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Wilson Cary NICHOLAS

Wilson Cary Nicholas was an American politician who served in the U.S. Senate from 1799 to 1804 and was the 19th Governor of Virginia from 1814 to 1816.


  • Nicholas was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1799 and became a prominent Jeffersonian. He resigned in 1804, but Jefferson asked him to return to Congress; he won a House seat in 1806 but served only one term due to ill health. In 1814, he was elected governor of Virginia and served through the end of the War of 1812. He was a strong supporter of education and helped Jefferson with his plan for the University of Virginia.Nicholas also served as president of the Richmond branch of the Second Bank of the United States. His speculations in western lands put him in serious debt during the Panic of 1819. Having convinced Thomas Jefferson to endorse two of his notes for $10,000 each, he also plunged Jefferson into debt.


During the deliberations, on June 6, 1788, Nicholas countered Patrick's Henry's objection that correcting defects in the new national Constitution by way of the Article V convention would be excessively difficult. Said Nicholas: "The conventions which shall be so called will have their deliberations confined to a few points; no local interest to divert their attention; nothing but the necessary alterations. They will have many advantages over the last Convention. No experiments to devise; the general and fundamental regulations being already laid down."

Party affiliation: Democratic Republican Party


  • father: Robert
  • mother: Anne
  • Wife: Margaret
  • brother: John
  • Remote Relative: Robert Charter
  • Friend: Thomas
Wilson Cary NICHOLAS
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Died October 10, 1820
(aged 59)
  • 1814
    Governor of Virginia
    Virginia, United States


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  • Relatives
    • Robert Charter Nicholas
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