Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
February 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Robert Nelson


Nelson, Robert (1794-1873), rebel, was born in Montreal, Lower Canada, in January, 1794, the son of William Nelson, and brother of Wolfred Nelson. He studied medicine, and served in the War of 1812 as a regimental surgeon. In 1827 he was elected, with Louis Joseph Papineau, to represent Montreal in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada; and he supported Papineau in his demand for reforms. He took no active part in the rebellion of 1837; but in 1838 he went to the United States, and organized a force of filibusters, with which he invaded Canada. He proclaimed Canada a republic, and styled himself "president of the provisional government." He was defeated at Lacolle and Odelltown by the loyalist forces, and fled to the United States. For a time he lived in California, but during the last eleven years of his life he practised as a consulting surgeon in New York. He died at Gifford's, Staten Island, on March 1, 1873. He was the author of a number of papers on medical subjects. See C. E. Nelson, Robert Nelson (New York medical register, 1873).

Source: W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. IV, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 400p., p. 389.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College