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NELSON, ALBERT ALDRICH (1814–1892). Albert Aldrich Nelson, early surveyor, son of Samuel and Cynthia (Aldrich) Nelson, was born in Milford, Massachusetts, on May 15, 1814. After a dramatic career as a sailor on New England whaling ships (1833–38), he immigrated to Texas and was one of the surveyors who laid out the town of Crockett (1838). Among the first professional surveyors to settle in the Republic of Texas, Nelson surveyed for the Nacogdoches Land District, which covered parts of East and Northeast Texas. He held the important elected post of county surveyor during most of his more than fifty years in Texas. He was active in the Democratic party and served as Nacogdoches city alderman and as mayor of Nacogdoches. He produced some of the most accurate maps of the Nacogdoches District. Nelson was a friend of such public figures as Sam Houston, Haden Edwards, Thomas J. Rusk, and Adolphus Sterne.qqv His varied career involved armed service during the Civil War, in both the army under Gen. Henry H. Sibley and the Confederate Navy. He was wounded at the battle of Glorieta Passqv, captured, and detained in a northern prison.

Nelson was married on October 9, 1845, to the daughter of a prominent East Texas family, Jane Caroline Simpson, and they had seven children. He died at his home in Nacogdoches on September 25, 1892.


James G. Dickson, Jr., "A. A. Nelson, Sailor, Surveyor, and Citizen: A Personal Profile," East Texas Historical Journal 3 (October 1965). A. A. Nelson Papers, East Texas Collection, Steen Library, Stephen F. Austin State University.

James G. Dickson, Jr.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

James G. Dickson, Jr., "NELSON, ALBERT ALDRICH," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 24, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.