We’re moving on back in time with my husband’s Nation family. It’s a surname that stayed in the family for many generations, as his maternal grandmother was Ethel Anne Nation (1900-1976).
Ethel Anne Nation Sturgell, 1900-1976
Back now to our subject for today, Christopher Nation.
Christopher Nation was born c1720, probably in Monmouth or Burlington County, New Jersey. He married Elizabeth (MNU), c1742, probably in New Jersey. I have seen maiden names attributed to his wife, which may or may not be correct, but I haven’t found any documentation to support any of them so I won’t repeat them here.
Christopher was a young man on the move, likely for economic reasons. He had a short stay in Frederick County, Virginia, as this entry appears in the land records there:
Know All Men by these presents that I William Grant have sold, bargained, delivered unto Cristyfor Nation three head of cattle, one black cow marked with a crop in the near ear and a slit in the of ear, one black hefer marked with a slit in each ear and one calfe with a crop an the near ear and one stack of hay and the said Grant doe warrant and defend the said cattle to the said Nation his heirs or assigns as witnesses my hand and seal this 24 day of September 1745.
Sig: William (his mark) Grant.
Teste: William Roberts, Thomas Waters.
At a court held for Frederick County on Tuesday the first day of October 1745, William Grant in open Court acknowledged this his bill of sale to Chris Nation which, on his motion, is admitted to record. Test: T. Wood, Clark, Court N. C.
By 1761, Christopher had moved on to North Carolina. He appears in New Garden Quaker Meeting minutes witnessing two marriages, that of Samuel Osborn to Elizabeth Lamb on 7 June 1761 and of Benjamin Beeson to Bertha Lamb, a month later on 9 July 1761.
Christopher’s brother, John, made the migration south with him, as John was also a witness to the two above marriages.
However, if Christopher Nation was a Quaker, he was an oddity, as he was also politically active. He was listed in the tax rolls of Rowan County, North Carolina in 1759. He was also part of the group of men know as the Regulators, receiving a pardon in 1768. The following year, he was elected to the House of Representatives, representing Rowan County.
Christopher Nation lived in several North Carolina counties and may have been in the colony as early as 1751 if he traveled with the Beeson family. Orange County was formed in 1752, Rowan County was formed in 1753 with Guilford created from part of Rowan in 1771 and Randolph County set off in 1779 from Guilford.
Although Christopher Nation died in Randolph County, North Carolina, because of the creation of the various counties, he may not have moved from his original tract of land.
Christopher Nation left a will dated 11 November 1799. Given that it was proved in court during the November term, he must have died within a day or two of writing it.
Will of Christopher Nation, 1799
Randolph County, NC Will Book 2:83-84
In the name of God Amen I Christopher Nation of Randolph County the State of N. Carolina being in a Weak State of Health but of a Sound mind and good memory thanks be to god. Calling to Mind the Mortality of the body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make and ordain this my Last will & testament that Is to Say principally and first of All I give and recommend my Soul unto the hands of God that gave it and my bod I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a decent Christian manner at the discretion of my Executors hereafter Named Nothing Doubting but at the general resurrection I shall recover the Same again by the mighty power that gave it (bottom line mostly illegible)
Pleased god to bles me with in this Life I give & devise and Dispose of the Same in the following manner & form.
Item I give unto my Son Abraham Nation two Hundred and forty Acres of Land including the improvements of building to him & his hiers forever Provided he shall pay or Cause to be paid unto my son Christopher Nation or his hiers or assigns the (Just sum?) of One Hundred dollars but in Case he Should fail paying the Said money then Christopher or hiers is to have a Just right of title to one hundred acres of Land South of Said buildings
Item I give unto my five sons (Viz) John Thomas Joseph William and Amos Nation the Sum of one shilling a piece
Item I also Give my two daughters Elizabeth & Bethiah Nation the Sum of one Shilling a piece
Item I give & bequeath Unto my beloved wife Elizabeth Nation all the rest of my moveable or personal Estate including my Cash & Cash notes During her natural life and at her death to be at her disposal And I also ordain & appoint my Son Abraham Nation & my friend Christopher Vickery to be my whole & Sole Executors of this my Last will & testament in Witnes whereof I have Set my hand & Seal this 11 day of November 1799
Christopher Nation (seal)
Absolom Vickery Jurat
November term the foregoing will was proved in open Court by Absolom Vickery J. Harper
Elizabeth Nation was probably living with her son, Abraham, in Randolph County in 1800 as there is a female over the age of 45 living with him. What happened to Elizabeth after that and when she died is not known.
Some claim that Christopher Nation married twice, to two women named Elizabeth. Whether that is true of not I have not been able to prove. The wording of his will gives no clue if his widow was his second wife.
On 4 October 1806, Abraham and Christopher Nation sold their land to Caleb Louder (Randolph County, NC Deed Book 11:183) and left Randolph County. It may be that their mother had died by that time.
5. Joseph, born c1750; died between 1800-1810, Claiborne County, Tennessee; married Jeretta Vickery
6. William, born c1755; died before August 1807, Claiborne County, Tennessee; married Jane
Notice that information on his children is sadly lacking. Info online is very conflicting, partly because there were Nation grandchildren running around with many of the same given names and the various branches moved south and west, making it difficult to sort them out.
If you are descended from the Nation family and have documented data that you would like to share, I’d welcome it! Please leave a comment.