William Nation is a hard man to pin down. Genealogical information about him can be found online in several places, but most of it gives conflicting statements. I don’t want to say facts, because most statements aren’t supported by facts.
The problem researching this family is several-fold. First, Nation and Nations are the same surname and most go back to John Nation who left Burlington County, New Jersey and settled in what became Guilford County, North Carolina by the mid 1700s. Guilford County was formed from parts of Orange and Rowan Counties.
Second, the Nations lived in places where vital records are lacking and/or places that kept records, but lost them.
Third, the family used many of the same given names, and common names at that, over and over.
Fourth, the family got quite large and many people of the same given names were close in age to their cousins, complicating matters even further.
William Nation is the son of Christopher and Elizabeth (MNU) Nation and was probably born c1760 in Orange or Rowan County, North Carolina.
William Nation is probably the man enumerated in Burke County, North Carolina in 1790:
1790 Census, Burke County, NC
Joseph Nation lived right next door and was likely his brother. Both families left western North Carolina (the original Burke County bordered Tennessee) and made the short move to the Clinch River in Knox County, Tennessee.
William and his wife, Jane, did have FAN club connections to Sharps in Tennessee and William and several Sharps conveyed land to each other. Also, Henry Sharp and Jane Nations were co-executors of her husband’s estate, again suggesting a close relationship of some kind.
Claiborne County, TN Court Minutes, August 1807
The Claiborne County, Tennessee records do give up a few more secrets about William Nation’s life. William was living in Knox County, Tennessee by 1799, when he and John Sinkler purchased land (in what became Claiborne County in 1801) and John relinquished his part of that land in a deed recorded in 1808, probably in response to William Nation’s death the previous summer:
Claiborne County, TN Land Deed Book A:387
It is unusual to find a will or probate records for my husband’s branch of the Nation family. However, William DID leave a will – proof is found in those court minutes I shared in the image after the 1790 census. It was very maddening, though, to discover that both the wills AND marriages are missing for the first several decades of Claiborne County’s existence.
One more important detail was gleaned, though, from those irreplaceable court minutes:
Jane Nations, Guardian, bottom right paragraph
Claiborne County, TN Court Minutes, February 1808
Jane Nations was appointed guardian to the orphans of William Nations – Nancy, Isaac and Christopher. Henry Sharp and James McBroom were her securities.
It is important to note here that there was a second, older Isaac Nation living in Claiborne County. He was appointed to serve on a petit jury in October 1806:
Claiborne County, TN Court Minutes, October 1806
This Isaac was likely the son of Joseph Nation, who lived next door to William in Burke County, North Carolina in 1790. Further, there are land deeds recording the sale of land from isaac Nation to Thomas Nation in 1808:
Isaac Nation to Thomas Nation
Claiborne County, TN Deed Book C:25
There is also a deed recorded in which Jeritta Nation and Thomas Nation – written in that order and manner – selling land to John Brock in 1811. Jeritta is said to have been the wife of Joseph Nation.
Claiborne County, TN Deed Book D:233
The 1790 census for the William Nation family indicated 2 males over 16, one male under 16 and four females, likely wife Jane and three daughters.
The three children had to be under the age of 21, but they weren’t toddlers, either. Since Nancy was named first, I will assume she was the oldest, followed by Isaac and Christopher. Isaac’s birth year has already been estimated as c1790, as he married in 1812. That fits well with Nancy being born c1788 (19 or 20 years old in February 1808), followed by Isaac, born c1790 and Christopher born sometime after that, say c1792.
Who was the male over 16 in the 1790 household and the other three females? I can’t answer that with any certainty, although William Nation has been attributed with several other children – sons William and Wesley plus daughters Eliza, Fannie, Nancy and Malinda. However, I have found NOTHING to document who the male over 16 and three females were in 1790.
What happened to Jane and her children? Of Nancy, I have nothing else to offer and I have no idea what happened to her. She may have married in Claiborne County but the marriage records are lost.
Jane and her sons, for whatever reason, made a northward move towards Preble County, Ohio:
Source: Google Maps
Christopher Nation was living in Grant County, Kentucky at the time of the 1820 census and the county tax list for that year recorded that the land he owned was in Pendleton County, Kentucky. Pendleton borders Grant on Grant’s eastern side. There is a probate administration for one Wesley Nation in Grant County in 1827, but no further mention of Christopher. I don’t know where he went, but there are 4 Christopher Nations in the 1830 census – one in Sevier County, Tennessee, aged 20-29, one in Franklin County, Illinois, aged 40-49, too old to be William’s son, one in Pickens, Alabama, aged 20-29 and one in Greene County, Indiana, aged 50-59, also too old to be the right man.
Isaac Nation married Margaret Tillman in Preble County, Ohio on 27 February 1812. His mother, Jane, married Philip Albright on 5 July 1819, also in Preble County. The marriage was short lived, though, as Philip died late in 1820. However, the 1820 census includes Tobias Tillman and Philip Albright Sr. on the same page in Harrison Twp.
1820 Census Page with Tillman at the top and Albright on bottom
There is also one Joel Nation living next door to Philip Albright, the son.
Could Joel Nation be the eldest son of William and Jane? It’s possible, especially as Joel and Isaac were the only two Nations i Preble County in 1820. However, he could also be a Nation cousin.
Isaac Nation returned to Tennessee in the 1820s, possibly after his mother, Jane, died. I haven’t found any other record of Jane in Ohio or Tennessee.
Children of William and Jane (MNU) Nation:
1. Possible Son, born no later than 1774 – This might be a brother of William or else William was born earlier than 1755 and had an earlier wife
2. Possible Daughter, born by 1790
3. Nancy, born c1788, North Carolina; died after February 1808, when her mother was appointed as her legal guardian after her father died.
4. Isaac, born c1790; died before 1850. Family lore says he died in Texas c1849; married Margaret Tillman, 27 February 1812, Preble County, Ohio (2) Unknown, c1828, probably Tennessee (3) Jane Robbins, c1834, probably Tennessee
5. Christopher, born maybe c1792, but before February 1808; probably the man living in Grant County, Kentucky in 1820.
If anyone has any proof positive about further children of William and Jane or documentation of their lives, please share. 🙂