Wilson Cary Nicholas
From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia
Wilson Cary Nicholas (1761-1820) was a U.S. congressman, Senator, governor of Virginia, and political protégé of Thomas Jefferson. Born in Williamsburg, he studied at the College of William and Mary until he joined the army during the American Revolution. By 1784 he had joined his mother in Albemarle County and was elected in that year to the House of Delegates, serving until 1789. He befriended James Madison and consulted with Jefferson on the Kentucky Resolutions. Nicholas was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1799 and became a prominent Jeffersonian. He resigned in 1804, but Jefferson asked him to return to Congress; he won a House seat in 1806 but served only one term due to ill health. In 1814, he was elected governor of Virginia and served through the end of the War of 1812. He was a strong supporter of education and helped Jefferson with his plan for the University of Virginia.
Nicholas' ties to his mentor, Jefferson, continued later in their lives. Jefferson stopped at Nicholas' house, called Mount Warren, on his trips back and forth to Poplar Forest. His daughter Jane married Jefferson's grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. Nicholas and his brother, George, were heavy land speculators and by the Panic of 1819, he defaulted on a $20,000 note. Jefferson took over that debt, worsening his own economic situation. Nicholas was buried in the Monticello Graveyard.
- ↑ S. Allen Chambers Jr. Poplar Forest and Thomas Jefferson. (Forest VA: Poplar Forest Foundation, 1993), 140.
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Wilson Cary Nicholas Papers at University of Virginia
- Look for Sources in the Thomas Jefferson Portal