Nathaniel Venable

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About Nathaniel Venable

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA. DAR Ancestor # A118474


Nathaniel Venable "Slate Hill," was member of House of Burgesses

and VA House of Delegates 1766-1769-1776 and State Senator 1780-1785, Pr. Edw. Co., VA.

In 1783 Va tax list, 10 whites, 43 blacks, making Nathaniel the third largest slave owner in Pr. Edw. Co in 1785.

Later Nathaniel owned 20-30 thousand acres and 100 slaves

Was vestryman of St. Patrick's Parish and organized the first Presbyterian Church in Pr. Edw. Co

Was first Episcopalian (which was the state church of Va before Rev.War) and later Presbyterian.

Founder of Hamden-Sidney College.

Col. Nathaniel Venable

 252. Col. Nathaniel Venable, born November 01, 1733 in Hanover County, Virginia679; died December 27, 1804 in Prince Edward County, Virginia679. He was the son of 504. Capt. Abraham Venables II and 505. Martha Davis. He married 253. Elizabeth Woodson March 29, 1755 in "Poplar Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia679. 

253. Elizabeth Woodson, born June 06, 1740 in Prince Edward County, Virginia679; died September 27, 1791 in Prince Edward County, Virginia679. She was the daughter of 506. Esq. Richard Woodson and 507. Anne Madeline Michaux.

Notes for Col. Nathaniel Venable:

