13 - Our Daniel Hiestand Married Christina Nave

In Shenandoah County, Virginia

Key locations for addressing the "Who was Christina Nave?" question.

I think we can safely say it’s fact that our Daniel Hiestand/Haston married Christina Nave on September 28, 1773, or at least was issued a marriage bond on that date.  But two questions remain unanswered:

  1. Who was she?  In other words, which family did she come from?  Who were her parents?  What was her religious background? 
  2. How long did she live?  In other words, was she the mother of all of Daniel Haston’s children?  Is she buried in the Big Fork Cemetery near the grave marker that bears her name?  Or did she die earlier?

Who Was Christina Nave?

Hiestand/Haston genealogists have been asking this question for generations.  And even Neff/Nave family researchers have been baffled as to where she belongs in their family lines.  Neff (or Naffe) and Nave (or Knave) are two English variations of the Swiss surname Näf.  Thanks to the work of Reverend John F. Murray, the vast Neff/Nave families have been organized into several “lines.”[i]  Two of those lines are of interest to us, since Christina was undoubtedly from one of them.  But, which one?  Was she in the Neff “A line” or the Nave “G line”?

[i] William A. Neff, Neff-Näf Family History. Princeton Junction, NJ: Neff & Associates, 1991), 419-420.

The Neff A Line & Dr. John Henry Neff, Jr.

The Neff A Line descends from Dr. Francis and Dr. Hans Heinrich Neff, Sr., both of whom were Mennonites.  These two “Doctors of Physics” (surgeons) arrived in Philadelphia in 1717 and later settled in Lancaster County.  Dr. Hans Heinrich Neff, Sr. died in Lancaster County in 1745, but his oldest son, Hans Heinrich Neff, Jr. (John Henry Neff, Jr.), moved to what is now Shenandoah County, Virginia, about a mile and a half north of where New Market now is.  He was living there on (and sometime before) August 2, 1750.  Like his father and uncle, John Henry Neff, Jr. was also a doctor.[i]  Members of the Dr. John Henry Neff family were fairly consistently identified with the “Neff” or “Naffe” (or a similar) spelling.  Like their ancestors, they were Mennonites.  And John Henry Neff, Jr. was a leader in the Mennonite community in his part of the valley. 

[i] William A. Neff, 421-430.

The Nave G Line & Henry Nave

The Nave G Line originated in America with Hans Conrad Näf/Neff who, with another family line of Neffs, arrived on the Ship Mercury to the port of Philadelphia in 1735 from Wallisellen of Canton Zurich of Switzerland.[i]  Hans Conrad was a member of the Reformed Church and not a Mennonite.[ii]  At some point the “Nave” (or Knave) spelling stuck with this line and became so common among them that the spelling distinguishes them from other Näf families.[iii]  Conrad Neff/Knave’s family soon moved south from Pennsylvania to Virginia, and most of them to North Carolina. 

[i] John Murray, personal email to Sherry Mirkovic, September 2, 1999. 

[ii] William A. Neff and J.F. Murray, “Family Group Record – 823,” (unpublished document; Harrisburg, PA: Neff Family Historical Society, last modified October 6, 2003), 2.

[iii] Arian E. Collins, The Nave Family from Switzerland to Montana, 1590s to 1990s. (San Diego, CA: Bordertown Publications, 2000), 10.

One son of Hans Conrad Näf/Neff, Henry Knave (or Nave), settled in the northern part of Augusta County which later became Rockingham County in 1778.  In fact, the land on which he settled was very near the county line that now separates Rockingham and Shenandoah counties.  Land records for Henry Knave’s survey identify it as being in the “Forest.”[i]  “The Forest” was a densely forested timber-productive area west of what is now New Market and Mount Jackson, Virginia.  The names of the towns still located there, Timberville (northern Rockingham County) and Forestville (southern Shenandoah County), are reminders of the forested uniqueness of that area prior to the ravaging logging operations that eventually deforested it. 

[i] General Index to Surveys, 1761-1836-1936. Rockingham, VA Microfilm Reel 51.

Unlike the Dr. Henry Neff family, the Henry Knave/Nave family were not Mennonites–they were associated with the Reformed Church of Switzerland–the very Church that treacherously persecuted Mennonites back in Switzerland.

