John Nelson, Southwark wharfinger

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The ancestry of John Nelson, Southwark wharfinger shows three generations of London businessmen and then moves over to the United States.

John Nelson snr. was born on 27 Dec 1759, married Jane Ellerthorp in 1781 and had a son John Bentley Nelson in Bermondsey in 1792. He trained as a goldsmith as is revealed by his marriage bond made on 14 March 1815, when he married Ann Hannah Reddie born 17 July 1797 at St John Horselydown, Bermondsey, Surrey and when a son James Lilley Nelson was born in 1825 he is still recorded as a jeweller.

The European Magazine and London Review Vol. 47 reported the death of his father “Mr. John Nelson, wharfinger of Stanton's Wharf, Southwark, aged 44”. Stanton's Wharf, Stoney Lane, Tooley St. was one of a number of wharves in the Pool of London.

pool of london river thames 1841


John Bentley Nelson later dressed and sold leather and was recorded as an office-keeper shortly before his death in 1865. He and Anna had seven children, two of the boys Charles Coventry Nelson and John David Frederick Nelson going into the Pool of London dock trade, one as a commercial clerk, ship insurance broker and custom house agent, the other as a commission agent for the corn trade. Another son called Horatio died in infancy in 1838.


The other son, James Lilley Nelson, born in 1825, was initially a printer but emigrated to the USA with his family in 1873. He set up in Cleveland, Ohio running a retail grocery business and it was there his daughter Eliza or Lizzie (b. 1863) married David Williams. His son Alfred James Nelson (b. 1856) also started up a grocery business also in Cleveland. He married Anne E., born in Ohio of German parentage.

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