The Story of the Antills in America

Keith Antill, September 25, 2005

The oldest record of the Antill family which originated in Virginia is a December 2, 1766 land deed1 obtained by Peter Antle for 436 acres "on the drains of the Opequon Creek" in the upper Shenandoah Valley. Peter - the first known of this clan - purchased this land for 60 from Edmund Lindsey, Jr., who bought it from a John Logan2 two months earlier, who obtained it as a grant from Lord Fairfax July 73.

At the time he settled this homestead, Peter and his wife Ann were head of a full household - parents of three sons: Henry, Jacob, and Peter, and two daughters: Ruth Ann (called Ann) and Christine, the baby of the family.

The Antles lived along near Bullskin Run, a tributary of the Shenandoah river. Today this is a hearty but narrow irrigation-sized creek which meanders 7 or 8 miles through area of pleasant vegetable farms and peach orchards. Within sight, to the east, lie the Blue Ridge Mountains; to the west one can just see Northern Mountain, the upper tip of the Shenandoahs.

In the 1750s and 60s, the Shenandoah valley was the far western frontier of white settlement and the young Antle family faced very real danger from Indian attack. Indeed, as recently as 1722, as part of a treaty arbitrating protection for settlers in eastern Virginia, the Virginia Assembly authorized Indians to kill all whites found west of the Blue Ridge Mountains4, i.e. the Shenandoah valley.

Nevertheless, the balmy climate and fertile soil of northern Virginia was irresistible to the European immigrants arriving daily on the American coast. According to an early observer,5 "the country was beautiful, and countless herds of buffalo, deer, and elk roamed the prairie. Numerous streams were well-stocked with fish." The creek the Antles came to settle - Bullskin Run - was named by early hunters a decade or two before who came upon the skin of a huge bull buffalo staked out to dry on its banks .

LDS records give conflicting years of birth for the first generation of Antle children, but they probably arrived in the following order: Ruth Ann, Henry, Jacob, Peter, and Christine and all were probably born between 1751 and 1762. Like many new arrivals in the area, Peter Antle probably supported his family farming on rented or leased Lord Fairfax land. He probably depended on hemp as a cash crop6 (pursuant to a law passed by the British parliament to make the U.S. coast guard self-sufficient), while raising table vegetables and grazing sheep.

Homestead on the Opequon

The lot which Peter purchased on the Opequon and tilled last, though open, was rocky, so that plowing must have been difficult except in small sections. Only in his early 50's at the time of his death in 1770, Peter described himself in his 1769 will as "worn in body yet of a sound and perfect understanding". Though he owned a piece of America at his death - every immigrant's dream - it was probably a hard piece that sent him quickly to his death.

The daily toil of farming may have been the easiest part of the Antles way of life, however. With the outbreak of the French and Indian war in 1753-4 - blamed by many on Peter's nearby neighbor Colonel George Washington - the Antle family were increasingly vulnerable to local Indian attacks. As the months passed these grew more intense and increasingly brutal. In Muellerstadt - only 20 miles from the Antle homestead - one farmer and his wife were trapped in their cabin and burned alive. Neighbors coming to their rescue found only the mutilated bodies of their 3 young children wafting back and forth on saplings, the subjects of a grisly round of tomahawk target practice.

The Antles may have benefitted by living barely three miles from the local militia commander Washington7, who bought his first piece of land along the Bullskin Run in 1750. Nevertheless, daily life in the Shenandoah Valley was full of deadly risk.

Indeed, immigrating to America - leaving ones family in Europe to risk the harrowing crossing of the stormy Atlantic ocean - demonstrated incredible courage. Of Ann, no maiden name survives. However, several clues offer insight into Peter's origins.

The Antill Ancestry

The family of Antill is a very ancient one, it is known to have existing in England as early as the year 833. In the Domesday Book - 1085 - the name appears as land-holders in no fewer than 19 counties. At that time, Count d/Aunteil of Normandy was given a broad swath of land in the west UK counties in repayment of his contribution to the conquest.