From "The Venables of Virginia," by Elizabeth Marshall Venable, at pages 25-28: 
"The 'Slate Hill' plantation was an extensive estate of twenty or thirty thousand acres, served by something like a hundred slaves. The house was a simple story and a half affair, the unostentatious dwelling of a pioneer in a new country -- for that is what Prince Edward County was when Nathaniel Venable came to live there -- though the spacious rooms, lofty ceilings, massive fireplaces, and extensive bookcases gave it an unmistakable charm. 
"Nathaniel Venable seems to have taken a more active part in public affairs than any of his brothers. In the 'Life of Rev. Archibald Alexander, D.D.' by Dr. J. W. Alexander, p.128, we find the following reference to him: 
" 'Three brothers were among the first settlers in Prince Edward. Nathaniel owned the place on which the Court House was built, and for a long time was an Elder in the church and represented the County in the Legislature. He was also an active trustee of Hampden-Sidney College.' 
"Nathaniel Venable had been a member of the House of Burgesses prior to the Revolution and of the Virginia House of Delegates, 1766, 1769, 1776, and as indicated in this extract, was a member of the State Senate, 1780-82, after the change of state government. 
"We find from Footes' 'Sketches of Virginia,' that Nathaniel Venable was one of the leading spirits among the founders and early supporters of Hampden-Sidney College. It may be said that the College had its birth in the library of his house. A special session of the Presbytery met at his residence, 'Slate Hill,' on the first day of February, 1775, for the purpose of taking measures to establish at once an Academy of Learning. A Board of Trustees was elected, consisting of twelve gentlemen, of whom Nathaniel Venable was one. At the same meeting he was appointed on a committee to draw plans for the necessary buildings, and to let out their construction. He was also appointed on a committee to survey and mark out the bounds of a hundred acres of land donated by Peter Johnstone (the grandfather of Gen. J. E. Johnstone), for the purposes of the Academy, and to secure title to the same. At the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Academy, of which there is any record, an order was passed allowing 'N. Venable and P. Carrington to build cabins for the use of their boys.' A few years after the inauguration of the Academy it encountered great difficulties in consequence of the state of the country resulting from the war, and it was thought for a time that it would have to be discontinued. 
" 'The chief difficulty was in procuring provisions for the students and in securing some one to attend to its preparation. Nathaniel Venable and James Allen, Sr., came to the rescue, pledged themselves to furnish twelve months' provisions, and contracted with Mr. Young to act as Steward and furnish board at twenty pounds per student, per annum.' 
"In 1783, Prince Edward Academy was chartered as a college by the legislature. Its Board of Trustees comprised of twenty-seven persons. The names of Nathaniel Venable, his brother, James, his eldest son, Samuel Woodson Venable, are found among the number. In the list we find the names of Patrick Henry, James Madison, Paul Carrington, Francis Watkins, John Morton, John Nash and others prominent in state and local history. In speaking of the name adopted for the college, the historian says: 
" 'The names of such men as Morton, Venable, Nash, Watkins, Allen, Henry, Carrington, men honored for their patriotism and religion, sound well in conjunction with two patriots of England, Hampden and Sidney, whose names were early and significantly united to indicate the principles that should be taught there and to give it a name. (Footes "Sketches of Virginia" p.399)' 
"Nathaniel Venable was an earnest patriot, one who contributed his utmost to the cause of the colonies. 
" 'When Tarleton and Arnold invaded Virginia, a detachment passed through Prince Edward on a general plundering expedition. This they could do with impunity as all the able-bodied men were absent in the American Army. They visited 'Slate Hill' with the purpose of capturing Nathaniel Venable; but he escaped them, having received timely warning of their approach. They committed some robberies, destroyed some furniture, and one of their number, with a pistol pointed at the breast of Mrs. Venable, demanded that she reveal her husband's whereabouts, or he would shoot her down. Her calm reply was, 'Fire away! My husband has his country to defend!.' At this instance an officer intervened and ordered away the man who had offered the indignity, severely reprimanding him.' 
"As evidence of the public spirit of Nathaniel Venable we quote the following: 
" 'When the Government was greatly embarrassed on account of the condition of its finances, and Continental money had depreciated until it was denounced as worthless all over the country, and the people were almost in rebellion on that account, he advertised his faith in the Government by proclaiming his readiness to accept Continental money for all of his dues. Among the early recollections of this writer (Abraham B. Venable of 'Scott-Greene') is the memory of his seeing a large quantity of this money in an old chest in the 'office' in the yard at 'Slate Hill.' 
"William M. Thornton, L.L.D., of the University of Virginia, in a Sketch of Charles Scott Venable, published in 1901, makes the following remarks: 
" 'Col. Nathaniel Venable of 'Slate Hill', a roistering blade in early youth, but always a man of force and later a pious, strenuous life, was merchant, planter, member of the House of Burgesses, and later of the Legislature of Virginia, and was a Lieutenant of Prince Edward County . . . . Educated at William and Mary College, Williamsburg, he was a mathematician of some local renown, witness the clergyman who preached the sermon at his funeral and began the discourse by saying that 'his late friend had gone to the land where neither calumny nor praise could reach him; but it was simply due to the truth to state that he had been the best mathematician in Prince Edward County.' Always, in all things a strenuous, forceful, eager man, an Episcopalian at first, vestry-man of St. Patrick's Parrish in Prince Edwards County (the vestry book in his own hand writing is now at the Episcopal Seminary at Alexandria Virginia) and bearing on dissenters with a hard and, forbidding the Presbyterian clergymen to preach in the churches and the like, he later became a Republican, and, an even more zealous Presbyterian; tore down the Episcopal church at Kingsville; raised funds and built a Presbyterian church at Farmville; and as we have seen was the mainstay and founder of the college at Hampden-Sidney.' " 
The "office" of Nathaniel Venable that stood in the yard at "Slate Hill," which was recalled by Abraham B. Venable in the excerpt quoted above, is now on the grounds of the campus at Hampden-Sydney near Farmville, Virginia. The building, first built in the 1750s, is on numerous historical registers. 
Nathaniel Venable was undoubtedly a close acquaintance of John Witherspoon. Venable sent three sons to Princeton at a time when John Witherspon was travelling about Virginia to generate interest in Princeton among the southern states. It is said that Witherspoon suggested that Hampton Sidney be founded. We know for sure that his son-in-law, Samuel Stanhope Smith, was the first president of Hampton Sidney, and it is very likely Witherspoon made a number of trips to Prince Edward Coutny to visit his eldest child. A letter has been preserved fron Nathaniel's brother Abraham to Witherspoon relating details of the mariage of a mutual acquaintance. 

