Origins of
The Nason Family


A Royal Coat of Arms was granted to Dr. John Nason of Church House, Stratford-on-Avon, around 1620. The Fairbairn Book of Crests describes it as "A ram's head couped" but a version with three ram's heads also exists.
The motto is "Spe labor levis" which could be roughly translated as "I bear my work lightly."

Stratford-on-Avon, England
Click on the Map for More Information

Richard Nason was born in 1606, the son of John and Elizabeth (Rogers) Nason, in Stratford-on-Avon, England.

He settled at Pipestave Landing, on the Salmon Falls River in the Berwick section of Kittery, Maine, in 1631 and apparently owned as many as three stockades in town on 200 acres of land.

According to Stackpole's History of South Berwick:
"Richard Nason is mentioned in 1645 in the court records of New Hampshire. He had a grant of 200 acres next south of Thomas Spencer. He is not named among the men of Piscataqua in 1640. The fact that he had so large a grant, equal to that of Thomas Spencer, and his election to the office of selectman in 1654, favor the supposition that he was a man of importance. Perhaps he had been one of Thomas Wiggin's company. He reared a large family, and his surname has spread widely. From the year 1638 to the year 1651 the only persons that appear on records as living at what is now called Great Works were the families of Humphrey Chadbourne, Thomas Spencer and Richard Nason and the two who kept bachelors' hall together, viz., Basil Parker and Peter Weare. There were four houses and decaying mills..."

But his life in Kittery was not without discord. In 1645, he and his wife, Sarah Baker, had a dispute with her father, Richard Baker, who was tried in New Hampshire and fined 5 shillings "for beating Richard Nason that he was black and blue and for throwing a fire shovel at his wife." In 1655, he was charged with not attending church meetings and in 1659 was fined 5 pounds and disenfranchised for entertaining Quakers.

Richard was a man of principles however, and unbowed by the court's decision. Ten years later, he was accused of blasphemy. Philip Chesley of Oyster River was witness against him, and while the General Court did "not judge him so guilty of that fact as that by our lawe he ought to die," he did have to post a 40 pound bond for good behavior. As Stackpole notes in his Old Kittery and Her Families:
"At a Court held 15 Sept. 1668, Nicholas Shapleigh, James Heard and Richard Nason, being selectmen, were dismissed from office under the charge of being Quakers...the selectmen above named were not Quakers but had shown a decent hospitality to persecuted persons of that sect and may have spoken for freedom of religious opinions...."

In spite of his run-ins with the law, Richard was apparently well-respected in the community. In 1649, he served as a juryman; in 1653, he was an Ensign, then a Selectman (as just mentioned above), and he went on to hold other town offices in Kittery. The inhabitants of Kittery elected him Deputy to the General Court in 1669, but the court, enraged at this affront to its authority, refused to seat him and called the people of Kittery to account for electing him.

In his old age lived with his son Benjamin on the family property at Pipestave Landing. His will is dated July 14, 1694, proved December 22, 1696, at Kittery, and probated on March 15, 1697. It names his own children, his wife Abigail, Abigail's children by her first marriage, Nicholas Follett and Sarah Meader, and Abigail's granddaughter by her previous marriage, Sarah, daughter of Mary Witham.



My Nason Family Chart

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