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Birdie Stell Bell's letters, 1960's
Posted by: William Ramer Smith Date: January 26, 2000 at 15:46:48
  of 497

Hi gang,

Below are two letters and/or lists of family names written and compiled by Birdie Stell Bell of Dunn, NC, and Morrilton, AR. in 1960 and 1968. I have the original letters and lists written by Birdie, the first of which was sent to my mother, the second to my grandmother. The facts Birdie related in these two letters are somewhat different on a few critical points from facts I have seen here on this forum and in other places. Birdie may have been wrong, but I'll leave it for you to judge.

First, in 1719 she has a George Stell of Prince George Co. Virginia as the first of the line which later winds up in Georgia, suggesting that John Stell (Susannah's husband) is possibly descended from this George Stell rather than from John Stell of Yorkshire, which some of you have. Who is George? Have we a "missing link" here?

Second, Birdie says that Susan or Susanna(h) Malone is the daughter of a Charles Malone of Virginia rather than Robert Thomas Malone, which I think many of you show. Who is this Charles fellow? What happened to Robert Thomas (not to speak of the infamous Robert the Bruce legend)?

Third, in 1835 she has Robert, John K., William, and Dennis Stell listed as brothers who moved to Arkansas from Gwinnett Co. GA. I don't find four siblings living in that year with these same names -- two or three, yes, but not four. Was Birdie confusing father-son and/or cousins as being brothers? Are we missing some folks possibly, or do we have too many?

There may be other discrepancies I haven't noticed. There also may already be answers to the above questions which I haven't noticed. In any case, I'm confused! Was Birdie on to something here, or not? Please noodle on what she says and let me know what you think.

I have transcribed the letters almost exactly as written, spelling intact, adding only a few notes in brackets and some punctuation for clarity.

The first letter was written in 1960 by Birdie Stell Bell of Dunn, NC, to her younger cousin, Frances, in Arkansas:

Rt. 2
Dunn, N.C.
Feb 24, 1960

Dear Frances,

I am sending some records to Billy. I copied what I thought best suited to his assignment in school. There will be some notes here that he will not use, but I added that for him personally. I did not copy all, as much of it is not suited for anything except family records. I got into this years ago just for my enjoyment, but now so many people are wanting records. A Stell from South Dakota came by to see me this winter. He is working on family history.

Orvella suggested that I put in a sheet of no-tear paper, as she thinks it particularly suitable to use for histories. You may wish to get some. She is Presbyterial Historian of this (Fayetteville) Presbytery and many church histories from over the District come to her. She files them with the historical Foundation at Montreal. The Foundation requires that all histories be typed on this no-tear paper. You note that it is re-inforced and makes a durable and nice looking paper.

I hope that this will help Billy to get up a good Stell history. I hope that he can get histories on his other lines, but you might be surprised. I know how little most people know of their families.

Best wishes.



The record of first Stell as we have it to date is of George Stell of Prince George County, Virginia. In 1719 George Stell of Bristol parish, Prince George, Va. bought of Thompson Stapley of same Parish and County, 100 acres for 20$ cur money in hand paid.
This deed was witnessed by
James Thweatt
David Crawley
Lewis Green Jr.              Sealed with a wafer.

This land was patented by Thompson Stapley in 1717.

George Stell is not listed in the [Paid Rents??] of 1704, nor anywhere else this Prince George Book/1713/1723 so his entry into Pr. Geo. Is dates as 1719 and he is inferred to be the immagrant [sic] ancestor of Va. Stells.

We have not been able to establish from what country the original immagrant [sic] came to the colonies. We know there were Stells in England, Stells in Germany, and Stells in Alsace, Lorraine. These last were French and had come from France, possibly to escape the Heuguenot persecution. Many Heuguenots fled to Alsace-Lorraine.

Geo. Stell is listed in Va. Land patents as having patented 225 acres on both sides of Bear Swamp, “adjoining land he now lives on.”

Then in 1739 John Stell acquires 250 acres adjoining Geo. Stell.

In 1745 Geo. Stell acquired 400 acres on North Side of Bear Swamp.

In 1740 Geo. Stell Jr. owned 189 acres in Amelia County Va.

