"Nance" is not a word that one encounters much except in its role as a surname, so that when it is found as part of a place name, it is reasonable to speculate that the place was named for someone who carried that surname. Thus, a Nance place name can be a clue to the presence of members of the Nance family at the place at some point in the past.
The frequency of the surname "Nance" is low enough that investigating places with "Nance" in their name is practicable. This page contains the results of a search done through the U.S. Geological Survey's on-line "Geographic Names Information System" (GNIS) for geographic names in the U.S. containing "Nance". That search turned up 83 "hits", in 22 different states ranging from Florida to Washington, and from Massachusetts to New Mexico. Obviously, though, there are definite patterns in the geographic distribution of the surname "Nance" .
In the list below, the details for each "hit" are arranged as follows:
| State | Feature Name | County Name | Type of feature | Latitude | Longitude |
Each "Feature Name" (for example, "Nance's Creek") is a link to a more detailed report on the site, created by the U.S. Geological Survey GNIS. Those reports also have links which will take you directly a map feature created by the U.S. Census Bureau's Tiger Map Server: this includes both a locator map showing the location of the feature in the U.S., and a local map showing the feature in a local area about 25 mi. square.
States with geographic names containing "Nance":
New Mexico (2)
New York (1)
North Carolina (2)
South Carolina (1)
South Dakota (1)
|(By number of names):
New Mexico (2)
|North Carolina (2)
New York (1)
South Carolina (1)
South Dakota (1)
| AL | Nance Cemetery | Lauderdale | cemetery | 34.4643 | -87.1821 |
| AL | Nance Cemetery | Madison | cemetery | 34.5026 | -86.3937 |
| AL | Nance Cemetery | Madison | cemetery | 34.5035 | -86.3956 |
| AL | Nance Ford Bridge | Morgan | bridge | 34.2421 | -86.5836 |
| AL | Nance Hollow | Walker | valley | 33.3706 | -87.2425 |
| AL | Nance Mountain | Madison | summit | 34.4928 | -86.2238 |
| AL | Nance Post Office(hist.) | Calhoun | post office | - | - |
| AL | Nance Store(hist.) | Franklin | locale | 34.3002 | -87.5804 |
| AL | Nances Church | Calhoun | church | 33.5132 | -85.4927 |
| AL | Nances Creek | Calhoun | pop place | 33.5128 | -85.3925 |
| AL | Nances Creek | Calhoun | stream | 33.5819 | -85.3547 |
| AL | Nances Creek Cemetery | Calhoun | cemetery | 33.5102 | -85.4023 |
| AL | Nances Creek Church | Calhoun | church | 33.5058 | -85.5017 |
| AL | Nances Crk. Missionary Bapt | Calhoun | church | 33.5045 | -85.4037 |
| AL | Nances Creek School(hist.) | Calhoun | school | 33.5057 | -85.3950 |
| AL | Nances Ferry(hist.) | Pickens | crossing | 33.1341 | -88.1724 |
| AL | Nances Hill | Talladega | summit | 33.2639 | -86.0554 |
| AL | Nances Reef(hist.) | Limestone | bar | 34.4508 | -87.1746 |
| AR | Nance | Saline | pop place | 34.3253 | -92.4614 |
| AR | Nance Ford | Grant | crossing | 34.2348 | -92.3710 |
| CA | Nance Canyon | Butte | valley | 39.4048 | -121.4402 |
| CA | Nance Canyon | Riverside | valley | 33.2820 | -116.3247 |
| CA | Nance Peak | Tuolumne | summit | 38.0409 | -119.4515 |
| CA | Nance Ranch | Fresno | locale | 36.4338 | -119.1232 |
| CA | Nanceville | Tulare | pop place | 36.0410 | -119.0420 |
| FL | Nance School | Dade | school | 25.5531 | -80.1158 |
| GA | Nance Payne Cove | Union | valley | 34.4506 | -83.5316 |
| GA | Nance Ridge | Union | ridge | 34.4429 | -83.5329 |
| GA | Nance Springs | Whitfield | pop place | 34.3721 | -84.5624 |
| GA | Nance Springs Cemetery | Whitfield | cemetery | 34.3722 | -84.5642 |
| IL | Nance Airport | Bond | airport | 38.5315 | -89.3326 |
