|Birth: ||Feb. 7, 1859|
North Carolina, USA
|Death: ||May 19, 1951|
North Carolina, USA
Annie Gray Cheshire was born 1859 in Tarboro, Edgecombe County, NC, the 3rd of 4 known children (2 boys/ 2 girls) born to the Rev. Joseph Blount Cheshire and his wife, Elizabeth Toole Parker.
She is descended from two prominent family lines. Her father was rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro, which was designed just before the Civil War, but it's crowning glory is its Victorian Gardens gathered from all over the world, and planted by her father. (Her brother, J. B. Cheshire, Jr., later became Episcopal Bishop of NC.)
On her maternal side, her mother was the daughter of Theophilus Parker and Mary Toole. The Parkers came to Edgecombe County about 1760, and Theophilus Parker built the still-standing historic "Parker House" in 1810 on the corner of Church and St. Patrick Streets in Tarboro. Theophilus Parker, owner of the privateer "Snapdragon", which saw duty in the War of 1812, purchased the lot this home rests on in 1808 and finished this pleasant, vernacular two-story frame house in 1810. Family tradition states that Thomas Blount helped Mr. Parker with the design of the exposed hall stairway, one of the first of its type in town. This was the homeplace for Panola Plantation and was also the home of Miss Kate Cheshire, a gifted artist whose carvings adorn the interior of this and other buildings in town.
Annie Gray Cheshire was only 19 years old when she married 30-year old Samuel Simpson Nash of Hillsborough, Orange County NC, a merchant who had arrived in Tarboro some 7 years after the Civil War.
The couple took up housekeeping in the now historic, "Cheshire-Nash" house, a brick Gothic cottage on E. Church Street in Tarboro, built ca. 1869. Sam and Annie would have 7 children, with only 5 surviving to adulthood: Elizabeth "Lizzie" (b. 1882), Arabella (b. 1885), Annie Gray (b. 1887), Samuel Simpson, Jr. (1889), and Pembrook Nash (b. 1904).
There is a story of Annie Gray Cheshire Nash told by Hillsborough locals that is an interesting footnote to her life, although perhaps more legend than truth. One old local tells it this way: -- Apparently there were two lawyers in Hillsborough, North Carolina, who fell in love with the same beautiful girl from Tarboro, and her name was Annie Grey, and they courted her. But she chose, of course, the young good looking one named Sam Nash, who had been a hero in the war. She did not choose the older, dark, saturnine Allen Ruffin who was very old, at least in his forties, when he was trying to court her. So she married Sam Nash and moved into his family home, called "Pilgrims' Rest," on Queen Street, in Hillsborough. Well, Alan Ruffin proceeded to buy up all the land surrounding this house, and converted a smaller house right across from Pilgrims' Rest into his own home. So he was just as close as possible to his beloved as she began her new married life. Soon enough, she had her own baby, a little girl, whom she named Annie Gray. And at that point, according to town legend, old Allen Ruffin walked across the street, knocked on the door, and when Annie Gray opened the door with her baby Annie Gray, he said, "If I could not have you my darling, then I shall have your daughter." Well, then when the baby Annie Gray was 16, Alan Ruffin again walked across the street and married her. Married her, and brought her back.
Although an intriguing folk story, the truth is that although Samuel Nash's family was from Hillsborough, he and and Annie Gray Cheshire met in Tarboro and lived there all their lives. They did, however, have a daughter, Annie Gray Nash, who did marry a man named Allen Jones Ruffin of Hillsboro, grandson of Chief Justice Judge Thomas Ruffin, when she was 16 and he 46. They had 1 child, Peter Browne Ruffin, before Allen died in 1911. Annie next married wealthy cotton exporter, James Lawrence Sprunt of Wilmington, NC and had 3 sons by him. To futher deflate the urban legend, Samuel Nash was a merchant, and not an attorney, although his father, Henry Nash, and his older brother, Frederick Nash, were attorneys. This is how legends begin.
Annie Gray Cheshire and Samuel Nash were married 52 years. In 1930, Annie became a widow at age 71, and amazingly survived another 21 years, passing in 1951 at age 92. She is buried next to her husband in Calvary Episcopal Churchyard.
Joseph Blount Cheshire (1814 - 1899)
Elizabeth Toole Parker Cheshire (1810 - 1895)
Samuel Simpson Nash (1848 - 1930)*
Samuel Simpson Nash (1889 - 1940)*
Pembroke Nash (1904 - 1994)*
Mary Parker Cheshire (1845 - 1846)*
Joseph Blount Cheshire (1850 - 1932)*
Theophilus Parker Cheshire (1852 - 1893)*
Elizabeth Toole Cheshire (1857 - 1858)*
Annie Gray Cheshire Nash (1859 - 1951)
Katharine Drane Cheshire (1861 - 1935)*
Mary Parker Cheshire (1878 - 1878)*
Calvary Church Cemetery
North Carolina, USA
Created by: pbfries
Record added: Feb 09, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24504387