In 1751 Stell, Denny acquired land on no. side White Oak Swamp.

U. S. Census 1810 Dinwiddie County Va.,
Stell, Shadrach
[Stell,] Geo. W.
[Stell,] Joseph
[Stell,] John
Stell, Dennis
Stell, George
(the above residents of Dinwiddie Co. Va. In 1810)

1840 Census
       Joseph Stell

Personal tax, Dinwiddie Co.

There was a Stell will in Nottaway[??] County (Va.) records of 1780.

There is some record of Rev. War Service for John Stell – but I do not have it.

There is Public Service Claims paid to George Stell, Charles Stell, Dennis Stell, John Stell, at a court-convened and held at the court house Dinwiddie Co. on Tues April 1782 for adjusting public claims – the State of Va. And the Continental paid:
To Charles – for beef – 3.16.0
To Dennis 7 ¾ bu wheat – 1.11
John Stell for beef – 3.8.9

(I believe the above was pounds-shillings-pence)

This is recognized as “Patriotic Service.”

After 1810 the Stells do not appear on tax lists but later they appear in Gwinnett Co. Georgia.
Robert Stell married Winnie Gentry of South Carolina
Dennis Stell married Eleanor McPherson of S. Car.
(this was Dennis son of Dennis.)
There is a census in S. Car. which gave Robert and John.
Apparently they made the long journey – in wagons – in a leisurely fashion, and made stops in S. Car.
Sometimes emigrants stopped and made a crop.

Robert Stell
& John Stell              both in S. Car. Census 1790, Newberry Dist.

There is an old Bible which evidently was owned by Dennis Sr. who went from Va. to Ga. He died in 1837. Dennis the son, went from Ark. to Ga. and bro’t his widowed mother to Ark. This accounts for that line of the family (Texas) having the old Bible record.

Dennis Stell and Sally his wife were married March 10, 1791.
Robert Stell born March 2, 1792 (there are others but this is our line)

Robert Stell and Winny [sic] his wife were married Dec. 19,1811

This Dennis (above) died in Gwinnett Co. Georgia Feb 25 1837

Sarah (his wife) died in Conway Co. Ark. Aug. 13, 1838
She is buried in Wilder Cemetery, though the grave has been lost.

Dennis (son of Dennis and Sally) was born May 9, 1807.
He came to Ark., served in state legislature, later moved to Texas. Lived there for years. Died there.
He was said to have played the violin rather well. His old violin – has 13 stars on it – is owned by a grandson in Texas.
He was Dennis Q. Stell. We always understood that the Q was for “Quillen”, but the Texas ___ Quillens __ told me that we were mistaken, it was “Quimby”.
He was named for his grandfather Dennis Q. So was right. I talked to him in 1936. He was elderly then.

There was a distant cousin Dennis Stell who also came to Conway Co. during Civil War or just after, (when feelings were high). He was ambushed when he went to woods to call his hogs. He was bound hands and feet, and thrown into Cypres [sic] Creek. Robert Brown told me that he was only a boy, but he well remembered seeing searchers bring the bound body from the creek.

In 1835 Robert Stell with his brothers, Dennis, John K. and William came from Gwinnett Co. Ga. to Arkansas.

William stopped somewhere in eastern or southern part of territory. (Ark. was made a state a year later)

John K. lived for some time in Conway Co. and is on 1840 Conway Co. census.
Then he moved to Dallas County.

Robert was Co. Judge from 1854 – 1856.
At that time Conway Co. embraced much more territory than it does today. It “took in” what is now Faulkner Co. to across what is not line of Pulaski Co.
Springfield was the County Seat, and a prosperous village.

Robert Stell is buried in Wilder Cemetery. The stone (native stone) bears inscription which is becoming dim. I made an effort years ago to get contributions from the family to erect a durable stone, which would bear inscription “Came from Gwinnett Co. Georgia to Conway Co. Ark. in 1835.” I thought that in years to come this would furnish family history to young Stells now coming on. I did not get much response so I gave it up.

