DAVID NATION. In every community are found men who are leaders in the public life and business circles of the city and are therefore the real founders and promoters of the town that they have chosen as a place of residence. In the thriving little city of Snyder, Texas, there are a number of good business houses, but prominent among them is that of the Snyder Mercantile Company and of this organization David Nation is the president and manager. Mr. Nation is a genial, whole-souled man whose life largely exemplifies the spirit of western enterprise. He also displays many of the strong southern traits and comes of a family from northern Alabama. His father, David Nation, left Blount county, Alabama, in the fall of 1865, just after the close of the Civil war, removing thence to Mississippi, where he spent two years. In 1867 he became a resident of Smith county, Texas, there he remained for a year and then removed to Ellis county, Texas, where his death occurred about 1885. He was a farmer by occupation and followed that pursuit throughout his entire life, save for the period spent in the Confederate service during the war, covering about three years. During a part of this time he acted as conscript officer. In his religious views he was a Primitive Baptist and he always took an active interest in church matters. In politics he was an unfaltering Democrat but never sought office as the reward for party fealty. He married Miss Betsie Hood, who was a native of North Carolina and in their family were eleven children, of whom five sons and five daughters reached adult age. The sons are all yet living and are now well situated in life, being prosperous residents of Texas.
David Nation was born October 6, 1854, in Blount county, Alabama, was there reared and made his home in that locality through the period of strife between the north and the south, during which time he learned many valuable lessons of life that have been a source of profit to him in later years. His educational privileges were limited to three months attendance at school, for the fortunes of war made it impossible for the schools of the locality to be maintained. He was about thirteen years of age when the family removed to Texas and he made his home with his father until he had reached the age of twenty-two years, w hen he was married, the lady of his choice being Miss Linnie Banks, a native of Texas, born in Cherokee county.
Mr. Nation started out upon his business career with only a saddle and pony. He engaged in farming in Ellis county upon rented land for two years, and then with the money that he had been able to save during this period he bought land upon which he lived until 1890. In that year he came to Scurry county, where he has since made his home and he has been closely identified with its growth and development to the present time. Here he first purchased a section of land in the southeastern part of the county and was engaged in farming for three years. He then removed to Snyder, where he purchased a livery stable but after conducting it for a brief period he sold out. He next bought a half interest in a dry goods and grocery store, becoming a partner of I. H. Nelson under the firm style of Nelson & Nation. This firm afterward erected the building now occupied by the Paxton Hardware Company on the southwest corner of the public square, making their headquarters there for some time. In 1901 the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Nelson taking the dry goods and Mr. Nation the groceries. In 1901 the latter erected the brick building on the northwest corner of the square and conducted a grocery business alone for about a year. In the fall of 1902 the Snyder Mercantile Company was organized with J. E. Dodson as president and C. T. Ghrand vice president and general manager. A year later Mr. Nation was elected president of the company, and two years after its organization was chosen general manager, and has since been the chief executive officer of the corporation. The company is capitalized as thirty-five thousand dollars and deals in general merchandise of every description save farm implements. This is one of the largest commercial concerns of Snyder and derives its trade from a large territory. The patronage is now extensive and the house sustains a splendid reputation for its honorable methods, straightforward dealing and reasonable prices.
Mr. Nation, an enterprising man, has taken an active interest in the up building of the county and has been a generous contributor to the erection of every church and school house in Scurry county and some in Kent county. Since he entered business life here he has been eminently successful. He possesses the keen insight, strong purpose and indefatigable energy so necessary to success in a business career, and in the management of his affairs displays sound judgment. He has been a member of the Methodist church for the past twenty-five years and has labored earnestly and effectively for the welfare of the church and for the promotion of its various activities. He likewise belongs to the Masonic fraternity, in which he has attained the Royal Arch degree.
Mr. and Mrs. Nation have become the parents of five children, of whom two are living: Viola and Rural. The family home is noted for its generous and warm-hearted hospitality and both Mr. and Mrs. Nation have a very wide circle of friends in this part of the state. He is a gentleman of strong purpose, alert and enterprising, carrying forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes and his labors have already been crowned with successful accomplishment.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 470-471.