Who Were the Ancestors of Revolutionary War Soldier Francis Sturgill?

It’s been quite a research adventure for the past couple of months, working on my husband’s Southern lines, collecting documents to source research by others and prove his lineage.

Distant cousins who are now long gone recorded oral histories and trekked to courthouses and libraries to collect family information. Most (not all, but I’d say 95%) of what they shared and wrote down has been supported by records I’ve found.

There is one more line that is yet unfinished, at least by me, and that is my mother-in-law Ruby Sturgell Stufflebean’s paternal line. There was a cousin, Dave, who spent many decades of the 1900s interviewing old timers in the family and making those courthouse visits. As with those cousins in other branches of the family tree, most of Dave’s sources are not recorded, aside from mentions of tax lists and an occasional deed book and page.

I’ve collected about as much documentation as might exist on Ruby’s family and her Sturgell lineage:

Francis Sturgill & Rebecca Hash
William Sturgill/Sturgeon & (possibly Sophia King, family lore)
Isaac Sturgeon/Sturgell & Mary Bandy
Abijah Houston Sturgell & Martha Susannah Alberty
Oscar Eldon Sturgell & Ethel Anne Nation
Edward Earl Stufflebean & Ruby Jewel Sturgell

Linking Isaac to William has been through preponderance of evidence, as William Sturgeon is the only man with that surname who lived in Lawrence County, Ohio in the 1840s. He had a male in Isaac’s age bracket at home in the 1840 census and Isaac Sturgeon married Mary Bandy in Lawrence County in June 1844.

One more bit of information is that Cousin Dave, without knowing anything about Isaac Sturgell’s life, said, according to family lore,  William Sturgill/Sturgeon left Ohio and died in a sawmill accident around 1849 in Missouri or Arkansas.

Isaac Sturgell, wife Mary, and infant daughter M.J. appear in the 1850 census of Barry County, Missouri. Barry County sits on the southern border of Missouri touching Arkansas and Isaac Sturgell spent his life living in various towns throughout the Ozarks.

I had wondered how he came to live there with no apparent FAN club. If it’s true that his father died in the area around 1849, Isaac likely migrated with him and decided he liked the Ozarks well enough to stay.

That’s my theory anyway and I haven’t found a bit of contradictory evidence that would shoot holes in it.

William Sturgill is said to be a son of Francis, the Revolutionary War soldier and their link is also through a couple of pieces of preponderance of evidence. Francis Sturgill lived in Ashe County, North Carolina later in life and his wife, Rebecca, survived him after he died sometime before the 1820 census, when Rebeckah Stogill is head of household and living next door to her three adult sons and their families (Francis, William and Joel).

Ashe County, North Carolina 1820 Census
Source: Ancestry

The second piece of evidence linking William to Francis is that, again, the Sturgill surname wasn’t terribly common and William is living in the same area where Francis and his family lived.

Perhaps over time more evidence supporting these family ties will appear, but for now, I am satisfied that Isaac is correctly paired with his father and William is rightly paired with Francis, his father.

The next step in my research is to gather evidence linking Revolutionary War soldier Francis to his ancestors, said to be:

1. John Stogdell, born c1625; died Essex County, VA c1705; possibly married a Franks (IMMIGRANT ancestor)

2. John Stodgill, born c1660, probably Essex County, VA: died c1725 in Essex County; possibly married a Madison

3. James Stodgill, born c1700, probably Essex County, VA; died c1753 in Orange County, VA; possibly married a Wiliams

4. James Stodgill, born c1725, probably Essex or Orange County, VA; died ; possibly married Ann Calloway

Just four short generations – how many supporting records will I be able to find for each generation? I’m not sure, but, from past experience, I know that Essex County records are plentiful.

In this case, it will be easier to begin with the immigrant, John Stogdell. With this family, spelling doesn’t count! There are many variations of the surname and many in the family were illiterate well into the 19th century, so they had no say-so in how their own name was spelled.




Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Which Ancestor Am I Most Thankful For?

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the United States, so it is quite appropriate that Randy Seaver’s SNGF challenge is holiday-related:

1)  We celebrated Thanksgiving in the USA this week, and my thoughts turned to my ancestors.  I pondered “Which ancestor am I most thankful for?”  So be it!

I really had to think for a while to choose just one ancestor. Of course, we are all thankful for parents and grandparents. It would be difficult to choose just one family member with whom we share/d our lives.

After pondering the ancestors yesterday and even this morning, I chose the one who tugs at my heart strings – Johannes Jensen, my Danish 3X great grandfather.

Johannes started life with literally nothing.  He was born at the unwed mother’s hospital in Copenhagen on 27 December 1810. His mother immediately signed her baby over to the wife of Master Tanner Zinn. Perhaps she thought that Johannes would have a secure future, eventually being trained to be a tanner.

However, in 1815, Mr. Zinn died and his widow, with her own children to feed, sent Johannes to the Copenhagen orphanage.

I doubt Johannes ever knew anything about his parents, but they eventually married and lived nearby. When he was ten, the hospital records indicate that his father provided clothing for him! Yet, his own mother and father knew of his circumstances and chose not to bring him home. By the way, they had no other children together.

His childhood must have been one horror after another and I have to admit that I don’t think much of these two of my 4X great grandparents. By the standards of any time period, abandoning a child when health and economics didn’t require it is inexcusable.

