1. John 'servant boy' Nation (1695-1772)

Several long years ago I found the following document that had been published in the Geneseo Methodist Church ------ yrs. Celebration booklet. My sisterin-law, Inez Nation Matthews, had compiled it upon request. When I first started to work on the Nation family history I had planned to find just the dates to complete this document. As you can plainly see the so-called list has grown like Topsy.

I have enjoyed the many contacts my husband, Harold, and I made when we visited relatives in Toddville, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, LaPorte City, Vinton, also the many letters from relatives who are on the quest for family history, and the many phone calls to other Nation families.

I want to thank my son David and daughter Cathy for their understanding and help while compiling this. Dave has searched in Annapolis, Washington D.C., Des Moines, Ia., Baltimore, Md., Hagerstown, Md., and N. Carolina. His files are very neat and complete.

I was especially fortunate in the wealth of material sent me on the early Nations by Wilda Sweegard of Greeley, Colo. and Nancy Davidson, Des Moines, Iowa.

An unauthenticated report says that John Nation was the son of John and Frances Parson Nation who were married on 28 March 1697 at North Petherton, Somerset County England. He had a brother, William Nation, born 7 December 1700, and a sister Eleanor Nation.

There is a tradition that the first Nation to come to the U. S. Was a boy who was kidnapped in England and brought to the U. S., where he was sold as a slave.

"1710-11, March 24. Beakes, William, of Nottingham, Burlington County, yeoman; Will of, wife Ruth, Children --- Edmond (by a former wife, as Ruth is called Edmond's Mother-in-law) Stacy, Nathan. Sarah; the last three under age. Real and personal estate, including servant boy John Nation. Executors --- the wife and son Edmond. Witnesses --- William Beakes, John Conor, Mahlon -Stacy. Proved april 27, 1711. Liber 1, p313. 11

The above seems to fairly well establish the presence of a Uservant boy" owned by William Beakers in 1711 in New Jersey, by the name of John Nation. The dictionary defines Indentured servant - (1723) a person who binds himself by indentures to work for another for a specified time, esp. for payment of his travel expenses and maintenance.

Indentured servants weren't allowed to marry: so the men were at least 30 or 35 before they married if they did at all. So therefore they had fewer children and were older. They often died at 45-50 so the wives married again.

In some unknown way John Nation seems to have secured his freedom, for we find a John Nation in Frederick County, Virginia, thirty nine years later in

1750. In 1754 we find John Nation in Guilford County (then Rowan Co.) North Carolina where he administered the estate of his brother-in-law Joseph Robins. In 1758, the name of John Nation, with nine poles, appears on the tax rolls of Rowan County, NC. A copy of a will written by John Nation, Sr. on 15 December 1772 in Guilford County, NC. names his wife Bethiah, 3 sons and four daughters. The family later moved to South Carolina.

But to go back John Nation, Sr. married Bethiah Robins, daughter of Joseph, Sr. and Ann (Pack) Robins. Bethiah was born in Manmouth Co. New Jersey. Her brother, Joseph Robins, Jr. married Eleanor Nation, John's sister. John Nation, Sr. died in 1774 in Guilford Co. NC. and named these seven children in his will:

  1. Joseph Nation married Eleanor Robins.
  2. John Nation, Jr. married Elizabeth Bethiah Robins
  3. Christopher Nation - married Elizabeth Swaim
  4. Elizabeth Nation - married Marmaduke Vickery
  5. Ann Nation - married John Bullar
  6. Bethia Nation - married Joseph Mathew Robbins
  7. Frances Nation - married William Robins

The Nation and Robbins families had adjoining -farms in the 1750's in North Carolina and had intermarried with the Robins family. To further show this relationship Joseph Robins, Jr. and Eleanor Nation had two sons:

  1. Joseph Robins III - married Alice Robbins
  2. John Robins married Rachael Robbins.

The two sisters were cousins of Joseph Mathew Robbins named in 6 above. The earliest reference, from the book Gone to Georgia, names Frederick County, Virginia as an early residence of the Nation family.