A deed for a “union church” near Timberville, VA is dated 1765.  Henry Knave and Adam Rader (for whom the now-Lutheran Church was named) were neighbors.  Adam Rader was the father of militia Captain/Major Michael Reader/Rader (captain of militia company three of Daniel’s brothers and a brother-in-law were in).[i]  Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Reformed congregations (these denominations are similar) used the original union church building.  Henry Knave and his family, Reformed Church congregants, no doubt were some of the earliest members.  The German language was spoken in the church until about 1838.  A Timberville Lutheran congregation is still very active at that location, more than 250 years later.

[i] “Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States (1784),” Rockingham County, Virginia VAGenWeb Project, accessed December 15, 2018, http://sites.rootsweb.com/~varockin/censusar.htm.

Oldest image of the Rader Church. Earliest buildings were made of logs.

Which Näf Line was Christina From?

A good argument can be made for putting her in the Mennonite Neff family.  But the more I have studied it, I have tenuously concluded that she was probably from the Nave Reformed Church line.  Why?  Read on….

One:  The most obvious reason for placing her in this family line is the spelling of her surname, Christina Nave, not Neff.  One Nave researcher stated:

“Of all the family members who immigrated to America from Switzerland, it is believed that only the descendants of those who settled in Tennessee regularly spelled the surname Nave.”[i]

[i] Arian E. Collins, 10.

Even though Henry Nave did not move to Tennessee, his brothers (John, Teter, and Conrad) did move there.  All of them, including Henry in Virginia, held to the Nave spelling. 

If Christina Nave was the daughter of Henry Nave, she was the niece of the famous East TN Naves–Teeter and Conrad, Jr.–and a first cousin of their sons.  Four from this family were American patriot soldiers (Overmountain Men) in the Battle of Kings Mountain, perhaps the key battle that turned the Revolutionary War around.  

Be sure and watch the Battle of King’s Mountain video at the end of this article.

“Teeter” (Detrich) Nave, son of Conrad Nave and Anna Ott, was born in about 1745, probably in Pennsylvania.  He was the brother of Henry Nave who remained in Rockingham County, VA–the possible (I’ll venture to say probable) sister or father of Christina Nave.

Two:  We do not have a will for Henry Nave of Rockingham County, but we do have a will for Dr. Neff of Shenandoah County.  And Christina Nave is not mentioned, in the will or estate settlement of John Henry Neff, Jr., as one of his children.

Nave family records assert that Henry Nave had an unknown-named sister (probably born between 1737 and 1750)  and an unknown-named daughter.  (Sources unknown)  If this is true, was one of these Christina Nave?

Three:  The fact that Henry Nave lived in Augusta County (until Rockingham was created out of Augusta in 1778) and John Henry Neff lived in Shenandoah County (the county in which Christina married Daniel in 1773) might seem to be a strong argument in favor of the view that Christina was from John Henry Neff’s family.  But, when you understand where Henry Nave lived in Augusta/Rockingham County, the difference in counties becomes virtually inconsequential.  As mentioned above, the Henry Nave family lived near the northern edge of Augusta/Rockingham County, only a few miles farther away from the Hiestands than from where the Neff family lived in relation to the Henry Hiestands family. 

Daniel Hiestand grew up close enough to both families he could have met and married a daughter from either family.  Take another look at the map at the top of the article.

Four:  Daniel Haston’s daughter Lucinda married Jacob Mitchell in about 1804 in Tennessee.  Jacob Mitchell’s brother, Reverend James Mitchell, married Sarah (Sallie) Nave.  Sarah was the daughter of George Nave, whose father was Henry Nave of Rockingham, Virginia.  So Sarah Nave Mitchell was the granddaughter of Henry Nave.  If the genealogical information for the Nave family is correct and Christina Nave was from the Rockingham County Nave family, Lucinda Haston Mitchell and Sarah Nave Mitchell were first cousins or first cousins once-removed.  First cousins if Christina Nave was a daughter of Henry Nave.  They were first cousins once-removed if Christina was a sister of Henry Nave.

My challenge to you: Think through what you read above until you can explain the essence of it to someone else.

More About Daniel and Christina

in the Next Article

I think I need to let all of the above get set in your mind before we move on to more about Daniel and Christina and their young family.  For example:

  1. Where did they live after they married?
  2. What do we know about their earliest-born children?
  3. What were some significant events that occurred early in their marriage?
  4. Did Christina Nave live long enough to move with Daniel to Tennessee?  And is she buried in the Big Fork Cemetery, near the grave marker with her inscribed name?

Stay tuned for the next article.

The Overmountain Men and the Battle of King's Mountain

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