| LA | Nance Branch | Caddo | stream | 33.0051 | -93.5151 |
| LA | Nances Lake | St. Tammany | lake | 30.3302 | -89.4814 |
| MA | Nance Lake | Franklin | lake | 422912 | -72.1745 |
| MO | Nance | Taney | pop place | 36.3639 | -92.4800 |
| MO | Nance Cemetery | Madison | cemetery | 37.3356 | -90.2340 |
| MO | Nance Cemetery | St. Clair | cemetery | 37.5552 | -93.4003 |
| MO | Nance Creek | Ozark | stream | 36.4612 | -92.2929 |
| MO | Nance Dam | DeKalb | dam | 400048 | -94.1530 |
| MO | Nance Hollow | Christian | valley | 36.5802 | -92.5754 |
| MO | Nance Hollow | Ozark | valley | 36.4607 | -92.2941 |
| MO | Nance School(hist.) | Taney | school | 36.3637 | -92.4811 |
| MS | Nance Cemetery | Tippah | cemetery | 34.4709 | -88.5332 |
| MS | Nance Hill | Newton | summit | 32.1524 | -89.1337 |
| MS | Nances Reach | Pearl River | channel | 30.3239 | -89.4710 |
| MT | Nance Coulee | Chouteau | valley | 47.3556 | -109.5101 |
| NB | Nance County | civil | Nance | 41.2400 | -98.0002 |
| NM | Nance Mine | McKinley | mine | 35.3314 | -108.4301 |
| NM | Nance Mine | Sandoval | mine | 35.5002 | -106.5713 |
| NY | Nances Hill | Essex | summit | 43.5202 | -73.3306 |
| NC | Nance Cemetery | Bladen | cemetery | 34.3449 | -78.4945 |
| NC | Nance Millpond | Bladen | reservoir | 34.3446 | -78.5022 |
| OK | Nance School | Custer | school | 35.3043 | -98.5825 |
| SC | Nance School | Richland | school | 34.0154 | -81.0108 |
| SD | Nance, Township of | Beadle | civil | 44.3445 | -98.3530 |
| TN | Nance | Crockett | pop place | 35.5005 | -89.0715 |
| TN | Nance Bend | Hardin | bend | 35.2354 | -88.0350 |
| TN | Nance Branch | Meigs | stream | 35.2659 | -84.5405 |
| TN | Nance Branch | Scott | stream | 36.2810 | -84.3525 |
| TN | Nance Branch | Williamson | stream | 35.5046 | -87.0506 |
| TN | Nance Cemetery | Bedford | cemetery | 35.3903 | -86.3538 |
| TN | Nance Cemetery | Grainger | cemetery | 36.1054 | -83.3422 |
| TN | Nance Cemetery | Hardin | cemetery | 35.2344 | -88.0309 |
| TN | Nance Cemetery | Henry | cemetery | 36.2807 | -88.2537 |
| TN | Nance Cemetery | Henry | cemetery | 36.2853 | -88.2838 |
| TN | Nance Cemetery | Jefferson | cemetery | 36.0750 | -83.3811 |
| TN | Nance Cemetery | Rutherford | cemetery | 35.4236 | -86.3125 |
| TN | Nance Ferry | Jefferson | locale | 36.0741 | -83.3818 |
| TN | Nance Landing | Hardin | locale | 35.2411 | -88.0236 |
| TN | Nance Spring | Bedford | spring | 35.2344 | -86.2911 |
| TN | Nances Grove | Jefferson | pop place | 36.0720 | -83.3602 |
| TN | Nances Grove Church | Jefferson | church | 36.0723 | -83.3557 |
| TN | Nances Island | Grainger | island | 36.0800 | -83.3828 |
| TN | Nances School (hist.) | Hardin | school | 35.2343 | -88.0323 |
| TN | Nances Shoals | Grainger | bar | 36.0810 | -83.3822 |
| TX | Nance Branch | Jasper | stream | 30.2458 | -93.5828 |
| TX | Nance Branch | Limestone | stream | 31.2133 | -96.3355 |
| TX | Nance Cemetery | Milam | cemetery | 30.5730 | -96.4855 |
| VA | Nance | Charles City | pop place | 37.2740 | -77.0740 |
| VA | Nance Mountain | Henry | summit | 36.4305 | -79.4903 |
| VA | Nance White Branch | Buchanan | stream | 37.0511 | -82.0207 |
| VA | Nances Shop | Charles City | locale | 37.2554 | -77.0904 |
Some details about a number NANCE locations
Nance's Shop, Virginia
"Nance's Shop" is located in the northernmost part of Charles City Co, VA, very close to the Chickahominy River, only about a mile from a place called "Nance". "Nance's Shop" is listed in the U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Name Information System GNIS) as a "locale", meaning (presumably) that it is a place with a name attached to it by local custom but is not a "populated place". "Nance" is described in the GNIS as a "populated place".
