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  • ID: I24
  • Name: Joseph Hopper NICHOLSON
  • Surname: NICHOLSON
  • Given Name: Joseph Hopper
  • Prefix: Judge
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 15 May 1770 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland
  • Death: 4 Mar 1817 in Baltimore, Maryland
  • _UID: AF908F6F9731D5118680EF90A100BA0BD60C
  • Note:
    Judge and U.S. Representative Joseph Hopper Nicholson (1770 Kent Co., MD - 1817 Baltimore, MD)

    1 Joseph Hopper Nicholson, the son of Joseph Nicholson, Jr. and Elizabeth (Hopper) Nicholson was born in Chestertown, Maryland, May 15, 1770. In 1793, he married Rebecca Lloyd of Wye. He completed preparatory studies, studied law and was admitted to the bar and practiced. He was a member of the State House of Delegates 1796-1798 and was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives of the Sixth and the three succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1799, until his resignation on March 1, 1806. He was one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in January 1804 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against John Pickering, Judge of the United States District Court for New Hampshire, and in December of the same year against Samuel Chase, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Nicholson served as Chief Justice of the Sixth Judicial District of Maryland and Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals from March 26, 1806, until his death. He also was responsible for organizing the new county of Talbot County.
    During the War of 1812, Judge Nicholson raised and equipped, at his own expense, a company of artillery and then offered their services for the defense of Baltimore where he and his Artillery Fencibles rendered distinguished services during the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Judge Nicholson died at his home in Baltimore County, Md., March 4, 1817. He is interred in the family cemetery on the Lloyd estate, known as "Wye House," near Easton, Talbot County, Md.
    Judge Joseph Hopper Nicholson is notable for two other contributions to the history of the United States. He was largely responsible for the election of Thomas Jefferson as President. The presidential vote was:Jefferson, 73; Burr, 73; John Adams, 65; C. C. Pinckney, 64; Jay, 1. There being a tie between the leading candidates, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, which assembled on the 11th of February, 1801, to make choice between Burr and Jefferson. Joseph Hopper Nicholson, a member of the Maryland delegation, was very ill and thought to be dying and, initially was not present. Learning that the Maryland delegation was leaning by one vote to Burr, Rep. Nicholson, against his doctor's wishes, had himself carried on his bed through a driving snow storm and placed in one of the committee rooms of the house, with his wife at his side, administering medicines and stimulants night and day. From his bed, he voted for Jefferson which resulted in a tie vote in the Maryland delegation. On each subsequent vote the ballot box was brought to the bed side and his feeble hand deposited the powerful bit of paper. Day after day, the balloting went on until thirty-five ballots had been cast. By that time, it was clear that no break could be made in the Jefferson columns and it was impossible to elect Burr. When the thirty-sixth ballot was cast, the Federalists of Maryland, Delaware and South Carolina threw blanks and the Federalists of Vermont stayed away, leaving their Republican brothers to vote those States for Jefferson. By this slender chance, Jefferson was elected President and Burr Vice-President. Without, Joseph Hooper Nicholson's votes, Burr would have been elected President.
    But Judge Nicholson's role in history was not finished. He was a brother-in-law of Francis Scott Key by marriage. His wife was the sister of Francis Scott Key's wife. During the War of 1812, when a friend, Dr. Beanes, a physician of Upper Marlborough, MD, was taken aboard British Admiral Cockburn's squadron for interfering with ground troops, Key and J. S. Skinner, carrying a note from President Madison, went to the fleet under a flag of truce to ask for Beanes' release. Cockburn consented, but as the fleet was about to sail up the Patapsco to bombard Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor, he detained them, first on the HMS SURPRISE and then on a supply ship. Key witnessed the bombardment which began at 7 AM, September 13, 1814 and lasted for 25 hours. During the bombardment, Key wrote a stanza on the back of an envelope. Next day at Indian Queen Inn, Baltimore, Key wrote out the poem and gave it to his brother-in-law, Judge Joseph Hopper Nicholson. Nicholson suggested the tune, "Anacreon in Heaven" and had the poem printed on broadsides, of which two survive. On September 20, it appeared in the Baltimore American. Later, Key made three copies. One is in the Library of Congress and one is in the Pennsylvanica Historical Society. The copy that Key wrote at his hotel on September 14, 1814, remained in the Nicholson family for 93 years. In 1907, it was sold to Henry Walters of Baltimore. In 1934, it was bought in New York from the Walters estate by Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, for $26,400. The Walters Art Gallery in 1953 sold the manuscript to the Maryland Historical Society for the same price.

