John Stodgell, Immigrant to VA 1650 and His Descendants

Today begins the first post in a short series taking a look at my mother-in-law’s Sturgell family line back to the immigrant ancestor. Her maiden name was Sturgell, so it is a lengthy branch on the family tree.

Here is the line of descent from Francis Sturgill, who fought in the American Revolution:

  1. Francis Sturgill & Rebecca Hash
  2. William Sturgill/Sturgeon & (?)Sophia King
  3. Isaac Sturgeon/Sturgell & Mary Bandy
  4. Abijah Houston Sturgell & Martha Susannah Alberty
  5. Oscar Eldon Sturgell & Ethel Anne Nation
  6. Ruby Jewel Sturgell & Edward Earl Stufflebean
  7. David Lee Stufflebean

As a quick review, Isaac is connected to William by preponderance of evidence. William Sturgeon is the only man of that surname living in Lawrence County, Ohio in 1840 and has a male in Isaac’s age range at home. Isaac Sturgeon married Mary Bandy on 27 June 1844 in Lawrence County. Lastly, family lore says William died in a sawmill accident in Missouri or Arkansas before 1850. Isaac, Mary and their infant daughter are living in Barry County, Missouri, which sits on the northern border of Arkansas, in 1850.

William is also connected to his father, Francis, by preponderance of evidence. Francis died in Ashe County, North Carolina in the early 1800s. Widow Rebecca appears in the 1820 census as head of household with adult sons and their families, including William, enumerated as her neighbors.

I am convinced that the line above is correct, as I have found evidence to support the lineage, but nothing to question or contradict it.

With the lack of vital records, taking the Sturgills back to immigrant John Stogdell/Stodgell will be through court, land and other records. Thankfully, the name was unique in the 1600s and early 1700s in Virginia.

I decided to revisit this family because the distant cousin who researched them throughout the 20th century rarely cited any sources. Much of what I’ve been able to verify has proven the cousin correct, but there have also been some major errors in that early research.

There are four more generations before Revolutionary War soldier Francis Sturgill to arrive at the immigrant ancestor, John Stodgell, from North Petherton, Somerset, England:

1. John Stodgell & (possibly a Franks)
2. John Stodgill & Ann Madison
3. James Stodgill & Anne Blackstone
4. James Sturgill & (possibly Ann Callaway)

Normally, I work my way back through each generation, but with so many of the same given names and several keys pieces of information unproven to my satisfaction, today we will begin with immigrant ancestor John Stodgell, his home in England and the few crumbs of his life found in Virginia.

First, let’s begin in North Petherton, Somerset, England, the ancestral home of the Sturgill family. I was more than excited to discover that the North Petherton church registers survive all the way back to their beginnings in the mid 1500s, which prove that the Stodgells lived there for quite some time.

While there are quite a few baptismal records, there are not many early marriage or burial records. Having said that though, I can say with certainty that John Stodgell, the immigrant to Virginia in 1650 was ABSOLUTELY NOT John, the son of Richard baptized on 10 April 1615. How can I be so sure? Because that little guy is one of the few burial records for Stodgells in North Petherton. He was buried on 15 February 1616, aged only ten months old.

Not to worry, though, because there are several other Johns from which to choose and I’m leaning towards one of them because of naming patterns in the family. More on this thought at the end of this post!

We have:

John, son of John, baptized 13 October 1616
John, son of Henry,
baptized 13 January 1622
John, son of Richard
, baptized 25 February 1623

Unfortunately, the earliest records only name the father of the child. I’d like to say that these three men were brothers, but while looking at the earlier Stodgell baptisms in the village, it seems clear (because of two 1580 baptisms only four months apart) that there were probably at least two Stodgell men with families in North Petherton.

We have the following 16th century baptisms:

John, baptized 20 November 1564
Henry, baptized 1 August 1568
Johane, baptized 30 July 1569
Cressett (found as a surname, perhaps given to a son?), baptized 2 February 1572
Peternell (Petronella), baptized 14 August 1577
Richard, baptized 11 October 1579
Roger, baptized 25 July 1580
Andrew, baptized 30 November 1580
John, baptized 13 September 1584
John, baptized 20 May 1585
Mary, baptized 16 February 1589

With not even the father’s name provided in these records, and no burial record to help, it is not certain if the two Johns baptized in 1584 and 1585 were brothers and one died soon or if they are cousins.