As is the case with most families whose names go well back into antiquity, the spelling varies considerably - the earliest form of spelling was Ans-chetill. The Norman pronunciation rendered the "s" silent, hence it became Anchetill, Anchetil, Anketyll, Anketell, Anktyll, Antell, and Antill.8

But where does Peter fit into the English Antill clan? And was he the first Antill in America? He was not.

The Colden Antills

Some 80 years before the recording of Peter's land deed in Virginia, a young lawyer named Edward Antill, born in Richmond Surrey in 1659, came to America in 1680. Successfully engaging in the Madagascar mercantile (pirate) trade and speculating in New Jersey real estate, Antill achieved great affluence. His fortune, according to biographer William Nelson, "was finally dispensed in the bucolic enjoyment on the peasceful banks of the Raritan9".

Edward's only surviving son - Edward, 2nd - was raised by his father's client and well-known pirate Giles Shelley10, who had been unrepentently bailed from prison by Edward Antill Sr.. The childless Shelley added his own significant wealth to the boy's inheritance from his father. Edward Jr.'s son (Dr.) Lewis added social and political connections to the family's assets, marrying into the family of New York Lt. Governor Colden.

By the mid-18th century, the Colden Antills were a powerful family dynasty, many of whom where loyalists who would shortly migrate to Australia following the American Revolution. In that faraway place, descendents of the Colden-Antills would achieve fame in medicine, arts, and literature. A large and handsome marble font still exists to this day in Christ Church in modern New Brunswick, New Jersey, testifying to the family's standing in America before they left.11

It is inconceivable that Peter - a cash-poor dirt farmer living on the edge of civilization - was part of this family. There is not one match between the names Peter gave his children and the names employed by the Colden-Antills in the hundred years prior.

Avranches to Quebec: Jean Louis Anctil

Peter - or his father - were founders of the second Antill clan in the United States12, but actually the third one on the continent. In 1734, a Jean Louis Anctil from St-Pari de Duce in Avaranches, Normandie, France settled in Riviere-Ouelle, a small farming 100 miles east of Quebec city and began a very extensive clan of Anctils. In the late 1800s and early 1900s many Anctils from this branch immigrated throughout Canada and in New Hampshire and upper west of the United States.

Note: Much More To Be Supplied Here,
Thanks to Normand Anctil

But the question remains. Where did Peter Antle in Virginia come from?

England (1714): The Gloucestershire Hypotheses

In seeking Peter's ancestry, one must examine the 75 year period between 1650 and 1730. According to the Latter Day Saints IGI database, the Antle/Antill/Antel/Anthill family is largely English in origin with 378 persons born between 1580 and 1800.

During this period, there were six major concentrations of Antills, making up over 80% of the Antills in England at this time (and over 93% of the male Antills born 1655-1725). They were located in 6 parish areas:

It is the author's hypothesis that Peter's father is probably Henry Antill of Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire. The following is my reasoning:

Peter, who starts his own family around 1750, was almost certainly born between 1710 and 1725, which places the likely birthdate of Peter's father between 1670 and 1700. There are only six Antill males born in England during this period, and there is evidence that four did not leave England. One of the remaining two candidates is Thomas, born 1696 or 1700 in Chessington, Surrey, to Charles Antill. Since Peter failed to name any of his three sons Thomas or Charles, that effectively eliminates this person to my satisfaction.

That leaves Henry Antill of Minchinhampton, third son of James Antil, head of England's most prolific Antill clan - centered in Horsley England. Henry married Margery Smith in 1709, fathered a son James in 1713 (no mother listed) and then (with son) disappears from his family records.

In Virginia, around 1750, Peter Antle names his first son Henry. His second son is named Jacob; the third son is Peter. The only Antill clan that used "Jacob" as a name in all of England from 1580 to the mid 1800s is the same Horsley Antill clan - as a nickname for James! In addition, the only Peter Antill in the UK documented by the LDS during this 250 year period is also a member of the Horsley, Gloucestershire clan (b. 1802).

In addition to this Christian-name pattern, of the first seven surnames that appear on record with the Virginian Antles (witnessing wills, marrying Antle sons) - Abrelle, Elledge, Godfrey, Rippetoe, Dawkins, Hinton, and Riddle - all but Rippetoe are found in Gloucestershire (the Abrelles almost exclusively).