More About Col. Nathaniel Venable: Military service: William and Mary College680 Occupation: Planter and Merchant681 Public Service: Member, Virginia House of Burgesses681 Public Service #2: Member, Virginia House of Delegates, 1766, 1769 and 1776681 Public Service #3: Member, Virginia State Senate, 1780-1782681 Public Service #4: 1775, Leading founder of Hampden-Sidney Academy682 Public Service #5: 1783, Among first trustees of Hampden-Sydney College683 Religion: Presbyterian684


Notes for Elizabeth Woodson:

From "Venables of Virginia," by Elizabeth Marshall Venable, at page 28: 
"Elizabeth Woodson, the wife of Nathaniel Venable, is represented by tradition as a lady of unusual vigor of intellect and a most estimable character. As stated heretofore, she was the daughter of Richard Woodson (generally known as 'Baron' Woodson) and Anne Madelin Michaux, from the Huguenot stock on the James River. 
" 'It is through her that all of the descendants of Nathaniel Venable have received a dash of the French Huguenot, though many of them have acquired other dashes of it from other sources.' " 

More About Elizabeth Woodson: Religion: Presbyterian685

Children of Nathaniel Venable and Elizabeth Woodson are: .


Samuel Woodson Venable, born September 19, 1756 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia686; died September 07, 1821 in Sweet Springs, Buckingham County, Virginia686; married Mary S. Carrington August 15, 1781 in "Mulberry Hill", Charlotte County, Virginia687.


More About Samuel Woodson Venable: Military service: Fought in the Revolutionary war with a company formed from Princeton students687 Military service #2: Participated in the battle of Guilford Court House687 Observation: Numerous and distinguished descendants687 Public Service: Trustee of Hampden-Sydney College from 1782 until his death687



Abraham Bedford Venable, born November 20, 1758 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia688; died December 26, 1811 in Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia688


More About Abraham Bedford Venable: Death Circumstances: Burned and died in the Richmond Theater disaster688 Military service: Studied at Hampden-Sydney Academy; A.B., Princeton, 1780688 Observation: Never married689 Occupation: Lawyer690 Public Service: Member of the U. S. House of Representatives, March 4, 1791; March 3, 1799690 Public Service #2: Member of the United States Senate, December 7 1803-04690 Public Service #3: Appointed by Washington to found the first bank of Virginia690 Public Service #4: Trustee of Hampden-Sydney College from 1890 to his death690



Betsy Anne Venable, born November 11, 1760 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia690; died 1826691; married Capt. Thomas Watkins; died 1797692.


More About Betsy Anne Venable: Observation: Numerous and distinguished descendants693


More About Capt. Thomas Watkins: Military service: He served in the Revolutionary Army under General Green.694 Military service #2: 1781, Was distinguished for bravery on the field of Guilford Court House.694 Military service #3: Gen. Washington wrote him a personal letter commending the company's bravery . Samuel Woodson Venable served in this company.695



Richard N. Venable, born January 16, 1763 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia696; died 1838 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia696; married Mary Morton March 05, 1797696; born 1779 in Charlotte County, Virginia696.


More About Richard N. Venable: Military service: Lieutenant in Revolutionary War696 Observation: Numerous and distinguished descendants696 Public Service: Member of the State Senate and the Convention of 1829696 Public Service #2: Trustee of Hampden-Sydney College from 1792-1839696



Martha Venable, born May 18, 1765 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia696; died 1858696


More About Martha Venable: Observation: Died unmarried696



Anne Venable, born November 06, 1767 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia696; died 1768696


Anne Venable, born December 09, 1768 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia696; married James Daniel Abt. 1795696; born 1762 in of "Tranquility", Granville County, North Carolina696; died 1841696.