Stodgell marriages in North Petherton:

John Stodgell & Johane Musterd, 19 April 1560
Robert Stodgell & Ann Penie, 12 April 1567
George Stodgell & Edythe Wallford, 8 November 1576
Nicholas Gargine & Johane Stodgell, 26 August 1594
John Stodgell & Elizabeth Goobbe (?Guppy, a surname found in Somerset), 29 October 1601
Robert Stodgell & Margaret Norman, November 1605

Richard Stodgell & Unknown (Widow Stodgell buried in 1668) had a fairly large family, at least with children who were baptized as the child of Richard:

Richard, baptized 16 October 1608; buried 23 November 1608
Richard, baptized 5 November 1609
Nicholas, baptized 12 January 1612 (probably the man who with wife Katherine had son Nicholas baptized on 25 July 1641.)
John, baptized 10 April 1615; buried 15 February 1616
John, baptized 25 February 1623
Katherine, baptized 5 December 1630

The gap between the births of John in 1615 and John in 1623 make me wonder if the widow Stodgell who died in 1668 was a second wife, particularly since the last child, Katherine, was baptized in 1630.

There are three children attributed to John Stodgell, who is probably the man who married Elizabeth Goobbe (Guppy) in 1601:

Roger, baptized 24 February 1613 and probably married Joan Ball, 21 October 1637
John, baptized 13 October 1616
Joyce, baptized 26 December 1618

However, if Elizabeth is the mother, there is a 12 year gap between their marriage in 1601 and the first child attributed to John in 1613. Perhaps they moved to a neighboring village or Elizabeth died and John remarried?

There are three children attributed to Henry, with no marriage record found in North Petherton:

Ellen, baptized 9 November 1617
John, baptized 13 January 1622
Henry, baptized 15 June 1623

Lastly, we have Robert Stodgell & Ann Penie:
Alce, baptized 2 February 1568

and Robert Stodgell & Margaret Norman:
William, baptized 22 March 1607
Loare (Laura?), baptized 29 December 1611

An interesting note is that one William Stodgill died in Jamestown, Virginia in 1636. The mention of his death said he had no known relatives in the area. Could that William have been William born in 1607 and the son of Robert Stodgell? it’s certainly possible.

Now we need to take another look at those three Johns, one of whom undoubtedly is the immigrant:

John, son of John, baptized 13 October 1616
John, son of Henry,
baptized 13 January 1622
John, son of Richard
, baptized 25 February 1623

Unfortunately, I find no marriage or burial records for any John Stodgells who could be these men. Not much is known about immigrant John Stodgell who settled in Virginia, other than James and John Stodgill who were the second generation there are thought to be his sons.

More is known about their descendants and neither Richard nor Henry appear as given names in any Virginia Stodgills in the 1600s or 1700s. If I had to choose one of the three as immigrant John, I would go with John, son of John, baptized on 13 October 1616. John is a name that is given time and again to Sturgill sons.

Somerset Quarter Session Records have one mention of John Stodgell, (possibly the man who married Elizabeth Goobbe) in 1610:


Source: Google Books

Perhaps further Somerset research will shed more light on this family.

To close, one of the three Johns, baptized in 1616, 1622 and 1623 became the progenitor of the Sturgill/Sturgell family in America. Next, we will look at the mere couple of records John Stodgell left in Virginia in his lifetime and the two men believed to be his sons.

 

 

 

 

 

One thought on “John Stodgell, Immigrant to VA 1650 and His Descendants”

  1. Thank you so much for your research! I am a Sturgell descendent trying to trace back my family lineage and while I have a pretty clear pedigree, some things just don’t add up. The Sturgill cousin who’s book I found made the search even more difficult. Would love to hear more about what you have to say.

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