Nicholson, Francis, 1655–1728, British colonial administrator in North America. Lieutenant governor under Sir Edmund Andros, he fled (1689) to England during the revolt in New York led by Jacob Leisler. He returned (1690) to America as lieutenant governor of Virginia and was later governor of Maryland (1694–98) and governor of Virginia (1698–1705). A Modest Answer to a Malicious Libel (1704) is a defense of his conduct in quarrels in Virginia. In 1709 Nicholson led an expedition against Port Royal (now Annapolis Royal, N.S.) and the next year successfully occupied the town, recording his experiences in the Journal of an Expedition … for the Reduction of Port Royal (1711). He was named (1713) governor of Nova Scotia, but his term of office ended on the death of Queen Anne in 1714. He was (1720–25) royal governor of South Carolina. During all his administrations he actively promoted education and the Church of England.
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