Tag Archives: Annie Riddle

Joseph Michael Nation & Annie Riddle, Overton County, TN

I have to admit that since adding my Ancestor Sketches tabs on the home page of this blog, I find they are an easy way to check which ancestors I’ve been ignoring for too long!

Today, we’ll take a look at Joseph Michael Nation, son of Henry Nation and an unknown wife, and Christianna (Annie) Riddle, daughter of Isaac Riddle and Catherine Johnson.

Joseph, or actually Mike, which is how he was known, was born 17 March 1836, probably in Fentress or Overton County, Tennessee. Records for these two counties are sadly lacking! Annie Riddle was born 10 September 1833 in Cumberland County, Kentucky. The Riddle family moved back and forth over the state line between Kentucky and Tennessee and Mike and Annie likely married in Tennessee, where, unfortunately records are missing.

The dash line across the center of the map is the Kentucky-Tennessee state line. Cumberland County is to the north – Burkesville is the county seat. Overton County is to the south.

Mike Nation

Annie Riddle Nation

Neither of these images is great, but they are the only ones I have of this couple. My husband’s aunt, who is now deceased, visited many Nation relatives and took photos (before the hand scanner era) and these are crops from my copy of the copy!

Annie had previously married Elijah York about 15 September 1850. She is enumerated in both her father’s household and with Elijah in that census and they appear to have been newlyweds.

Elijah was born c1826, Tennessee. I can’t find any further record for him after the 1850 census and it appears that he less than five years after they married.

The 1860 census includes two York children, ages 9 and 7, living with Annie’s parents, Isaac and Catherine Riddle. These appear to be children of Elijah and Annie.

1. Isaac York, born c1851, Kentucky; married Margaret (MNU),  November 1869 per the 1870 census taker. She was born c1855.
2. Catherine York, born c1853, Kentucky; married Francis Wallace, between 1870-1880.

Annie’s brother, Joseph, lived with them in Fentress County, Tennessee in 1850.

By 1860, Annie was married to Mike “Nations” and they had two small children, Nancy Ann and Henry J.

Mike wasn’t very well off – he was a farm laborer who owned no land of his own. Both children were born in Kentucky and they were living in Cumberland County in 1860.

The 1900 census isn’t very easy to read, so I won’t bother posting an image. However, it is very curious because Annie reports having given birth to 15 (!) children with 10 surviving. I can account for 8 Riddle children, plus the two York children, Isaac and Catherine, detailed above. I’m not sure where she could fit in five more children!

Children: Nation

  1. Nancy Ann, born 20 March 1858, Cumberland County, Kentucky; died 31 August 1915, Verden, Grady County, Oklahoma; married James Burk, c1882, probably Tennessee. He was born c1852; died 1941.
  2. Henry Jackson, born 7 May 1860, Cumberland County, Kentucky; died 14 November 1936, Anadarko, Caddo County, Oklahoma; married (1) Lucinda Tranbarger, 28 August 1890, Overton County, Tennessee (2) Martelia Claiborne, 19 July 1894, Overton County, Tennessee. Lucinda was born c1875; died 1893. Martelia was born c1875; died 1962.
  3. Joseph, born c1863, Cumberland County, Kentucky; died 11 July 1925, probably Overton County, Tennessee; unmarried.
  4. John Wesley, born 19 August 1866, Tennessee; died 26 September 1943, Putnam County, Tennessee; married Anna Belle Robins, 27 January 1887, Overton County, Tennessee. She was born c1867; died 1950.
  5. Rosetta, born September 1869, Cumberland County, Kentucky; died 12 May 1892, probably Overton County, Tennessee; married Sylvester Columbus Robins, 27 January 1887, Overton County, Tennessee. (Yes, brother and sister married a brother and sister and had a double wedding.) He was born c1863; died 1922.
  6. Thomas Nathan, born 12 March 1871, Cumberland County, Kentucky; died 11 April 1916, Overton County, Tennessee; married Mary Jane Mathis, 12 May 1892, Overton County, Tennessee. She was born c1864; died 1926.
  7. Clayton Columbus, born 18 September 1872, Cumberland County, Kentucky; died 30 June 1922, Granite, Greer County, Oklahoma; married Matilda Jane Dulworth, 20 June 1896, Clay County, Tennessee. She was born c1869; died 1931.
  8. Alice, born c1875, Cumberland County, Kentucky; died c1904-1910, probably Overton County, Tennessee; married Matthew Winburn Matthews, 10 January 1891, Overton County, Tennessee. He was born 4 December 1862; died 9 August 1944, Robertson County, Tennessee. Alice’s last child was born c1904. She died sometime between that birth and the 1910 census.

