Tag Archives: John Stodgell

Family Sketch of John Stodgill, His Possible Wives and Children

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the family of John Stodgill of Essex County, Virginia. John was the probable son of immigrant John Stodgell who arrived in Virginia in 1650 from North Petherton, Somerset, England as the headright of James Hurd.

Early Virginia Emigrants
Source: Ancestry

The name of John’s mother is unknown, but John’s birth year has been estimated as c1665, give or take a few years.

John Stodgill lived in Essex County, Virginia, appearing on the Quit Rent Rolls there in 1704. He also probably married in Essex County, although it’s possible that the area in which he lived was still Old Rappahannock County (abolished in 1692) when he married.

There are two theories about the name of John Stodgill’s wife/wives, as it is certainly possible that he married more than once.

First, as I shared yesterday, John Stodgill registered an animal mark with the Essex County, Virginia court in 1703 and stated that he gave the gift of a calf with the same branding to Daniel Franks.

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

Add to this gift the fact that one of John’s three sons was named Daniel and we have two clues that John Stodgill might have married a Franks young lady.

There were two men named “Frank” on the 1704 quit rent rolls of Virginia. One was John Frank of Essex County and the other was Thomas Frank of Essex County.

Thomas Frank left a will in 1715 in Essex County, Virginia. I have no image of the will, but the index mentions only wife Martha, son, Thomas, and daughters Ann and Catherine.

Daniel might possibly have been a child of John Frank, but I found no deed entries for John Frank or even any further mentions of Daniel Frank.

Next, we have the theory that John Stodgill married Ann Madison, sister of Ambrose and Henry Madison. This idea is based on the wills of those two men that left directions for legacies to be given to Daniel and James Stodgill.

Ambrose Madison left a 1733 will proved in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. It is quite difficult to read, make that impossible to read as the image is blurry and a good portion of the page is torn and lost:

Will of Ambrose Madison, left page
Spotsylvania County, Va Will Book A:173
Source: FamilySearch

Supposedly, somewhere on that page can be found:

. . . . and fifty acres adjoining Abraham Estridge to Daniel S______ . . . . .to  —mes St [as stated by distant Sturgill cousin Dave back when the original will could be viewed]—– acres of land adjoining Coleman’s plantation.

Henry Madison’s 1734 Spotsylvania County, Virginia will directs his niece, Frances Madison, daughter of Ambrose Madison, to deed 150 acres of land to Daniel Stodghill after she becomes of age.

If anyone would like the digital images of this will, I’d be happy to share. I am not going to try to transcribe it as there is a lot of ink bleed through.

Will of Henry Madison, 1734
Spotsylvania County, VA Deed Bk C: 72 (front and back of page)
Source: FamilySearch

Frances went on to marry Tavener Beale and on 27 June 1754 in Orange County, they deeded 150 acres of land to Daniel.

On the same day – 27 June 1754 – Daniel and wife Jane sold the tract of land to William Riddle of Orange County, Virginia.

Note: My main concern with this theory is that Ambrose’s will is apparently almost unreadable and Daniel Stodghill reportedly married Jane/Jean Madison.

As to who the wife/wives of John Stodgill was/were, I leave you to your own opinion. It is certainly possible that both were married to John, with Miss Franks being the first wife and, she dying, he married again to Ann Madison.

In support of the Madison theory is the fact that two of John’s children, John and James, both named sons Ambrose.

John Stodgill died sometime after 1718 when William Pickett sold 50 acres adjoining Thackers land and Portabago Swamp to John Stodgell for 1600 pounds of tobacco (Essex County, VA Deed Book 16:22-23).

Children (Birth years are total estimates):

1. Susannah, born c1695; lived in Essex County, Virginia and reportedly died in King William County, Virginia, c1767, when Daniel Stodgill witnessed her will; married Thomas Smith. Susannah’s will only named four grandchildren, Alice and Thomas Smith and and Oris and Thomas Baughan so she apparently had one son and one daughter who lived to adulthood, married and had families, but who predeceased her.
2. Daniel, born c1700; reportedly died in Essex County, Virginia after 1769; married Jane/Jean Madison
3. James, born c1705; moved from Essex County to Orange County, Virginia and died there, intestate, in 1753; married Ann Blackstone, c1723, probably Essex County, Virginia
4. John, born c1710; died Goochland County, Virginia,  where his will was proved in 1773; married Elizabeth (?Miller), c1735

This might be a flimsy reason, but because John and James both had sons named Ambrose, fitting if they were children of Ann Madison, AND if their father John married twice with Miss Franks being the first wife, then Daniel would be older than the other two sons.

I am not sure why, but most online information places Susannah as the eldest of the four children. The truth is that no one has any documentation for the birth years or birth order for these four children and I have no idea how Susannah was connected to her parents and Thomas Smith since no marriage record exists.

At this point, I will leave the descendants of Thomas and Susannah Smith, Daniel and John for other researchers.

My focus now is on James Stodgill who married Ann Blackstone because they are my husband’s direct line ancestors.



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.