The Stiths (for Dummies!)

Who were the Stiths, and where are they now? And why is it important for you to know about them? Wading through family history records can be daunting to casual readers who know only their immediate family. This quick reference is intended for newcomers, browsers or clueless family members who want to take a quick look at the Web site without getting hopelessly lost.

This guide is broken up into three parts:

From Beginnings to Present Day: Where The Stiths Came From, From Them To You and Where They Are Now
Stiths in America: Farmers, Pioneers, Patriots
Stiths in Kentucky: The First Stiths, Their Descendants and Stith Valley Today

Sprinkled through the guide are some fun facts about the Stiths in green. There is also an appendix that highlights some of the Stith resources on this Web site that might be interesting for a casual browser.

From Beginnings to Present Day

Where The Stiths Came From

c-o-a2.gif (27697 bytes)Stith coat of arms (Source: C. R. Stith)

Most family historians agree: The Stiths were an English family that had a branch move to America in the 17th century. C. R. Stith writes in The Stith Family – A Living History that Stiths may have come to England from France, but this has not been verified. Before that, it’s anyone’s guess -- "Historians would … agree that many came from Normandy (descendants of Norsemen) in 1066 with William the Conqueror or earlier with the Romans," he writes on page two.

Stiths still live in England, although their direct ties to the American Stiths have not been studied.

Fun Fact: "The Stiths seem to have a disposition to literature, and one of them either in Queen Elizabeth's reign, or perhaps before, wrote a romance called Lost Island which the Queen admired, and from which Shakespeare took the story of his play--The Tempest. The fact is mentioned in the notes in the first edition of Shakespeare. The author of the romance married Rebecca Bohlen." – anecdote on page two of C. R. Stith’s book

From Them To You

It’s easy to get confused by the overlapping lines of ancestry. But here’s a simple line from the first Stith known in Virginia to present day, more to demonstrate how many generations there are than to memorize:

Major John Stith, Sr., was the first Stith known in Virginia. His wife, Jane, probably had the maiden name of Drury, family historian Harriet Fast Scott writes.

According to Kenneth Stith’s records, Major John Stith, Sr., was born "about 1625 in Kirkham, Lancashire, England; died 1692 in Westover Parish, Charles City, Va." His wife, Jane, was born circa 1624 and died after 1686.

One of Major John Stith, Sr.’s sons, Drury Stith, Sr. (1670-1741), who married Susanna (Bathurst) Stith (1674-1745?), had a son, Drury Stith, Jr. (1695-1740). Drury Jr. married Elizabeth Buckner Stith (1700-1777) (here’s a painting of Elizabeth).

From there, Jess Scott has compiled a ladder of ancestry to his youngest son, Alan Scott, who was born in 1987. Here it is:

Elizabeth (Buckner) Stith b. 1700 m. Drury Stith(Jr.) b. 1695
Richard Stith (Sr.) , born 30 Sep 1727 m. Lucy Cocke Hall
William B. Stith, born 8 Oct 1777 in Va. married Nancy (Jones) Stith
Henry Stith born 10 Oct 1815 m. Mary Ann Stith
Richard Stith (Jr.) born 9 Dec 1779 m. Elizabeth Jones
Mary Ann Stith, born 23 Jan 1820 m. Henry Stith
Thomas Jefferson Stith b. 28 Aug. 1841 Hannah Chase Williams
Irene Buckner Stith b. 1867 m. Charles Beauregard Fontaine
Ruth Fontaine b. 1887 m. Walter Lee Scott
Walter Charles Scott b. 1909 m. Ellen Delean Brown
Jesse Brown Scott m. Frances Byars Scott
Alan Richard Scott b. 1987

Fun fact on Thomas Jefferson Stith, written by Harriet Fast Scott: "By the 1800's, patriotism was dominant and every family had a George Washington, a Thomas Jefferson, and an Andrew Jackson!" (Source here)

If you’re related to any of these people, you can trace your ancestry back in time. If you’re not, there are still a million and one ways you could be related to that first Major John Stith, Sr. As Harriet Fast Scott writes in her 2004 book, The Stiths: Life On The Frontier:

"So if your name is Stith, Hardaway, Jordan, Moreman/Moorman, Hightower, Saunders, Nall, Board, Tarpley, Bolling, Dowell, Wrather, Hoskins, Johnson, Anderson, Peters, Howell, Cain, Moore, Wiseheart, Blanford, Cocke, Hall, Sprigg, McGehee, Hynes, Buckler, White, Harl, Howard, Preston, Polk, Pasley, Harris, Purcell, Greer, Pulliam, Davis, Walton, Shrewsbury, Thorpe, Jupin, Morgan, Van Cleave, Scifres, Allen, Gray, Stehl, Crume, Alverson, Boling, Dent, Skillman, Robinson, Jones, Herndon, Truman, Gill, Cox, Dean, Lewis, Gullett, Clarkson, Woolfolk, Summers, Geohegan, Paul, Gilkey, Ferguson, Chiles, Park, Evans, Brown, Hooper, Isenhour, Lampton, McGuffin, Miller, Jaggers, Elliott, Henderson, Shacklett, Lochinour, Patton, Haynes, Kincheloe, Jenkins, Coffman, Buford, Withers, Kendall, Ball, Young, Partlow, Rawlings, Watts, Read, Buchanan, Reese, or Scott, you may be a Stith! (Or related to one!)"

