Case Study: Taking a New Look at Francis Sturgill, Rev. War Soldier, Part 4

For a quick recap on what has been accomplished in Parts 1-3 of the case study of Francis Sturgill:

Francis Sturgill, Revolutionary War soldier who served in the Montgomery County, Virginia militia married Rebecca Hash about 1775. She was the daughter of John Hash of Montgomery County and Francis was named in John’s 1784 will.

Francis was born probably somewhere between 1750-1755 and died before February 1808, when the court minutes of Ashe County, North Carolina order his estate administrator to sell his perishable property.

Although family lore names eleven children of Francis and Rebecca, plus one daughter who married Timothy Perkins, land records prove that Lydia who married Solomon Parsons, John, probably Francis as he bought up shares of the other legatees, Jane who married William Jones, the unnamed daughter who married Timothy Perkins and Elizabeth who married Allen Stedham as heirs of Francis.

That leaves six possible children for whom no land deeds are found, at least not deeds relating to Francis Sturgill’s estate.

Those children are James, William, Joel, Rebecca who reportedly married William Weaver but who died before 1830, David and Nancy.

We also have the conundrum concerning William and Jane Jones 1828 bill of sale in which they received $500 for their 1/11th share of the estate of Francis Sturgill.

There are no other bills of sale recorded by the other children, so it is apparent that not all filed deeds or other documents with the county clerk or Ashe County Court. This leaves the records somewhat incomplete, which makes this task much more difficult.

There are a couple of loose ends to tie up here, so I will start with a land deed from one Nancy Sturgill to Francis Sturgill on 30 May 1836 in Ashe County.

Nancy Sturgill to Francis Sturgill, 1836
Source: FamilySearch

Partial Transcription:
Nancy Sturgill to Francis Sturgill. . .$100. . .sold a certain tract of land containing 100 acres. . .part of 394 acres in five tracts. . .part of the estate of F. Sturgill

Nancy signed with her (X) mark. Witnesses were John Wagg and James Wagg.

Now, none of the Sturgill men in this family married a woman named Nancy. Francis’s youngest child is supposed to be Nancy who married Andrew Osborn and lived in Grayson County, Virginia. Andrew died before the 1850 census when Nancy is enumerated as 47 years old with Rebecca, 19, Polly J., 17 and Enoch, 14.

Source: Ancestry

I have not found any documents connecting Andrew and Nancy Osborn of Grayson County, Virginia to Ashe County, North Carolina. There are no records to indicate when Nancy married Andrew or if she was the mother of the three children with her in 1850.

However, it seems extremely odd that her land deed in 1836 would call her Nancy Sturgill if she were married.  Witness James Wagg, born c1807, lived in Ashe County in 1850. His occupation was listed as doctor. I haven’t come across the Wagg surname at all in connection with the Sturgills. Could Nancy have come from Grayson County, recorded the land deed with Francis and asked the doctor to witness the deed? He might have happened to be near the courthouse that day. Maybe the county clerk knew she was a Sturgill or Francis perhaps said something like, “This is my sister Nancy.” She wasn’t able to write her name and probably couldn’t read the deed either.

There is no other Nancy Sturgill who this could possibly be, so I am going to go out on a limb and say that I believe this is Francis’s daughter, Nancy. Whether or not she married Andrew Osborn is an issue left for another day and time. Nancy got the green light, so to speak. 🙂

Next, I can find no other deeds for James Sturgill, Joel Sturgill, William Sturgell, David Sturgill or William and Rebecca Weaver that prove they received a share of the estate of Francis Sturgill.

However, by preponderance of evidence, mainly that J., J. and W. Sturgell were all living in Ashe County in the 1810 census and were the only other Sturgells there besides Rebecca, Francis and John, proven family members of Francis, deceased, I have to also state that the evidence certainly points to James, Joel and William also being sons of Francis.

There is one additional bit of information that I believe supports William’s place as one of the sons. He removed to Lawrence County, Ohio, where he appears in land records in 1837. William Sturgill, or Sturgeon as he was sometimes called, lived in Symmes Township. A few doors away was a familiar couple – William Jones and wife Jane Sturgill Jones – the same William and Jane Jones who signed the bill of sale in 1828.

That leaves Rebecca, who reportedly died before the 1830 census and the supposed wife of William Weaver, and David Sturgill, who appears in only a couple of land records in Ashe County and who reportedly died before 1850, leaving no will. His wife is said to either be a Miss Richardson and/or Elender Jones, daughter of John and Leah Jones.

I am up in the air about both Rebecca and David. And, there is still the question of interpreting the 1/11th share in 1828 that William and Jane Jones claimed. If there were eleven original heirs and Rebecca and David are not Francis’s children AND widow Rebecca was counted among the eleven, then the numbers work.

If there were eleven SURVIVING heirs in 1828 and Rebecca and Timothy Perkins’ wife had already died, then David likely was a son and the numbers also work.

It’s a question without an answer at this point. However, I’m pleased that I have documented six of the possible twelve children of Francis Sturgill and Rebecca Hash. Perhaps in time, I will locate land or court records identifying the other heirs. Ashe County’s records aren’t the easiest to search, as there are duplicate land records in different lettered volumes and in different handwriting, although they all appear to be original to the time periods. Some land and court records aren’t indexed and one of the court clerks was both a terrible speller and terrible at handwriting, making the pages hard to read.

What I was most hoping for was to find a record of William Sturgill as an heir of Francis, as William is my husband’s 3X great grandfather. William appears in only three land records in Ashe County. In one, he received a state land grant of 50 acres. In the second he bought 100 acres of land and, in the third, he sold 150 acres of land and then removed to Grayson County, Virginia before he headed on to Ohio. Oh, well!

If you are a Sturgill/Sturgell descendant and would like citations for the land and court records I’ve share in this case study, please leave a comment to let me know. Thanks!

One thought on “Case Study: Taking a New Look at Francis Sturgill, Rev. War Soldier, Part 4”

  1. Hi! I read about the Frances Sturgill family and believe I’m a descendant of daughter, Elizabeth. I discovered her b/c I’ve been trying to find father of Calvin William Stidham, who was born in 1830, died in Wise, VA 1884. His wife Susannah Lane, whom he married in Ashe, NC. reported at his death that his parents were C. And Elizabeth Stidham. Just after Calvin and Susannah married they appeared as household members in the home of Daniel & Elizabeth Jones, formerly married to a Stedham, name unknown. Researchers try to tie Calvin to Allen Bartlett Stidham who has a wife named Elizabeth as well, also listed on 1850 census), but I think Elizabeth Jones is the mother. Still can’t identify father’s name, but believe Samuel Stidham who moved w/ other Stidhams to Letcher Co, Ky was his grandfather. Calvin lived there also for a while but then moved to Wise, VA where there was a settlement of Stidhams. Anyway, wanted to inquire where you got the land sale of Elizabeth Stedham-that’s so great! Could you send a copy to me? My name is Karan Freimark, mother a Stidham, & email is Thanks so much!

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