Stedman Family Organization

 

 

Family History and Genealogy Research

 

 

American Colonial Stedman Families

 

 

 

 

This page provides a roadmap to the known Stedman families in America before the American Revolution. The Knowledge Base will detail the descendant of these families. Additions and corrections are always desired.

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts:

 

 


Three well documented Stedman families immigrated to Massachusetts in the 1630s. As of now, no documentation exists to show that any were related. The Stedman descendants of these three families usually spell the name as "Stedman".

Isaac Stedman

Isaac Stedman of Biddenden, Kent, England, was the first Stedman that I have found documentation for in America. He came on the ship Elizabeth in 1635 with his wife, Elizabeth Winchester, and sons Nathaniel and Isaac and settled in Scituate, a part of the Plymouth Colony. Some evidence (1634 deeds or claims) suggests that he might have been there earlier.

(I have seen references that there was a sailor named Stedman on the Mayflower who returned with it. Were it not for the fact that the Scottish Stedmans were well known mariners and that it appears that Isaac Stedman was an owner of the ship he came over on, I do not dismiss it completely.)

Richard Seelis, son of John Seelis and Mary Stedman (cousin of Isaac), from Biddenden was also a settler in Scituate. His daughter Hannah married John Winchester from Cranbrook in Kent (a village adjacent to Biddenden) who was the patriarch of the Winchester family in America. As of now, no link has been developed between Elizabeth Winchester, probably of Tenterden, Kent - another adjacent village, and John; however one no doubt exists.

Isaac Stedman removed to the Muddy River (now Brookline) section of Boston in 1650 where he had extensive land holdings and his family lived for several generations.

He is an ancestor of many famous Stedmans, including Edmund Clarence Stedman, a nineteenth century poet; Dr. Thomas Lathrop Stedman, author of the Stedman Medical Dictionary; and General Griffin Alexander Stedman who died in the Civil War. Fort Stedman in Virginia, site of the last significant battle of the War, was named for him.

In addition, through his son Nathaniel, he is an ancestor of most of the Murdocks in America; a large number of the Stowell family, including Richard King, first governor of Maine, and Rufus King, first Senator from New York. President Calvin Coolidge is also a direct descendant of the Stowell branch.

(Vice President Aaron Burr who, with Rufus King, was the other first Senator from New York also seems to have been a Stedman descendant. His ancestor, Jehu Burr, came to New England with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630. He became a Freeman of Massachusetts Bay Colony in May 18, 1631. He removed to Springfield, MA, about 1636, and to Fairfield, CT about 1641. His mother was said to be a Stedman, and his grandson Samuel mentions his great-grandfather Stedman in his will in 1719. I should point out that Samuel's first wife was a Dorothy Thompson, daughter of Henry Thompson and Elizabeth Stedman, daughter of John Stedman of Cambridge.)

Josiah Stedman, a wealthy merchant in Boston in the 1800s, was also a descendant of Isaac; Josiah was also a brother-in-law of Lemuel Shattuck who was one of the founders of the NEHGS - the New England Genealogical and Historical Society.

Robert Stedman

Robert Stedman was first recorded in Cambridge in 1638. Robert was probably English; however, there is speculation by his descendant Dr. Charles Ellery Stedman in his manuscript in the NEHGS, that he came to America from Holland. His large family tended to stay in the Boston / Cambridge area. The Samuel Stedman house in Harvard Square is built on land Robert acquired. It seems that the only surviving male descendants of this family may be descended from Dr. Charles Ellery Stedman and left the Boston area early in the 1900s. They have not been located. Their participation in the Stedman DNA study would answer some questions about Robert's relationship to Isaac and other Stedman families.

John Stedman of Cambridge

John Stedman of Cambridge also was first recorded in Cambridge in 1638. Again, there is speculation that he was related to Robert, but there is no documentation to support it. He is likely to have come from Suffolk, England as he came to Cambridge as a servant of the Rev. Josse Glover, Rector of Sutton in Surrey in whose Will he was mentioned.

John Stedman was, late in life, perceived as a gentleman and a man of means and has been spoken of as the most highborn of the Boston area Stedmans. All of his known children were daughters and all married well. I have done little work documenting his descendants. He and his wife Alice are buried in the Harvard Square churchyard.

George Stedman

George Stedman served in King Philip's War and was married to Hannah Osborn in Charlestown, MA, about 1674. He had several documented children. One daughter married a Glazier and that family is quite large and well documented. I have found no documentation on families for his other children so there are no known male descendants.

As evidence suggests that he was born about 1650 in America, it can be assumed that George is somehow related to one of the other Boston families but no documentation exists. My speculation is that he is related to the Essex County Stedmans.

