Francis Nicholson

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Francis Nicholson

Birthdate: (72)
Birthplace: Richmond, UK
Death: March 16, 1728 (72)
City of London, Greater London, UK
Place of Burial: Westminster, London, UK
Managed by: Douglas Arthur Kellner
Last Updated:

About Francis Nicholson

Francis Nicholson was a British military officer and colonial administrator. His military service included time in Africa and Europe, after which he was sent as leader of the troops supporting Sir Edmund Andros in the Dominion of New England. There he distinguished himself, and was appointed lieutenant governor of the dominion in 1688. When colonial unrest after the Glorious Revolution unseated Andros in 1689, Nicholson was caught up in unrest in New York, and fled to England.

He next served as lieutenant governor or governor of Virginia and Maryland. He supported the founding of the College of William and Mary, and quarreled with Andros after Andros was selected over him as governor of Virginia. In 1709 he became involved in colonial military actions during Queen Anne's War, leading an aborted expedition against Canada. He then led the expedition that successfully captured Port Royal, Acadia on 2 October 1710. Afterward he served as governor of Nova Scotia Placentia, and was the first royal governor of South Carolina following a rebellion against its proprietors. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant-General, and died a bachelor in London in 1728.

He supported public education in the colonies, and was a member of both the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and the Royal Society. He also influenced American architecture, being responsible for the layout and design of Annapolis, Maryland and Williamsburg, Virginia. He was one of the earliest advocates of colonial union, principally for reasons of defense against common enemies. : "Nicholson, Francis (Nov. 12, 1655 - Mar. 5, 1728), colonial governor, was born at Downholme Parke, near Richmond, in Yorkshire, England, on a part of the vast Bolton estate, but his parentage is not known. It has been suggested (Dalton, post) that he was a natural son of Lord St. John, later Duke of Bolton, who came into possession of the property shortly before Nicholson's birth. But more probably, he was the son or grandson of a certain Francis Nicholson, who had assisted the Earl of Sunderland, former owner of the estate, in arranging his children's inheritance in 1629 ("Yorkshire Royalist Composition Papers," vol. I, Yorkshire ArchÏological Society. Record Series, vol. XV, 1893, pp. 56-57). In either case, the Duke of Bolton took an active interest in Nicholson's career."

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Francis Nicholson's Timeline

November 12, 1655
Richmond, UK
March 16, 1728
Age 72
City of London, Greater London, UK
Westminster, London, UK