Nelsonville is at the junction of State Highway 159 and Farm Road 2502, nine miles west of Bellville in west central Austin County. The area was first settled in the 1850s; among the first settlers was Edward Daughtry, who moved to the site around 1855. The town was named for D. D. Nelson, who opened a store just after the Civil War. Around the same time Isaac Lewis established a store and saw and grist mill and later added a cotton gin. Many of the early residents were German-speaking immigrants from Bohemia, who began to arrive in large numbers in the late 1860s and early 1870s and bought up much of the surrounding farmland. A post office opened in 1872 with R. W. Thompson, the first physician, as postmaster. In 1885 the community, which extended northwest through the watershed separating the drainage of the east and west forks of Mill Creek toward Industry, had a church and school, three combination steam mills and gins, and a population of 100. By 1900 the population was 158. The post office was discontinued in 1909, and by the early 1930s the population had dwindled back to 100. The community reported five businesses as late as 1936, but thereafter most of them closed. In the early 1990s Nelsonville was a farming community with a reported population of 110. The population remained the same in 2000.