The Curious Family of Maggie Nation

Maggie Nation has always been somewhat of a mystery in my husband’s family. She was born in 1892 in Kentucky, but was enumerated in the 1900 census living with her mother Tildy, Clay Nation and two other children.

We have:

Natons, Clay C., Head, born September 1873
Natons, Tildy J., Wife, born July 1871
Natons, Magie, Step Daughter, born March 1892
Nations, James, Son, born Jan 1896
Natons, Ether L. (should be Ethel), Daughter, born April 1900

Tildy reported that she had given birth to five children, four surviving, but only three are in this household. I’ve never figured out who or where the fourth child was.

Clay and Tilda had been married for five years according to this record, but their marriage record says otherwise:

Clay and Tilda actually married in Clay County, Tennessee on 20 June 1896, five months after the birth of son James. Although I cropped the census page, FYI, Clay and daughter Ethel were born in Tennessee. Tilda, Maggie and James were all born in Kentucky, probably Cumberland County, where the Dulworth family lived and where the Nation family lived on and off as they migrated back and forth between the two states.

Dave’s mother, Ruby, said the only “full blooded” sister that her mother, Ethel, had was her sister, Addie Florence, who wasn’t born until after the 1900 census. That implied that Maggie wasn’t a child of Clay Nation and that is supported by the 1900 census, which identifies her as a step daughter.

So who was Maggie Nation’s father? I thought it was a bit odd that she was named as a stepchild of Clay’s, but still given the Nation name and not the surname of her father or, if her mother wasn’t married at the time, her mother’s maiden name of Dulworth.

This past week, I decided to try to trace what became of Maggie Dulworth, as I had a name for her husband – Pierce Miller – but no other information.

A marriage appears in Overton County, Tennessee on 21 August 1910 for Pierce Miller and Maggie Nation. Unfortunately, they were both of age so no parental information is included on the marriage license.

Leaf hints showed the Pierce Miller was born on 8 January 1891 in Tennessee and he died on 21 October 1975 in Fresno County, California. There was also a link to Find A Grave with yet another link to his spouse “Mary Margaret Reiner,” who was buried in Anadarko, Caddo, Oklahoma, which makes sense because the Nation family moved to Oklahoma in the early 1900’s.

Someone kindly included a transcription of Maggie’s obituary:

The Carnegie Herald, Wed., Feb. 13, 1957
Reiner Funeral Is Held Monday At Local Church

Funeral services for Mrs. Joe Reiner were held at 2 p.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church, Carnegie, with Rev. W.F Crow officiating, Rev. J.J. McRee, pastor of the Carnegie Missionary Baptist church, assisted. Burial was at Anadarko, OK.

Mrs. Reiner, 64, was in her usual health when she was stricken suddenly with a heart attack and died about 1:30 p.m. Friday in her home. She was born May 28, 1892, in Clay County, Tenn. She came to Caddo county in 1925 and to the Carnegie community 14 years ago. She was married to Joe Reiner in 1941 in Duncan. Mrs. Reiner was converted at the early age of 12 in Tennessee and was baptized into the Baptist church.

She is survived by her 2nd husband, Joe Reiner; three sons and three daughters from 1st husband Pierce Miller; Odell Miller, Henry Miller and Clifton Miller, all of Sanger, Calif.; Mrs. Aline (Miller) Spence, Oklahoma City, Mrs. Alvie Dean (Miller) Morgan, Ponca City, and Mrs. Ovie (Miller) Cutshall of Bakersfield, Calif.; three brothers, Johnny Nation, Anadarko, Arlie Nation, Sanger, and Hazel Nation of Portersville, Calif.; her step-mother, Mrs. Mortiela Nation, also of Portersville; and 19 grandchildren: Ron and Darlene Miller (Odell’s children), Linda, Terry, Susan, Rick, Don, Diane and Mike (Henry’s children), Teresa, Lelan, Stanley, Harold and Clarissa (Clifton’s children), Helen and Ellen (Ovie’s twin daughter’s) of whom Ellen preceded Maggie in death in 1951.

Now, there was definitely a surprise here. First, notice it said her birthday was 28 May 1892 and that she was born in Clay County, TN. The 1900 census gave her birth month as March, but that could either have been census taker error or else whoever supplied the information gave it incorrectly. Clay and Tildy were both illiterate and couldn’t even so much as sign their names.

The bigger surprise was that one of her survivors was “her step-mother, Mrs. Mortiela Nation.” The given name is misspelled – this is Martelia Nation, wife of Clay Nation’s brother, Henry Jackson Nation!

This piece of information sent me back to the 1900 census looking for Henry and his family. Clay Nation was enumerated on 3 June 1900. Here is his brother, Henry, in 1900, living in Clay County, Tennessee next door to his and Clay’s parents, Joseph Michael Nation and Christianna Riddle Nation:

In this household, enumerated on 8 June 1900, we have:

Henry J., Head, born May 1866
Marteley, Wife, born January 1875
Maggie, Daughter, born May 1892
Willie E., Daughter, born June 1898
Harrison C., Son, born January 1900

Martelia reported giving birth to three children, all living. Henry and Martelia had been married for five years and a marriage record can also be found for them on 19 July 1894 in Overton County.

Interestingly, there is another marriage for “HJ Nation” on 28 August 1890 to Miss Cinda Tranbarger, also in Overton County and Find A Grave has a memorial to Cinda (although someone has combined Cinda and Martelia into one person) with a death date of 25 December 1893, no gravestone image shown.

I believe that both Maggie Nations in the 1900 census – the 8 year old living with Clay and Tilda and the 8 year old living with Henry and Martelia – are the same person and I believe Tilda was the mother. I particularly believe this because family information said Clay’s Maggie married Pierce Miller.

It appears that Henry Jackson Nation was Maggie’s father and Matilda Jane Dulworth was her mother, even though Henry was married to Lucinda at the time of Maggie’s conception. Even more difficult must have been the situation of Maggie living with her mother’s family since Clay’s brother and Clay’s wife appear to be Maggie’s natural parents.

The Nation and Dulworth families remained tangled into the 1900’s when Clay was arrested for, tried and acquitted of the murder of his brother-in-law, Jacob Dulworth, in 1913.

Oklahoma keeps death records closed to all except close family members until 75 years have passed. Maggie Nation Miller Reiner died in 1957 so it will be fifteen more years until her death certificate becomes public. I would love to see who is listed as her parents.

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