Tag Archives: Francis Sturgill

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.




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!

Case Study: Taking a New Look at Francis Sturgill, Rev. War Soldier, Part 3

We are winding down the examination of primary sources to document the life of Francis Sturgill and identify his children.

Census records are not too much help for Francis himself, as the early censuses of Virginia are lost and Francis isn’t found in the 1800 census of Ashe County.

However, in 1810, there are several Sturgells in Ashe County. Unfortunately, the census taker only wrote first initials, but names can be assigned with some certainty:

J(ohn?) Sturgell, page 2
R(ebecca) Sturgell, page 2
J(ames?) Sturgell, page 7
J(oel?) Sturgell, page 10
W(illiam) Sturgell, page 10
F(rancis, son)Sturgell, page 13

In addition, we have:
S(olomon) Parsons, page 2
W(illiam) Weaver, page 2

Rebecca has one unidentified male at home, aged 26-44, and one female under 10. Here we have somewhat of a problem, given that the girls (wife of Timothy Perkins, Jane, Elizabeth and Nancy)  are mostly estimated to be the youngest children. Since the birth years are estimates for the entire family, it’s very possible that the births are quite a bit off with children in the wrong order, but in the range of 1776-1803.

Let’s take a look now at land deeds for the children. Only one will be necessary for each child. GREEN means they sold land which is identified as part of the estate of Francis Sturgill, deceased.

Remember that Francis Sturgill bought at least one tract of 100 acres from Zachariah Wells in 1798 and perhaps 200 acres. He also received land grants of 44, 50 and 100 acres, respectively, totaling either 294 or 394 acres.

Possible Children:

1. Lydia, born c1776, probably Montgomery County, Virginia; died after 1860, probably Alleghany County, North Carolina; married Solomon Parsons, c1796.

Lydia Parsons, Left Page
Source: FamilySearch

Partial transcription:
Lydia Parsons the wife of Solomon Parsons and Francis Sturgill. . .both of Ashe County. . . $80 to her in hand paid. . a certain parcel of land on New River being in five tracts . . .containing 394 acres it being part of the estate of Francis Sturgell deceased. . .

Lydia signed with an X and the deed was witnessed by John Sturgell and Daniel Sturgell.

I’d say we have two documented facts here. Lydia married Solomon Parsons and she was an heir/daughter of Francis Sturgill.

2. John, born c1778, probably Montgomery County, Virginia; died after 1860, possibly Letcher County, Kentucky; married Jemima Wells, c1800.

John Sturgill, Left and William Jones, Right, both to Francis Sturgill
Source: FamilySearch

Partial Transcription:
John Sturgill to Francis Sturgill. . .land containing 395 acres. . .part of the estate of Francis Stogell.

John Sturgill signed on 8 October 1815 and the witnesses were William Weaver and Joel Stogil.

This page does double duty, as Francis Sturgill was buying up his siblings shares in their father’s land, paying each heir $80.

John Sturgill was an heir and son of Francis Sturgill.

3. James, born c1780, probably Montgomery County, Virginia; died before May 1856, Ashe County, North Carolina when his heirs sold off his land; married Mary Herrin, c1802.
4. Francis, born c1782, probably Montgomery County, Virginia; died 1846, Ashe County, North Carolina, where he left a will; married Phebe Weaver.

Preponderance of evidence: Given that Francis bears the same name as Frances Sturgill, the Revolutionary War soldier, that he was buying up estate shares of siblings and was frequently a witness on their deeds, I’d say that there is an excellent chance of Francis being the son of Francis, the Revolutionary War soldier.