It is the belief of this author, that Henry Antill, with young sons James and Peter left England before 1725 and came to Virginia or South Carolina. I believe that the Henry Antill was travelling with one or both parents of John Riddeau/Rippetoe who subsequently fathered Will Rippetoe to whom Peter's oldest daughter Ruth Ann was married in 1770. To date, however, research has not unearthed a single record of Henry Antill's arrival or existence here.

The German Red Herring

It must be pointed out that in addition to the 378 English Antills of the 17th and 18th century, the LDS also lists 6 Antel/Andles in Germany (Prussia and Bavaria) in that time. Indeed, one of these Germans is a Peter Antel who landed in Philadelphia Nov. 22, 1752 aboard the Ship Phoenix13. It is indeed tantalizing to rush to the conclusion that this is Virginia Peter.

However, the LDS lists the birthdate of Peter Antle's first daughter Ruth Ann in Virginia as Feb. 5, 1751, and Peter's eldest son Henry was probably born within a year earlier or later. If this is correct, German Peter Antel cannot be the founder of the Virginia Antle family.

In addition, immigrants almost always traveled in groups of families. In the early days of Frederick County, most English/Scotch immigrants settled to the east of Opequon Creek, and German/Dutch families arriving from Pennsylvannia located to the west. Peter Antle selected the east and lived among almost exclusively English settlers. If Peter Antle was German, he was an unusual man indeed. Though I have evenly considered this, I conclude this is coincidence is misleading.

Peter's Will (1769)

In the traditional manner, Peter's 1769 will left one third of the family homestead - 145 1/3 acres - as dowry to his wife Ann, afterwards to pass to his youngest son Peter. The remaining two thirds of the original lot were transferred to Peter's older sons Henry and Jacob upon reaching maturity.

Ruth and the Rippetoes: Charlottesville and North Carolina

In early 1770, Peter's oldest daughter Ruth Ann married a William Rippetoe from Albemarle Co. (Charlottesville), Virginia. The Rippetoes, according to family research, were Hugenots exiled around 1600 from Port of St. Charles, France. Immigrating first to England, they arrived in America in Charleston, South Carolina, arriving in Virginia about 1725. Will's parents were John and Elizabeth (Oglesby). John, born in the late 1710s or early 1720s would have been a very near contemporary of Peter Antles. One must wonder about an association between the Rippetoes and Antles prior to 1770, for how does a young couple 100 wilderness miles apart come to know one another?

At any rate, on February 26, 1770 William and Ruth sold a 200 acre property in Albemarle county on north east side of Piney Mountain to a William Hall14, though they may have continued to live on this land afterwards. It was from Charlottesville, that William enlisted in the Continental Army at the outset of the Revolutionary War. According to family tradition15, William - a physical giant - "served as a bodyguard to General George Washington and remained with him until the end of the war".

Such conspicuous service may have had consequences. At about this time, Ruth and her two young daughters - Elizabeth (b. 1771) and Nancy (b. 1774), moved from Virginia to safety in Burke County North Carolina. The Rippetoes may have found patriotic sentiment in North Carolina less fervant than in Virginia, however, particularly as the British recruited Carolinian loyalists to fight the patriots during their incursion into North Carolina in 1780-8116. Nevertheless, raising a large family there during and after the war, the Rippetoes would rejoin the Antle clan in Kentucky in 1804.

"The Patriot": Henry Antle

Around this time, Peter Antle's oldest son Henry also married - a woman known only to us "Polly", though her given name was Mary. Beginning in 1772 Henry and Polly raised 10 children who bore them no fewer than 44 grandchildren. Henry was a particularly productive farmer who through his assistance provisioning the army, he received a "Patriot" commendation as a non-military hero. For this he received a bounty grant of 200 acres along the Crocus Creek in Russel Co., Kentucky, which he would claim not many years hence.