    2. Born in house on High Street in Chestertown, Maryland, built in 1743 by Walter Doughtery who operated a tavern known as "Doughtery's Tavern". In 1770, the property was sold to Joseph Nicholson, Jr. (1733-1786). After his death in 1786,his widow Elizabeth and son Joseph Hopper sold the property in 1793. Today it is known as the Doughter-Barroll House, aprivate residence. Infromation from Scott Sheads, National Park SAervice, Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland.

    3.. Land records in Queen Anne's County for Judge Joseph Hoper Nicholson:

    Queen Anne's Co. Land Records JB#2, p. 506. 17 Apr. 1815-18 Apr. 1815 Jos. H. Nicholson of Balto., to Henry Hindman, Jacob Hindman, Elizabeth N. Barney and Wm. Hindman Jr. - consideration 5 shillings, Lot no. 5 in Centreville, cont. 1 acre part of "Chesterfield" ack bef. Lemuel Purnell.

    Queen Anne's Co. Land Records JB#1, p. 172 24 Oct. 1811 - 5 Dec. 1811 Jos. H. Nicholson and Nathaniel F. Williams of Balto., to Wm. Chambers of QA Co., cons. $800, one-half of a lot, WHARF AND GRANARY lying at the head of Corsica Creek, QAC, which was in 110 conv. by Samuel Wright to Nicholson and Williams for certain trusts - the whole was before the time conv. to Samuel Wright and Wm. Chambers as tenants in common by Richard T. Earle. Ack. in Baltimore Co. bef. Zeb. Hollingsworth. [THIS IS WHERE THE PRESENT DAY LANDING IS.]

    Queen Anne's Co. Land STW#9, p. 331 24 Aug. 1810 - 3 Sept 1810 Samuel Wright, City of Balto., Mcht., to Jos. H. Nicholson and Nathaniel F. Williams of the same city, consi. $2000 about 400 acres part of "Stratton" near Nine Bridges, devised by his late father Thos. Wright, except the part sold to Thos. Mason.

    Queen Anne's Co. Land Records STW#9, p. 367 10 Sept 1810 - 20 Oct 1810 Samuel Wright, City of Balto., to Joseph H. Nicholson and Nathaniel Williams of Balto. cons. $1000 - one-half of the lot, wharf and granary at the head of Corsica Creek, conv. to Sam. Wright and Wm. Chambers by R.T. Earle. Wit: John Brevitt. [This is right near the Captain's Houses in Centreville, where the present day bridge going out of town on Chesterfield Avenue is... there was a wharf there because at that time Centreville had deep water, there was a mill and a granary... AND at one time there was a Creamery... hence the name "Creamery Lane today... so this part of Centreville was the "industrial district" of its time).

    Queen Anne's Co. Land Recrds STW#9, p. 400 8 Oct. 1810 - 29 Nov. 1810 Jos. H. Nicholson of Balto. to Edw. Lloyd of Talbot Co., cons. $5 - 27 acres part of "Dockery's Lot" near the head of Corsica Creek, also 300 acres part of "Chesterfield" conv. 12 July 800 to Joseph by Elizabeth Nicholson - also part of "Westminster," 100 5/8 acres conv. by Robt. Watlers 5 Nov. 1800 and by Wm. H. Nicholson, 6 Nov. 1800 (ecept a part of "Chesterfield" inclosed by a brick wall for a graveyard) and the following slaves:.... also all livestock on the farm "Chesterfield", all the silver plate and furniture in my dwelling in Baltimore, also a coachee and a par of gray carriage horese, all in Balto., security for a loan of $29,000. [Yikes! He bet the farm!]

    Queen Anne's Co. Land Records, STW#8, p. 232 2 Aug 1806 Joseph H. Nicholson to Ebenezer Covington - cons. $250 c. - 1/4 of lot 13 in Centreville, being the lower quarter; and 3/4 acres of Lot no. 12 - ajd. a lot conv. by Elizabeth Nicholson to Daniel Cox Hopper, in all 1 acre.

    Queen Anne's Co. Land Records STW#9, p. 275 (The left-hand side of this page is blotted out) --- 1807 - 28 May 1807 ------- Joseph Nicholson of Balto. Co. -------- Samuel Harrison of Talbot Co. ------------ of a tract of and called "Sayer's Forest", --------- "Jackson's Choice" and one other -------- road leading to Kent Narrows ----- purchased by Capt. Blake -------- 17 p. to Eastern Bay ------ mouth of Jenkins Creek, containing 261 1/4 a. Wit: James Tilghman Josh H. Nicholson and Rebecca his wife, e/a bef James Tilghman

    Queen Anne's Co. Land Records JB #3, p. 036. 9 Nov. 1812 - 21 April 1813 Edw. Lloyd of TA Co. to Henry Darden, cons. $5 part of "Dockery's Lot" near the head of Corsica Creek, purchased of Jos. H. Nicholson, 8 Dec. 1810 by way of a mortgage, including part of "Chesterfield". Ack. bef. Richard Earle, Chief Judge 2nd district. (This lot is probably located near the present day boat landing in Centreville which IS the head of the Corsica... it is just down the road and on the right heading out of Centreville past Clayton Carter's house on Chesterfield Ave.)

