Nash-McKay Family History
courtesy of
Richard A. Thompson
(Great, Great, Grandson of Millie McKay, Great-Grandson of James Henry McKay, Grandson of William and Lenora McKay Thompson, Son of Leona Thompson and Wilburt Calhoun)

Richard Thompson in the United States Air Force, 1958

National Archives
Family History Libraries operated by of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

This history starts with Millie Mckay, who was born about 1830 to 1835, maybe in Georgia. It appears that Millie McKay may have belonged to the William and Martha Allen family. They came from Georgia with their children and slaves, to Mississippi. We, (a professional genealogist in Mississippi and I), think that William Allen may have given Millie to his daughter Susan Allen when she married John McKay, probably as a maid-servant. Her name would change from Millie Allen to Millie McKay. She would have been approximately 10 to 13 years old at the time.

The John McKay family lived in Leake County, Mississippi. in 1850, but John McKay's father and brothers lived in Madison County, Mississippi, just across the county line about 10 to 15 miles away. John McKay lived west of Thomastown, in Leake County, and the Nash family plantation was north of Thomastown, just south of the Attala, Leake County line, but probably part of the plantation was in Attala County. I have found many contracts between John McKay, his wife Susan and the Nash family. These contracts cover the period between 1845 to 1860.

It appears that John McKay and some associates bought slaves and then rented them out to other planters. There numerous contracts that show John McKay and his partners would get money for wages to be paid to slaves, plus the planters would have feed, house, and clothe the slaves for the length of the contract. In addition, the McKay group would also get a portion of the crop. All of these things were spelled out in each contract.

Millie McKay had nine children, and some seem to have been sired by White planters to whom that she may been rented. There were eight slaves that the McKay group rented out, and although there are no slaves named in these contracts, one fits the description of Millie McKay during the 1860 census.

The Nash/Sevier Plantation probably crossed the county line between Attala and Leake county, so that the nothern portion was in Attala, and the southern protion was in Leake. I think the county boundaries probably changed several times, which then split the Nash Plantation into northern and southern halves.

The 1860 census shows that the Nash Plantation had 44 slaves listed, the record does not give their names, but I am sure that Andy Nash, and Orange Nash were there at that time. The Nash plantation, was about three or four miles north of the place Millie McKay lived.

The records consistently show the Millie McKay was born in Georgia, and the Allens came from Georgia. The Nashs came up through Alabama, and so did the Mckay family. The Nash family records show that John Nash and his wife Nancy Adeline Ophelia Nash were married Oct 27, 1834, in Lowndes county, Ms.

John and Nancy Nash had a daughter named Isadora Missouri Nash, born in Oct, 1837, in Lowndes County, Mississippi. John and Nancy Nash also had a daughter named Mary Ann Nash, who was born in 1843, in Lowndes County, Mississippi. John and Nancy Nash also had a daughter named Victoria Elizabeth Nash, in 1845 in Lowndes County Mississippi. She apparently died at birth.

The reason this information is important is because John and Nancy Nash married in Lowndes County, in the city of Columbia, Mississippi. They are reported to have came through or from Alabama, and Columbia is right on the Alabama/Mississippi line. It is known that they brought most if not all of their slaves with them.

In leaving Columbia, if you take Highway 12, even today, it will bring you to Kosciusko, and then taking Highway 43 along the Natchez Trace route, to Thomastown. The Nash plantation was about five miles north of Thomastown, and between the Yockanookany River on the east and the town of Bolatusha on the west. It is the slaves who purportedly built the main house of the Nash Plantation, and which later became known as the Sevier Place, which still stands.

John and Ophelia Nash owned the plantation and one of their daughters, Nancy A. O. Nash, married a Capt. Henry Clay Sevier, in October, 1865. Capt. Sevier had three sons by a previous marriage, and after marrying Nancy, he took over the Nash plantation, which became known as the Sevier House. According to Ms. Mary Mason in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, her great grandfather, Orange Nash, stated to his grandchildren, that he remembered working on the Sevier Place.

Orange Nash worked on the Nash Plantation all of time that he was a slave in Mississippi, until Capt. Sevier took over. Orange and his family, and other ex-slaves from the Nash Plantation stayed on the now named Sevier Place. That would have been about 1865 to about 1875.

Orange Nash and Andy Nash, both probably came fron the John Nash Plantation, and are probably related (Orange may be Andy's father). Orange Nash was supposed to have born in Africa, and probably was shipped into America through Charleston, SC.

Orange Nash was born in about 1807, and is supposed to have been married three times, and have had three sets of children. Orange was supposed to have had 23 children by the three or four wives he is alledged to have had. I have been able to account for nine children, that information coming from a Doty Nash in Chicago. Doty is the founder of the Doty Nash Funeral Home at 86th and Stony Island in Chicago. Doty Nash is now deceased, and I am told that his grandsons now run the business.

