Horatio Nelson
1811 - 1859

 Relationship to me: Great Great Grandfather Gen -4
 Born: 1811
 Died: 1859
 Age 48  
 Father:   James Nelson
 Mother:   Alice Wormald 1779 - ????
 Married: Ann Rhodes m. 6 September 1837 at Wakefield (St John's Church) c1817 - ????
 Children: Mary Ann Rhodes at Eckington Derbyshire 1839 - ????
  Horatio Rhodes - at Sevenoakes? (see below) 1841 - ????
  William - at St George Hanover Square (see below) 1844 - ????
  Herbert - at Holywell (see below) 1846 - ????
  Adah Rhodes b. Bradford Yorkshire 1849 - 1921

From Debbie Hill - 15 Feb 05:  Marriage certificate of Horatio Nelson and Ann Rhodes. Vol.22 p.395. Horatio's profession is 'civil engineer'. At the time of the marriage, Horatio lived at Horbury. Witnesses were Mary Ann Robson and P. Heptonstall.  By the birth of his youngest daughter, Adah, Horatio is described as a 'railway contractor'. (See Adah's birth certificate.) Interestingly, Horatio seems to have inherited much of his father-in-law's property only a year or so before departing for India where he was employed in the building of the Bombay to Poona railway.

Oliver Suffield records that Horatio died of cholera in India in 1859 (see anecdote on his daughter Adah's page). This is confirmed on the Families in British India Society (FIBIS) which includes reference to his death in 1859:- "at Chinchpoogly, Mr. Horatio Nelson, Railway Contractor, aged 48 years 7 months, of diarrhoea", being from the Bombay Almanac of 1860 - see Fibis's website.

Note: If Horatio was a civil engineer in 1837 and a railway contractor in 1849, he may well have been involved in railway construction in England during the period of George Hudson's "Railway Bubble". Quite possibly the bursting of the bubble in 1849, and the subsequent decline in railway construction in England, may have had something to do with Horatio's decision to work in India, but this is purely speculation on my part.

Horatio's name does not appear with those of his wife and family on the 1851 census records of Bradford which could indicate that he had already left for India.

See David Nelson's website http://www.nelsonfamilies.com/index.php/horatio-nelson-indian-railway-contractor for further information about Horatio and his railway contracting work. In case the website becomes inaccessible, the following words are taken from it:

Like most of the early railways in India, the Great Indian Peninsula Railway (GIPR) was a British company, registered in London, privately owned and financed, operating under licence and guarantee from the (British) Board of Control in India and the East India Company (EIC). The GIPR was India and Asia's first railway. Formed in 1845, it was not until 1849 (at the urging of the then Governor, Lord Dalhousie) that the EIC sanctioned the GIPR to construct an experimental line, built to the broad gauge of 5' 6", eastward from Bombay. The first sod was turned on 31 October 1850 and the first locomotive was used in construction on 22 December 1851, but the first passenger train in India did not run until 16 April 1853, when a train, with 14 railway carriages and 400 guests, left Bombay bound for Thane, hauled by three locomotives: Sindh, Sultan, and Sahib. The 21-mile journey took an hour and fifteen minutes over the first section of the GIPR to be opened. By 1859, GIPR was tasked with "the construction and working of the following lines, all of which terminate at Bombay, - viz. from Bombay, via Callian, to Jubbulpore, to meet the East Indian Railway Company's line from Allahabad, with branches to Mahim and Nagpore - 870 miles; and from Callian, via Poonah and Sholapore, to the opposite side of the river Kristna, to meet the line, via Bellary, from Madras - 366 miles - total, 1,236 miles. Capital 10,000,000ll. Rate of Interest Guaranteed - 5 per cent on £8,000,000 capital, and 4½ per cent. on £333,000 debentures, the balance to be raised upon arrangements to be hereafter made.” When, in 1871, the GIPR eventually reached Jubbulpore and linked to the East Indian Railway (EIR), it completed Dalhousie’s dream of a Bombay-Calcutta route.

The contract was awarded (autumn 1855) to William Frederick Faviell and work begun at Bhore Ghat on 24 January 1856. Presumably Horatio Nelson worked to or with him. In March 1859, Faviell gave up his contract; for a short time, two GIPR engineers, Swainson Adamson and George Louis Clowser, carried on the work. The GIPR construction contract was relet in November 1859 to Solomon Tredwell who died within fifteen days of landing in India. His wife, Alice Tredwell, assumed the contract and appointed Messrs Adamson and Clowser to manage the contract for her in her absence, as Mrs Tredwell returned to England. This arrangement was to last seven years. “These gentlemen (Adamson and Clowser) carried on the work with the greatest zeal and ability.” Labour management could limit construction progress, but “by their good and liberal management (Adamson and Clowser) collected and kept on the work a force of 25,000 men during two seasons, and in 1861 of more than 42,000 men.”

Page updated: 4 Aug 2015 - Link to FIBIS website added.
Page updated: 17 May 2012 - link to David Nelson's website added.
Page Created: 15 Feb 2005