Nancy Priscilla Smith Hastings Chapman (1805-1885)

Nancy Priscilla Smith, who seems to have gone by Priscilla her entire life, was born in eastern Pennsylvania in about 1805 to Gilbert Smith and Bridget O'Flannagan. She would later recall how her mother, as a child, could hear the bomb shells of the Battle of Brandywine from her farm during the revolutionary war, and it is assumed that Nancy also grew up near this area.

Her father abandoned the family when she was quite young but the exact year is not known. When she was eight a young glass blower from Pittsburgh was visiting the area and met the young Priscilla at a picnic. He vowed that he would return to marry her when she was old enough. After another eight years passed, in 1822, he returned as promised and they were married. The glass blowers name was James William Hastings. She moved with him back to Pittsburgh where the majority of their children were born. By 1845 James and Priscilla moved to Madison, Indiana and had the rest of their family. In 1850 they decided to move again, this time to Hopkins County, Texas, and headed down the Mississippi River. During the trip James became ill, along with three of their young daughters, and all of them died. Nancy continued to Texas to raise her family. She remarried, briefly, while there and died in Hopkins County in 1885.

James and Priscilla had about thirteen children, although only 8 can be named:

  1. Jane Hastings (1823-1823)
  2. Jane Hastings (1828-?) m. Simon Bare
  3. Deborah Ann Hastings (?1829-1885) m. Charles Wesley Jones
  4. Flanagan Hastings (1833-Aft. 1861) m. Sarah
  5. John Hastings (1835-Aft. 1860)
  6. Nancy Elizabeth Hastings (1838-?) m. James D. Houghton
  7. Agnes Prescilla Hastings (1845-?) m. James Harrison Wood
  8. Smith Gilbert Hastings (1845-1885)
  9. a daughter, died of cholera in 1850
  10. a daughter, died of cholera in 1850
  11. a daughter, died of cholera in 1850
  12. unknown child
  13. unknown child

Documentation

Census Records

  1. 1850 Census: Madison, Jefferson, Indiana - August 15, 1850
  2. 1860 Census: Tarrant Postoffice, Hopkins, Texas - August 1860
  3. 1870 Census: Sulphur Bluff, Hopkins, Texas - August 9, 1870
  4. 1880 Census: Hopkins County, Texas

Memoirs

  1. Narrative: Maternal Lineage of John D. Jones