Bartholomew Stovall – The English Immigrant

The scene above shows the Appomattox River as she twist through the Virginia Tidewater, not ten nautical miles from the ocean bound River of James.  It’s the backyard of Dr. Richard and Elizabeth Kennon, plantations owners fully engaged in tobacco production and politics during colonial America.  But in the fall of 1684 Bartholomew Stovall followed a group of more than sixty souls to the grounds, ready to start years of indenture, serving this ‘larger than life’ family steeped in wealth, notoriety, and tradition.

It was a life defining moment for the tall English immigrant who had chosen this way over the certain poverty he faced in post tutor England.

Elizabeth Kennon, the Queen of Conyers Neck, immediately took a liking to the young man when she realized that life simplified if she followed his often predictable and sometimes foretelling advice.

After surviving a tragic childhood in rural England he spent months pilfering for food scraps on the streets of London, waiting on passage aboard the slave hauling ship ‘Booth‘ captained by the infamous Peter Pagan.

Most people never experience the tragedy and excitement Bartholomew encountered during his first 18 years of life, but from the time he dropped anchor in Jamestown Bay until he settled at  320 acres on the James River, he followed his instincts as a guide to a life fulfilled.

This story is not typical of those who struggled to acquire the life Bartholomew finally realized, but serves as an example of how honesty, and hard work play a larger role in the realization of one’s dreams.

Join me now to the days of early colonial America where tobacco was king.  Enter into the life of plantation owners who used their wealth to prepare the way for those few who took advantage of the new world waiting to be exploited.  Walk in the foot steps of a man who served as an example for the thousands who share his lineage even into the twenty first century of America.

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