Abner Nash

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Abner Nash
2nd Governor of North Carolina
In office
April 20, 1780 – June 26, 1781
Preceded by Richard Caswell
Succeeded by Thomas Burke
Personal details
Born (1740-08-08)August 8, 1740
Prince Edward County, Colony of Virginia, British America
Died December 2, 1786(1786-12-02) (aged 46)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political party None

Abner Nash (August 8, 1740 – December 2, 1786) was the second Governor of the U.S. state of North Carolina between 1781 and 1782, and represented North Carolina in the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1786.

Nash was born in Prince Edward County in the Colony of Virginia. He read law and was admitted to the bar in Virginia. He also began his political career there, serving in the House of Burgesses from 1761 to 1765, before moving to New Bern, North Carolina. He married the widow of former colonial governor Arthur Dobbs.[1]

Nash was an active supporter of the revolutionary cause. He represented New Bern in the rebel "provincial congress" assembled from 1774, and in 1776 was a member of the committee that drafted the state's new constitution. He became a member of the North Carolina House of Commons in 1777 (serving as the first Speaker of that house) and the State Senate in 1779.

He was elected Governor by the legislature in 1780. During his brief tenure as governor, North Carolina saw some of its worst conflicts as a battleground in the American Revolutionary War. Unlike his brother Francis, his temper and poor health were poorly suited to the needs of war. This brought him into difficulty with the legislature. The assembly appointed Richard Caswell as commander-in-chief of the militia, even though the constitution assigned this responsibility to the governor. Then in December 1780 they named a Council Extraordinary that further encroached on his office. Consequently, Nash resigned and went home in the spring of 1781. Thomas Burke was named to replace him.

Later in 1782, North Carolina eased political tensions by sending Nash as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He would serve there the rest of his life, as he died at a session in New York City. Abner was originally buried in St. Paul's Churchyard in Manhattan, but his body was later returned for burial in a private, family plot in Craven County, North Carolina.

His son, Frederick Nash, was also a lawyer and political leader. He would serve as Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. Another descendant, also named Frederick, would later become a famous poet, going by his middle name, Ogden Nash.


  1. ^ Authur Dobbs Esquire 1689–1765

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Caswell
Governor of North Carolina
Succeeded by
Thomas Burke