The presence of the Nason family in New England can be traced to the colonization of Maine. The ancestor, Richard I Nason, grandson of Ananias and Ursula Nason, and son of John Nason and Elizabeth Rodgers, was baptised September 5, 1606 at Holy Trinity church, Stratford Upon Avon (Warwickshire), England. He migrated to the New World circa 1627 and became one of the founders of South Berwick ME. According to Mr. John F. Ritchotte, from Washington D.C., who did some research, Richard Nason Sr. was a Quaker who migrated to benefit from the freedom of religion prevailing in New England. Notwitstanding the fact Quakers were practicing non-violence, they had the right to bear arms, considering the constant threat the colony was under, coming from both the Indians and the neighboring colony of New France. They were therefore known as Militant Quakers.
Richard Nason I first settled in Dover NH before being granted 200 acres of land at Pipe Stave Landing, near Kittery ME. He married Sarah Baker in 1640. Seven sons and one daughter were born from that marriage, ensuring a longlasting descendance. After becoming a widow, he remarried in 1663, to Abigail Follet herself the widow of Nicholas Follet. No children were born from that marriage. Richard Nason I exercized several funcions in his community : surveyor, judge, juror and delegate to the General Court. The date of his death is not known, but his will was written July 14, 1694 and sent for probate records December 22, 1696.
Richard Nason II, born circa 1649 in Kittery ME, was married c. 1680 in Hampton NH to Shuah Coldrod, born June 12 1662, the daughter of Edward Coldord and Anne Warde. The Colcords, who came from Hampshire (England), arrived from Portsmouth on board of the ship Mary & John in 1630. The Ritchot family can therefore claim a long ancestry in North America.
Richard Nason II and Shuah Colcord settled in Sturgeon Creek (now Eliot, county York) ME, a small village located on the road 236, north of Kittery. They had a girl (name unknown) and a son : Richard Jr. aka Jacques, born c. 1682, who became the common ancestor of all the Ritchots.
Here is an abstract for Emma Lewis Coleman's book New England Captives Carried to Canada (Portland ME : Southworth Press, 1925, p. 381) describing our ancestor's abduction to Canada :
NASON, Richard, son of Richard, Jr., and Shuah…, b. 1667 is what is now South Berwick. In October, 1675, after the second attack on Tozier’s house (printed Portland Herald) the Indians went southward to Sturgeon Creek where says tradition Richard Nason, Jr., was killed in his own doorway and his son Richard, third of the name, was carried to Canada. This is a very Early date for a Canadian captivity. The boy, only seven years Old, may have been kept n the Maine woods and taken later to Canada, or the date of the capture may be wrong. His name is Among « thos Remaining » in 1695, which implies the later captivity. In 1710 « Richard Naasson of New England living in sainct francois Married to a french woman and having children » is naturalized. The Nason Genealogy says he lived to an advanced age and was much esteemed for his virtues; that he was sold by the Indians to a Frenchman who lived near Montreal, whose daughter he married.
The discrepancies contained in the above account can be explained by the fact Ms. Coleman may have used historical recounts on Kittery that contained errors in the chronology of events. Richard Nason II may have been killed in an earlier attack on Sturgeon Creek. After the death of her husband, Shuah Coldord remarried to John Douglas, Sept. 16, 1687 at Kittery. The attack on the Tozier House happened on March 18, 1690. On March 27, a party of 60 Indians and French militiamen raided Sturgeon Creek, abducting about twenty captives, including Richard Nason Jr. The captives were brought to the Abenaki mission of St-Francois-du-Lac (now Odanak, county Yamaska, Quebec) where our ancestor spent some time before being taken in the Crevier family.
Even though many agreements for the return of the captives to New England was negociated, many of them refused to go back and chose to remain in New France. This was the case for many children who grew up in French families and would not be able to reajust to their former life in New England. In an article from the New England Historical & Genealogical Register (Vol. 24 (1878), p. 290) titled Instruction to Matthew Cary About Bringing Prisoners From Canada, the name of Richard Nason appears on position 41.
Richard Nason III was not the only member of his family to go through the same experience. His cousin, Sarah Nason, daughter of Benjamin Nason and Martha Kenney, was abducted in 1694, at the age of six. Detained by Ennemy Indians, she was ransomed for the sum of 5 Pounds 6 Shillings and 6 Pence, and a compensation was demanded for being wounded on one hand. She eventually was returned to her family and married Willima Divers in Portsmouth in 1725.
[to be continued]
Sue Ann HERSEY
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