This description of "Nance's Shop" is from a letter to John Crouch that is reproduced at his web site, Crouch Family Heritage Association Family Tree:
"Nance's shop is on a fork of Possum Run in Charles City County, on the way to Williamsburg. At Nance's shop are a radio tower, a graveyard, and Nance's Shop Farm. No mailboxes in the area bear the name "Nance," but the graveyard is full of Nances, & the stones show how they're related to the other families still living around there. Stones only go back to the 1850s or so. It's a pretty place, with cypresses, near the Chickahominy River."
(There appears to be some possibility of a confusion between "Nance's Shop" and "Nance", which I cannot resolve from the limited access to maps I have been able to obtain over the internet. It appears that "Nance", but not "Nance's Shop", is on Possum Run. Perhaps "Nance's Shop" is on a branch too small to show on the maps I consulted).
Nance's Shop has had that name since at least 1864, when it was the site of a skirmish between Lee's Light Horse Cavalry and Union forces.
For a number of reasons, I think that it is likely that these place names are directly related to the Nance line which begins with James and Ann Nance of St. Peter's Parish, and extends through Zachariah I and II. If someone could visit this area and clarify the nature of these places -- and get the names off the stones in the Nance cemetery -- it would be a great contribution to Nance genealogy!
"Cousin Jimmy" Nance
Chas Edwin Nance 1886-1979
Chas Stagg Nance 1856-1933
Sally G. Nance 1845-1926
Bennie Woodward Nance son of BA &SE
Walter W. Nance 1862-1863
Susan E. wife of B. A. d1868
B. A. Nance & Susan E. & Lucene H. Nance
Fannie Nance 1893-1993
Dur Little Nance Jr. d 1881
John Fleming Nance Jr.
Lela Henry Nance
Charles Manley Nance
Walden Collier Nance
John Fleming Nance 1852-1919
Margret C Nance(Crump) 1852-1934
Ella Slavo Nance 1890-1910
William Albert Nance1852-1881 son of BA &SE
Mary Susan Majors
Littlebury Manley Nance 1857-1929
Edmona Taylor 1855-1930
Edwin Evert Nance 1860-1944
Mallie wife E. E. Nance 22yrs old
infant dau E. E. & M. S. Nance
Evert A Nance " " 1890
Sarah Edna Nance 1868-1955
Sarah S. Herrick 1825-1910
Lemon M. Herrick 1826-1910
Mattie Camile Nance1888-1965
Archie H. Bradley 1884-1947
Sallie Nance 1883-1965
J. B. Quarles 1835-1909
Reubin & Linda Eberly 1875-1918
The "Nance Register" describes many of these people as being buried in "Mt. Pleasant Church Yard, Charles City, VA". I believe this is an error, albeit an understandable one. According to the U. S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information Server (GNIS), there are two places in Charles City County with the name "Mt. Pleasant" attached. There is a "Mt. Pleasant Church" in the eastern part of the county, and there is a "Mt. Pleasant Cemetery" which is almost immediately adjacent to Nance's Shop. I imagine that "Pete" Nance heard of the Mt. Pleasant Church and assumed that the burials were in the church yard there. However, I believe (especially in view of "Cousin Jimmy's" indication that these are folks buried in the cemetery at Nance's Shop) that the burials are in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, near "Nance" and even nearer "Nance's Shop".
This confirms, at least as far as I am concerned, the close connection of this branch of the Nance family to this area -- the same area in which JAMES NANCE, a carpenter, lived in the early 1700's -- and to the trade of carpentry. JAMES is known to have done work on the St. Peter's Parish church in 1731. Besides JAMES NANCE, we know that his son ZACHARIAH NANCE (b. c.1738 - d. 1772) was a carpenter. In his will, that ZACHARIAH left his son JAMES (d.abt.1804) what is sometimes transcribed as a "tenant" saw, but which was undoubtedly a "tenon" saw, mortise-and-tenon work requiring specialized tools and having been a mainstay of carpentry at the time. ZACHARIAH also left his son JOHN (d.abt.1806) "my wheelwright tools". Later, in the 1850 Charles City County census, we see BENJAMIN A. NANCE, age 27, described as a wheelright. He was a great-grandson of JAMES, through EATON NANCE and his son ZACHARIAH NANCE who m. Mary Moundcastle. This makes me all the more inclined to suspect, that "Nance's Shop" was the location of a carpentry/wheelwright shop operated by one or more of these Charles City County Nances.
