John Nelson, U.S. Attorney General

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John Nelson

Death: Died
Place of Burial: Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of General Roger Nelson and Mary Brooke Sim
Husband of Frances Harriotte Nelson
Father of Mary Sim Sim Nelson
Brother of Catherine Murdock Lawrence and Madison Nelson

Managed by: Keith Neville Bystrom
Last Updated:

About John Nelson, U.S. Attorney General

Online memorial at


John Nelson (lawyer)

John Nelson

18th United States Attorney General

In office

July 1, 1843 – March 4, 1845

Preceded by Hugh S. Legaré

Succeeded by John Y. Mason

Born June 1, 1791

Frederick, Maryland, U.S.

Died January 8, 1860 (aged 68)

Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.

Political party Whig

Profession Politician, Lawyer

John Nelson (June 1, 1791 –January 8, 1860) was Attorney General of the United States from 1843 to 1845 under John Tyler.

Nelson was born in Frederick, Maryland, the son of politician and General Roger Nelson. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1811 and was admitted to the bar in 1813, starting practice in Frederick. He held several local offices before being elected to the United States House of Representatives representing Maryland's fourth district. He served only one term, March 4, 1821 to March 3, 1823, and was not a candidate for reelection. Nelson received an A.M. degree from Princeton University in 1825. In 1831, he was appointed Chargé d'affaires to the Two Sicilies, (Ambassador to Italy) a position he served in from 1831 to 1832.

President John Tyler appointed him Attorney General of the United States on July 1, 1843 which he served until the end of the Tyler administration. He also served as United States Secretary of State ad interim for about a month in 1844 after the sudden death of the previous Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur.

Nelson retired from public life and died in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 8, 1860.

John Nelson (lawyer) at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

Cabinet of President John Tyler (1841-1845)

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John Nelson, U.S. Attorney General's Timeline

June 1, 1794
Age 24
January 18, 1860
Age 65
Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA