Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

{Ollie Atkins Photograph Collection, George Mason University Libraries}

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If he were still alive, President Richard M. Nixon would be celebrating his 95th birthday today. Although he was born in Yorba Linda, California, in 1913, the Nixon family line had firm roots in Ohio. Nixon's mother--Hannah Milhous--was from a line of Quakers, but, as we shall see, Nixon's paternal line certainly was not.
President Nixon's Great-Great-Great Grandfather, George Nixon, was a soldier of the American Revolution. Born in Newcastle County, Delaware, in 1752, George Nixon [the first] entered military service as an ensign in December 1776 and survived the battles of Trenton, Princeton, and Brandywine, and before war's end was a lieutenant in Captain McKee's Delaware Spy Co., "Preventing Tory Aid to British." George lived a long life; he died in 1842.

Gravestone of George Nixon. . .1752-1842


So what does President Nixon have to do with the Civil War? Well, as it turns out, Nixon's Great-Grandfather--and the grandson of the Revolutionary War hero--George Nixon III served the Union as a private in Company B, 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Sadly, Private Nixon was severely wounded at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. He was shot in the hip, I believe, while skirmishing with Confederate soldiers near the Emmitsburg Road. (Somewhere near the present day location of Tommy's Pizza). Nixon, at age 42, succumbed to his wounds two days later and was later buried in the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

While on the presidential campaign trail almost one hundred years later, George Nixon's great-grandson, Richard, paid a visit to his grave. I have seen a photograph of this event. . .but only once. I think it is held at the GNMP Library/Archives.

The grave of Private George Nixon at the Gettysburg National Cemetery


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I wasn't around when Nixon was in office, but he does serve as President of Earth in one of my favorite cartoon shows, Futurama.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, President Nixon. . .it seems as if in light of more recent administrations, you no longer seem that bad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My family are pre revolutionary east coast Nixons. The earliest Nixons into PA were Quakers I believe...aka John Nixon who came with William Penn, and the Janney and Yardley families. But there are no doubt other lines...John Nixon of the Phila. officers was first to read the Declaration of Independence in public and at Princeton, and Valley Forge. We are said to be decendents of him...but my sister a proficient geneologist has not yet made the connection from hard records. A very young (teenaged) Nixon went west with Boone..and had a large family...but I believe came back to fight in the War of 1812 with John Paul Jones. So...I guess at any rate we got around! But one should not read having military service as not being from Quaker some Quakers were 'fighting Quakers'. But as I said...there can also be other lines.

Michele Nixon Hay