? asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

was major william neilson (civil war)a freemason?

Update:

not walker,but middle initial "g'.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
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    -Captain William Walker Neilson was born in County Donegal, Ireland on 15 February 1792 to Nathaniel Neilson and Jane Crawford. Apparently, his father died in 1795 and his Mother and family immigrated to Baltimore in 1798. William's older brother, James Crawford Neilson (b 1776) may have immigrated to America earlier and became a well-established merchant in Baltimore.

    William Neilson was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the first Regiment of U.S. Dragoons on May 1, 1812, commanded by Colonel Leonard Covington. The Regiment was posted in the small town of Washington, just north of Natchez, Mississippi Territory. The War of 1812 in Mississippi was mainly an Indian affairs war, as the Dragoons fought with local militia against the Creek Indians and their allies. Before this struggle began in earnest, the Dragoons were sent to Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario in New York. This base was a staging area for American campaigns against the British in Canada. William Neilson was promoted to 1st Lt. on June 7, 1813, and was ordered to Sackets Harbor on July 22, 1813, and spent the war taking part in the border campaigns. He was a brevetted Captain during the war, but the promotion was not permanent.

    William must have been a good soldier since he was allowed to remain in the army after the war. As usual at the end of hostilities, the U.S. Army had more men that it required, and those wishing to remain in service went before a review board. William was given the rank of first Lieutenant in the "Peace Establishment," and sent to Pensacola, Florida to join the Fourth U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to Captain in the Fourth Infantry on Dec 1, 1816. He resigned in 1817, and it is speculated that after his resignation he passed through the new territory on the Tombigbee River near Columbus, MS. and decided to return and settle there. 1

    Returning home after Army service on the Gulf coast in 1817/1818, he stopped in the future Lowndes County, Mississippi with his Army friend , Captain Edward Randolph, and secured land there for his future home and farm. Land north and east of Columbus had been ceded first by the Chickasaw Treaty of 20 September 1816 and then the Treaty of Fort St. Stephens with the Choctaw on 20 September 1816. Based on information provided by descendants, he apparently returned to the Northeast and married his first wife, Sarah Helena Frazier (born March 25, 1798) on 30 March 1822 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sarah was the daughter of Nalbro Frazier and Anne West 2. They returned to Lowndes County (then known as part of Monroe Co) and began building their home, Belmont, on the land he had previously secured. This land and home is located about 9 miles northeast of Columbus off Military Road (Mississippi Hwy 12) on Neilson Road. It is one of the oldest existing homes still standing in Lowndes County.

    An Irishman from Baltimore built their home, Belmont, sometime between 1822 and 1826 using slave labor.3 It remained in the family until sold by the Neilson heirs after Miss Sarah Dandridge Neilson, William's Granddaughter and resident of Belmont, died in 1967. However, the original farmland of 320 acres remains in the Neilson family through the heirs of William Barry Neilson.

    Captain William Walker Neilson established a large plantation and his name is noted in Lowndes Co maps depicting the county in 1831/1832 with a notation "Neilson Mound" which was used as a burial mound of Chickasaw, Choctaw or the Mound Indians. It is also noted on this early map a depiction that Hernando DeSota may have camped near this land during his Spanish exploration in 1540, though this is unproven.

    William Walker Neilson and Sarah Helena Frazier had the following children:

    1.Anne Frazier Neilson born 14 January 1823 in Lowndes County

    2. Edward Randolph Neilson born 1 November 1824 in Lowndes County

    3.Charles Abert Neilson born 14 September 1826 in Lowndes County

    4.Jane Crawford Neilson born 17 October 1828 in Lowndes County

    5.William Walker Neilson (Jr?) born 21 January 1831 in Lowndes County

    6.Catherine Cabot Neilson born 3 April 1833 in Lowndes County

    7.Elizabeth Randolph Neilson born 19 January 1835 in Lowndes County

    Sadly, Sarah Helena Frazier Neilson apparently died in childbirth on January 19, 1835 and is buried in Vaughn's cemetery, Mt Pleasant Methodist Church, which is near the land owned by William Neilson.

    William Neilson was converted to Methodism after wandering into nearby Vaughn's Campground while looking for cattle that he thought had been stolen by Indians in the area. The Reverend George Shaeffer was preaching at the time and may have later been a pastor at Mr. Pleasant Methodist Church. He later became the pastor at the Columbus First Methodist Church 4. William Neilson and Edward Randolph were two of the original five Trustees to form the church. This is officially recorded in the Deed on May 14, 1833 from John and Susannah Vaughn of 5.56 acres of land for Mt Pleasant .

  • Spydr
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    To be sure, check with the Grand Lodge of the state in which he lived. If he was a Freemason, there will be a record of his joining.

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