Johannes got out on his own as soon as he was able. A few weeks before his 16th birthday, he enlisted in the Danish Army. He was blessed with musical talent (which clearly made it down the line to my very artistic and musical grandmother, Hazel (Coleman) Adams.

This talent fit perfectly with the army job that became his career – he was the company drummer and fiddler. Johannes also had a terrific posting – Rosenborg Castle, which is where the Danish crown jewels are housed!

In spite of life’s hardships, Johannes married Johanna Elisabeth Molin, who left Oved, Sweden for a new life in Copenhagen. They became the parents of six children. Four grew to adulthood, including their only son, Frits Wille Oscar Emil Jensen.

Circumstances dealt Johannes one more blow – he died on 9 April 1865, several weeks before his 55th birthday.

Frits is the only child who made the decision to emigrate to America, settling his family in Calais, Maine. My grandmother grew up having Frits around, although he passed away in 1920, when she was 19 years old.

I am thankful for Johannes because, in spite of dire life circumstances, he survived childhood, found a place in life with his army career and raised a family with Johanna.

None of us would be the people we are if even one ancestor wasn’t ours. In this case, Johannes and Johanna provided me with the Scandinavian branch of the family tree.

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge. They are always fun.




James Hendricks of York County, PA, Frederick County, MD & Rowan County, NC, 1700s

Well, we’ve arrived at another likely immigrant ancestor in my husband’s family tree. 🙂 At least, James is the earliest connection anyone has been able to make.

James Hendricks’ year of birth is unknown, but probably no later than 1717 if birth year estimates for his son and grandchildren are correct. His place of birth is also unknown. He may be the immigrant ancestor, but there were other Hendricks families in York County, Pennsylvania in the 1700s and, in fact, there was a second James Hendricks, born c1722 who married Priscilla Pettit and settled in what is today’s West Virginia.

My husband’s James Hendricks married at least twice, but I haven’t found a shred of documentation for even the given name of his first wife, who would have been the mother of John, my husband’s line. James Hendricks married (1) Unknown and (2) Christianna (some say Roland, daughter of Gaspar Roland, which is possible as the family had close connections over many years. However, there is no documentation for this statement either.

James Hendricks’ ethnicity – Anglo or German – is also uncertain, but if he was of Anglo ancestry, it isn’t evident as his FAN club is strictly German and of Brethren religious persuasion.

James Hendricks was a well known Dunker elder and had tiffs even within the hierarchy of the Church of the Brethren due to his evolving religious beliefs.

James created quite a paper trail in his lifetime, but it’s too bad that some of it didn’t name his wives and give more detailed information about the births of his children.

James was a wood turner and wheelwright by trade.

Here are some of the records created in James Hendricks’ lifetime:

1740’s and early 1750s – Assumed marriage and birth of his children by first wife

1755, May 17 – Left York County, PA; granted 62 acres in Frederick County, Maryland

1755, May 7 – Served as executor of will of Ulrich Wechsler, Baltimore County, Maryland [Question – why was James the executor of this man’s will? The surname is unfamiliar to me, which is unusual for this family.]

1761, December 30 – Witness to the will of Ulrich Echler, also Baltimore County, Maryland

1764, February 24 – Witness to the will of Andrew Magill, Baltimore County, Maryland

1765, 9 February – Witness to the will of Conrad Broust, Baltimore County, Maryland

1768, 23 June – James Hendricks of Baltimore County, Wheelwright, sold his 62 acre tract What You Will in Baltimore County, on Linganore Creek to Margaret Nusbaum  for £25.

1769, October 16 – James Hendricks of Baltimore County, a turner, and wife Christianna, sold 100 acres called Hendrick’s First Choice, for £75 to Adam Smith.

1771, January 18 – Witness to the will of Philip Heir, Baltimore County, Maryland.

1774 – Rowan County, North Carolina court bound orphan Geoerge Adams to James Hendricks to learn the trades of wheelwright and turner.

1782 – James Hendricks on Rowan County, North Carolina tax list with 56 acres, 41 horses and 16 cattle

1783 – James Hendricks appears on a list of 160 names of Tories. Brethren were pacifists, who weren’t politically active.

1788, November Term – Estate administration for James Hendricks, deceased granted to John Hendricks and Joseph Roland. [Note: Joseph Roland may have served if he was the brother of Christianna – another possible clue.]

Children of James Hendricks, listed in order of their 1789 court petition to divide James’s tracts of land to his heirs:

Rowan County, NC Court Minutes
5 May 1789 Petition to Divide Land
Source: FamilySearch

  1. Daniel, born c1740, York County, Pennsylvania; died after 1791 estate settlement; said to have married Mary Roland
  2. Peter, born c1742, York County, Pennsylvania; died after 1791 estate settlement
  3. John, born c1744, York County, Pennsylvania; died after 1798, probably in Montgomery or Warren County, Kentucky. No probate or estate settlement has been found for him; married Unknown

Children with Christianna:

4. William, born c1771; died after 1791 estate settlement
5. Henry, born c1773; died after 1791 estate settlement

Christianna Hendricks died before 5 February 1796 when the inventory of her estate was recorded by the Rowan County, North Carolina court;

Rowan County Court Minutes, unpaged
Source: FamilySearch

About the same time, most of the Hendricks family headed to a new life in Kentucky.