comitatu Cumbriae
Natus 20th.die Februarii Anno Domini 1677 Vitae bene geste finem implevit
7th.die Octobris 1745-AEtatis suae 68

​Here lieth
in the certain hope
of being raised up in Christ
Thomas Nelson, Gentleman
Son of Hugh and Sarah Nelson
of the County of Cumberland.
Born on 20th day of February
In the year of our Lord 1677
He completed a well spent life
on the 7th of October 1745
Aged 68.

​​Thomas "Scotch Tom" Nelson (the Immigrant)(1677-1745) first came to the colony in 1696 at age nineteen before settling on the shores of the York river in Yorktown. In 1707, Scotch Tom bought lot #47, then lot #52 and later purchased other lots until the name of Scotch Tom Nelson led the list of lot owners in the town.  The enterprising immigrant tried out his versatile talents and became a merchant, an operator of a ferry and a mill, a farmer, a gentleman jurist, and trustee of the port landing.  About 1710, Scotch tom married into the first family of York when Margaret Read, daughter of Elizabeth Martiau and George Reade became his bride. Scotch Tom and Elizabeth Read had 3 children: William, Mary, and Thomas. Both sons were sent to study in England, and when they returned, they became active in the political and civic activities of the colony. In 1711, Scotch Tom built the impressive Nelson House on Lot #52 and lived in this structure until his death in 1745. 

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George and Elizabeth Read

Son-in-law and daughter of Nicholas Martiau

Founding Fathers Buried at Grace

George Read 
Oct. 25, 1608 - 1671

Here lyeth intered Coll George Read Esqr who was born ye 25th day October in ye yeare of our Lord 1608 and deceased October 1674 he being in the 66th yr of his age.

​​George Read, the son of Robert Read of London and his wife Mildred Windebank, was one of the about one hundred colonists, who emigrated to the colonies from England and Wales before the end of the 17th century, known to have legitimate descent from a Plantagenet King of England.  He was a member of the Colonial Council, Secretary of the Colony, and served as an Acting Governor.”

Gen. Thomas Nelson Jr.

Patriot - Soldier - Christian -Gentleman
Born December 16, 1738
Died January 2, 1789
Mover of the Resolution of May 15 1776
in the Virginia Convention

Instructing her Delegates in Congress
To Move that body to Declare the Colonies
Free and Independent States.
Signer of Declaration of Independence
War Governor of Virginia
Commander of Virginia Forces
He Gave All For Liberty

Thomas Nelson Jr. (General Nelson) (1738-1789) the eldest of five sons of William Nelson, was educated in England. He returned to Virginia to help his father manage his plantation and mercantile business.  After he married, he and his family moved into the house across the street from his father’s, the Nelson House,  built by his grandfather.  After William died in 1772, Thomas Nelson Jr. followed in the footsteps of his father and his uncle.  In 1773 he was chosen vestryman for York-Hampton Parish Church and  a delegate to the Continental Congress where he swore, “....if any British troops are landed in the County of York, of which I am lieutenant,  I will wait for no orders, but will summon the militia and drive the invaders into the sea.”  In July 1776,  Nelson cast his affirmative vote on the issue of independence to become included with the immortal fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence.  During the War for Independence,  Nelson became head of the Virginia Militia,  thus earning the title “General Nelson”.  He played a major role in preventing Benedict Arnold from invading Richmond for the British,  and fought alongside George Washington during the Siege of Yorktown, even though his troops would be shelling his own home. In financial distress from his wartime sacrifices, Nelson lacked money to renovate his Yorktown home.  He died in 1759 at the age of 50.

Grace Historical Church Preservation Foundation

Elizabeth Martiau Read
1615 - 1686

Here lyeth intered Elizabeth Martiau, deceased wife of George Read Esqr who was born ye in ye yeare of our Lord 1625 And deceased 1696 she being in ye 71st yeare of her Age.

Elizabeth Martiau was a daughter of Nicholas Martiau, who arrived in Virginia in June 1620. 

Nicolas Martiau -"Father of Yorktown"
1591 - 1657

French Huguenot - originally from Ile de Ré, France

Captain of Militia, Yorke Shire Justice, Burgess, Military Engineer, Planter and Wine Maker

Nicolas Martiau and 16 of his family members were reinterred from the family burial site on Buckner Street to this site in 1936.  This marker is dedicated to Nicolas Martiau, 1591 - 1657, upon whose land the Town of Yorke was founded in 1691.  He was the earliest American ancestor of General George Washington and Governor Thomas Nelson.  Dedicated May 22, 1993