What History Tells Us of Bartholomew Stovall

Sometimes before the sixteenth century a family of farmers and field hands left France, crossed the English Chanel, and settled in southern England in the area presently known as Surrey. History has recorded this group of people carried the surname of Stoffold, Stovold, or Stowell, depending on the generation.  It is a misconception to think that they attempted to hide their identity by this frequent change. Most of the clan was illiterate and simply sounded out their name without ever recording it in a written form.

By the early Seventeenth century legal documents begin to appear identifying these people as ‘Stovall’. With the advancement of literacy, the name stuck and was adopted for use by the generations that followed.

Bartholomew Stovall was a member of the Stovall clan and is an example of those who endured and persevered during this time period. Although little is known of Bartholomew, certain facts of his life were documented which allow us to shape an image of his life and times.

Bartholomew did indeed have a grandfather who was a blacksmith and sired a son, George, who was born in 1623. George himself sired a son, Bartholomew, born in 1665.  George, a converted Quaker, died the same year of his son’s birth when the great plague took the lives of an estimated 100,000 people in England.  Bartholomew’s mother raised her only child until she died when he reached the age of 10 years, leaving him an orphan. Shortly before her death it is recorded that Joan Stovall brought her son before a Quaker Friends Meeting in 1675 asking for someone accept him as an apprentice. 

It is also recorded that Bartholomew was baptized at St. Peter and St. Paul Church at Albury, Surrey on November 11, 1683, probably in order for him to be considered for immigration to the American Colonies as an indentured servant. Quakers were not afforded this opportunity.


Bartholomew actually set sail on July 7th, 1684, bound for Jamestown, Virginia on a boat named the Booth, captained by Peter Pagan.  He worked on a plantation owned by Richard Kennon of Henrico County Virginia and completed his four-year indenture obligation.  He married Anne Burton in 1693 and was the father of six children.  At the time of his death, in 1722, he owned a tobacco farm that yielded 318 acres at the point where Deep Creek flows into the James River in what is currently Powhatan County Virginia.

By the early part of the twenty first century there were hundreds of thousands of offspring from this lone orphan who left England as an eighteen-year-old young man of adventure.  Records show that Bartholomew is the lone documented ‘Stovall’ to immigrate to America meaning that most all Stovalls living in the United States can trace their lineage to Bartholomew.

About bartholomewstovall

Author of Bartholomew Stovall. A novel about the immigrant who came to America in 1684.
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