Name: DAVID NELSON
Birth: 1740'S in London, England
Death: 18 JUL 1789 in Timor
Occupation: Bounty Botanist
He was directly appointed by Sir Joseph Banks, having previously performed the same duties
for Capt. Cook's third voyage, thus was well known by Bligh. He had been a Kew Gardens
botanist. He was described by Capt. Clerke as 'one of the quietest fellows in nature'.
He actually designed and oversaw the conversion of the Bounty required to house the
breadfruit through the weeks of transport. His earlier relationship (during the Cook voyage)
with the Tahitians was the key to the Bounty's quick acceptance on their arrival.
He was equally respected and liked by all the crew and officers. The mutineers ordered him
below so he would not become even peripherally involved. Despite the fact that he was no
doubt one of the oldest men on the Bounty, he enthusiastically went about his duties with the
vigor of a much younger man, constantly relishing the opportunity to study the native
The voyage in the launch, however, was very hard on him. During the voyage of the Launch,
he appears to have sided with Bligh in the disputes with Fryer. About a week before the
landing on Timor, he was taken quite ill with "a burning in the bowels, loss of sight, and
inability to walk" which he attributed to eating poisonous berries that he could not identify.
He died on 20 Jul 1789, about five weeks after their arrival at Timor, of an inflammatory
fever. In his log, Bligh wrote at the time of Nelson's death, "The loss of this honest man bears
very heavy on my mind, his duty and integrity went hand in hand, and he had accomplished
through great care and diligence the object he was sent for, always forwarding every plan I had
for the good of the service we were on. He was equally serviceable on the [Launch] voyage,
in the course of which he always gave me pleasure by conducting himself with resolution and
Nelson was buried the next day with full honors. The corpse was carried by 12 soldiers
dressed in black, followed by the Governor, ten gentlemen of the town, the officers of all ships
in Timor harbor, and finally by all Bounty crewmembers. He was interred behind the chapel
in a burial-ground appropriated to the Europeans living on the island. No tombstone was
available to be placed.
On a later voyage to Tasmania, in 1792, Bligh named a high spot as "Nelson's Hill" as "he
was the first white man on it". This later became known as Mount Nelson, and is the present
day location of Hobart University, a distinction that the old scientist would have very much
Father: OTHER BOUNTY LOYALISTS