The Soldier Hero: Jacob Antle

Jacob, Peter's middle son, enlisted in Virginia's 2nd Regiment17 on October 13, 1776 at the age of 21, and fought in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown as a private in George Rice's company, serving under Colonels Alexander Spotswood and later Christian Febinger. In late 1779, a promoted Corporal Antle was dispatched with most of Virginia's regular forces to defend Charlestown, South Carolina. In the spring of 1780 he was taken prisoner along with the thousands of other defenders, following the successful British seige of that city. However, he escaped from his captors, and returned home in a remarkable journey of over 300 miles. For the next three generations, more Antle/Antill sons on all sides of the family were given the name Jacob than any other name.

Following his marriage to Dorcas Dawkins Feb. 20, 178118, Jacob sired three daughters - Frances in 1783, Elizabeth in 1785, and Nancy in 1788. For his military service, the Continental Congress granted Jacob 100 acres in Henry County, Kentucky19, which soon drew him, along with his family and the families of brothers Henry and Peter, deep into the wilderness.

The Vanished Trail

By 1790, the Virginia Antles numbered over 25 people and occupied over 2/3s of a square mile in a comparatively well-populated area. Nevertheless, not a single birth/marriage/death record exists for any one of this clan. Tantalizingly, there is extensive documentation of many of the Antle's neighbors, among them young George Washington - who surveyed the lot next to Peter Antle's and as an 18-year old bought his own first plot of land several miles away. Antle neighbors included: Joseph Reader, George Hiatt, William Snoddy, and Lord Fairfax himself, all of whom are extensively referenced in O'Dell's detailed local history of the area.20

Since all vital records except land deeds and wills were maintained by one's church at this time, the family's church records may have been destroyed during the "The Burning" of the Shenandoah Valley October 6-8, 1864 during the American Civil War. In that holocaust, many churches were utilized as hospitals and their records were burned to provide heat for the wounded. In a classic paradox of war, many soldiers in those hospitals drew comfort from fires that incinerated all traces of their own ancestry.

From the wording of Peter's will, it is unlikely the Antles belonged to the Quaker Meeting on the Bullskin Run. One can only surmise, then, that the Antles were one of the following:

Until the Virginia Antle's church records emerge, it is unlikely we will learn much more about them. The search goes on.

Kentucky (1792-1882)

Following Ann Antle's death in 1787, the three Antle brothers sold their land to local land speculator John Smith23. Then, along with the (John) Dawkins family (Jacob's in-laws) and probably a Stewart family, they migrated their families to Kentucky, drawn by the government land grants to Jacob and Henry. Jacob's soldier's bounty of 100 acres was located in Henry County, south of the Green River - not far from Daniel Boone's settlement at the mouth of the Kentucky River. Henry Antle's bounty of 200 acres lay on Crocus Creek, further south in Russel Co., Kentucky. Youngest brother Peter seems to have moved to nearby Fayette County.

In Kentucky, the Antle clan grew dramatically to several hundred strong. In Henry County, Jacob and wife Dorcas Dawkins added two and possibly a third son to their brood with the birth of John on December 5, 1790; Henry on April 12, 179624; and (possibly) Peter25 . They lived near a village called Lacie, 7 miles east of New Castle, Henry County. Jacob's untimely death in the summer of 1800 must have left his young family, living in the midst of hostile Indian territory, deeply shaken. Yet, with the assistance of her neighboring brother John, Dorcas survived Jacob by over 43 years, the indominable matriarch of a farm along the Dream of Drennon creek. In 1802 and 1810 daughters Frances and Nancy married the brothers Allen and Joel Stewart, respectively. In 1809, Betsey married George Miller.

The family were devout Baptist, members of the first permanent church in the area established in 1799 on the Drennon creek. Yet despite congregations like this, and new settlers arriving or passing through every day, this corner of the frontier remained a fearful place, with sudden, violent death a constant prospect. In 1810, elsewhere in Kentucky, first cousin Anon Rippetoe and her husband were ambushed and scalped and their children abducted by Indians.26 The children, a son and daughter, later made their escape.

With the coming of the War 1812, Jacob's oldest son John revived his father's patriotic legacy, serving as a cavalryman in Colonel Richard Johnson's division.27. The Kentuckians bore the brunt of that conflict north of the Ohio River, a particularly brutal threatre of the war that involved many mercenary savages.

