Isaac Nation and Wives Margaret Tillman, ?Unknown and Jane Robbins

Isaac Nation was born c1790, North Carolina. He is said to be the son of William Nation (1755-1809) and Jane (MNU) (c1765-1819). However, I have no documentation for this, so it might be correct – or not!

What is proven, though, is that Isaac Nation married Margaret Tillman on 27 February 1812 in Preble County, Ohio. The Nation family was still living in Preble County for the 1820 census:

The three sons under 10 would be William, Henry and Isaac. the girl under 10 is either a child who died young or daughter Emeline. In 1850, Emeline was enumerated 29 years old, so born 1821. If she was actually 31, she would fit the 1820 census profile.

By 1830, Isaac Nation had moved to Overton County, Tennessee, which has no birth, marriage, death or probate records until 1867 and later.

Margaret was likely born c1792 and likely died between 1824, when daughter Catherine was born, and 1830, when the eldest female in the household was 20-29 years old. The 1830 census accounts for Isaac’s known children, except for one female, born c1825 and one male, born c1826-1830. The female who was 20-29 years old was likely a second wife and it is possible that the two unidentified children were hers, or at least the youngest male was hers.

In 1840, Isaac Nation was living in Fentress County, Tennessee. Again the eldest female was 20-29, although he is enumerated as 40-49. I am assuming that this female is his second wife, Jane Robbins, who doesn’t appear named in any census record. She apparently died before 1850.

Fentress County records are more sparse than Overton County’s as they have no vital records or probate before 1905.

The 1840 census accounts for Issaac’s younger known children, but also has an unidentified male, born 1826-1830, a female about the same age (who could possibly be Catherine) and an unknown female, born 1836-1840.

By 1850, Isaac and Jane had apparently both died. Neither are found in the census. Family lore states that Isaac Nation and his family decided to join the Peters Colony near Dallas, Texas and set out in 1848. Isaac reportedly caught smallpox and was buried on 28 August 1848 on the banks of Duck Creek at the east fork of the Trinity River. I have no idea whether the burial date is accurate or contrived, but with such a detailed description of where he died, I tend to believe that the family made this trek and that Isaac died on the way. Perhaps Jane also died at about the same time..

However, by 1850, Isaac’s two youngest children were living with daughter Catherine and her husband, Jones Ledbetter in Fentress County, Tennessee.


Ledbetter Family, 1850, with Nation Children
Source: Ancestry

Isaac Nation had the following known children. The first six were probably the children of Margaret Tillman.:

  1. William, born c1812, Preble County, Ohio; died 1886, Stoddard County, Missouri; married (1) Mary Ann Hale (2) Charlotte.
  2. Henry, born c1814, Preble County, Ohio; died after 1860, possibly Arkansas County, Arkansas or Scott County, Missouri; married (1) Unknown, but possibly a Ledbetter (2) Unknown (3) Mary Riddle. Mary was born c1825; died after 1880.
  3. Isaac, born c1815, Preble County, Ohio; died after 1830; no further record.
  4. Emeline, born c1821, Preble County, Ohio or Overton County, Tennessee; reportedly died 11 August 1852, Stoddard County, Missouri; married William M. Hale. He was born c1817; died 31 July 1850, per court minutes taken when his will was presented.
  5. Jacob, born c1822, Tennessee; died before 16 September 1856, when his estate was admitted to probate; married Susan Winningham. She was born c1823.
  6. Catherine, born 28 September 1824, Tennessee; died 15 November 1912, Marion County, Arkansas; married (1) Jones Ledbetter. He was born c1825; died 1 November 1862, Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri in war service. (2) Isaac Taber, c1865. He was born c1814.

The remaining four children are likely children of Jane Robbins.

7. Isaac Jackson, born c1835, Tennessee; name is from family lore
8. Margaret, born c1837, Tennessee; name is from family lore
9. Mary, born c1840, Tennessee; died after 1850
10. Vina A., born c1842, Tennessee; died after 1860

There is definitely a lack of documentation for many of these family members. Living in burned counties and being illiterate doesn’t help matters any. I’d love to hear from you if you can add more details to this family’s story.

One thought on “Isaac Nation and Wives Margaret Tillman, ?Unknown and Jane Robbins”

  1. I live near Lyons Cemetery in Sunnyvale, TX. Last Memorial Day there was a dedication and a new headstone and Veteran marker for his service during the War of 1812. I wanted to add a picture, but not able to.
    Headstone reads:
    In memory of Isaac Nation
    Price’s Regt
    2 Ohio Mil
    War of 1812
    1790
    Aug. 28th, 1848

    goggle map coordinates: 32.832475, -96.561409

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