Cdr. James Nicholson

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Cdr. James Nicholson's Geni Profile

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William James Nicholson

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Chestertown, Kent, Maryland
Death: Died in New York, New York, USA
Place of Burial: New York City, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Nicholson and Hannah Nicholson
Husband of Frances Nicholson
Father of Catherine Few; Frances(Fanny) Nicholson; James Witter Nicholson; Hannah Gallatin; Maria Nicholson and 2 others
Brother of Judge Benjamin Nicholson; Thomas Nicholson; Samuel Nicholson; John Nicholson; Elizabeth Gordon and 2 others
Half brother of John Scott, Dr.; Edward Scott and Henrietta Nicholson

Managed by: David Howerton
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Cdr. James Nicholson

A Patriot of the American Revolution for MARYLAND with the rank of COMMODORE. DAR Ancestor # A083668

James Nicholson (1737 – 2 September 1804) was an officer in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War.

The son of Joseph and Hannah Scott Nicholson, he was born in Chestertown, Maryland. James Nicholson served in the colonial Navy with the British in the assault on Havana in 1762, and was commissioned Captain in the Continental Navy 10 October 1776. He commanded Defense, Trumbull, and Virginia, and when blockaded at Baltimore, Maryland, took his men to join George Washington at the Battle of Trenton to aid in that key victory.

Made the senior captain in the Continental Navy due to political influence, he nevertheless had an undistinguished career, never winning a victory or capturing a prize. He lost his first command, the frigate Virginia, while trying to run past the British squadron blockading the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. He ran the ship aground and rather than fight the approaching British ships, fled to shore in a boat, leaving the Virginia and her crew to be captured. The next day he approached the captured ship under a flag of truce and asked for his personal effects.

Nicholson styled his flight as an "escape" in his report to Congress, and with the only witnesses confined to British prisons, he was eventually given command of Trumbull. That command he lost to HMS Iris when his crew refused to fight.

Nicholson had one son and five daughters, one of whom married Albert Gallatin. He died at his home in New York City.

The ships named USS Nicholson were named for him, his younger brothers, John Nicholson and Samuel Nicholson, his nephew, William Nicholson and his grandnephew, James W. Nicholson. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

James Nicholson, son of Joseph Nicholson and Hannah (Smith) Scott, was born in Chestertown, Maryland, in 1737 or 1738. He entered upon a sea-faring life at an early age and was with the British fleet when Havana was captured in 1762. From 1763 until 1771, he was a resident of New York City. At the outbreak of the Revolution, he tendered his services to the navy and was placed in command of the DEFENSE, a Maryland vessel with which, in March, 1776, he recaptured several prize ships from the British. In June, 1776, he was placed in command of the VIRGINIA, a 28 gun ship of war. A resolution of Congress, October 10, 1776, declared that the number of captains in the Continental Navy should be 24 and should rank in the order designated. By this resolution, James Nicholson appeared first on the list and was thus senior captain and Commodore-in-Chief of the Continental Navy.

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Cdr. James Nicholson's Timeline

Chestertown, Kent, Maryland
August 7, 1764
Age 27
New York City
September 11, 1766
Age 29
New York City, New York, USA
March 24, 1771
Age 34
April 20, 1773
Age 36
September 7, 1775
Age 38
Maryland, Baltimore, USA
May 2, 1783
Age 46
New York, New York, USA
September 2, 1804
Age 67
New York, New York, USA
September 3, 1804
Age 67
New York City, USA