Orange Nash was a servant to a George Nash (White), during the Civil War, and Orange shows up in the Confederate Pension records in September, 1913, which show Orange as 107 years old at that time, and living in Leake County, Mississippi. If you were a servant to a Confederate soldier during the Civil War, you were eligible for a pension.

John Nash, head of the Nash Plantation, had a son named George Nash the same age as the man Orange Nash served under. I can find records of a George Nash, when he was in the Confederate Army, and wounded, and later died of his wounds. I don't know if this the same George Nash, but this would possibly account for Capt. Sevier taking over the Plantation when he married John Nash's daughter Nancy A. Ophelia Nash.

At the time of Orange Nash's pension application, for serving as a servant for a confederate soldier during the Civil War, the form shows that Orange had lived in Mississippi about 90 years.

Orange Nash's pension application shows that he served four years with George Nash, as a cook and man servant, and was not wounded, and served his time in Mississippi.

The post office closest to him was Conway, Mississippi. George Nash served in Comp. "D", 40th Mississippi Infantry as a private.

In a book named The Land Between Two Rivers, there is a reference to a Black woman named Ida Nash Whiting, and her husband, also a Black man named Josh Whiting in about 1830. This location is in northern Leake County. (Page 307)

Also from the book, what appears to be a White man named Louis Preston Smith, born in Winston County on August 27, 1847, and died in Madison County on September 25, 1925. I don't know if there is any connection between him, and our Smith line, but there are Louis, and Preston names in our Smith's. (Page 375)

On page 131, it shows a Mr. W. D. Mansell 1937 as owner of a cotton gin in Canton, Mississippi. This person is probably a descendant of J. T. Mansell, who sold the 200 acres to MIllie McKay in 1884.

On page 175, it shows a Black man named Jake Davis was a grist mill owner in Canton, Mississippi.

There are also stories in the book about slaves who were allowed to use White churches in Madison county, after the White parishioners left on Sunday. And in one Madison County church, the slaves were members and sat in the back. (Page 153)

I have been researching the Allen connection and what follows is what I have uncovered so far:

The census enumerators spelled names different ways, which accounts for the spelling of McKay as "McCay". In 1850, and 1860 the census was split between free schedules and slave schedules, and there are no names on the slaves schedule. But if my guess is correct, Millie McKay would have been with the above listed John McCay and Susan Allen McCay, but on the slave schedule, and unnamed. I am searching for the documents that put MIllie McKay in that household or/and in any other household that she appears.

On Millie McKay's death certificate, on the lower left side, it shows in the informants box, the informant was Lawson Fiffer, Millie's son-in-law, living in Bolatusha, Mississippi, which is in the northwest corner of Leake County, just below the Attala county line. Millie McKay is buried in Martin Cemetery, which is located close to the Damascus Church, west of highway 43, on the old Camden Road.

The 1870 Leake County census shows the following information, some of which is incorrect, but these are family members:

On page 206, line 38, dwelling #1846, it shows Millie McKay (50 yrs), from Al., next is my great grand father Henry McKay (21 yrs), from Al.

Next is page 207, line 1, Sarah McKay (08 yrs), who married Harmon Whalin, then Mary McKay, (15 yrs), who married Andy Nash, on page 207, line 2, next is Thomas McKay, who married Mary Josie Watson, then Phil McKay, who married Martha Taylor and finally, Lewis McKay, who married Lizzie McKay.

Orange Nash appears in the 1870 Leake County census, pg 184, dwelling # 1674, line 1, with his age show as 50 years, and his birth state as South Carolina, which was the port of entry for a slave ship coming into Charleston S.C.

Dwelling # 1675, show a Ruben Nash (23 yrs) with wife, and child. Orange Nash had a son name Ruben Nash, and I think this is him.

Dwelling # 1673, page 183, line 34, shows Thomas Nash with family.

Dwelling # 1672, page 183, line 27, shows Anderson Nash and family.

Dwelling # 1671, page 183, line 19, shows a White family with a Henry Sevier (40 yrs), Nancy Sevier (30 yrs), with two children between them, and three sons from his first marriage. I am sure this is the same Capt. Henry C. Sevier and Nancy Nash Sevier, and the location is part of the larger Nash farm.

Orange Nash moved to Attala county and shows up in the 1880 census, in Attala county just across the county line in beat # 1. This census shows Orange's age as 70. Attala county, ED 13, page 5, dwelling # 34, line 5.

Still in Attala county, ED # 13, page 7, dwelling # 49, line 3, is Andy Nash, Mary McKay Nash, and their first two children, Calla and Oliver. I think that Andy Nash is related to Orange Nash, and several of the other Nash families close to Orange's place are also related. I am searching for the documentation to support or refute this.