Others

Some Stedmans have been documented in Essex County, primarily in Newbury. An Augustin Stedman is documented in Newbury in the 1670s, and he fought in King Philip's War. There was also a Roger Stedman and yet another John Stedman. Others are mentioned in wills. Documentation suggests that some may have been mariners. Research has yet to identify these people. I have no documentation for any descendants of these individuals in America. However, let me add my own speculation that Thomas Stedman of New London (see below), a mariner, was in New London about 1649 but did not settle there until the mid 1660s. When he did settle there, he was affiliated with families who moved to New London at about the same time from Essex County, including the family of his wife Hannah Isbell whom he married in New London. It is not unreasonable to assume that he may have had a family in Essex County before coming to New London.

An interesting recent discovery is that the DNA of a descendant of Thomas of New London is a near match to the DNA of a descendant of an Essex County Barton - a mariner family - who is presumed to be of illegimate birth.

I have also documented a Thomas Stedman in Boston who married and had a child in the 1670s. I cannot connect him with any of the known Stedman families.

 

 


Connecticut:

 

 


The majority of the Connecticut Stedmans are descended from two brothers: John who settled in Hartford in the early 1650s and Thomas, a mariner, who settled in New London in the 1660s. A Thomas Stedman was recorded in New London about 1647; some researchers have suggested that that Thomas was the father of John and Thomas. It is more likely that he was John's brother.

Evidence suggests that these Stedmans, unlike the Massachusetts Stedmans, were of Scottish origin; DNA testing should help in this determination as the Scottish Stedmans were biologically Bartons (see Barton family information). Further, Thomas seems to have had ties to Essex County, Massachusetts as his wife came from there.

The Connecticut Stedmans spell the name either as "Stedman" or "Steadman" with little consistency. The Nova Scotia family seems to consistently spell the name as "Steadman".

John Stedman of Hartford

Lt. John Stedman of Hartford was in Hartford by early 1650s and raised a large family that settled eventually all over Connecticut and West. John was killed in the Great Swamp Fight during King Phillip's War.

One of his descendants was and Alexander Stedman who migrated first to Orange Co., VT, and then migrated to Athens, Ohio, about 1805 where he became the first Judge. His large family has spread out all over America.

Thomas Stedman of New London

Thomas Stedman of New London was a mariner. Some speculation exists that he had a wife Ann and that he had a family in Essex County, MA. It is well documented that he did settle in New London in the mid-1660s, married a Hannah Isbell in 1668 and had a daughter Ann who married Benjamin Lester and had a large family and a son John who married twice.

It has been proven that John and Thomas were brothers. Dr. Charles Ellery Stedman quotes to following letter from John to his brother Thomas in his 1880 genealogy. (I assume the original may be in the Connecticut Historical Society, but I have not located it.)
"Loving bro. Thos.: my love to yourself and your little ones and to uncle Nichols, & to aunt, and to the rest of my friends, certifying you through God's mercy & goodness has [?] we are in reasonably good health. Brother, these are to get you to assist my son in selling or letting my house which I bought of Benj. Atwill, & which you will do in that business, I do finally bind myself to confirm & ratify, as witness my hand and seal this last day of October 1672: from Wethersfield."

Extracted out of the original under the hand of John (senior).
Thomas is assumed to have died about 1676 but no grave has been discovered so he may have been lost at sea.

His son John married twice and had several children. From his first marriage to Jane (presumed to be named Foster) he had a daughter Jane who married an Ebenezer Fox and had a large family; a son Thomas who married Hannah McCoon and settled in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, and a huge family; a son John who was probably a mariner and a lawyer in New London and was mentioned many times in the Joshua Hempstead diary. I presume that most of the Connecticut lines that cannot be connected to an immigrant focus back to John. A likely descendant recorded that a family Bible, destroyed in a fire in the 1800s, documented that the he was first in line of 10 generations of family who was not a mariner. This line needs a lot of research.

John married for a second time on 1706 to Mary Beebe, daughter of John Beebe and Elizabeth Bond. They had a daughter Anna who married a Thomas Chapman and had a large family. (After John Stedman died in 1713, Mary married Samuel Chapman who was Thomas Chapman's father.) They also had a son Nathan (sometimes recorded as Nathan Alexander Stedman) who married Abigail Hazen and lived in Ashford, Connecticut. Nathan's son Nathan removed to Chatham County, North Carolina after the Revolutionary War and had a large family. Congressman Charles Manley Stedman was from this family.

The family of Thomas of New London seems to be the largest and most dispersed of the early New England families. Gen. William Steadman of Ohio who fought in the Civil War was from the Rhode Island family.

