David Hume Nelson, Birmingham doctor

Dr. David Hume Nelson was born in Scotland in 1812 and seems to have lived there until on 5 Nov 1834 he married Mrs. Lucy Beaumont, nee Smith, born in Calcutta. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Nelson's four children from her first marriage to Henry Beaumont remained in Scotland until January 1835. In January Mr. Nelson went to London with the intention of establishing himself as a medical practitioner (He actually graduated in Edinburgh in 1848). The Nelsons had four children in London between 1838 and 1841. They seem to have been living in Colney Hatch, a part of Friern Barnet. Their troubles had however not ended for on 4 Dec 1842 David Hume Nelson, then 30, and “alleged wife” Lucy, aged 46, were committed to trial at the Old Bailey for robbing the Friendly Loan Society in Leicester Square of £60. She was acquitted, he found guilty and on 12 Dec 1842 the trial ended with him sentenced to two years imprisonment. He may still have been incarcerated when tragedy struck his family. On 16 June 1844 Mrs. Nelson buried all three of her boys. The newspapers reported as follows.

“AFFLICTING BEREAVEMENT - a short time ago Mrs. Nelson of Enfield brought home a boy of seven years she had at the Blue Coat School, Hertford, for change of air, he being in a very low state after having had scarletina and measles. Only ten days after his return his two younger brothers were seized with scarletina and putrid sore throats; the elder of the two, after a few day’s illness, died on Thursday, the younger on Friday, and the Bluecoat boy on the Saturday of the same week having been seized with typhus fever; they were all interred in one grave. Thus, in one short week, was Mrs. Nelson deprived of all her boys. Through the precautions adopted by Mr. Asbury, the surgeon, this frightful disease has not spread any further in the town of Enfield; everything was destroyed and the whole premises thoroughly painted, etc. Mrs. Nelson’s means being very limited a subscription has been got up on her behalf in Enfield, and also in the parish of Friern Barnet, from which place she had recently removed."

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After he had graduated in 1848, David Hume Nelson moved to Birmingham with his wife and surviving daughter Lucy where he soon put their troubled past behind them, even earning an 21 August 1897 Obituary in the British Medical Journal.

“Dr David Hume Nelson, for many years a familiar figure in Birmingham medical circles, died on August 10th at Llandudno, where he has resided since his retirement from professional life. Dr. Nelson who was in his 88th year, graduated at Edinburgh in 1848. Early in his career he came to Birmingham, and in the early sixties he was Professor of Medicine at Queen's College. He published numerous papers, including an address on the Practical Study of Physic, with a view to Correctness in Medical Inquiry.”

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