From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Merry, Nelson G.

(born: 1824  -  died: 1884) 

Nelson G. Merry was a Kentucky slave who moved to Nashville, TN, with his master. At the age of 16 he was willed to the First Baptist Church, which freed him in 1845.

Merry was a preacher at the First Colored Baptist Church; in 1853 he became the first ordained African American minister in Nashville. The First Colored Baptist Church became the largest church in Tennessee with more than 2,000 members.

Merry founded several African American churches and the Tennessee Colored Baptist Association. For a year, he was editor of The Colored Sunday School Standard.

Merry was the husband of Mary Ann Merry, (b. 1830 in TN). In 1860 the family of seven lived in Nashville's 4th Ward.

For more see "History of Nelson G. Merry," The Tennessee Tribune, Spirituality & Issues section, vol. 17, issue 49 (Dec 14, 2006), p. D5; and the "First Baptist Church, Capitol HIll, Nashville" by B. L. Lovett in The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture [online version].

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Colored Sunday School standard (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Tennessee tribune (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry


Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Merry, Nelson G.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2024,

Last modified: 2020-11-16 18:01:20