Others

Jehu Burr in Fairfield County is reputed to be the son of a Stedman (see above), but details are sketchy. There has been some speculation that it was actually his wife. As his English origin is not determined, it has been difficult to resolve this.

 

 


New York:

 

 


A John Stedman came to Niagara Falls area in the late 1750s from Worcester, England, and developed a portage route across the Falls. He was with brother Phillip and William and, maybe James. Some of the family settled on the Canadian side of the Falls. He returned to England where he died about 1808. He did have a family but documentation on the family has not been found.

 

 


Pennsylvania:

 

 


A Quaker Sarah Stedman is documented to have married a Thomas in Pennsylvania in the 1680s and had a large family. Evidence suggests that she was there with brothers; however, I have not researched this family.

By the 1730s some Scottish Stedmans came to America and settled in Chester County, as did many Scots of this period. The legend is that five brothers came and two settled in Virginia, two in Pennsylvania, and one in New York. Rev. Melvin Steadman has done considerable research on this family, but unfortunately, his information is not available to us at this time. This family seems to spell the name as "Steadman", but some branches seem to use "Stedman".

The Pennsylvanians in this group seem to have migrated to Northern Virginia in the counties that became part of West Virginia. From there, many went on to Ohio and beyond.

In the same period another set of Scottish Stedman brothers settled in Philadelphia. These Stedmans were ship owners and captains and were very involved with transporting Germans and others from Rotterdam and Hamburg to America in the 1700s. These brothers were also cousins to the other Scottish Stedmans in PA. Many of these Stedmans were British loyalists and returned to Britain after the Revolution. One of them, Charles Stedman, was the author of a famous British account of the American Revolution is part of this family. This family was related to the family of Capt. John Gabriel Stedman whose journal of his explorations in Surinam are well known.

Another group of Scottish brothers, also cousins of the former ones, came to America in the 1760s. One of the brothers, James Steedman, settled in Pennsylvania; the others settled in South Carolina. One of James' descendants was Gen. James Blair Steedman who was a hero of the battle of Chickamaugua. James's descendants usually spell the name as "Steedman."

 

 


Virginia:

 

 


A Christopher Stedman is documented in Kings and Queens County in the mid 1700s. He is likely related to the Pennsylvania Stedmans who seem to have arrived at a similar time. Not much is known of this family. There is a Steadman family in Sullivan County, Tennessee, that seems to have been descended from this family.

 

 


South Carolina:

 

 


Robert Steedman and Janet Landalls of Fife, Scotland, had four sons go to America in the 1760s.

Thomas, b. 1708, lived in Charleston, SC. Some evidence suggests that he may have returned to Scotland late in life. Adm. Charles Steedman is one of his descendants.

John Steedman, b. 1715, also settled in South Carolina. Joseph Earle Steadman extensively documented this family as this was the line that he believed himself to be descended from. Recent DNA evidence had shown that some of the presumed descendants of John Steedman were actually descended from the Stidham family. A family, descended from Dr. Timmen Stiddem of Sweden, came to South Carolina from Delaware in the 1700s. They were Quakers and went by the name Stidham or Steadham and lived in the same area of South Carolina in the late 1700s as John Steedman and presumably records were confused. Most of the Steadhams went North before the Civil War. A close cousin of Joseph Earle Steadman was tested in early 2004 as part of the DNA study and that testing showed that he was unequivocably a Stidham descendant. More research and testing needs to be done to sort this out.

Robert Steedman, b. 1717, settled in Charleston, South Carolina; however, his descendants has spread out extensively throughout the country.

James Steedman, b. 1724, settled in Pennsylvania. he was discussed above.

The brothers originally spelled their name as Steedman, but most of the descendants of this family spell their name as "Steadman". A Mississippi family spells the name as "Stedman". There have been some families that have adopted "Stedham" or "Stidman" or "Studman.".

 

 


Others:

 

 


A Steadman family came to Ontario, Canada, in the late 1700s or early 1800s. I have not researched them extensively although a genealogy has been written. Some of that family went to the US in late 1800s, primarily into South Dakota.

A Stedman family from Lenham, Kent, England, came to America in the mid 1800s. They settled primarily in Utah as they were Mormons. This family has been extensively researched.

During the 1800s, several other Steadman or Stedman families came to America from England, Scotland, Germany, and elsewhere. I am beginning to document some of these families as I do extensive research on the families of a particular state. In Massachusetts, I have documented a Steadman family that came from England via Halifax in the 1880s and a family that came from Prince Edward Island in Canada in the 1870s. The latter may have originally been named Stegman. Any help you can provide on any latter family would be appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Last updated: 23 July 2004
Contact: John Lisle
Copyright 1998-2004, John B. Lisle, TQSI Consulting Group, Nashua, New Hampshire