Historic marker honors Revolutionary War patriot in Crisfield

Posted 10/27/21

CRISFIELD — The National Society for the Daughters of the American Revolution has authorized the placement of an official marker in Somerset County memorializing the Patriot Thomas …

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Historic marker honors Revolutionary War patriot in Crisfield

Posted

CRISFIELD — The National Society for the Daughters of the American Revolution has authorized the placement of an official marker in Somerset County memorializing the Patriot Thomas “King” Nelson (c. 1752-1853).

A Patriot Marker Ceremony will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Sacker Nelson Homestead on Calvary Road in Crisfield. The public is invited. Nelson descendants and advocates of Delmarva history and culture are especially encouraged to attend.

“This marker is a major contribution to the ongoing efforts to preserve and promote the legacy of Somerset County,” said Maria Dorman Maroon, Regent of Nanticoke Chapter, the local representative of NSDAR responsible for placing the bronze marker in honor of Nelson.

“DAR approves markers only after extensive documentation. While this can be a difficult process, it further validates the historical significance of the Crisfield area.”

After Nelson’s wartime service on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the family moved to the Jenkins Creek area of Crisfield. The Nelson legacy in the area is astounding: Though the exact year of Thomas Nelson’s birth is unknown, records suggest he was at least 100 at his death, having lived to see four generations of his descendants, which purportedly numbered more than 170.
Today, that number of descendants has grown exponentially and includes nearly 20% of Nanticoke Chapter members.

In addition to the Nelson surname in Somerset County, the family heritage is enshrined in the name of Sackertown Road in Crisfield, named after Thomas’s father Sacker.

Nearby on what is now Calvary Road is an ancient family cemetery plot which is a visible reminder of the Nelsons’ expanding property wealth throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. It is on this site that the DAR marker will be placed.

While the exact resting place of Thomas Nelson and his father are unknown, land and census records clearly place Thomas and his father in the area. The Calvary Road site contains the marked graves of Thomas Nelson’s son John, and his family.

A sign identifying the site as the Sacker Nelson Homestead was recently placed with great fanfare by ChesapeakeStory.com, a company specializing in historic tours and preservation. Led by area historian Joe Paden, the group worked with local partners in 2017 to rescue the family cemetery from the marsh.

There is no longer any dwelling on the site but the property remains in the Nelson family to this day. Owner Dale Nelson King of Winchester, Va., during the dedication of the property last May reflected on spending summers there as a boy.

Patriot Thomas Nelson was born on Fox Island, Va., and served the entire duration of the Revolutionary War under Colonels Simpson and Corbin in the Accomack County Militia. His commitment to the Patriot cause was born out of affliction: Both he and his father suffered harassment under the British, including imprisonment, physical aggression, and the destruction of their home and property.

Also affiliated with Thomas Nelson is the Nelson Homestead on Cash Corner Road in Crisfield. Known as the Elisha Riggin House, the c. 1836 dwelling is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was home to Thomas’ son William and his descendants until 1925.

In Worcester County at 10 a.m. on Nov. 6, there will be a similar series of Revolutionary War grave marking ceremonies in Snow Hill. The Levin Winder Chapter of DAR and the John Smoot Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will be honoring the Patriots Levin and Samuel Handy.

For more information, call 443-783-7429 or email mmaroon@mddar.org. Also direct message through Facebook.