Dedication ceremony Friday at old Nave Cemetery by SAR for two Revolutionary War soldiers

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Photo contributed Nave-Hess Cemetery Pictured is a photo provided by Larry Nave of the old Nave-Hess Cemetery in Siam, which has been reclaimed by descendants of Teter Nave, early resident of Siam and a Revolutionary War soldiers. Many of the graves have been found and remarked.

Photo contributed
Nave-Hess Cemetery
Pictured is a photo provided by Larry Nave of the old Nave-Hess Cemetery in Siam, which has been reclaimed by descendants of Teter Nave, early resident of Siam and a Revolutionary War soldiers. Many of the graves have been found and remarked.

Most Siam residents are familiar with the family names of Nave, Bowers, and Hardin, because they belong to some of the community’s earliest and most prominent residents.
Teter Nave was the first person to settle in the Siam Valley.
In 1778 Teter Nave entered 300 acres in what is now Siam community, where he settled and got a North Carolina land grand for it in 1782. He purchased 50 acres adjoining his grant from Landon Carter in 1800. He also had an entry for 100 acres at the foot of Lynn Mountain that he transferred to his son, John Nave.
Nave became a prosperous farm and horse breeder and raised a family. He is identified as a volunteer soldier in the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780 in the Draper manuscripts at the University of Wisconsin. The DAR records state that he was a volunteer soldier under Capt. Shelby in that battle. He was an early contributing member of the Sinking Creek Baptist Church.
Friday, in a ceremony at 4 p.m. at the old Nave Cemetery on Wilbur Dam Road, there will be a grave marking ceremony and dedication for Teter Nave as well as Leonard Bowers, another Revolutionary War patriot, who has roots in the Siam community. Bowers married Rebecca Nave, a daughter of Teter and Ann Vanderpool Nave.
Also, there will be a dedication ceremony for a new marker for William Hardin, also a son-in-law of Teter Nave.
The grave-marking ceremony for Nave and Bowers will be hosted by the Watauga Society Sons of the American Revolution as part of their Overmountain Victory Trail Association Celebration. The Daughters of the American Revolution will also be present to honor the families.
The cemetery, itself, has a story to tell. Known also as the Nave-Hess Cemetery, the old Nave Cemetery is located in a field behind 180 Wilbur Dam Road.
Over 100 persons are believed buried in the cemetery, with almost all of the headstones broken and trampled into the ground by cattle. The cemetery has been in ruins for a number of years.
However, a couple of years ago Larry Nave of Oak Ridge and his sons located and began clearing the old cemetery. Nave is an ancestor of Teter Nave.
Nave when he first visited the cemetery found it overgrown with weeds and trees, and only four or five headstones were visible. Since then, Teter Nave’s grave has been found, along with his wife, Ann Vanderpool Nave.
Since his initial visit to the cemetery, Nave has been joined by others, who have worked on the weekends reclaiming the old cemetery and seeking to locate graves of others buried there.
David Hardin, who lives in Washington, D.C., later joined the project along with Bob Hardin of Stoney Creek, formerly of Siam. Both are descendants of William Hardin, who was married to Mary Ann Nave. They have been working with Larry Nave for over a year in reclaiming the old cemetery.
“The cemetery came on some very tough times over the years. With a lot of hard work it is now presentable. There was no fence around the cemetery and cattle were allowed to graze in and around it. Stones were trampled and buried over time in the dirt and mud,” Hardin said.
Some of the stones found were readable. Other graves were marked only by field stones.
The tombstones for William and Mary Ann Nave Hardin were purchased with donations from David Hardin and Bob Hardin. William was a soldier of the Indian War, in Capt. Jacob Tipton’s Company and in the Battle of St. Clairs Defeat, 1791. Capt. Tipton and most of his company were killed in that battle. William Hardin escaped. He was a farmer and slaveholder and died in 1845.
William and Mary had six children: Isaac C., Delilah, Elijah D., Joseph, John Nave and Henry H. A grandson, Elijah D. Hardin Sr., served as sheriff of Carter County and was a blacksmith. In later years he became a Baptist lay minister.
Leonard Bowers was a prosperous farmer and slaveholder. He lived in Siam on the old Teter Nave farm that his wife inherited. The old house stood on the site of the J. Byrd Nave house in Siam. In his later years, he was ordained a Baptist minister.
Other children of Teter and Ann Vanderpool Nave were Abraham, John Sr., Henry and William.
In a book about Teter Nave, “East Tennessee Pioneer,” authored by Robert T. Nave and Margaret W. Hougland, in the introduction they wrote that the story of the Nave family is a typical American story. “They came to America from Europe to start a new and better life on the untamed frontier. Lured by stories of free land and freedom from persecution, they embarked on a long and dangerous voyage by land and sea to their new home. Their descendants continued that tradition, continually moving westward as the frontiers became settlements. They blazed trails, helped build settlements into towns and cities, and tried to make a better life for their families.
“Teter Nave and his descendants have been participants in military, business, political and religious activities in every generation. They have served in all the wars since the American Revolution. Like many East Tennessee families, the Naves were divided during the Civil War, but most were Unionists. Many were merchants, bankers, millers, lumbermen, iron manufacturers, or in other occupations. A large number held elective offices in various cities, counties and states. Quite a few were ministers and teachers. Several became practitioners in various professions. Most were farmers and skilled workers or laborers. They were property owners and church members. The majority were honest, industrious, God-fearing, law-abiding people who were active and respected in their communities.”
Extra parking will be available Friday for the SAR dedication at the cemetery.
Traveling from Elizabethton, take Highway 91, turn right onto Blue Springs Road (at Hunter First Baptist Church), go straight onto Steel Bridge Broad at the intersection of Blue Springs Road and Steel Bridge Road, following the signs to Wilbur Dam. After crossing the bridge, turn right onto Wilbur Dam Road, arriving at 180 Wilbur Dam Road, second brick house on the left side of Wilbur Dam Road. The Old Nave Cemetery is the field behind the house.

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