Lewis L. “Ted” Neilson, Jr. was born in Bryn Mawr, PA to Lewis Levick Neilson and Caroline Reed Molthan. He is married to Carol Newhall Neilson and they have two daughters, Sarah Newhall Neilson and Anne Reed Neilson. His family resides in Villanova, PA.
His interest in genealogy and history continues a family tradition. His mother, Mrs. Caroline Reed Molthan (Neilson) (Wurts), did extensive genealogical research. His grandmother, Mrs. Winthrop Cunningham Neilson, was enrolled in the National Society Magna Charta Dames in 1929. His grandfather, Brigadier General Emil Henry Molthan, served as Commander of the Pa. Commandery, Military Order of Foreign Wars. His great grandfather, Lewis J. Levick, was a member of a number of hereditary societies including the Society of Colonial Wars and Colonial Society of PA.
Ted’s genealogical journey was inspired by a family collection of historical books and collections, primarily relating to early Quaker Ancestry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He was enrolled in the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania, elected a member of Council and discovered an impressive community interested in its family history and the legacy of its ancestors. After having the privilege of leading several Societies, with the assistance of kind mentors, Ted was offered the opportunity in 1989 to continue the Old World Hereditary Societies. The initial challenge was the required conversion from written to digital membership records. The Societies are now thriving.
The Old World Societies provide a reminder of ancestral accomplishments inspiring a sense of responsibility to continue tradition. The culture of friendship and fellowship and successor members encourages participation; not only ancestral education but also reinforced family connections between recent generations.
A treasured experience was recognizing the 800th Anniversary of Magna Charta, standing where his ancestors stood, in 1215 and then 2025, and shaking the hand of Queen Elizabeth II a descendant of King John. Another treasured experience was serving as an Officer with the First Troop Philadelphia Cavalry, a unit which began service with George Washington upholding values from Magna Charta. Ted was mounted on horseback with the Troop in the inaugural parade for President Ronald Reagan.
Ted graduated from the Hotchkiss School, received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Babson College, received a J. D. from Delaware Law School of Widener University and received an L.L.M. in Taxation from Temple University. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. He is a Lieutenant Colonel having served over 24 years in the Pennsylvania National Guard including 13 years as a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He initially served as an officer in the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry of which he is now a member of the Honorary Roll. Ted is a principal in the law firm of Stewart and Neilson in Wyndmoor, PA.
Memberships & Organizations With Founding Dates
Additional Memberships & Honors:
Ted’s additional commitment to public service and education includes one year as Chairman of the Special Gifts Section of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and four years, 2008 to 2012, as President the Philadelphia City Institute Library, founded in Philadelphia in 1852.