Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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NICHOLSON, Alfred Osborn Pope, senator, born in Williamson county, Tennessee, 31 August, 1808; died in Columbia, Tennessee, 23 March, 1876. He was graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1827, and studied medicine, but, abandoning it for law, was admitted to the bar in 1831, and began practice at, Columbia, Tennessee He edited "The Western Mercury" at Columbia in 1832-'5, "The Nashville Union " in 1844-'6, and " The Washington Union "in 1853-'6. Mr. Nicholson was a member of the state house of representatives from 1833 till 1839, and was appointed a United States senator from Tennessee, in place of Felix Grundy, as a Democrat, serving from 11 January, 1841, till 3 March, 1843. He was chancellor of the middle division of Tennessee in 1845-'51, president of the Bank of Tennessee in 1846-'7, and printer of the house of representatives during the 33d congress, and of the senate during the 34th. He was a member of the convention that met at Nashville in 1850, and delivered there an eloquent address in favor of the compromise propositions that were then before congress. He was a member of the Democratic national convention of 1852, and was offered by President Pierce a cabinet appointment, which he declined. In 1857 Mr. Nicholson was elected to the United States senate and served until 3 March, 1861, when he retired, and was formally expelled on 3 July of that year for his connection with the secession movement. During the war he was twice arrested at Columbia and imprisoned. In 1870 he was elected a member of the convention to revise the constitution of the state, and the same year he was appointed chief justice of the supreme court of Tennessee. He was the author of a letter to aspirants for the presidency in 1848, which became famous under the name of the "Nicholson letter."
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