Nicholas Headington

Nicholas Headington family, 1850 U.S. census, Delaware County, Ohio.

Nicholas Headington is one of the most popular search terms that brings visitors here to Karen’s Chatt. Nicholas Headington is my fifth greatgrandfather and evidently quite a few researchers are looking for information about him and his family. I will share what I know about him and hope the information will be helpful to other Headington researchers.

Nicholas Headington was born 29 April 1790, as calculated from his tombstone. He was born in Baltimore County, Maryland. I do not know who his parents were. Nicholas married Ruth Phillips in Baltimore, Maryland about 1813. [1]

Nicholas and Ruth resided in Maryland for about ten years after their marriage and then traveled west to Knox County, Ohio. They resided in Ohio for about 30 years before moving farther west to Indiana, sometime between 1850 and 1855. [2]

Nicholas and Ruth “Heddington” and their family were residing in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 1820. In the household: 1 male 26-44, 2 males <10, 1 female 26-44, 2 females <10. [3]

The Headington family moved to Ohio about 1823. They were enumerated in Pike Township, Knox County, Ohio in 1830. In the “Hedington” household:  1 male 40-49, 2 males 15-19, 1 male 5-9, 2 males <5, 1 female 30-39, 2 females 10-14, and 1 female 5-9. [4]

Nicholas Headington purchased two U.S. land patents. He first purchased 80 acres of land in the U.S. Military Survey in Knox County, Ohio, on 22 June 1825. The land was located in the east ½ of the north west ¼ of Section 14, Township 8, Range 12. About a year later he purchased another 80 acres in the U.S. Military Survey in Knox County, located in the west ½ of the north east ¼ of Section 14, Township 8, Range 12 on 20 June 1826. [5]

In 1840 Nicholas and Ruth were living in Porter Township, Delaware County, Ohio. Their family in 1840: 1 male 50-59, 1 male 15-19, 2 males 10-14, 1 male 5-9, 1 male <5, 1 female 40-49, and 1 female 15-19. [6] 

Nicholas and Ruth “Hedington” were still living in Delaware County, Ohio, in 1850. Nicholas was 60 years of age and Ruth was 56. Both said they were born in Maryland. Still living at home were Washington (20, b. Maryland), Wesley (17, b. Maryland), and Eli (15, b. Maryland).  This enumeration tells us that Nicholas was a farmer. [7] 

Nicholas and Ruth Headington and some of their family moved to Jay County, Indiana, in about 1853. Nicholas died near Portland in Jay County in 1856. In 1860 Ruth, a widow, was residing with her son J.W. and his family in Wayne Township, Jay County, Indiana. The John W. Headington household in 1860: John W. (26, b. Ohio), Nancy W. (22, b. Indiana), Austin B. (1, b. Indiana), Ruth (65, b. Maryland). Ruth was a seamstress and John W. was a lawyer.  Their post office was the Jay Court House. [8] Ruth died in 1865. Both Nicholas and Ruth are buried in Liber Cemetery, Jay County, Indiana.

Additional information about the Headington family comes from old county history books and other sources. Nicholas and Ruth’s oldest son, James [J.N.] remained in Knox County. In an article about J.N. Headington:  “In 1820 Nichols Headington, from Baltimore county, Maryland, located in Pike township.  James, the eldest, who has since gained considerable celebrity as an auctioneer, married Ruth Hardesty, of the same township, in 1835…”

This same article suggests that the first Headingtons, two unmarried men, came to America with Lord Baltimore in 1634 and settled at Gunpowder Falls, a few miles from Baltimore. [9]

Colonel J.W. Headington wrote a sketch about his father Nicholas. The article was published in a 1901 Jay County, Indiana, book:

“Nicholas Headington was born in Baltimore county, Maryland, in 1792. He was married to Ruth Phillips, and settled in Knox county, Ohio, near Mt. Vernon, in 1820. At that time the country was new and the town of Mt. Vernon, the county seat, was a little village…In 1853 he came to Indiana and settled in the town (now city) of Portland, where he died in 1856. Mr. Headington was a true American, in love with its institutions and it flag…He was a soldier in the war with England in 1812, and always taught his children to be true to the flag…

“Nicholas Headington was the father of twelve children. Two died in infancy, and ten, three daughters and seven sons, grew to manhood and womanhood, namely: James, William, Nimrod, Washington, John W. Eli, Silas, Catherine, Mary and Rebecca. All of these ten have been called to the great beyond except two, Colonel Nimrod Headington, who resides at Portland, and Judge John W. Headington, who also resides in Portland and is engaged in the practice of law…[10]

From another biography of John Wesley Headington: “…His father was by trade a shoemaker, but after his marriage changed his occupation to that of a farmer, in which he prospered, but eventually lost most of his estate by becoming security for others, and was reduced to a small farm with limited means. He was soldier in the war of 1812, was born in Maryland, and migrated from Baltimore county, in that state, to Knox county, Ohio, in 1820. His mother was Ruth Headington, nee Phillips…

“The paternal ancestors of the subject of this sketch came to America when Lord Baltimore came over to take possession of his grant of land, known as Maryland, about 1634. There were two brothers by the name of Headington amongst the emigrants, one of whom was the founder of the Maryland family from which the Indiana family of the name has descended. ..”  [11]

More about Nicholas Headington next week.


[1] Transcription of Baltimore County Marriages Licenses, January 1800-December 1816, on-line database, US GenWeb Baltimore County Site, Rootsweb/, ( : accessed 23 September 2012).

[2] Biographical Memoirs of Jay County, Indiana, (Chicago:  B.F. Bowen Co., Publishers, 1901), 304-5.

[3] 1820 U.S.  census,  Baltimore County, Maryland, District 6, p. 52, line 1, Nicholas Heddington; digital image, ( : accessed 26 September 2012); from NARA Series Roll: M33_41.

[4] 1830 U.S. census, Pike, Knox County, Ohio, p. 198, line 1, Nicholas Hedington; digital image, ( : accessed 26 September 2012); from NARA Series M19, Roll 134, Family History Film 0337945.

[5] Nicholas Headington (Knox Co., Oh) patent nos. 241 and 515; U.S. Bureau of Land Management, “Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records ( : accessed 26 September 2012).

[6] 1840 U.S. Census, Porter, Delaware County, Ohio, p. 156, line 7, Nicholas Headington; digital image, ( : accessed 26 September 2012); from NARA Series M704, Roll: 391, Family History Library Film: 0020163.

[7] 1850 U.S. census, Porter, Delaware County, Ohio, p. 317A, dwelling 3036, family 3050, Nicholas Hedington; digital images,  ( : accessed 26 September 2012); from NARA Series M432, roll 675.

[8 ] 1860 U.S. census, Wayne, Jay County, Indiana, p. 141, dwelling 10, family 10, J.W. Headington; digital images,  ( : accessed 26 September 2012); from NARA Series M653, Roll 269; Family History Library Film: 803269.

[9] N.N. Hill, History of Knox County, Ohio, (Mt. Vernon, Ohio: A.A. Graham & Co., 1881), 575, 689.

[10] Biographical Memoirs of Jay County, Indiana, (Chicago:  B.F. Bowen Co., Publishers, 1901), 304-5.

[11] Will Cumback and J.B. Maynard, editors, Men of Progress. Indiana, (Indianapolis, Indiana: Hugh J. McGrath & William Stoddard, Publishers, 1899), 141-2.

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