From the microfilm Frederick Co., Va. order Book , Saturday, August 1 , 17--, "John Nation ... and evidence for Edward, defendant at the suit of William Fernley, plaintiff." Bethia Nation... (same reference) "to be paid 7 lbs. of tobacco for three days in Court." (as a witness) In this same Frederick County Court order book-, page 228 "10 September 1749, John Nation appointed overseer of the road from the run by his house to Kerseys Ferry and it is ordered that he keep the said road in good repair according to.the land records of Frederick Co., Va., microfilm F-7117 pt. 1, Grants within the Northern Neck of Virginia Book 6 page 326 states in part:

"The Right Honourable Thomas Lord Fairfax ... of Great Britain, etc. proprietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia... I have given, granted, etc ... unto John Nation of the County of Frederick, a certain tract of waste and ungranted land in the said county on the drains of Opechon Creek or river ... 188 acres... (made) the first day of October 1749. Sig:


Documents in Rowan County, North Carolina: "Book--page 409, Rowan County NC. deeds--18 April 1761 ... between John Nation of Rowan County, N.C., planter, and Christopher Nation, planter .... John Nation for and in consideration of the natural love and affection which he hath and beareth unto the said Christopher Nation ... grants...174 acres by indenture, 28 May 1753 by Earl Granville and registered in Rowan County, NC. book IV, page 38. Sig: John Nation. Witnesses: Thos. Lamb, Jeremiah Reynolds. Recorded April 1761.

From the same reference just given--Indentured, 20 April 1761 ... between John Nation of the County of Rowan, planter, and John Nation, Jr... for and in consideration of natural love, (etc.) grants 260 acres of Pole Cat and Deep Creek River. The same as granted to John Nation, Sr. 20 February 1759 by Earl Granvilles agents. Sig: John Nation. Witnesses: Cr S Nation, Benj M Beeson. Recorded april Court 1761.

The following will found in Guilford County, NC. book A, page 277, file #0276, will of John Nation, was made 15 December 1772. The will was proved in May Court 1774.

Will of John Nation, Senior

In the Name of God Amen--this fifteen day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy two, I John Nation, Senior of Guilford County and province of North yeoman, Being but weekly of Body, But of sound and perfect mind and memory, thanks be to God for the same, But calling to mind the shortness and uncertainty of this mortal State and that tis appointed once for all men one to die and after recommending my immortal part to God that gave it, resting in hopes of a glorious Resurrection & to live and reign with him for ever and ever, and willing my mortal part to the Dust from whence it was taken to buried in a Christian Like manner at the discretion of my Executors and as touching such worldly goods wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life with, I do dispose of the same in the manner and form following, that is to say my just debts and funeral charges to be paid--

Item - I do give and bequest unto my son Joseph Nation, his heirs and assigns the plantation and track of land whereon I now live and to enter, enjoy and possess the same and all the apprutenances thereunto belonging immediately after my decease to him particularly.

Item - I do give and bequeath unto my Beloved Wife Bithiah & all my moveable estate of what kind soever without exception or distinction during her life or Widdow Hood, and in case my wife should see cause to alter her condition after my decease by marriage, then my will and pleasure is that my wife should be confined to her third of my estate. Nevertheless my will and pleasure is that in case of second marriage and she becomes thereby confined to her third, that she is empowered hereby to divide the overplus thereof between my two sons John and Joseph Nation and likewise it's my will and pleasure that my S (said) wife shall live on my plantation during her natural life or widdowhood as the case may be and if she remain my widdow, during her life at the end thereof it is my will further that my son John shall have a bed and furniture and chest and box and all the rest of my moveable estate to my son Joseph in perticular.

Item - I give to and Bequeath unto the Rest of my children to wit: Christopher Nation and Elizabeth Vickery, anna Buller, Bithiah Robins and Frances Robins each and severally the sum of one shilling sterling and no more ----

Lastly - I do hereby nominate and appoint and constitute my Dear wife Bithiah and well beloved son Joseph my executors of this my last will and testiment hereby utterly revoking and disallowing all other former will or wills or testaments made or done whatsoever as fully as tho they had never been done.

Rattifieing and confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and testiment, in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

Signed, sealed, published and pronounced and declared by the said John Nation to be his last will and testament in the presence of us, the subscribers.

Benjamine Beeson, Sen., Isaac Beeson, Juneor, Richard Beeson.

His, John Nation

Evi Qugt, J. ?

The real estate mentioned in the will, consisting of at least 100 acres of land was left to Joseph Nation, who sold it to William Borden on the 18th day of May, 1774, for the sum of five shillings. (Index to Deeds 1771 1833 A.V. Guilford Co., NC. Book A) The deed was signed by Joseph Nation, Bethiah Nation, who was his mother, and by Eleanor Nation, who is presumed to be his wife, though no other information leads to this conclusion.