Nance's Creek, Alabama
Nance's Creek (I have also seen it referred to as "Big Nance Creek"), in Calhoun County, Alabama, flows into the Tennessee River. It has the dubious distinction of having been the site of a terrible ecological disaster. In August 1995, pesticide-contaminated runoff from cotton fields resulted in a huge fish kill there: more than 240,000 fish of all locally known species were killed along a 16-mile stretch of the creek.
The 64th Reg.Infantry ("Yates' Sharpshooters") was involved in an action at Nance's Creek on July 17, 1864, during its Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign. (From "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, vol. III, Regimental Histories", by Frederick H. Dyer,1908)
Nance is a small community in Crockett County, Tennessee. This is from an article by Jefferson Glen Thronton Reece which was prepared in connection with the 1874-1974 Crockett County (Tennessee) Courthouse Centennial:
"Nance lies in District Seven about 4 miles north of Alamo, at the junction of Nance Road and State Route 152 (Will Nichols Road). The community is named in honor of William W. Nance who in 1875 deeded the land for a school known as Nance Academy.
"Homes of historical interest include the one and a half story antebellum Lyons Home and the Corbett Home. The latter, built in 1854 is the oldest structure in the community and was two-story until the top floor was destroyed by a tornado in 1824. It is now one and a half story.
"A tornado again hit Nance on April 29, 1963; three people lost their lives, 14 homes and the Church of Christ building were destroyed.
"Some Nance Families: Sylvester Green, Jim Jones, Martin Nance, Smith Randle, Henry Conley, William S. Corbett, Will Hunt, Jim Pittman, Edd Stallings, Frank Yearwood, Dee Colvett, Claud Laman, Thomas H. Durham, J. Frank Robertson, Elmo Randle, Will Nichols.
"World War II Roll of Honor: Frazier Churchwell, Larimore Colvett, Marion Cotten, Andrew Emison, Billy Austin Harber, Leon Hunt, Tommy Redmond, Paul Taylor Rice, Everett Lewis Rogers, Paul Stallings. Nance and a small community in Oklahoma share the sad honor of losing more of their young men proportionally than any other communties in the nation."
Nance County, Nebraska
Nance County is located in east central Nebraska. It is a primarily rural county with a few small towns, including its county seat, Fullerton. The population of the entire county in the 1990 census was only 4,275.
Nance County is named for Albinus Nance (1848-1911), Governor of Nebraska from 1879 to 1883. Here is a biographical sketch, as well as a reproduction of a portrait of him, both of which I have taken from an on-line version of Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska. [Please note that the information here about the French-Huguenots, driven from France following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, etc., is not accurate. This is the same speculation that found its way into Nance Memorial, but there is no evidence supporting it; on the contrary, all of the evidence points to the American Nance family having its origins in a 17th Century immigrant from Cornwall, England].