I also found an article in a book called The History of Leake County, MS. about a man who appears to be Sara McKay Whelan's husband, Harmon Whelan. Harmon, it appears, ran for office in 1866, as the beat rep, and won. The local White citizens "suggested" that he not show up to take charge of the office, and he apparently did not show up. There are several stories about Harmon Whelan that suggest he was a "trouble-maker", because he was advocating things like; civil rights, freedom to vote, and other radical things.

By the way there was another family reunion going on in St. Louis in 1993 when the Nash-McKay reunion was taking place. It was called the Nash-Thompson Reunion, and if there is a Andy Nash to Orange Nash connection, then the two families are one.

Ms. Mary Mason is one of the Orange Nash descendants. And there is a name that is still around in Leake and Attala Counties, as is the name of Zollicoffer. They married some of the Nashs in Leake and Attala Counties. Mary Mason can be reached in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (E-mail for her phone number.)

I found a deed where Millie McKay and one of her sons, Thomas J. McKay, paid $1,000.00 cash in hand to a Mr. J. T. Mansell in Nov 1884 to purchase approximately 200 acres of land in Leake County, just west of Thomastown.

In 1872 there appears to be a marriage of one Orange Nash's daughters, Binky Nash, to a man named Carter Roby. I found and made a copy of a note sent by Binky Nash's mother, to the county clerk's office of Leake County, which gave permission for her daughter to marry Mr. Carter Roby.

Binky Nash was 16 at the time. The note states "attest G. H. Roby and Jenneth (X) Roby is XXXXX XXXXXX Binky Nash this Apr 8th 1872" The (X) indicates this person signed by making an X for his name.

The second part of the note states, "This is to certify that I am willing for Carter Roby to take out license to marry my daughter Binky this Apr 8th 1872. attest by G.H. Roby Harriett (x) Nash ((x is her mark))" The preacher's name was Rev. A.H. Cotten

The records indicate that our family members did not began to migrate from what I call, the Four Corners areas, in any large numbers, from 1863 until 1922. The reason I call the area the Four Corners, is because four counties come together within 25 miles of where our history began to be recorded so far. The counties are Attala, Leake, Madison, and Holmes.

My great grandfather was James Henry McKay, and he first married a Charity Watson, in 1872, in Leake County, Mississippi. They had 11 children together. Charity Watson McKay died, and James Henry McKay then married a woman named Lula, and they lived and had their children in Madison County, Mississippi. They had George McKayi, Lenora McKay Thompson (my grandmother), Roosevlt McKay and Rosena McKay Hooper (twins), and the mother of Roby McKay.

When James Henry died in 1917, an inlaw, Joe Davis, ran the McKay farm until Lula McKayi decided to try and run it herself. She eventually lost the farm in a tax sale to a lawyer named Powell, who was probably the grandson of a lawyer that was doing the same thing in the same county in 1840s. The family moved to Chicago in 1924. My grandmother Lenora McKay Thompson, met and married my grandfather, William Thompson, in Mississippi before coming to Chicago. My mother is Leona Thompson Lewis, and she was born in Mississippi in 1922.

Roosevlt (Bud) McKay, and Rosena (Sis) McKay Hooper met their spouses in Chicago. Rosena (Sis) McKay married Leon Hooper, about 1936, in Chicago.

One of our distant cousins, I am told, is the female singer with the Platters when they first started.

The family still has many members living in these counties.

There seems to have been a large migration from this area after 1922 to St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Memphis, plus some went to California.

The following is some of the surnames that seems to be a part of, or intertwined with our family in Mississippi. Some had a great deal to do with members of our family, but that will take more research from some of our younger troops.


McKay, Nash, Thompson, Winston, Allen, Arnold, Wilder, Davis, Taylor, Mallet, Cotton, Roby, Terry, Riley, Sevier, Zollicoffer, Mansell, Merchant, Whelan, Watson Smith, Sample, Fifer, Robinson, Redmon, Falls, Hicks, McMurtry, Redding, Schrock, Donald, Treadwell, Riley and Blailock among others. These surnames are linked to the family before 1900.

The story of this family continues to get bigger, more involved, and more compelling as more information is found. There are gaps, and the more family members doing research the better. I can tell you all that, it's like a Roots II saga. To those who will want to jump into the research part of family history, good hunting, and good luck, and I hope this information will assist in some small way.

I personally, am trying to find out definitively, what happened before 1860, however any names, births, marriages, death dates, children, fathers, and mothers (with maiden names), from any of you, I will add to the family data base that I maintain.

I use Family Tree Maker primarily, and I will download on to floppy disks for anyone who would like a copy of the family data base.

Anyone can reach me at with information or for questions.

Most Sincerely yours,

Richard A. Thompson

Richard Thompson at a trade show

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