Nelson, David, Md
Nelson, David, M.D.
an American Presbyterian minister and educator, was born near Jonesborough, in East Tennessee, September 24, 1793. He was educated at Washington College, and after graduating in Philadelphia returned to Kentucky at the age of nineteen, intending to practice medicine; but the war of 1812 having commenced, he joined a Kentucky regiment as surgeon, and proceeded to Canada. He afterwards accompanied the army of generals Jackson and Coffee to Alabama and Florida, and after the establishment of peace settled finally at Jonesborough, where he resumed his medical practice with great success. While away at war he had become estranged from his early religious convictions, and in part at least espoused infidel theories. He now became more seriously convinced of his dependence on God, and, reawakened and converted, he determined to forsake a lucrative professional career for the purpose of entering the ministry, and was licensed to preach in April, 1825. He preached for some three years in Tennessee, where he was at the same time connected with the Calvinistic Magazine, published at Rogersville. In 1828 he became pastor of the church of Danville, Kentucky, succeeding his brother Samuel. In 1830 he removed to Missouri, and was chiefly instrumental in establishing Marion College, of which he became the first president. In 1836 Dr. Nelson. who was a warm emancipationist, owing to a disturbance growing out of the slavery question, removed to Illinois, and at Oakland, near Quincy, established an institute for the education of young men, especially for such as were preparing to become missionaries. Here he exhausted his pecuniary means, and died October 17, 1844. His most remarkable work is his Cause and Cure of Infidelity (1836 and often). The manuscript of Wealth and Honor, which lie intended for publication, was lost after it passed from his hands. He also wrote many occasional articles on missions, baptism, etc., which appeared in the New York Observer and other papers of the day. See Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, 4:677; Hist. of Presbyterianism in Kentucky, page 330. (J.H.W.)