The parents of my great-grandfather – Joseph Napolean Wilt – were Israel Isaac Wilt and Christine (or Christena) Nash. I haven’t delved into the Nash family very deeply and wonder if I’ve really scratched the surface. One of my resolutions, posted in I Resolved To . . ., is to pick another branch of my family to research. After all, my grandmother’s middle name was Christena – after her grandmother.
Christena Nash was the daughter of Alexander Nash and Elsie. Elsie’s name has been spelled Elcie, Elsy, and Elsie. Her surname has been listed as Winninger or Winger – and several variations of those names. Christena was born in 1837 in Pennsylvania.
Alexander Nash was born the end of May in 1808 in Pennsylvania. His parents remain a mystery to me although in the 1880 US Census, Alexander listed his father as born in Maryland and his mother as born in Pennsylvania. A man named Alexander Nash is in the 1840 US Census enumerated in Beaver Township, Green County, Pennsylvania with 1 male age 0-5, 1 male age 30-40, 1 female age under 5, 1 female age 5-10, and 1 female age 20-30. This leads me to believe – although not documented – that Alexander is the older male as he would have been 32 in 1840. Elsy born in mid-July 1813, would have been 27 years old. Their oldest three children are reportedly: Sarah Nash, born in 1829; an unknown son born between 1835-1840; and my 2nd great-grandmother, Christena, born in 1837. I found Sarah’s information through the Henry County Genealogical Society on an index of the Lebanon Baptist Cemetery in Henry County, Indiana. She had died on August 21, 1850 at the age of 20 years, 7 months, and 27 days and was listed as the daughter of Alex and Elsie Nash. Her mother was only 15 when she was born.
Alexander and Elsy were enumerated on the 1850 US Census in Prairie Township, Henry County, Indiana. His age was listed as 42 and her age as 38. Children in the household included: “Christy Ann” (Christena), Sarah, Alexander, Catherine, and Nancy and Elsy (appearing to be twins). If the young male enumerated in the 1840 Census had been their son, he had died prior to the 1850 Census. Sometime between the two censuses, the family had moved from Pennyslvania to Indiana. As the younget girls, Nancy and Elsy, were listed as born in Pennsylvania and were age 4 in 1850 – their move to Indiana had been recent.
The 1860 US Census shows the family living in the same place. Even though Sarah was to have died in 1850, there is a Sarah still enumerated with the family – something further to be researched. One thought is that she actually died in 1860 and the indexer either made a typo when putting the date online or couldn’t read the headstone. That would also mean that there was an unknown daughter in the 1840 census and Sarah was actually born in 1839 and Elsie hadn’t been as young as if Sarah was born in 1829. It might also explain why the family didn’t show up in the 1830 Census – they might not have been married yet and still residing with their respective families. Children, besides Sarah, included in the 1860 Census include Alexander, Catherine, Nancy, Elsy, and Mary.
Alexander died on April 14, 1883 and Elsie died on May 3, 1890. They are both buried in the Lebanon Baptist Cemetery. They had a son, Wilmot Nash, born on April 9, 1848 who died at age 2 on June 11, 1850. He is buried close to them. Their daughter, Christena, also died before they did – on August 18, 1876.
Further research will include the 1870 and 1880 US Census records for Alexander and Elsie; Indiana marriage records on their children; headstone transcriptions; other Indiana county records; and looking into Nash families in the Beaver Twp and Green County areas of Pennsylvania.