More About Anne Venable: Observation: Numerous and distinguished descendants697


More About James Daniel: Military service: Student at Hampden-Sydney, 1776-1783698 Public Service: Trustee of Union Theological Seminary at Hampden-Sydney699



Agnes Venable, born April 15, 1771 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia699; died May 17, 1802699


Mary Venable, born January 16, 1773 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia699; died 1807699


More About Mary Venable: Observation: Died unmaried699



Nathaniel E. Venable, born February 13, 1776 in "Slate Hill", Prince Edward County, Virginia699; died August 23, 1801699


More About Nathaniel E. Venable: Military service: 1794, A.B., Hampden-Sydney College; 1796, M.A., Princeton; studied law at William and Mary College699 Observation: Never married699



(in part) The Venables of Gnosall Parrish, Staffordshire, England, "Early Immigrants to Virginia" (Greer), show that one

1. Richard Venables purchased land in Virginia from Alexander Stonar in 1635. The Stonars and Venables were prolific in Staffordshire.

2. Abraham Venables, son of Richard, spent from 1675 to 1680 in Barbados (rent rolls of St. Peter1s Parrish). He was probably born in England about 1647. He moved to Virginia and his name.appears on tax papers in New Kent County in 1687.

3. Abraham Venables, Jr., son of Abraham, Sr. was born in New Kent County in 1700 and was his only surviving child. Tax rolls show this man owned 20,000 acres in Hanover, Goochland, Amelia, and Lunenburg Counties. Also large tracts in Louisa and Albamarle Counties.. He was a Justice 6f the Peace, County Lieutenant, and member of the House of Burgesses from Louisa from 1742-1762. He was a Vestry man, St. Paules Parrish, Hanover County and married Martha Davis.

4. Nathaniel E. Venable (first to drop the "5") was the fifth child of Abraham Venable, Jr. and Martha Davis. He married Elizabeth Woodson and they built "Slate Hill" in 1754 where he lived and died. He was a founder of Hampden-Sydney College. Nathaniel and Elizabe ~ had two sons, :3amuel Woodson Venable and William Lewis Venable.

5. William Lewis Venable married Frances Nantz of Kentucky, niece of General Mathew Walton. They had a son Thomas Frederick Venable born in 1812 after settling in "Haymarket" near Farmville.

6. Thomas F. Venable married his second cousin, Mary Priscilla Venable, daughter of Nathaniel E. Venable (son of Samuel Woodson Venable) who had built ~Longwoodu and Mary Embra Scott Venable. Thomas F. Venable and Mary P. Venable lived in "Scott-Greene" Plantation (named for General Scott & General Green). "Scott-Green" Plantation had been a wedding gift to Mary Pricilla Venable from her father, Nathaniel E. Venable of "Longwod". They had 12 children: William Lewis Venable (1835-1863), Nathaniel E. Venable (1836- ), Abraham B. Venable (1838-Clement Read Venable (1840- ), Harriet Anne Venable (1841-1923), Catherine Scott Venable (1843-1923), Mathew Walton Venable (1847-1930) Gertrude Alice Venable (1948-1901), Robert Cocke Venable (1850- ), Charles Fontaine Venable (1852- ), Mary Cantey Venable (1855- ), and Frederica Venable (1857-).

7. Mathew Walton Venable (7th child of Thomas F. Venable and Mary Pricilla Venable) was born at "Scott Green" in 1847. He was educated at Hampden-Sydney and the University of Virginia. He served in the Confederate Army and celebrated his 18th birthday at Appomattox. He married Maria Dyer in 1870 and they had s~veral children before Maria died. He later married Anne Haymond Byrne. Among the children born to Mathew Walton Venable and Maria Dyer was Gertrude Venable, born in 1872.

8. Gertrude Venable married Garland Todd Thayer, Sr.

view all 16

Nathaniel Venable's Timeline

November 21, 1733
Henrico County, Province of Virginia
September 19, 1756
Age 22
Prince Edward County, Province of Virginia
November 20, 1758
Age 24
Prince Edward County, Province of Virginia
November 11, 1760
Age 26
January 16, 1763
Age 29
Worsham, Prince Edward County, Province of Virginia
May 18, 1765
Age 31
Prince Edward, Virginia
December 9, 1768
Age 35
April 15, 1771
Age 37
January 16, 1773
Age 39