Ancestor Stories - Nance Family

Nance Family Genealogy

My Nance research began with Mary Magelena Nance Ray, August 1856 - July 31, 1919. "Maggie" married James Buchanan Ray and had 5 children. Only 3 lived to adulthood, Elmer, Lew, and Ruby. George Lee Ray and Tommie Ray died as children. The Nance family can be traced back to Rueben Nance who like the Ray family came from Virginia. Allen Nance was in Wayne County, Tennessee about the same time as some of the Ray family was in Wayne County, as well.

But James Buchanan and "Maggie" Nance lived and married in the Marshall County, Kentucky area. At some point in time, this family moved to Camden, Arkansas and this is where "Maggie" died in 1919. She was buried in Camden and I have a copy of the death certificate but do not know what cemetery she was buried in. With her death, James Buchanan Ray moved onto Texas to be near other Ray relatives, but I have not been able to locate him. James died 15 June 1922 according to his daughter Ruby's notes.

Lew lied about his age and joined the Navy about 1919. Elmer cared for the youngest child, Ruby. Ruby eventually was placed in a girl's boarding school (Valshti Memorial School) in Georgia - not because she was a "bad girl" but because her mother had died. Some think that her Aunt Rosa Ray Crawford paid the costs of Ruby's education. No one is really sure why she was sent to Georgia, but I believe that some of the Nance family had been in Campbell County, Georgia at one point in time.

James Buchanan Ray and wife Mary

The Nance family is well documented and there are several books written on that family.




Birth: 31 Jul 1856 Place: Marshall, KY

Death: 15 June 1922 Place: Texas?

Father: JAMES CARROLL RAY (1820-1893)

Mother: LUCINDA ATTILLA WADE (1825-1901)

Marriage: 20 Feb 1893 Place: Marshall, KY


Birth: Aug 1856 Place: MARSHALL CO, KY

Death: 31 Jul 1919 Place: Little Rock, Pulaski Co, Arkansas

Burial: Place: Camden, Ouashita County, Arkansas

Occupation: House Wife

Father: WILLIAM H. NANCE (1845-1922)

Mother: Lucy Ann Miller



Birth: Dec 1893 Place: Marshall, KY

Death: Circa 1902


2. M Child: THOMAS RAY

Birth: 1897

Death: Circa 1898


3. M Child: ELMER Garland RAY

Birth: 27 Feb 1900 Place: Marshall County, KY

Death: Jan 1981 Place: Detroit, MI

Burial: Jan 1981 Place: Detroit, MI

Spouse: Opal NICHOLSON


4. M Child: LEW WADE RAY Birth: 2 Dec 1902 Place: BENTON, Marshall, Kentucky, USA

Death: 23 Apr 1960 Place: Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio

Burial: 27 Apr 1960 Place: Forest Lawn Cemetery, Detroit, MI, USA

Occupation: At Time Of Death, Baggage Clerk, Railway Express


Marriage: 25 Dec 1935 Place: Metropolis, ILLINOIS

Divorced: 19 Aug 1943

Other Spouses: Maurine and Mary

Divorced: 9 Apr 1931


5. F Child: RUBY RAY

Birth: 1907 Place: Marshall, KY

Spouse: Clyde CHAMBERS

Spouse: John Jack Blackhurst

Ahnentafel Report

First Generation

MARY MAGELENA "Maggie" NANCE. Born Aug 1856 in MARSHALL CO, KY. Died 31 Jul 1919 in Little Rock, Pulaski Co, Arkansas. Buried in Camden, Ouashita County, Arkansas. Occupation House Wife.

MY GREAT GRANDMOTHER. "Maggie" died in 1919 and is buried in Camden, Arkansas. She died at the State Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas of myocarditis. According to the death certificate the family lived in Arkansas for about 1 year prior to her death. Shortly after her death, her husband left Arkansas and moved to Texas where other relatives were located. Ruby, the youngest, lived with her brother, Elmer. Lew enlisted in the Navy. "Maggie" must have been a seamstress, or at least owned her own sewing machine and taught Ruby some of the basic skills of sewing. This skill followed Ruby throughout her life.

Medical: Had a heart attack.

Research: Death Certificate. Anna Ray told me about the fate of the children as she had been told by her mother-in-law, Opal Ray and some of the stories that Ruby had told her.