Now, if we take a look at Annie’s age and the birth years of her children, we have:

Annie, born 1833 and 17 years old in 1850. Children were born in 1851, 1853, 1858, 1860, c1863, 1866, 1869, 1871, 1872 and c1875. She was 42 in 1875.

There is a gap in the 1850s and the 1870 census includes a Cinthy Owens, aged 18 and Arcadia Owens, aged 15, so born c1852 and 1855. Could these have been Annie’s children by an Owens marriage?? Cintha could have been a stepchild and Arcadia a child of that marriage? Unfortunately, I can’t find either of these Owens children before or after the 1870 census, so we may never know.

Joseph Michael Nation died on 28 June 1907 in Overton County, Tennessee. Annie survived him by many years, passing away on 23 January 1923, also in Overton County, Tennessee.

My husband’s Nation line is:

  1. Joseph Michael Nation
  2. Clayton Columbus Nation
  3. Ethel Anne Nation
  4. Ruby Jewel Sturgell
  5. David Lee Stufflebean


Henry Nations, Born 1814, Ohio & Missing Family Members

It seems like more of my husband’s ancestors just disappeared compared to mine. I think part of the reason for that is that mine mostly lived in places where the records were well kept and didn’t burn, while his moved around the South, where many records either weren’t kept until later in time or they burned in a courthouse fire.

Today’s disappearing ancestor is Henry Nations. The only reason I was able to find him after 1850 – in one more census – was because he was the only Henry born in 1814 in Ohio living in Arkansas or Missouri. More on that find in  a bit.

Henry was born about 1814, probably in Preble County, Ohio, where his parents, Isaac Nations and Margaret Tillman, married on 27 February 1812. The Nations remained in Ohio through the births of their first three children, William, Henry and Isaac. Between 1815-1820, they migrated to Tennessee, first settling about 300 miles due south in Overton County.

The 1830 census of Isaac Nations has an adult female aged 20-29 in his household. She is likely a second wife. There is a gap between the births of daughter Catherine in September 1824 and a son born before 1830; Margaret likely died sometime between 1824 and 1829 and Isaac remarried. (Land records are extant from 1801, but other records not until after the Civil War.)

Isaac’s unknown second wife died soon and he married Jane Tillman about 1834. They had four children, Isaac Jackson, Margaret, Mary and Vina A. Family lore is that the Nations headed to the Peters Colony (today, Carrollton, next to Dallas) in Texas about 1848. Isaac caught smallpox along the way 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 of the source of that information, but with that much detail, it sounds plausible. Wife Jane is not found in the 1850 census. She may also have died or remarried.

In any case, Henry Nations was head of his own 1840 household next door to Overton County, living in Fentress County. The adult male was 20-29, as was the adult female. This first wife has never been identified. There were three young children, a male 5-9, a female 5-9 and a male under 5 years old. (Henry’s father, Isaac, was living nine doors away and is the last name on the census page.)

By 1850, we have some more disappearing people. Henry is still in Fentress County. However, his wife is Mary Riddle. My husband’s great great grandfather, Joseph Michael Nation is 14 years old so he was likely the male under 5 in the previous census. Two other children are in the household – Thomas, aged 6 and Nancy, who was one year old.