After the war, John's younger brother Henry married Lydia Basey in 1815. In signing his brother's marriage ban later that year, on December 6, Henry became the first member of the family in America to resume the "Antill" surname spelling28 predominant in the UK (and overall on both sides of the Atlantic since the middle ages).

Henry was a successful and generous farmer, donating the ground on which the "Hopewell Baptist church near Lacie29 was built in 1819, a congregation active until well into the mid-20th century." It is probable that he raised tobacco, and it is documented that both he and his brother John owned slaves. In 1820, Henry claimed 2 slaves. In 1830, his fifteen-person household included what seems to be a black family of a free male 36-55, a female 10-24, and a boy and two girls under 10.

In 1854, after raising thirteen children and with his brother establishing the Antills as one of the first families of Henry County, Henry died of pneumonia in 1854. He was buried, as dozens of Antills would be in successive generations, in the family cemetery near the Hopewell church in Lacie.

All branches of the Antill families in Kentucky seemed to generally prosper and expand their land holdings in these early years of the American republic. In 1804, William and Ruth Rippetoe - accompanied by all of their children's families with the exception of Elizabeth's Fincannons and Nancy's Griders - migrated to live directly beside Ruth's brother Henry's family along Crocus Creek. There they established a successful family mortuary business, which operates to this day. Ruth and her husband William both lived to the astonishing age of 91, and are buried "in a cemetery known as the old Lawless Place, near the Fairview Baptist Church near the junction of Route 55 and Hale Highway30.

Shattered Fortunes: The War Between the States

With the onset of the American Civil War in 1861, the Antills in northern Kentucky found themselves in a particularly unfortunate area of the conflict. Henry County changed hands between Union and Confederate forces no less than 70 times in the four years of war. Henry's son John was badly wounded in the conflict, losing an arm.

TO BE EXPANDED

Westward Ho!

Though many Antills remained in Kentucky after the war and live there to this day, others began to move west. Some had preceded them there. As early as 1838, Frances Antill Stewart - Henry's older sister - went to Indiana following the death of her husband Allen to live with her son John Stewart. In the early 1850s, inspired by Mormons doing missionary work near Battle Ground, Indiana, Frances determined to go west with them. Her son John gave her a horse and her money and that was the last that the family ever heard of her.

But most Antills joined the wagon trains heading for Missouri. Sometime after the war, Willis and Martha Antill Sales joined her civil war veteran brother "One-armed Johnny" Antill and members of the Henry County Hanks family - Lincoln's mother's clan - and moved to Knox County, in northeast Missouri. Martha and Johnny's younger brother, Will Antill who had married Carolyn Frances Hanks in 1850, did not join them.

However, in the early 1880s, Will's son Bryon - "Barney" - did move west to join the growing community of Kentucky emigres in Missouri. Among the neighors of his aunt and uncle, Barney met and married the teenage daughter of the Hugh Brown family, sometime before 1884. Barney worked as a Wells Fargo Freight Transfer agent. The couple raised four children in Hurdland Village, Lyon Township: Carl (April 1885), Maud (1886), Hugh (1897), and Grace, who died in infancy.

Following the death of his wife in 1894, Will joined his kin in Hurdland, where by 1900 he was Station Master of the Quincy, Kansas City, and Omaha railway station there.

Albequerque

In 1900, Belle contracted tuberculosis, and in the following year the family moved to Albequeque in the hopes that the drier climate would cure her. This effort was in vain, however, and the young family lost its mother. Shortly after her death two days after Christmas in 1903, Carl and Maud left their home, for Arizona and El Paso, respectively. Young Hugh had lost his mother at barely 6 1/2 years old, and was raised by Barney and his second wife - Connie Struck. Legend says Carl was a miner and logger, and Belle was lady of the night who died young in El Paso.

Following a stint in the Navy from 1918-19, and upon completion of his Sante Fe Railroad apprenticeship, Hugh relocated to San Bernadino around 1923. Barney died in 1926, seeking in his will relocation of his body to Hurdland - which was not granted by the railroad. Barney is buried near "Belle" in Albequerque. Hugh's step-mother Connie and younger stepsister June (Davison) moved to Huntington Park, California, where they lived until their death in 1963 and 1964, respectively.

