Nicholas Cabell (1750-1803) was born at his father’s plantation on Swan Creek in Nelson County, Virginia. He attended William and Mary College, completing his education in about 1771.

He married Hannah Carrington (1751-1817) in April 1772, and lived at Swan Creek. His father had deeded him the Swan Creek estate in 1763; those lands extending from above Midway Station down the James River for more than five miles. His father lived there until his death in 1774.

Nicholas Cabell served as a Captain of a group of about 100 minutemen in 1776, and in 1780 he was appointed a colonel of the militia of Amherst. He was a vestryman in his parish and represented Amherst County in the House of Delegates and as a State Senator. He established a Freemason lodge in his neighborhood in 1791 (The George Lodge), and filled positions of leadership in the the Grand Lodge of Masons of Virginia.

In 1800, his health began to fail. In 1802, he visited the Virginia Springs for the treatment of the day, but died at the age of 53 in Aug. 1803. His wife, Hannah Carrington, survived her husband by nearly fourteen years. She lived mainly at Harewood so she could help raise her granddaughters, four year old Hannah and two year old Sarah Hare, after the death of their mother in 1802. She died in 1817 and was buried at Liberty Hall.

Nicholas and Hannah Carrington Cabell’s children, spouses, and homeplace

  • William H. Cabell (1772-1853) and Elizabeth Cabell (died in 1801) lived at Midway, and William H. Cabell and Agnes Gamble lived in Richmond, Virginia.
  • George Cabell (1774-1827) and Susanna Wyatt (died in 1817) and Ann Cabell (died 1850), and Elizabeth May lived in Richmond, Virginia.
  • Elizabeth Cabell (1776-1802) and Dr. William Hare (1760-1818) of Harewood, Nelson County, Virginia.
  • Joseph Carrington Cabell (1778-1856) and Mary Walker Carter lived at Edgewood, Nelson County, Virginia.
  • Nicholas Cabell, Jr. (1780-1809) and Margaret Venable (1782-1857) lived at Liberty Hall.
  • Mary Ann Cabell (1783-1850) and Benjamin Carrington (1768-1838) lived in Cumberland County, Virginia.
  • Mayo Cabell born and died in 1784.
  • Hannah Cabell (1786- 7 Sep. 1794)
  • Henningham Cabell (1787- 8 Sep. 1794)
  • Cabell born and died in 1788.
  • Paul Carrington Cabell born and died in 1791.

Migration of the Descendants of Nicholas Cabell

Nicholas and his wife, Hannah, lived at her father’s plantation, Boston Hill, in Cumberland, Virginia for close to 10 years. Their first 5 children were born at Boston Hill. He then moved back to Liberty Hall where they had another 6 children. Many of his children and grandchildren remained in the Nelson County Cabell community. His grandchildren’s birth places include Liberty Hall, Harewood, Union Hill. Midway Mills, and Bon Aire.

Grandchildren of two of his children, William H. Cabell and Mary Ann Cabell, migrated further distances north and west.

Judge William H. Cabell, moved his family from Nelson County to Richmond before the birth of his third child, Robert, in 1809. Many of his children remained in Virginia or migrated to other cities including Washing ton D.C, New York and St. Louis, Missouri.

Mary Ann Cabell married her first cousin on the Carrington side, Benjamin Mosby Carrington and they settled back near the Carrington’s in Cumberland, Virginia. Two of their grandchildren, through their daughter, Sophonisba Anne Carrington, would move westward settling in Missouri, Montana territory and California.

Exploring the map

The following map shows the migration of 5 generations of descendants of Nicholas Cabell and Hannah Carrington Cabell. This includes 468 descendants born before 1900.

Click on the Map name (Nicholas-Descendants) to open the map in a new window (you can also download a copy to save). Click on the large icon on the map near Virginia Beach for more details.

Snapshot of the map of Nicholas’ descendants. Click on link above.

Notable Descendants of Nicholas Cabell

18th century

19th century

  • Albert Cabell Ritchie (1876-1936) – 49th Governor of Maryland from 1920-1935.
  • Dabney Lancaster (1889-1975). Higher education professor and leader serving at Virginia Tech, University of Alabama, and as 17th president of Longwood University.
  • Edward Carrington Cabell – First U.S. Representative from Florida (1847-1853)
  • Henry Carrington Lancaster (1882-1954) – Scholar of French dramatic literature at Johns Hopkins University.
  • James Branch Cabell (1879-1958) – Author Jurgen (1819). Brother of Robert Gamble Cabell III.
  • James Lawrence Cabell (1813-1889) – Early pioneer practicing sanitary techniques for surgical patients. Professor of Physiology and Surgery at the University of Virginia, chairman for a time of its faculty, and President of both the National Board of Health and the American Public Health Association.
  • John Morgan Evans (1863-1946) – U.S. Representative from Montana (1913-1921)
  • Robert Gamble Cabell III (1881-1968) – Philanthropist and founder with his wife Maude Morgan Cabell of The Cabell Foundation.
  • Thomas Henry Birdsong (1867-1933) – Founder of Birdsong Peanuts

20th century

  • Cabell Davis Smith – One of the first women as a sound mixer in the film industry, nominated for an Emmy in 1978.
  • Ernest H. Williams, Ph. D – Professor and author.
  • Margaret Cabell Self (1902-1996) – Horsewoman and author of books on horsemanship.
  • Mary Groesbeck Cabell (1911-1998) – Cofounder of the Cabell Family Society with her cousins, Randolph McGuire Cabell and Mayo Cabell.
  • Sterling Colgate (1925-2013) – Physicist who worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Cofounder of the Santa Fe Institute. Winner of the Bruno Rossi Prize in 1990. His grand-mother, Margaret Cabell Auchincloss, was the wife of Richard Morse Colgate of the Colgate soap family.

Works Consulted

  • Brown, Alexander. The Cabells and their Kin: A Memorial Volume of History, Biography, and Genealogy. Richmond, Va.: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1939. First published 1895.
  • Cabell, Randolph W. 20th Century Cabells and their Kin. Franklin, N.C.: Genealogy Pub. Service, 1993
  • Cabell Family Papers, 1727-1875, Accession # 5084, Albert H. and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.