Dennis Stell married Sarah –
Robert [Stell] married Winnie Gentry
Baxter [Stell married]       (1) Sena Wilbanks
                     (2) Elizabeth Jones

Amanda [Stell] married Joseph [David M.] Roach
Sena [married] Francis Marion Ramer

I begin this lineage with Dennis Stell who came from Va. to Georgia.

Your Line
1 – Dennis Stell
2 – Robert [Stell]
3 – Baxter [Stell]
4 – Amanda [Stell]
5 – Sena [Roach]
6 – Frances
7 – Billy

I would give full names, but I do not know them.
In lineage records full names should be given –

[Birdie made this copy, by hand, of the Stapley – Stell Deed]

Pr. Geo. Co. Va.
       Deeds Court – 2nd Tues. in Dec., 8th day, 1719
Stapley Tom release to Stell
Between Thompson Stapley of Bristol Parish, Prince George Co. Va. and George Stell of same Parish and Co., of the other part, by ____ the day before the date hereof, for consideration therein expressed have bargained and sold unto George Stell his Exs and Adms, 100 acres in Parish and County afores’d for 20$ cur. Mon. in hand paid, receipt whereof he doth acknowledge confirm, and to said George Stell in his actual possession all est. right and claim and demand of s’d Thompson Stapley to the same and every part thereof.
Thompson Stapley
       Sealed with a wafer

James Thweatt
David Crawley
Lewis Green Jr.

At Court 2nd Tues. in Dec. being 8th day 1719, by order of the Court truly recorded.
Test. Wm. Hamlin Cl. Cur.


The following listing of names was in a 1968 letter by Birdie Stell Bell, then living in Morrilton, Arkansas, to her cousin Sena Roach Ramer of Plumerville Ark. The letter itself has been lost. Only the listing remains:

Morrilton, Arkansas
Apr 30, 1968

John Stell Rev. War Soldier

John Stell, b. circa 1742 in Prince George County Va. d. about 1814 in Georgia.
Married circa 1865 – Amelia Co. Va.
(Susanna) Susan Malone, b. about 1745 Amelia Co., Va. died 1832 in G eorgia.
Susan daughter of Charles Malone, Va.

South Carolinians in the Revolution, by Sarah Ervin, Jr.
John Stell in Lt. Col. John Thomas Regt. Of Dragoons, Gen. Sumpter’s Brigade.

Documents relating to the history of S.C. During the Revolution, by Salley, p 99.
John Stell, Private, Commencement of Service April 26, 1781
10 mo. pay and Bounty in Negroes – 1 grown – bal due – 1 grown
Payroll of Capt. William Smith’s Troops of Light Dragoons in the regiment commanded by Lt. Col. John Thomas, Gen. Sumpter’s Brigade.
Sworn to and signed before me
18th April 1782
John Thomas Jr.

Dennis Stell
Born circa 1766
Where: in Virginia
When married: March 10, 1791
Died: Feb 25, 1837
Where: Gwinnett Co., Georgia
Sarah (Sallie) King
Born: Circa 1764
Married: Mch 10, 1791, Old Pendleton Dist., S. Car.
Died: Aug 13, 1838, Conway Co., Arkansas

Proof: Old Bible owned by Mrs. A. L. Stell, Brumfield, Tex.
Genealogy, by A. M. Johnston & ______, part of book by Penelope J. Allen, Chattanouga, Tenn.

Robert Stell
Born: Mch 2, 1792
Where: Pendleton Dist. S. Car.
When married: Dec 19, 1811, S. Car.
Died: March 6(?), 1852
Where: Conway Co. Arkansas
Proof: as above
Winnie Gentry
Born: circa 1793, S. Car.
Died: circa 1857
Where: Conway Co., Ark.
[Proof] Genealogy Book [as above]

[Asbury] Baxter Stell (son of Robert & Winnie)
Born: 1826
Where: Old Pendleton Dist. S. Car.
Married: 1st – Sena Wilbanks
        2nd – Elizabeth Jones

Sena Wilbanks
Born: Oct 19, 1827
Where: S. Car.
Died: Dec 16, [1874]
Married _____

Joseph [David M.] Roach
b. Jan 18, 1856
died Dec [28, 1935]

Sena [Amanda] Roach
b. [Dec 3, 1894]
d. [May 14, 1982]


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