WP Nason, son of James & Margaret Nason, was
born in Fairfield District, SC, May 16, 1824, but
was raised in Georgia and Mississippi. He
attended college in Fayetteville, TN for one term in
1849, read medicine with his brother, a practicing
physician, for a while in 1852, and attended another
term at South Hanover College, Madison, KY in 1855.
He taught school in Kentucky and Mississippi from
1849 until 1857, then he and a friend, William
Thomas Baird, moved to Kirksville, MO.
In Kirksville, Baird settled down as a banker and
Nason continued teaching but did not settle down.
He alternated between teaching in rural schools and
operating his own school in town until 1862, and for
a year, 1860-61, also held the part-time position of
Adair County School Commissioner. He moved to
Green Lake, WI in 1862, back to Kirksville in 1865,
to Carroll County, KY for a few months in 1865 and,
finally, back to Kirksville in 1866. He was
principal of a school in Kirksville when Joseph
Baldwin opened his Normal School in 1867 and asked
him to join the faculty. He remained with the
First District Normal School for twenty years,
serving as Interim President for a year after
Baldwin's resignation in 1881.
Professor Nason was ordained a
minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1869 and served as
pastor of the church in Kirksville, 1870-71. When he was
dropped from the Normal faculty in 1887, a controversial move that
ultimately led to the resignation of President Blanton, he pastored
several churches in northeast Missouri before retiring in 1891.
He also worked with Western College in La Belle, MO for a couple of
years. In 1900, the Normal School Board of Regents awarded him
the title of President & Professor of Ethics Emeritus.
Nason and Wisconsin native Sarah Cowan married January 23, 1859 and
had two sons, William B and James C. Sarah and another infant
son died in Greek Lake in 1864. His second wife was Sarah Ann
(Griffiths) Thopmpson, a widow with a young daughter, Emmir.
They married in Kirksville June 12, 1866 and had one son, George
Frank. After Sarah's death in 1907, WP lived with George in
Delaware for a couple of years before deciding to reestablish his
home in Kirksville. He was on his way back when he became so
ill that he had to be carried from the train when it arrived.
He was taken to the home of his old friend WT Baird where he died
the evening of July 16, 1909. He was buried at Forest
One of the residence halls on the campus was named
Nason Hall in his honor and his portrait hangs in the Presidents