    4. From Scott Sheads, National Park Service, Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland

    Nicholson, Joseph ID-143 [no dh; town]

    General List of dwelling Houses (#71):

    Occupant: Joseph H. Nicholson:

    ....1 building...2 acres...$200

    [Note that on the Particular Dwellings List, the property chart indicates no dwelling houses, 1 out house, and two acres,valued at

    Particular Dwellings List (#71):

    Occupant: Joseph H. Nicholson

    One Office 12 by 16
    3 windows 44 by 28, 1 do. 44 by 20

    Centreville Town Assessment for 1798:

    Nicholson, Joseph H.

    Lot No. 14 North, one acre, unimproved......151.64
    Lot No. 15 North, one acre, improved..........200.00

    Particular Slaves List: [not listed]

    Summary Tax List (p. 25):

    Wye #71 [ID-143]
    Dwellings List:.....1 building...2 acres...$200...1st rate @ 2/10 $0.40...
    Lands List: N/A
    Slaves: N/A

    Total Tax: $0.40

    Census of 1800: Joseph H. Nicholson (3 whites; 1 free; 7 slaves)

    1 white male 26-44 1 white female 26-44
    1 white male under 10

    2 other free person
    7 slaves


    > Joseph H. Nicholson is listed elsewhere on the Tax as the occupant of Sarah Betton's two story brick dwelling house on Lot No. 18, the Dyre Betton House at 102 South Liberty Street (QA-161), built in 1794.

    > Joseph H. Nicholson is listed among the Centreville Town Commissioner in attendance at their first recorded meeting on March 2, 1797. The minutes for May 23, 1801 note that "On removal of Joseph H. Nicholson, of of the Commissioner...John W. Hackett was unanimously chosen." The term "removal" is used elsewhere in the Minutes when a member moved out of town.

    > On August 4, 1804, the Commissioners debated the merits of filing suit against Joseph H. Nicholson, Esquire "regarding his hogs".


    Nicholson is listed as the occupant of Sarah Betton's large brick house on Lot No. 18 North (102 South Liberty Street). This is reasonable given that Nicholson's two Centreville lots do not include a dwelling house. However, it is not clear where Sarah Betton and her family are living. See ID-143 for Joseph Nicholson's property holdings and ID-10 for Sarah Betton.

    In 1800, Nicholson's household consisted of 3 whites, 1 other free person, and 7 slaves. Sarah Betton;s household included 4 whites and 12 slaves.

    5. Marriages & Deaths from The Maryland Gazette

    Nicholson, the Hon. Joseph Hopper, died yesterday, aged 47 years, Chief Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and a Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland. (March 13, 1817)


    A. Listed in, [Baltimore, 1810] The Baltimore Directory for 1810
    Name: Joseph H. Nicholson
    Dates: 1801-1825
    Location: Town: Baltimore American County:Maryland Baltimore
    Gender: Male Address: opposite 249, Baltimore street Town: Baltimore American County: Maryland Source Date: 1810 Source Info:

    B. Listed in, [Ba
  • Change Date: 7 Aug 2012 at 23:21:45

    Father: Joseph NICHOLSON Jr. b: 17/28 Feb 1732/1733 in Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland
    Mother: Elizabeth HOPPER b: 11/18 Nov 1739 in Queen Anne's County, Maryland

    Marriage 1 Rebecca LLOYD b: 16 Oct 1771 in "Wye House", Talbot County, Maryland
    • Married: 10 Oct 1793 in Wye House, Talbot County, Maryland 1
    1. Has No Children Edward Lloyd NICHOLSON b: 11 Sep 1795
    2. Has No Children Joseph Hopper NICHOLSON b: 15 Jul 1797
    3. Has No Children Edward Lloyd NICHOLSON b: 9 Feb 1800 in Baltimore, Maryland
    4. Has No Children Elizabeth Hopper NICHOLSON b: 9 Apr 1804
    5. Has Children Joseph Hopper NICHOLSON b: 10 Oct 1806 in Baltimore, Maryland
    6. Has Children James Macon NICHOLSON b: 6 Apr 1808 in Baltimore, Maryland
    7. Has No Children Mary Hopper NICHOLSON b: AFT 1793

    1. Title: Eastern Shore Newspaper Abstracts
      Text: Oct 15 1793
      Married Thursday evening by Rev Collin Ferguson, Joseph H. Nicholson to Miss Rebecca B. Lloyd, dau of Col Edward Lloyd of Talbot.
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