|HON. ALBINUS NANCE, Governor of the State of Nebraska, was born at Lafayette, Stark Co., Ill., March 30, 1848, and is the oldest son of Dr. Hiram Nance, who has been for many years one of the most successful physicians in Central Illinois. The ancestors of Governor Nance on his father's side were French-Huguenots, and were driven from France by the religious intolerance and persecutions that followed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. They came with many others to the new world and formed a prosperous community in the State of North Carolina, their decendents moved northward and westward as the settlements advanced, and in 1836 Dr. H. Nance, above mentioned, located in the then new State of Illinois, the far West of that period. The Governor's ancestors on his mother's side were of English origin. His mother's maiden name was Sarah R. Smith, she was born in the State of Ohio. At the commencement of the war, Albinus was a mere boy; too young to become a soldier, but at a later period of the struggle he enlisted in the Ninth Illinois Cavalry. At the date of enlistment he was only sixteen years old. It is one of the traditions of the family that the young soldier was mustered in contrary to the wishes and earnest protests of his parents. He continued in the service until the close of the war, and participated in the following battles, viz.: Guntown, Hurricane Creek, Tupelo, Columbia, Tenn., Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville. In the charge which broke the enemy's line at the battle of Nashville he was slightly wounded. When the war closed and his regiment was disbanded he became a student at Knox College, Galesburg, Ill., taking part of the classical course. Soon after leaving college he commenced the study of law and in 1870 was admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court of Illinois. Impressed with the belief that the West would afford a more promising field for the employment of his youthful energies he came to Nebraska in 1871 and took a homestead in Polk County, devoting part of his time to farming and giving some attention to the practice of law. Finally he removed to Osceola, the county-seat of Polk County, and soon established a very lucrative law practice. In 1874 his friends submitted his name to the Republican convention of the Thirteenth District for Representative in the State Legislature. The convention was composed of delegates from the following named counties: Platt, Butler, Polk, Hamilton, York, Fillmore, Clay and Adams. A prolonged and excited contest occurred in the convention. There were seven candidates in all, and the friends of each worked with untiring energy. Finally, after much balloting Albinus Nance received the nomination by a majority of one vote This was the commencement of a remarkable political career. His principal opponent in the convention entered the field as a independent candidate and desperate efforts were made to defeat the regular candidate, but with out success. Nance was elected by about 2,000 majority and during the ensuing session of the Legislature made a good record as a member of the House. In 1376 he was one of the six delegates chosen by the Republican State Convention to represent Nebraska in the Republican National Convention at Cincinnati and was elected chairman of the delegation. During that year he was re-nominated for the Legislature and re-elected almost without opposition. When the Legislature convened he was elected Speaker of the House. The splendid record that he made as a presiding officer brought him prominently before the people as a man worthy of additional honors, and in 1878 he was nominated for Governor by the Republican State Convention and was elected by a very large majority. In 1880 he was re-nominated by acclamation, and was re-elected by a majority larger than that of any other candidate on the State ticket. The distinguishing feature of his administration had been an unassuming but inflexible determination to execute the laws with fidelity to the best interests of the people of Nebraska. Since the commencement of his first term the vast and varied resources of the State have been wonderfully developed, and the Governor often refers with commendable pride to the rapid growth of his adopted State during the years he has occupied the position of chief executive. He was married in 1875 to Miss Sarah White, daughter of Egbert and Mary White, of Farragut, Iowa. A sweet little child, Nellie, now five years old, is the only darling of the Governor's family.|
Interestingly, there appears to have been some much earlier Nance immigration to Nebraska. I have been in contact with a researcher whose husband traces his ancestry to an Isham Nance, who left North Carolina in the late 1840's and settled in Richardson County, Nebraska. Isham was a J.P. and a Circuit Rider Minister for the Methodist church. He had a son, James F. Nance, who was born in Richardson County. Isham, his wife, Sarah and his grandson George Nance are all buried in Nebraska.
About the terms used in this list
The STATE is given by the conventional two-letter abbreviations.
Some FEATURE NAMES have the term "hist." (for "historical") after them. I believe that this means that the feature is no longer engaged in the activity the name might suggest (i.e., "Nance Post Office hist." in Alabama is no longer an operating Post Office).
The FEATURE TYPE is generally self-explanatory, but some are a little cryptic. I believe that a "pop place" is a populated place that is not organized as a city, town, village, etc., a "locale" is simply a place, presumably without ANY significant population, and "civil" is a political subdivision such as a Township.
The LATITUDE and LONGITUDE figures are the precise coordinates of the location of the feature. The first figure is latitude north. The second figure is longitude west; the number is negative because the convention is that a longitude measured to the east of Greenwich, England is positive while one measured to the west of Greenwich is negative.
Note: Frequency of the surname "Nance":
A search of the U. S. Census Bureau's Names File (which is not the entire census results, but a sample of 88,799 names used to respond to queries about name frequency) shows that the surname "Nance" has a frequency of 0.010%, i.e., that approximately 1 person in 10,000 has that surname.
Note: Geographic distribution of the surname "Nance":
As a way of promoting their image viewing software "VuePrint", Hamrick Software sponsors a website at which they provide a surname geographic distribution mapping feature. Here is a map made with that feature, which shows the
in the United States. Not surprisingly, it shows that the name is concentrated in the central south.
(To return to this page after you view the map, use the "Back" button on your browser)