Francis Nash was a native of Prince Edward County Virginia, pioneer citizen of Hillsborough NC, clerk of the Superior Court of Orange County NC, a popular and successful lawyer, legislator, and militia officer. His wife was Sarah Moore Nash, daughter of Maurice Moore of North Carolina.
Upon moving to North Carolina he was elected to the colonial legislature in the 1760's and 1770's. As a captain in the militia he served under Governor William Tryon in defeating the Regulators at the battle of Alamance in 1771. He was elected to the North Carolina revolutionary conventions in 1775, and that same year was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the 1st North Carolina regiment of the Continental Army. He was promoted to colonel in 1776. He became a brigadier general on 5 February 1777 and was a favorite of General George Washington.
In the spring of 1777, Nash was ordered to go north to help push the British back in New Jersey and later in Philadelphia.
He was in command of the 1st North Carolina Regiment, on 11 September 1777, at the Battle of Brandywine in Chester County. General Francis Nash was later mortally wounded at the battle of Germantown on 4 October 1777. He was taken, along with other wounded, to Towamencin and treated at the home of Adam Gotwals on Fourty-Foot Road until he died on 7 October 1777. He was buried on 9 October 1777 at the Towamencin Mennonite Meetinghouse Cemetery.
At his death, one of his friends described Nash as "one of the most enlightened, liberal, and magnanimous gentlemen that ever sacrificed his life for his country".
Nashville NC, Fort Nashborough TN (later renamed Nashville) and Nashville GA were all named in honor of General Francis Nash.
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