California

In California, Hugh Antill met and married the former Eleanor Evans, daughter of a prominent family in Redlands California. Eleanor's grandfather Horace Evans Sr. - a master civil engineer - played a major role in the the building of San Bernadino County, including Big Bear dam. Her father Horace Jr. was a professional baseball player in the area, who left his wife and daughter not long after 1900.

Hugh raised Eleanor's son Robert Mannion from her first marriage to B.J. Mannion. On September 22, 1929, their son Richard Byron Antill joined the household. Upon reaching adulthood, Richard married Claire Antill in April 1951, and began their family in Westchester, California. In the fall of 1956, the young Antill family relocated to Massachusetts, reversing over two centuries and at least 6 generations of Antill migration to the west.

Footnotes

1 Frederick County Deedbook 11, p. 352/3.
2 Frederick County Deedbook 11, p. 216
3 Fairfax Grant Book 44?
4 Evans Family History, Marjorie Stewart Tucker
5 Historic Opequon Church, by Lennart Pearson
6 p. 8, "Valley of Virginia in the Revolutionary War", Hart
7 p 16, Washington, The Indespensible Man; James Thomas Flexner
8 p5, Ancestor Treasure Hunt, The Antill Family: England 833, America 1680, Australia 1809, by R.V. Pockley, Wentworth Books, 1978. (Australia)
9 Foreward, Edward Antill, A NY Merchant of the 17th century, and his Descendents; William Nelson, Press Printing and Publishing Co., Paterson, N.J., 1899.
10 p. 13 Edward Antill, and his Descendents; William Nelson
11 p. 19 Edward Antill, and his Descendents; William Nelson
12 For the record, in 1734, Jean Louis Anctil from St-Pari de Duce in Avaranches in Normandie, France settled in Riviere-Ouelle, a small farming 100 miles east of Quebec city . There he began a very extensive clan of Anctils, members of whom immigrated to New Hampshire and several western U.S. states in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This family line, though not English, certainly shares ancestry with the ancient (pre-Anglo Saxon) Antills.
13 30,000 German Immigrants to Pennsylvannia, Rupp.
14 "Albemarle Co. Court Papers 1744-83" by Weisiger. "Deed (torn) 26 Feb. 1770. Witnesses: William Brockman, Peter Farguson, John Dowell. Deed recorded March 1776.
15 Notarized statement of Lex Lee Rippetoe, G2grandson of William Rippetoe: December 1, 1970, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
16 P. 1398, "A New Age Now Begins Vol. 2", Page Smith, Penguin, 1976
17 US National Archives, Waltham, Mass., Pension Record File Roll 68, Copy 804, Pension Claim 8328; D.A.R. Patriot Index 1966.
18 Frederick County Courthouse Marriage Records, 1771-1825
19 Land Warrant Records: "Records of Revolutionary War", Saffell, Baltimore, 1894; p. 314 "Old Kentucky's Entries and Deeds", Willard Rouse Jillson, Louisville, 1926
20 "Pioneers of Old Frederick County", Cecil O'Dell
21 "Planting of Presbyterianism in Northern Virginia"; James Robert Graham, 1904
22 Christ Church, Virginia, Fiche Batch 8206709-16
23 Frederick County Courthouse, Winchester, Virginia; Deed: 1787, Index page 5, Book 25, Part 2, Page 737.
24 Christ Church Kentucky Fiche, Batch 7002907_95, H11 p. 177, I11 p.178
25 "Soldiers of War of 1812: Report of Kentucky Adj. General: P. 225 Roll of Capt. Wm. M. Rice's Co., Kentucky Mounted Infantry, Col. Richard H. Johnson: John and Peter Antle, Thomas Dawkins.
26 Caldwell County Genealogical Society Heritage Book, Article #449, William Rippetoe, by Mrs. Sue Bush Howell.
27 "Soldiers of War of 1812".
28 Henry County, Kentucky Marriage Bans, 1815
29 Vertical File, Henry County Records Office, Eminence, KY
30 Lex Lee Rippetoe, December 1, 1970, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Revised September 25, 2005