Henry Nations & Isaac Ridley, 1850

Mary Riddle may or may not be the mother of any of these children since no marriage record exists. She was enumerated on 13 September 1850 in her father’s household, three doors away from Henry Nations, as “Polly Ridley” (Riddle) and as Mary Nations in her husband’s household.

I can see the scenario where Mary was over helping her mother. The census taker arrived at Henry’s house and asked who lived there. Henry said himself, his wife Mary, and the three children. Then he moved on to Isaac Riddle’s house. He asked Isaac who the people were in the house. Isaac named himself, wife Catherine and then said “These are my children. . . .”

As to who the mother of Thomas and Nancy was, I don’t know. My feeling is that Mary may be the mother of Nancy and Henry’s first wife died giving birth to Thomas. However, Mary is certainly old enough to be Thomas’s mother. It also doesn’t answer the question of where the 1840 male and female aged 5-9 and the other male under 5 was in 1850. They all might have died in an epidemic or perhaps Henry and his first wife divorced and she took the other children. There are several possibilities and no records to support or disprove any idea.

By the 1860 census, Joseph Michael Nations was living about 60 miles northwest of Fentress County, Tennessee in Cumberland County, Kentucky with wife Annie (Christianna Riddle and sister of his stepmother, Mary Riddle) and was enumerated as “M. Nations.”

For many years, I could not find Henry Nations in the census and assumed he had died. However, I couldn’t find Mary Riddle Nations either and I know she was living as late as the 1890s because I have a family photo of Annie, Mary and their adult surviving siblings taken about that time.

Mary Riddle, center, front row

How did I find him? I mentioned earlier that Henry being born in 1814 in Ohio was the lucky piece of information. I started searching different states in the 1860 census for a Henry born 1814 in Ohio. Nothing came up in Missouri, but when I tried Arkansas, up came “Henry Nathans” born 1814 in Ohio. With him were wife Mary, born Kentucky and children Isaac S., 7 and Zarelda, 3, both born in Tennessee and baby Sarah E. under a year old, born in Arkansas.

Henry “Nathans” Family, Crockett Twp., 1860

About 1858 or 1859, the family left Tennessee and moved to Crockett Township, Arkansas County, Arkansas. By tracking Mary and the children forward, I was able to determine that this was “my” Henry Nations.

However, this is the last record found for Henry. He disappeared during the Civil War years, although there is no evidence that he served or died because of the war. Some have linked Henry to the Henry Nations who served in the Civil War from OH and who is found in Wisconsin after the war. However, that Henry was 20 years old when he enlisted in 1864 and is found in his parents’ household in 1850 and 1860. They were two different men.

Mary Riddle Nations is next found in the household of James Conkin (Konkins) in 1870 in Scott County, Missouri. No marriage record has been found for them, either. They likely married closer to 1870 than 1860 because they don’t appear as a couple to have any children together.

James Conkin is the next to go MIA. In 1880, there is no sign of him or his children and Mary Nations, widow,  is living with daughter Sarah Emiline Stratton’s family in Richland Township, Scott County, Missouri:

If she was a widow, I’m not sure why she is Mary Nations instead of Mary Conkin; it is possible James Conkin and Mary divorced. The census taker did note that Mary had lung disease.

Mary Riddle Nations isn’t found with any of her children in the 1900 census, nor is she found in back home in Cumberland County, Kentucky. Her brother, Phillip, in the top right corner of the siblings’ photo died in 1906, first of the group to pass away with the possible exception of Mary. I believe she might have gone back home in the 1890’s and died sometime before 1900.

To sum up, we have the following family members MIA:

Isaac Nations
Jane Robbins Nation
Henry Nations
James Conkins
Mary Riddle Nation

That isn’t even including Mary’s daughter, Sarah Emiline, who married George W. Stratton. They both disappear after the 1880 census.

It took years to pick up the trail of Henry and Mary Nations, so I haven’t given up hope of finding more definitive documents about their deaths.