Thomas Nelson (1780–1861) was born in Throsk, Scotland. He began selling used books in Edinburgh and then cheap copies of Christian classics like Baxter's Saints Rest. In 1814, he married Margaret Black. His two sons, William (1816–1887) and Thomas Jr. (1822–1892) entered the business and he changed the name to "Thomas Nelson and Sons."
Children of Thomas and Margaret Nelson:
1. Anne Nelson (?–1909) – married Mr. George Brown (1818–1880) in 1862. The Honorable George Brown was a journalist and politician in Canada.
2. Thomas Jr. – entered his father's publishing business.
3. William – entered his father's publishing business.
4. James (?–1896)
5. John Nelson – Rev. Dr. John Nelson of Greenock.