Category Archives: Robins

Sylvester Columbus Robbins & Rosetta Nation of Overton County, Tennessee

We are half way along in the family sketches of descendants of Joseph Michael Nation and Annie Riddle. However, Rosetta married the brother of Anna Belle Robbins, wife of her brother, John Wesley Nation.

At least in his description, there is no confusion over the identify of his father.

Sylvester Columbus Robbins was born 8 July 1863 in Overton County, Tennessee, the son of Sylvester Robbins and Mary, who may or may not be Mary Ann Reeder. He died on 13 January 1922, also in Overton County. He married “Rosetty Nations” on 27 January 1887, again in Overton County. She is the fifth child and second daughter of Joseph Michael and Annie (Riddle) Nation. Rosetta was born in 1869, Cumberland County, Kentucky.

Rosetta gave birth to daughter Cora Belle on 10 April 1895 (Cora’s death certificate names her parents as Columbus Robbins and “Nations”) and died sometime between that day and the 1900 census. No gravestone has been found for her.

Sylvester seems to have spent his entire life in Overton County.

On 26 April 1900 in Overton County, Columbus married 16 year old Nancy Newberry as his second wife. That census lists four children who would have been born to Rosetta. Columbus and Nancy had eight children, but they are not Nation descendants.


1. Mary, born November 1887; died after 1900; no further record
2. Henry Harrison, born 19 November 1889, Overton County, Tennessee; died 6 December 1965, Putnam County, Tennessee; married Dicy France, 14 May 1909, Overton County, Tennessee. It appears that they had no children together.
3. Pearley, born August 1893, Overton County, Tennessee; died 28 June 1943, Madison County, Indiana, but buried in Overton County, Tennessee; married Carson Key, 11 April 1912, Overton County, Tennessee. Carson was born 7 September 1886, Overton County, Tennessee; died 3 March 1950, Madison County, Indiana and is buried there. They were the parents of nine children, seven of whom lived to adulthood.
4. Corda (Cora)  Belle, born 10 April 1894/5, Overton County, Tennessee; died 8 June 1954, Putnam County, Tennessee; married Carmon Key, 7 June 1913, Overton County, Tennessee. Carmen was born 29 April 1902, Overton County, Tennessee; died 12 March 1960, Overton County, Tennessee. They were the parents of seven children.

Pearley and Cora gave birth to sixteen children between them, so Rosetta Nation Robbins most likely has quite a few descendants today.


John Wesley Nation & Anna Belle Robbins of Tennessee

As far as I am aware, all the Nations today are descended from one immigrant ancestor, John Nation, who arrived in New Jersey sometime before March 1711 when he is mentioned as a servant boy in the will of William Beakes of Burlington County.

As the Nation descendants headed south to North Carolina, they became friends with the Robins clan. I have to wonder if John Nation and Anna Belle Robins were aware that their FAN club had already been in existence for a hundred years by the time they married.

John Wesley Nation was the fourth child and third son of Joseph Michael and Annie Nation, born 19 August 1866. Although census records report that John was born in Tennessee, which is certainly possible, given that his siblings reported being born in (Cumberland County) Kentucky, it seems more likely that he was also born in Cumberland County.

In any case, he married Anna Bella Robbins on 27 January 1887 in Overton County, Tennessee. (NOTE: Her surname is found both as Robins and Robbins.)

Anna, later called Ann, was born 17 October 1867, in Tennessee. Her mother was Mary and siblings at home in 1880 were Sylvester Columbus, born c1864 and H.S.G., born c1874. All are children of Mary, who is widowed. Next door is (Isaac) Newton Robbins with his own young family.

Now Sylvester has Sylvester Robbins named as his father on his death certificate.  Mary Ann Reeder is said to have married him, although mo marriage record has been found.

Sylvester Robbins, aged 31, is found in Overton County, Tennessee in 1860 with (assumed) wife Mary Ann, aged 30, with children (Isaac) Newton, 9, Margarett, 6, and James, 4.

Further, the 1850 census of Overton County shows Sylvester, 21, and Mary, 19 at home as apparent newlyweds.

Online trees show Ann Belle Robins as a daughter of “William Sylvester” Robins and Mary Ann Reeder.

Sylvester Robbins enlisted in the Union Army in 1861 and this family is no where to be found in the 1870 census. Add to that that Sylvester supposedly died during the Civil War. There is a pension card for a widow Mary Robbins, whose husband died in June 1864. However, there is no proof to be found that Sylvester and William are the same person. I think Sylvester became William Sylvester because of that pension card.

