"Chadwell" Ancestors

Ancestors of James McClellan Ross (1878-1940)


The Chadwell surname has a long history in England with most of the early Chadwells being found in the county of Essex. It is likely that they were already living there when Duke William of Hastings (William the Conquerer) arrived in 1066 AD.   Like most names in those days, the spelling varied depending on who was writing it down and how they heard it.   Sometimes, even siblings would have a different spelling for their surname and this would be carried on down to the next generation.  It has variously been spelled Chadwell, Chadall, Shadwell, and Chadwel.

According to the research that has been done on the Chadwell Family, what follows seems to be the correct lineage sequence for our descent through this surname. The Chadwells enter our lineage on my paternal great grandmother’s side.  Sarah Turner’s (wife of Robert Jennings Ross) mother was Martha Angelina Chadwell.

At this point, I will start with information on our earliest known Chadwell Ancestor, John Chadwell and move forward with each descendent in this line until we reach Martha Angelina Chadwell.

John Chadwell
At this time, I have not found much on John.  He was born about 1658, probably in England.  He married Ann Bryan and they became the parents of the next link in our lineage, his son Bryan Chadwell.  By the time Bryan was born, they were living in Stafford County, Virginia.  So, John had arrived in Virginia by the time he was approximately 20 years of age if his estimated birth date is correct.   I do not yet have the marriage date of John and Ann Bryan, but it would have been around 1677/1678.  I am sure he had more children than Bryan, but I do not have those listed presently.  At the time of his death in 1732, he was living in Stafford County, Virginia.

Bryan Chadwell

Bryan was born about 1678 in Stafford County, Virginia, and died in December of 1744 in King George County, Virginia. He married Ann Bronough, and one of their children, John C. Chadwell, became the next in our line of descent through that surname.  Ann is mentioned in her fathers’ will as my daughter, Ann Chadwell.  “To my daughter Ann Chadwell I give the feather bed and furniture that stands in the room where I lodge myself and eight hundred pounds of Tobacco to be paid by my son David Bronaugh the first year after my death.”  [An interesting aside here is that Ann’s father, Jeremiah, owned 151 acres of land and a tobacco plantation.  He also owned at least four female slaves, for these are given to his sons as part of their inheritance in his will].  We do not know if Bryan grew tobacco and had slaves also, but it would not have been an uncommon occurrence in King George County, Virginia at that period of time.

John C. Chadwell

John C. Chadwell had families by two different wives and his children were mostly born after he was already forty years of age or older.  He had five children by his first wife, who supposedly had the same first name as his second wife - Elizabeth.  I do not have his first wife’s maiden name.  She had her five children with him between the years of 1772 and 1781.  Sometime after 1781 and before 1795, she died and left him a widower.  Most likely it was soon after the last child, but could have been as late as shortly prior to his second marriage.  On July 6, 1795 he married Elizabeth Gutridge, and it is this marriage that produced the next link in our ancestry, George Chadwell.  By the time he married Elizabeth Gutridge, he had already moved to Fauquier County, Virginia.  John C. Chadwell, died on June 25, 1803 at the age of seventy one, leaving his widow with three children, ranging in age from a newborn to an eight year old.   In fact, he died three days after his last son Duffet Chadwell was born. George at the time was only five years of age.  [Go to the following link for a copy of John C. Chadwell's Will].

George Chadwell

One of our collateral relatives, Ginger Hoffman, who still lives in the Ohio area,  gave the following account in a letter to me dated 3/29/1996.  “ When George was 16 years old, he emigrated to Jefferson County, Ohio with his widowed mother [Elizabeth Gutridge Chadwell] and brother and sister, both younger than George”. [This would have been approximately 1814].  “In 1818 he married Ruth Taylor.  In 1823 he emigrated to Washington Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio with his wife and three children, a few household goods, and 50 cents in money.  There is a story about his son Thomas T. Chadwell in “History of Tuscarawas County, Ohio, 1884", with the story of his father” 

Between 1819 and 1835, George and Ruth went on to have eleven children, the fifth of which was our first Chadwell ancestor, Martha Angelina Chadwell.  George died in 1868 at age 70, when his granddaughter, Sarah Angelina Turner, was only 14. His wife Ruth outlived him by another 26 years, dying at the ripe old age of 95 on December 9, 1894.  By the time she died, her granddaugther, Sarah, and her husband, Robert Jennings Ross, already had eight of the nine grandchildren that were born to them.   I don’t know for sure, but it is likely that she did not see all of them personally, since they were living in Indiana when most of them were born.  Traveling was not quite as easy then as it is now.  If you had the money, there were trains available, but most travel was still by horse and buggy. [Go to the following link for a copy of George Chadwell's Will.

Martha Angelina Chadwell

She was born on 11 July 1827 to George Chadwell and his wife, Ruth Taylor. Angelina was first married to Hinson Murphy, and had one son (George Washington Murphy, b. 1843) by him, before he died and left her a widow. She was still widowed and living in her father’s house at the time of the 1850 census. She was listed as Angelina Murphy.  She married William Turner on September 18, 1853 and had the first of her six children, Sarah Angelina Turner on June 8, 1854.  Tuscarawas County, Ohio marriage records list the officiating officer as J.W. Hummold, Justice of the Peace. Martha Angelina Chadwell  died on January 13, 1876 of TuberculosisHer own mother, Ruth Taylor Chadwell, outlived her by eighteen years Her daughter Sarah Angelina Turner, married Robert Jennings Ross on November 20, 1877, and the Ross-Chadwell link was complete.


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