John Stodgell, Virginia Immigrant 1650 and His Reputed Sons

Now that the North Petherton, Somerset, England Stodgells have been reviewed, it’s time to look at immigrant John Stodgell and his life in Virginia from 1650 until about 1690, by which time it is thought that he had died.

Given that James Stodgill was born c1660 and John Stodgill c1665, immigrant John had married by, let’s say, 1659. However, there are absolutely no clues as to the name of his wife. (Note: Some say his wife was a Franks because John Stodgell recorded his animal brand and noted the gift of a calf with the same mark to Daniel Franks. This gift was recorded in Essex County in 1703! This record most likely pertains to the second John Stodgill, born c1665.)

Essex County, VA Deed Book 11:120 (top left corner)
Source: FamilySearch

John Stogdell appears as a headright of James Hurd in 1650.

Source: Early Virginia Immigrants, 1623-1666
by George Cabell Greer, 1912

Headrights were a system that allowed immigrants to finance their transportation to the American colonies. James Hurd was entitled to land grants, based on the number of “heads” who settled in Virginia under his name. The immigrant would have agreed to indentured servitude for a period of probably seven years. During that time, this person really had few rights and was not permitted to marry. At the end of the contractual period of servitude, the person could marry, work for his own benefit, own land, etc.

In 1669, John Stogdell reportedly appears on the tax list of (Old) Rappahannock County, Virginia (part of which later became Essex County). However, I have looked at the few surviving records for Old Rappahannock County and can’t find any mention anywhere of a John Stogdell by any spelling. I have no idea where my husband’s (long deceased) Sturgill cousin found that reference!

The image below is not not clear and very difficult to read, but John Stodgill witnessed the document filed by Robt Bridge, who looks to be a resident of Liverpool and this has to do with some cargo.

Essex County, Virginia Deed Book 10:15
Source: FamilySearch

Lastly, a lawsuit which Thomas Tinsley, plaintiff, filed against John Stodghill was dismissed in 1702. No records have been found that are sure to pertain to John the Immigrant and it is possible that the suit was dismissed because John had died.

Suit Between Thos Tinsley & John Stodghill Dismissed
Essex County, VA Deed Book 10:145
Source: FamilySearch

That is the sum total (4!) of the records which have been found that most likely pertain to immigrant John Stodgell. It is thought that he died before 1690, perhaps much earlier as his two presumed sons, James and John, began appearing in their own records in the 1690s.

Second Generation

The second generation of Stodgells in America appear to be James and John, probably sons of the immigrant John from North Petherton. If John had other sons or any daughters, their names have been lost to time.

1. Much less is known about James Stodgill, born c1660 than about his (probable) brother, John.  In fact, I question if there ever was a James Stodgill. He is supposedly found on the 1704 Quit Rent Rolls in York County, Virginia and that is it. Whether or not he married and had descendants is unknown.

Here is why I question his existence. The supposed entry has been transcribed as:

Jenj a Stogsdall – 50

and also as:

Stogell Jno                 Essex County, 1704
Stogsdall Benja.            York County, 1704

Notice that Jno. Stogell is in Essex County, but in the second entry, this man is transcribed as (B)enja. (Stogsdall.

I have not seen the original film of the quit rent rolls, but the first transcription – Jenj a – I can certainly see the entry as being misread for James especially with faded ink or a poor quality image.

However, there are Stodgills who being appearing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and there has been a theory afloat that James might have migrated north and been the progenitor of that branch of the family. I have no idea if any Sturgills from the mid-Atlantic states have taken a Y-DNA test, but that would quickly answer the question as to whether or not they might be descendants of James Stodgill of York County, Virginia and John the immigrant.

Whether James Stodgill ever existed or whether he died as a young man or left Virginia all together still brings one conclusion: John Stodgell is the only man of the surname living in Virginia at the turn of the 18th century.

Note: With the pandemic and Virginia records locked on FamilySearch, I have not been able to access the following two deeds.

2. John Stodgell, likely the son, first appears in Essex County, Virginia in 1699. A letter of attorney from Richard Bridge to Paul was proved by “ye oathes of Argall Blackston and Jno. Stodgell.”

Essex County, Virginia, DB 10:17

Three years later, a lawsuit between Thomas Tinsley and Jno. Stoghill was dismissed:

Essex County, Virginia DB 10:145

His third appearance in the Essex County court records was the 1703 animal brand recorded and, at the same time, noted that he gave a calf with the same brand to Daniel Franks.

Essex County, VA Deed Book 11:120
Source: FamilySearch

John Stodgill is believed to have married a Franks, based on the gift to Daniel Franks. There was likely a close relationship of some type between John Stodgill and Daniel Franks. John might have married a Franks, but as he would have been around 37 years old in 1703, and possibly a bit older, I think it is just as likely that Daniel Franks might have been a new son-in-law. More work needs to be done on Daniel Franks!

There is a bit of a sticky wicket here, though, as John Stodgill is also thought to have married Ann Madison, sister of Henry, John and Ambrose Madison.

Given that there are no identified descendants of James Stodgill who was in York County, Virginia in 1704, all the next generation of Stodgills were descended from John, born c1665, and his unknown wife.

Next week, we will take a look at John Stodgill’s possible wives, (?) Franks and Ann Madison and the third generation of Sturgills/Sturgells in America – his four known children, Susannah, James, Daniel and John.



One thought on “John Stodgell, Virginia Immigrant 1650 and His Reputed Sons”

  1. I am very impressed by the detail of your work. I am never going to get as detailed in evaluating sources and won’t be looking for sources that aren’t readily available online.

    In roughing out my family tree, I am relying, it seems, on a few family trees that draw heavily from the earlier work on the Sturgells I don’t have a copy of the earlier Sturgell work that you reference. How can I find it?

    My family is attributed to Joh, the 1850 immigrant, His son John. His son James. his Son James. his son Lewis, his ?daughter Mary Polly, who married Nimrod Hall, her son Elijah Sturgill Hall, and his son Wilburn Sturgill. It goes on from there. The original Sturgell work combined with your detailed corrections and questions would be of great help to me.

    Any guidance would be appreciated. It looks like your husband’s line and our line diverged long ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.