Neither Sylvester (or William) nor Mary Robbins appears on the 1872 tax list or in the deed index. A search of probate records didn’t turn up and mention of their names either.

When Anna Nation died on 1 February 1950, the informant didn’t know the names of her parents. Therefore, while Mary Robbins, head of household in 1880 is Anna’s mother, the name of her father is a mystery. It may be Sylvester, who might have survived the war, but died before 1880 or it might be an unknown person.

After that little aside, it is time to return to the family of John and Ann Nation.

In 1900, the Nation family was living in Clay County, Tennessee. Ann reported having given birth to six children with five still living. She may have lost her first child.

In 1910, when the family lived in Overton County, I think someone misunderstood the question or answer when Ann was asked about her children. What was record was that she had given birth to nine children, but only one was living. In reality, only one had died. All eight were living and at home.

By 1920, the Nations had made their way to Polk County, Missouri, where they were enumerated in the census.

All children except Dolly and Shirley (a son)either  filed delayed birth registrations or their date of birth is given on their marriage records..


1. Mary Webbie, born 4 June 1891, Overton County, Tennessee; died 1 October 1973; married Benjamin F. Reagan, 11 December 1910, Overton County, Tennessee. They ere the parents of seven children.
2. Ida Bell, born 20 February 1893, Overton County, Tennessee; died 1988; married Talton Buford Maynard, 28 March 1913, Overton County, Tennessee. He was born 14 March 1890, Clay County, Tennessee; died 1984. Both are buried in Putnam County, Tennessee, but in 1920, they ere in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma and in 1930 in Akron, Summit, Ohio, so they moved around. They were the parents of four children.
3. Joseph Ewing, born 6 June 1895, Overton County, Tennessee; died 15 August 1975, Putname County, Tennessee; married Donnie B. Smith, 19 May 1918, Overton County, Tennessee. She was born 18 July 1897, Tennessee; died 20 January 1988, Putnam County, Tennessee. They were the parents of two sons and two daughters.
4. William Hobart, born 30 January 1897, Overton County, Tennessee; died 10 March 1969, Butte County, California; married (1) Gladys Pursley, 20 February 1921, Polk County, Missouri. She died 23 October 1953 and he married (2) Gladys Ione Brown, widow of Louis Stanley Landes, reportedly in 1956. Gladys had three children with Louis, but none with William Hobart. William had one daughter, Juanita, born c1922, Missouri and one son, Hobart Deryl, born 6 May 1933, Santa Barbara, California; died 6 May 1958, Fresno, California. Whether either Juanita or Hobart has descendants is unknown.
5. Dolly L., born May 1899, Tennessee; died 1975; married Stanley Maynard, 13 August 1916, Overton County, Tennessee. He was born 1894; died 1987. They have no children at home in the 1930 or 1940 censuses.
6. Callie Zelma, born 14 February 1902, Overton County, Tennessee; died 5 March 1983; married (1) Herbert Evan Strange, 5 April 1918, Overton County, Tennessee. He was born c1903; died 1944. They had three children.  (2) Mr. Bryant
7. Sherlie Lee, born 11 October 1904, Overton County, Tennessee; died after the 1940 census; married Dorothy Smith, 25 April 1925, Summit County, Ohio. They were the parents of at least five children.
8. Esther Thelma, born 22 August 1907, Overton County, Tennessee; died 15 May 2000, Smyrna, Rutherford, Tennessee; married (1) Jimmie Robert Gentry, 4 July 1925, Putnam County, Tennessee. (2) Mr. Culbertson. Esther and Jimmie had at least three children – two sons and one daughter.
9. Benny Herman, born 14 June 1911, Overton County, Tennessee; died 26 November 1941, Kent, Portage, Ohio; married Genevieve Vernon, 26 September 1938, Summit County, Ohio. They were the parents of at least one son before Herman died in 1941.

Looking at all the grandchildren born to John Wesley and Anna Belle(Robbins) Nation, there will be many descendants today.



Daniel Robins & Hope Potter of New Haven, CT & Woodbridge, NJ

Daniel Robinson aka Robison aka Robins is one of the more interesting ancestors in my husband’s family tree.

