Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Monday, November 27, 2006

John C. Nace 1828-1928

Several years ago, I received from Pat Nace, who lives in Canada and whom I’ve never met except via the Internet, a Xeroxed page from an unknown book. What I’ve transcribed below (keeping the punctuation and syntax intact) comes from pages 540–541 of this unknown book. I assume it is a collection of news articles, but I don’t know for sure. Odds are good that the articles were written in Botetourt County, Virginia; the unknown author branches off into local genealogy.

Anyhow, this article is mostly about my great-great grandfather, John Christian Nace, whose 178th birthday is November 27:


Mr. John C. Nace, a resident of Lithia, of this county, came to Buchanan on horseback this week. He will be 88 years old in November, but he rides his horse with the appearance of a man many years younger and he says it does not tire him at all to ride here and back home. Lithia is about six miles south of Buchanan by the county road and he rides to town frequently.

I asked him if he could recall the first president for whom he voted. He replies that he could not do so, but that he had shaken hands with President Andrew Jackson and in reply to my further inquiry recited this bit of history.

It was during the first administration of Mr. Jackson (1829–33) as Mr. Nace recalled, that as a child he attended to the fording of the old Mount Joy Mill on Looney’s Creek and met president Jackson who was proceeding in his carriage to Washington.

The father of Mr. Nace, who had been the overseer of the Mount Joy estate for its owner, Col. Mathew Harvey and his widow, and lived near the mill where Mr. Jackson was to pass. Mrs. Magdalene Harvey, the widow of Col. Harvey, attended by her daughter, Virginia Harvey, came down from the Mount Joy residence on the eminence not far distant and at the house of Mrs. Nace, the mother, and her little boy joined them and the four proceeded to the fording at the mill when they met the president who was in a carriage drawn by two gray horses.

The mind of Mr. Nace is as clear as that of many at forty and he recites these things in a way that gives them interest, but he does not positively say that the time was in Mr. Jackson’s first term or second.

Mrs. Magdalene Harvey, who took Mrs. Nace and her little boy to meet the President, was the half sister and also the aunt of Colonel Lewis Harvey, of Roanoke, recently mentioned in the World-News. Robert Harvey, of Catawba, Martha Furnace, married for his first wife Martha Hawkins, who was the daughter of Ben Burden, Lewis Harvey was his first child.

Mathew Harvey, younger brother of Robert Harvey, married Magdalene Hawkins, the daughter of Martha Hawkins.

The daughter, Virginia Harvey, who went with her mother to greet Mr. Jackson became Mrs. Mitchell, the mother of Mrs. Charlotte Harvey, of Salem, and aunt of Charles Denby, minister to China; Henry Clay McDowell of Kentucky, father of Judge McDowell, and a number of other noted people.

The inquiry as to how Mrs. Harvey knew Mr. Jackson was to pass that particular time leads one to the truth of the relations existing between Mathew Harvey and his family, and Mr. Jackson here, in Washington and at the Hermitage where William, “Big Billy,” Harvey was the president’s neighbor, and at death closed his eyes. Then there was the letter to Colonel Harvey introducing William Denby, who is passing the same way to the capital had been attracted by the charms of an auburn haired girl riding one of the farm horses to water at the ford of the creek. He ascertained she was Jane, the daughter of Colonel Harvey, and on reaching Washington, obtained a letter of introduction from Mr. Jackson.

Charles Denby, appointed by Cleveland, to China, was her son. He was born in Paris while his father was minister to France and grew up so accomplished in manners and deportment that the Chinese wished him to remain as minister to China after the Republican administration succeeded that of Mr. Cleveland.

I did not mean to extend to such length when I began to write of this remarkable man who is today going in the full enjoyment of his physical and mental powers, although he was born at the time when there was still living many of the men who had fought for the formation of this great government.

Mr. John C. Nace died February 17, 1928, aged 99 years, 2 months, 21 days.

I did a bit of digging around the Internet. From Rootsweb, I found the announcement of his death:

John C Nace, Lithia Patriach, dies at 99
Lithia, Feb. 17 (Special) John C Nace, 99, last Confederate Veteran in this part of the county, died this morning at 8 o'clock at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Will DeLong, here. Death was attributed to heart failure. He had been confined to his bed only a few days.
Mr Nace who served throughout the four years of the Civil War, is survived by a son William R Nace of Lithia, in addition to his daughter, Mrs DeLong.
He is also survived by thirteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He was a member of the Lithia Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be held at his daughters residence Sunday morning at 11 o'clock. The service will be conducted by the Rev. G. H. Broyles.
The Roanoke Times

John Christian Nace, who served as private in Co. 1, 22nd Virginia infantry, CSA, was born November 27, 1828, and died February 17, 1928. His parents were William Nace and Hester Fringer Nace. He is buried beside his wife Mary Ann Nofsinger Nace in the NOFTSINGER/STYNE/PICO CEMETERY off State Route 625 in Buchanan, VA (Botetourt County). Her parents, Elizabeth Ferrell (Ferrill?) Nofsinger (September, 27,1802-July 6, 1877) and Abraham Nofsinger (May 6, 1797-February 19, 1887) are buried nearby. (Nofsinger is also spelled Noftsinger and Noffsinger.) Also nearby are the empty graves of his Nofsinger cousins whose bodies lie buried in a mass grave at Gettysburg, PA. John C. Nace missed the Battle of Gettysburg. He was home settling his father’s estate at that time.

I have visited the cemetery where John C. Nace and his wife are buried. I have also visited the grave of his son and my great-grandfather—William Robert Nace—at Lithia Baptist Church.

Happy 178th birthday, John Christian Nace.

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Blogger CountryDew said...

Those pages come from Buchanan, Virginia: Gateway to the Southwest, by Harry Fulwiler, Jr., available for sale at the Botetourt County Museum in Fincastle or probably on loan through the Roanoke Valley libraries.

I am sure you know there is a community called "Nace" located in between Troutville and Buchanan.

Hope that helps.

4:37 PM  

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