Born: September 24, 1793, Jonesboro, Tennessee.
Died: October 17, 1844, Quincy, Illinois.
Buried: Woodland Cemetery, Quincy, Illinois.
Nelson was the husband of Amanda Frances Deaderick.
He graduated from Washington College, Virginia, in 1819, and earned his medical degree in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1812.
During the War of 1812 he served as a surgeon in a regiment from Kentucky, but in 1823, he gave up medicine for the ministry.
He was ordained in 1825 at Rogersville, Tennessee. He pastored in Danville, Kentucky and Marion County, Missouri, and held several posts. He also founded two manual labor colleges, one at Greenfields, Marion County, Missouri; and the other near Quincy, Illinois (where he had moved due to opposition to his anti-slavery views).
Nelson eventually became president of Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Quincy. He also helped found The Calvinistic Magazine.