Daniel’s year of birth is unknown, but probably before 1635 and more likely by 1630 or earlier, somewhere in Scotland. He was a Royalist who, with many other Scots prisoners taken by Oliver Cromwell’s forces, was transported to the colonies, far away from the political uproar of the times.

Daniel’s name appears on a list of passengers aboard the John & Sara, bound for Boston on 11 November 1651.

Passengers of the Ship “John and Sara”: Scots Prisoners of War, 1651

Daniel Robinson made his way from Massachusetts to New Haven, Connecticut where he married Hope Potter, daughter of William & Frances (MNU) Potter, on 10 February 1663. The “Robison” family lived in New Haven until about 1667 when Daniel, Hope and their first two children, Mary and Daniel, removed to Woodbridge, New Jersey.

Early birth records of both New Haven and Woodbridge have survived and provide the names and birth dates of all of Daniel’s and Hope’s children.


  1. Mary, born 16 December 1664, New Haven, Connecticut
  2. Daniel, born 27 November 1666, New Haven, Connecticut; married (1) Mary Parker, 27 November 1691, Woodbridge, New Jersey (2) Mary, c1693. Daniel became a Quaker.
  3. Lydia, born 25 July 1668, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married William Therp (named in her father’s will)
  4. Joseph, born 12 March 1670/71, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married Anna Pack, 8 June 1692, Elizabeth, New Jersey
  5. Richard, born 14 February 1672/73, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married Hannah Moore, 20 October 1692, Woodbridge, New Jersey
  6. Hope, born 15 July 1674, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died 3 March 1674/75, Woodbridge, New Jersey
  7. Nathaniel, born 22 March 1675/76, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died before his father wrote his will on 22 June 1714; married Sarah (Cox?)
  8. Moses, born 27 March 1679, Woodbridge, New Jersey
  9. Hope, born 16 December 1681, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died after her father wrote his 1717 will and before 21 November 1717, when her husband married again; married John Moore, 18 November 1699, Woodbridge, New Jersey. John married (2) Mary Oliver.
  10. Aaron, born 24 May 1683, Woodbridge, New Jersey; died April 1759; married (1) Unknown (2) Elizabeth (MNU)
  11. Benjamin, born 18 June 1686, Woodbridge, New Jersey; married Judith (MNU), c1710

Daniel left a will dated 22 June 1714 and proved in court two months later on 18 August 1714. Wife Hope predeceased him, but her death date isn’t known:

New Jersey Calendar of Wills, Volume 1:494

Much has been written about Daniel Robins’ life as a Scot prisoner, but a lot of it is historical in nature about the Cromwell era in Scotland and not personally about Daniel. There is one very interesting tidbit that I came across on The Scottish Prisoners of War website, which has a page devoted to Daniel Robins:

Charles Gordon a Scottish immigrant wrote the following letter from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, dated March 5, 1685 to Andrew Irvine a merchant of Edinburgh, Scotland “I am just now drinking to one of them (the old Buckskin planters) our countrymen, who was sent away by Cromwell to New England; a slave from Dunbar, living now in Woodbridge like a Scots laird, wishes his countrymen and his native soil well, though he never intends to see it.” Scottish Emigration to Colonial America 1607-1685 by David Dobson. An interesting observation is Daniel Robinson aka Robins was living in Woodbridge in 1685. I have searched Woodbridge records for the names of other Scottish prisoners of war and have found none.

Could this casual comment about a former Scot prisoner of war actually refer to Daniel Robins and has it provided an ancestral home for Daniel Robins of Dunbar?

Dunbar is located 30 miles due east of Edinburgh:

Edinburgh to Dunbar, 30 miles

Even more interesting is the Battle of Dunbar Wikipedia entry, which begins:

Source: Wikipedia

This is considered one of the three great battles of the Civil War, taking place of 3 September 1650, with 22,000 Scots taking part. Incredibly, 10,000 prisoners were taken! It is certainly possible that Daniel Robins was one of them. If Daniel was from Dunbar proper, it is unfortunate that the earliest church records don’t begin until late in the 17th century. However, Charles Gordon, cited on The Scottish Prisoners of War item above, may have unwittingly pointed Robins descendants to their ancestral home.

One last thought – Hope’s father, William Potter, was executed in 1662 and the carrying out of his wishes set out in his will were the cause of multiple court actions for years. Could the family scandal have caused the young Robins family to move to New Jersey? More in tomorrow’s post.