The brother of my great great great grandfather (William Chittum)
Was buried twice.
Nathaniel "Nathan" Chittum
July 11, 1798 - March 22, 1894
Nathaniel Chittum Buried ...For The Second Time
Relatives Celebrate The Life Of Their Ancestor
By Jerry Clark
Rockbridge Weekly Publisher

      Nathaniel "Nathan" Chittum was laid to rest on April 11, 2000 by his relatives...for the second time. A man whose family has helped to shape the genetic landscape of the Rockbridge area was buried on the Otho Nicely Farm near Collierstown 1894 was re-buried in the Kerrs Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. Chittum's grave was located in the Rocky Hollow Cemetery behind a now-abandoned barn. All it took was time and a bit of organization to make the dream of laying him to rest alongside his grandsons come true.

      Denmark resident Harvey Chittum, a great great grandson of Chittum, and his cousin Thomas H. "Tommy" Chittum of New Port Richie, Florida were enjoying a hunting season conversation a couple of years ago when the subject of their great great grandfather's burial place came up. After searching and much planning, descendants of Nathaniel Chittum arrived at the Otho Nicely Farm in April to participate in a "family dig".

      Born on July 11, 1798, Nathaniel Chittum had four brothers and four sisters and he had thirteen children of his own.

      Records on his life are a bit scanty. He was the youngest child of John and Nancy Sly Chittum and was born in Goochland County on July 11, 1798. Apparently he moved with his parents to a South Buffalo Creek farm in 1817 It is known that he married Elizabeth Betsy Deacon (daughter of William and Nancy Peel Deacon) from the Collierstown North Buffalo) area about 1820. The couple had eleven children. He traveled extensively, but his profession wasn't known. Some think he might have been a blacksmith or a cabinet maker, but there are no records known to substantiate this. He moved to Jefferson County, Tennessee, to Cole County, Missouri, to Fayette Co., Kentucky and returned to Botetourt County in 1841. In an account of his death in the Rockbridge County News (a newspaper that later merged with the News-Gazette), it was noted that "All these long journeys were made in a common road wagon."

      Chittum married Margaret Kessler of Botetourt County in 1851 and fathered two more children. He later moved to Bedford County where he lived until 1878 and later came back to Rockbridge County after the death of his second wife. At the time of his death, the newspaper indicated that he was "probably the oldest man in the county and certainly the oldest in this section" when he died at the residence of his son-in-law, John A. Nicely.

      Chittum had seventy-five grandchildren and a hundred and one great grandchildren at the time of his death, the newspaper noted.

      The dig started about 9 a.m. and almost all the relatives had a hand in the activity. After more than two hours, they came upon coffin handles at the four foot level and then found various leg and arm bones which indicated that they had been crossed when he was buried. Later, the skull and lower jaw bone were uncovered. The family indicated that when Chittum died at the age of 95, it appeared that he was a little less than 6 feet tall.

      Great great grandson Harvey Chittum said that later, "30 tired souls" then closed the grave, placed Nathaniel's bones in a baby casket (donated by Nicely Funeral Home of Clifton Forge) and traveled to the Kerrs Creek Baptist Church Cemetery for the reburial ceremony.

      The reburial service began at 2 p.m. with various family members adding comments. Great great grandson Paul Curtis Chittum Sr. added a prayer and the whole entourage joined in the reading of the Twenty-Third Psalm and the singing of "When The Role Is Called Up Yonder."

      The family noted that when their ancestor was born, John Adams was President and there were only sixteen states in the union; his life spanned twenty-three presidents and when he died there were forty-four states.

      Dorothy Delmar Chittum is the oldest surviving relative of Chittum. She is a great granddaughter. The youngest relatives are Grace Goodbar and Jessica Goodbar, twin daughters of Mike and Casey "Knick" Goodbar. They are great great great great great granddaughters of Nathaniel.

      A beautiful wreath of yellow roses was donated by Maxine Chittum (of Staunton, a great great granddaughter), sister of Margery Myers and Harvey Chittum. Thomas Chittum and Harvey Chittum, both great great grandsons, donated the plaque and stones for the new grave. The Nicely Funeral Home and its employees donated the register book, the casket and the memorial cards for the event. Sandy Chittum prepared a meal for the group after the service. In all 48 people attended the service.

      Retha Chittum Scialoia, Chittum's great great granddaughter, memorialized the event with the following poem:

by Retha Chittum Scialoia

Many, many years ago before we were born Nathaniel Chittum was laid to rest, In Rocky Hollow Cemetery in Collierstown After traveling with his family to the West.

      I wonder how life was back then, And just who attended his wake, Was there five, ten or twenty five there, On March 21, 1894 - that was the date.

      For 106 years he was un-disturbed, While his descendants grew far and wide, Then on April 11th of the year 2000 With picks and shovels dug on that hill side.

      It was a cloudy, rain threatening day, When first one dug and then another, And the deer ran through the field in a far, While with care he was uncovered.

      His remains were transferred and re-buried, From all that had been exhumed, To the Kerrs Creek Baptist Church Cemetery At 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

      I wonder if "Nathan" was looking down on us As we placed him in a more accessible place, Along side many of his relatives To forever more dwell in God's grace. * * *

Nathaniel "Nathan" Chittum's children:
* Mary Ann "Chittum" Slack
* John Pleasant Chittum
* Eliza Jane Chittum Nicely
* William Wesley Chittum
* Amanda Frances "Chittum " Rowsey
* James Fletcher Chittum
* Matilda Sly "Chittum" Howerton
* Nancy C. Chittum
* Nathaniel Anderson Chittum
* Henry Jefferson Chittum
* George Washington Chittum
* Sarah Elizabeth Chittum
* Lemuel Preston Chittum * * *
(Editor's note: here's a bit more family history on Nathaniel "Nathan" Chittum:
4 Brothers:
* William Chittum (1774-1824)
--------William is my great great great grandfather Web Master Dick Wilt
* James Chittum (1778- )
* Zachariah R. Chittum (1795-1846)
* Hezekiah Chittum (1796- )
4 Sisters:
* Elizabeth Chittum Moss
* Christine Chittum Hicks
* Rhoda Chittum Campbell (ca 1794- )
* Mary Chittum Green ( - 1846)
* John Chittum (ca 1775- from England)
* Nancy Sly (England)

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