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The Nixon Family History
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William Nixon, the pioneer of the Nixon family, along with his wife Elizabeth Black Nixon arrived in Lincoln County from Charlotte County, Virginia, in 1780. William’s ancestors were originally from Ireland, and first set foot in this country in New Jersey. The progenitors of the Nixon family can traced back as early as the thirteenth century to an old English family. Sir William Nixon is one of the earliest documented members of the family who received a coat of arms from a grant in 1416.

Descendants of William Nixon include men and women such as Robert Nixon, Alfred Nixon, Joe Nixon, Kemp Nixon, Sallie Nixon Cauble, and Myra Nixon Turley. Each of these men and women made indelible marks on the physical, social, political, educational and historical landscape of Lincolnton and Lincoln County’s past. Members of the Nixon family, both men and women, intermarried members of other Lincoln County families that include the Womacks, Luckeys, Armstrongs, Hugers, Costners and Blacks. These families were French Huguenots and English, and they emigrated from various sections of Virginia before, during, and after the American Revolution.

Alfred NixonAlfred Nixon (1856-1924) is one of the most notable members of the Nixon family. He was born on May 28, 1856, the second son of Robert Nixon and Millie Womack Nixon, at the Nixon family homestead in Triangle, eastern Lincoln County. He received his early educational instruction at area public schools, and received further instruction from Professor D. Matt Thompson at Rock Springs Seminary in Denver, eastern Lincoln County. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1881 in a class that include other notable North Carolinians that include Eugene Lewis Harris, Secretary of the YMCA of Granville County; James Yadkin Joyner, Lawyer and North Carolina superintendent of public instruction; Charles Duncan McIver, founder and first president of the State Normal and Industrial School for Girls (now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro); Herbert Bemerton Battle, Director of the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station in Raleigh; Frank Battle Dancy, Chemist, teacher, and businessman; and Robert Paine Pell, Professor and Minister in Wilson. Two other notable North Carolina progressives with whom Nixon attended the university and corresponded throughout his professional life were Edwin Anderson Alderman and Charles Brantley Aycock. Alderman graduated from the university in 1882, and was an educator, orator, and president of both Tulane University and the University of Virginia. Aycock graduated in 1880, and became one of two graduates from his class to become governor of North Carolina.

Nixon graduated from the University in 1881 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In the summer and fall of 1881, at the age of 25, he erected a school building called Oak Grove Institute, and began instructing local school children during the first two months in 1882. Returning to eastern Lincoln County after graduation, he was elected Superintendent of Unity Presbyterian Church Sunday School, and was ordained a Ruling Elder on July 29, 1883. He remained in both of these positions until he moved to Lincolnton to assume the position of Sheriff in 1884. On April 3, 1882, he was appointed to the office of County Surveyor and was reelected to a second term during the November election of 1882.

Over the course of the next forty years, Nixon held positions as Superintendent of Public Instruction and Clerk of Court for Lincoln County. He was elected as an honorary member of the Southern Stars Volunteer Company in 1885, and was the Worshipful Master of Lincoln Lodge No. 137, A.F. & A.M. many times. He was the featured speaker at many dedications, commemorations, festival, and special events in Lincoln County from the 1880s to the 1920s. He recorded from 1877 to 1899 many of this experiences, thoughts, and day-to-days responsibilities as Sheriff, County Surveyor, and Historian in diaries. In addition, he was a prolific researcher and writer who published manuscripts on the history of Lincoln County, Lincoln County’s Confederate Veterans and their contributions to the southern war effort, numerous Lincoln County families such as the Finger family and Hager family, and a myriad of speeches and addresses he delivered before the United Daughters of the Confederacy, United Confederate Veterans, and the Anna Jackson Club.

Alfred Nixon married Iola Jane Robinson on October 19, 1882. Iola was born on January 16, 1862, the daughter of Joseph Robinson and Julia Ann Rebecca Asbury Robinson. They were the parents of Kemp Battle (1883-1964), Lillian Rice (1884-1929). Joseph Robert (1887- ), Bonnie Robinson (1892-1868), Annie Alberta “Peg” (1889-1975), Millie Elmyra “Myra” (1894-1984), Sallie Lee (1898-1973), Emily Catherine (1900-1983), and Nina Jane (1902-1970). They made their home on East Main Street in Lincolnton. This house was moved in 1933 to back of the lot to face North Laurel Street, and the original site was sold to make way for a service station.
Nixon’s two sons, Kemp and Joe, also made substantial contributions on the local and state levels. Kemp was a local attorney for fifty-seven years, and served in North Carolina Senate from 1931 to 1935. Joe shared his father’s love for Lincoln County history, and wrote numerous historical articles for local newspapers and the James Sprunt Historical Publications. Joe served as Superintendent of Lincoln County Schools from 1931 to 1964. Information on other members of the family is included on the Nixon Family Collection page.

Though very few members of the Nixon family remain in Lincoln County, their legacies lives on through Alfred Nixon’s many published works and the Nixon Family Collection at the Lincoln County Historical Association and Lincoln County Museum of History.

View the Nixon Family Collection Gallery...


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