|Colonel Joseph Nicholson
(6 Aug 1709 Anne Arundel County, MD -1787 Kent Co., MD)
Joseph Nicholson, son of William and Elizabeth (Burgess) Nicholson, was born in Annapolis, Maryland August 6, 1709. After being educated in England, he returned to America and settled in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland. In his early life a commander of a ship engaged in English trade, he ultimately became a merchant of prominence, a large land owner, and a man of wealth. In 1733, he built his home in Chestertown. Joseph's home is now restored as a bed-and-breakfast inn (see WEB site, www.chestertown,com/whiteswan/). He was conspicuous in public life, being a Deputy Clerk of Kent County and Deputy Commissioner in 1755, 1760, 1771 and 1773 until the time of his death. He was a colonel in the Kent County militia and High Sheriff of the County from 1763-1768.
Joseph Nicholson was one of the most vocal and ardent proponents for separation from England and served as a colonel in the Maryland Militia during the Revolutionary War. Joseph Nicholson had been one of the founders of the Kent Free School, first public institution of higher education on the Eastern Shore. And, in 1783, he was one of the founders of Washington College in Chestertown. Washington College is the 10th oldest college in the U.S. and the first and only college named for George Washington with his blessing. Joseph Nicholson served with George Washington on the first Board of Governors of Washington College. It is reported that George Washington stayed at his house on at least one occasion.
Joseph Nicholson married, first, about 1732, Hannah (Smith) Scott, daughter of James and Sarah (Hynson) Smith and widow of Colonel Edward Scott of Kent County. Hannah was born March 14, 1708 and died between 1760 and 1765. By her, Joseph Nicholson had seven sons and one daughter. He married, second, about 1765, Mary Hopper, daughter of Colonel William Hopper of Queen Anne's County, Maryland. Mary Hopper was born in 1734 and died in 1798. By, her he had one son, Joseph Hopper Nicholson, and one daughter, Henrietta Nicholson.