NELSON, Thomas Amos Rogers, a Representative from Tennessee; born in Kingston, Roane County, Tenn., March
19, 1812; completed preparatory studies and was graduated from East Tennessee College in 1828;
studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1832 and commenced practice in Washington County, Tenn.;
served two terms as attorney general of the first judicial circuit; appointed commissioner (diplomatic) to
China March 6, 1851, and resigned July 2, 1851; elected as an Opposition Party candidate to the
Thirty-sixth Congress (March 4, 1859-March 3, 1861); reelected as an Unionist to the Thirty-seventh
Congress, and while en route to Washington to take his seat, during the Civil War, was arrested by
Confederate scouts, conveyed to Richmond as a prisoner, paroled, and allowed to return to his home;
upon the arrival of the Union Army in East Tennessee in 1863 he moved to Knoxville; delegate to the
Union National Convention at Philadelphia in 1866 and to the Democratic National Convention in
1868; one of the counsel who defended President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial in 1868;
elected judge of the state supreme court in 1870 and served until his resignation in 1871; died in
Knoxville, Tenn., August 24, 1873; interment in Gray Cemetery.
BibliographyAlexander, Thomas Benjamin. Thomas A.R.
Nelson of East Tennessee. Nashville: Tennessee Historical Commission, 1956.