5. William, born c1784; died between 24 June 1844, when he filed a land deed and the 1850 census, in southwest Missouri or just over the Arkansas border; married (1) Sophia King (no proof found of her name!) (2) Catherine Elizabeth Yingling, 12 March 1839, Lawrence County, Ohio.
6. Joel, born c1788; died after 1870; married Rachel Waters.
7. David, born c1790; died between 4 February 1848 and the 1850 census, probably Ashe County, North Carolina; married Elender Jones (no proof).
8. Rebecca, born c1792; died before 1830, probably Ashe County, North Carolina; married William Weaver, c1810.
9. Daughter, born c1794; possibly died before 26 September 1813, probably Ashe County, North Carolina; married Timothy Perkins.

Timothy Perkins to Joel Sturgell, Right Page
Source: FamilySearch

Partial Transcription:
Timothy Perkins to Joel Sturgill. . . $30. . .tract of land on the north fork of New River called the Howard Place. . .joining the mouth of River Dam Creek. . . part of the estate of Francis Sturgill deceased. . . lying in four tracts containing 625 acres in all.

Timothy Perkins signed on 26 September 1813 with John McMillan as witness.

Wait a minute! 625 acres??? Deeds for Francis Sturgill total either 294 or 392 acres. I have no idea about the remaining acres in these tracts unless 625 was written down in error.

There is one more deed from Timothy Perkins to Rebecca Sturgill.

Timothy Perkins to Rebecca Sturgill
Source: FamilySearch

Partial Transcription:
Timothy Perkins to Rebecca Sturgill 394 acres. . .$80. . .394 acres in five tracts. . .part of the estate of Francis Sturgill

Timothy signed this deed on 29 November 1813. Witnesses were William Weaver and Frank (X) Sturgill.

It definitely appears that Timothy married an unnamed daughter of Francis and Rebecca Sturgill, as he had claim to Francis’s estate.

10. Jane, born c1798, Virginia; died between 1840-1850 censuses, Lawrence County, Ohio; married William Jones, c1816.

John Sturgill, Left and William Jones, Right, both to Francis Sturgill
Source: FamilySearch

William Jones’ deed was created on 26 June 1819 when he was living in Grayson County, Virginia.

Partial Transcription:
William Jones to Francis Stogill 394 acres. . .for the sum of $80. . .being part of the estate of Francis Stogill deceased

Further, there is a 4 June 1828 bill of sale recorded by William Jones and Jane, his wife, to James Sturgill and Frances Sturgill for $500 for their part of the estate of Frances Sturgill deceased which is the eleventh part of the aforesaid estate, now in the hands of Rebecca Sturgill:

William & Jane Jones to James & Frances Sturgill
Source: FamilySearch

William Jones and Jane (X) Jones both signed the deed with Jesse Linch as witness.

11. Elizabeth, born c1801, probably Ashe County, North Carolina; died after 1860, probably Ashe County, North Carolina; married (1) Nathan Weaver, c1817 (2) Allen Stedham, before 1830.

While I have no proof, just family lore that Elizabeth married Nathan Weaver (who did die young, based on his disappearance from the records after the 1820 census, this land deed does prove that she married a Stedham and is, in fact, found in the census records in 1850 and 1860 with Allen Stedham.

Elizabeth Stedham, Left Page, to William Weaver
Source: FamilySearch

Partial Transcription:
Elizabeth Stedham to William Weaver. . . $80. . .tracts of land called the Wells Place. . .part of the estate of Francis Sturgill deceased. . .containing 394 acres.

Elizabeth signed the deed, which was witnessed by Rhoda (X) Beck and Francis Sturgill on 17 April 1833.

12. Nancy, born c1803, probably Ashe County, North Carolina; died after 1880, probably Grayson County, Virginia; reportedly married Andrew Osborn.

What of James, William, Joel, Rebecca and Nancy? The evidence isn’t nearly as clear. Plus, William and Jane Jones 1828 bill of sale identified their share as 1/11th of the estate of Francis Sturgill. Did that mean the widow plus ten children? Or eleven children? Or eleven surviving heirs as of June 1828? That’s a bit of a sticky wicket. We’ll take a closer look at them in the last part of this case study, Part 4.