ANSELLS FROM CURRITUCK COUNTY AND BEYOND by Burness Ansell Jr and Rebecca Ansell Rose

July 17, 2011. THE 18TH CENTURY

July 30, 2011. CALEB ANSELL (1801-1866), BETHANY and MARY

September 19, 2011. CALEB ANSELL (1826-1898), ELIZABETH DUDLEY SMITH

September 14, 2011. WALTER FENTRESS ANSELL (1878-1943), AGNES CLAIBORNE BONNEY (1886-1923)

July 16, 2011. THE EARLY ANSELLs

England in the first half of the seventeenth century was a very volatile and dangerous place, and especially dangerous around the middle of the seventeenth century for an outspoken royalist. Civil war had erupted, and Oliver CROMWELL had defeated the royalist forces. Prince Charles (later Charles II) was in exile in Holland and after King Charles I was executed, CROMWELL became Lord Protector of England.” According to researcher Bessie Ansell, Dr. Thomas ANSELL was a royalist who, “Spent many years moving from shire to shire ahead of the regicides.” His son John, also a royalist, probably changed his name from ANSELL to AXSTELL (AXTELL) and escaped from England.

John AXSTELL (? AXTELL) did immigrate to Lower Norfolk County in Virginia, probably with his wife, Deborah GLASSCOCK, around 1650. They had four children, John, Thomas (probably named for Dr. Thomas ANSELL), Samuel and Ruth. John AXTELL (probably John AXSTELL) received a land grant of four hundred acres in Lower Norfolk County, recorded 25 October 1673.

John AXSTELL died in 1686 and his will written 30 June 1686, was proved 29 August 1686. John, the eldest son, was left the house, one half the land, two hundred acres and the orchard. Thomas received the other half of the land to the north beginning at Hockers Ridge. There were bequests to his wife, “Deborey”, his daughter, Ruth, and his son, Samuel, who was a minor at the time of his father’s death. The widow, Deborah GLASSCOCK, and her son, John ANSELL, later owned land together.

James ANSELL lived on the Eastern Shore of Virginia toward the end of the seventeenth century. He married Sarah MATTHEWS, widow of John PANEWELL, and had two children, John and Sarah. James bought one hundred and forty acres in Northampton County, Virginia from Richard PANEWELL in 1699. After Sarah’s death James married Ann (?), widow of Thomas SHEPHERD. In 1715 James and Ann sold the property to John BOWDOIN.

A will was written by James ANSELL on 12 September 1738 and was proved in Currituck County, North Carolina, in April 1740. He left his “plantation” and his “moveable estate” to his son, John. He made bequests to his daughter, Sarah ROBERTS, and to his grandson, James ROBERTS.

One of the duties of the colonial parish vestry was to periodically appoint tobacco counters to count and number all the tobacco plants in the parish. This was a relatively important position, as the results were used to maintain and improve the staple tobacco crop. In 1726, John ANCEL and Tho. DUDLEY, were appointed tobacco counters for Knotts Island.

These are the facts about the early ANSELLS that have been uncovered. Now the facts have to be tied together to present a reasonable hypothesis. Like Bessie ANSELL, this author believes John AXSTELL(before 1640-1686) is the progenitor of our line. His surname may, or may not, have been a transcriptionist’s error, but his son, John AXSTELL (before 1660-after 1727), was recorded as an ANSELL when he owned land with his mother, Deborah. Little more is known about him, but this author thinks John (AXSTELL) ANSELL was the father of James ANSELL (1680-1740). Unfortunately, there are no sources to substantiate the paternity of James, but this theory seems plausible.