Nelson Tift, founder of the City of Albany, was born at Groton, Conn., July 23, 1810. In 1833 he established a mercantile business in Augusta, Georgia. After a sojourn in Hawkinsville he moved to Albany, then in Baker County, in 1836.
Politically active, Col. Tift served as justice of the peace; delegate to the State Convention, 1840; justice of the Inferior Court; member Georgia House of Representatives for several terms, member of Congress, 1868-1869. He was re-elected but was not seated the next term. He was a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention in 1877.
Founder of the Augusta Guards in 1835, Tift was elected Colonel of the Baker County Militia in 1840. During the War Between the States he operated a beef and pork packing plant and hardtack factory in Albany without remuneration.
Col. Tift owned an extensive plantation, operated lumber, flour and corn-meal mills, promoted the building of several railroads, and edited and published the Albany Patriot.
He died November 21, 1891, and is buried in Oakview Cemetery. Tift County is named for him.