Mary Magdelena Nance married James Buchanan Ray, 20 Feb 1893 in Marshall, KY.

Second Generation

WILLIAM H. NANCE. Born 14 Aug 1845 in Kentucky. Died 16 May 1922 in MARSHALL CO, KY. Buried in Oak Level Methodist Ch Cemetery, Oak Level, Graves Co, KY. Religion Methodist. Death Certificate

He married LUCY ANN MILLER. The first wife was born 14 August 1845. They married in 1864. Together they had 5 children.

  • William Allen Nance (1865 - 1870), son, buried at Oak Level Cemetery in Marshall County, KY
  • Ephriam Irvin Nance (1867 - 1915), son, buried at Oak Level Cemetery in Marshall County, KY
  • Warren Benson Nance (1869 - 1870), son, buried at Oak Level Cemetery in Marshall County, KY
  • Leonidus Miller Nance (1872 - 1936), son, moved to Arkansas for a while where his son was in the Army
  • Mary Magelena Nance Ray (1872-1919), daughter, moved to Arkansas and died in a hospital in Little Rock, AR
2nd wife was Lucy Blewitt. Born 25 Dec 1835 in GEORGIA. Died Dec 28, 1932 and is buried Palma, Marshall County Kentucky. at the Blewitt Cemetery at Palma, KY. Death Certificate

Third Generation --------------------------------------------------

4 ALLEN P. NANCE. Born 3 Feb 1818 in Tennessee. Died 22 Jan 1893 in Kentucky. Buried in Oak Level Cemetery, Oak Level, Graves Co, KY. Religion Methodist.

Allen's tombstone states: Professed faith in Christ 1872.


5 ELIZABETH J. WALDRAN. Born 7 Apr 1820 in Tennessee. Died 10 Oct 1866 in Kentucky. Buried in Oak Level Methodist Cemetery, Graves Co, KY. Religion Methodist.

A visit to Oak Level Cemetery found a second wife - Mary Susan West Nance - Headstone reads wife of A. P. Nance July 24, 1835 - Jan 25, 1923.

Fourth Generation --------------------------------------------------

8 JOSEPH NANCE. Born 5 Feb 1790. Died in PEEDEE, HERNDON, Cadiz, Hopkinsville, KY.

May have died at PeeDee, or near Herndon, Capiz, Hopkinsville, KY.

He married POLLY (Mary) PHILPOTT, 25 Oct 1810.

9 POLLY (Mary) PHILPOTT. Born 17 Sep 1788 in Frederick Co, MD. Died 21 Mar 1850 in KY?.

10 William WALDRAN. He married Elizabeth (WALDREN).

11 Elizabeth (WALDREN).

Fifth Generation --------------------------------------------------

16 RUEBEN NANCE. Born 8 Jul 1745 in BRUNSWICK CO VA. Died 13 Jan 1812 in HENRY CO, VA.

Rueben Nance was born in the Brunswick/Mecklenburg district of Virginia, and was a surveyor. He served as an Engisn in the Revolutionary War and is said to have been a neighbor of Patrick Henry. He died 13 Jan 1812 in Henry Co, VA. He lived in the eastern section of Henry Co, near the Pittsylvania line, at a place called Leatherwood. He married twice--first to Amy Williamson and second to Nancy Brown who was only two months older that Reuben's eldest child, Sarah (or Sally).






Sixth Generation --------------------------------------------------

32 WILLIAM NANCE. Born 1714 in Bristol Parish Area, Prince George Co, VA. Died Feb 1771 in BRUNSWICK CO VA. Occupation Afn:1hgb-Dx.

information source on this family from Ellen R Hirschy, 7874 E 850 S 90, Geneva, IN 46740 documentation includes excerpts from books Nance Register, and the Nance Memorial

He married Ann Epes, 1735 in BRUNSWICK CO VA?.

33 Ann Epes. Born Circa 1714 in Prince George Co, VA. Occupation AFN:24H3MK.

Seventh Generation --------------------------------------------------

64 THOMAS NANCE. Occupation AFN:BLZ2-HF. He married TINSELY.


66 ISHAM EPES. Occupation AFN:BLZ2-JL.