Where They Are Now

The Stiths who came to America have now been scattered through the country -- doctors, lawyers, professors, fathers, mothers, ministers, artists and even a few humble family historians. You can email Jess Scott at jscott.jpg (5605 bytes) to let him know where you are now – he might be able to give you a few clues about looking for Stiths in the area where you live.

Stiths In America: Farmers, Pioneers, Patriots

Major John Stith, Sr., the earliest known Stith in Virginia, was first documented in Virginia in 1656. In information compiled by Harriet Fast Scott, the man was actively engaged on the government’s side in Bacon’s Rebellion, a county magistrate and a practicing lawyer. He represented his county (Charles City County) in the House of Burgesses from 1685-1686. He had two sons, John and Drury; and three daughters, Anne, Jane and Agnes. His will

Harriet Fast Scott’s research on the early Stiths in Virginia is easy to read, well-documented and verified – if you’re looking for descriptions of the daily life of Major John Stith, Sr.’s family, try her book THE STITHS: COLONIAL LIFE IN CHARLES CITY COUNTY, VIRGINIA 1709-1741. Much of the book is from The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover, a close neighbor to the Stiths. Harriet writes that "it is a very intimate diary where food and friends’ funerals rate equal space."

Fun Fact: Anne Stith (b. 1655), Major John Stith, Sr.’s daughter, was the second wife of Robert Bolling. Robert Bolling’s first wife was Jane, daughter of Thomas Rolfe and granddaughter of Pocahontas. (Page 6)

Stiths In Kentucky: The First Stiths, Their Descendants and Stith Valley Today

Stith descendents and friends celebrated the 200th anniversary of Stith Valley at what is now the Scott Hill Farm on July 4, 2004.

Stiths first moved to Kentucky from Virginia in 1804, argues Harriet Fast Scott in her book, The Stiths: Life on the Frontier. All but one of the 12 children of Richard (1727-1802) and Lucy (Hall) Stith have been traced to Kentucky, as Harriet has documented. You saw Richard Stith earlier in this guide in the ancestry ladder. A justice of the peace, a surveyor and the owner of a large estate, his children left Virginia soon after his death in 1802, writes Harriet.

His children traveled Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road, finished in 1775, to the Kentucky frontier. The fertile Kentucky soil and the availability of land lured plenty of settlers to make the difficult journey, despite threats of Native American raids, mountains and the unknown.

Harriet traces each of the eleven children and their descendents to the late 1800s in her book, gleaning information from Meade, Breckinridge and Hardin County records, Ancestral Trails Historical Society materials and information from family historian Estie Stith Crabb.

The Stiths made – and still make – their mark on this area. In Sepember 2004, Bewleyville United Methodist Church celebrated their own 200th anniversary. The church began in the home of Thomas and Rhoda Stith in the fall of 1804; eight of the 13 original members were Stiths.

Fun Fact: One of these original Bewleyville church members, Nancy Stith (who lived on what is now Scott Hill Farm), has a humorous story associated with her religious fervor. "The most of [the original church members] were remarkable for their zeal, but none more so than William and Nancy Stith. Mrs. Stith, before her conversion, had been fond of the gayeties and amusements of the world; and when she embraced religion, she was equally zealous as a Christian. At home, in the family circle, as well in her private devotions, she frequently praised God aloud. In the house of God her feelings often overcame her, and she shouted his praises.  

On one occasion, the minister, interrupted by her shouts requested her, in a private interview, to restrain her feelings until he could close his sermon. Unwilling to be a source of annoyance to any one, the old saint readily promised, and requested him, if he should observe any signs on her part of an intention to shout, to wink at her, she should repress her feelings. At the first meeting after this interview, he thought he discovered indications of her purpose to shout, and he gave the promised wink. In a minute she was calm, but it was only for a moment. He winked again, and again her feelings were subdued. Once more her countenance, beaming with joy, told too plainly of the pent-up emotions struggling to be free; and once more the preacher winked, but it was in vain. She arose from her seat, exclaiming, "Brother, you may wink, and you may blink, as much as you please, but I must shout!" (Source)

There are so many Stiths whose lives have been documented that this guide only suggests that you follow the links to learn about them in more detail. One notable Stith, Thomas Jefferson Stith, fought on the Confederate side during the Civil War. You can read more about that here.

Stith Valley Today

You can read a memoir about growing up in Stith Valley by Harold H. Stith, who was born in 1916 and died in the 1990s. If you’re in the area, contact Jess Scott at jscott.jpg (5605 bytes) for more information on historical sites, or browse this Web site. It’s a good bet that as you drive or walk around the area, you’ll see the name Stith on road signs, grave stones and name tags!


Jess Scott’s Stith Family Page has a list of documents and books available on his Web site. Many of them are linked above. Hopefully, reading this short guide will help the names on the page become more intelligible: Here are some prominent links you may want to check out.

Kenneth Stith’s genealogy of the Virginia Stiths, starting with Major John Stith, Sr. [The granddaddy of early American Stith genealogy, at least on this Web site. Lots of names.]

Harriet Fast Scott’s essay on the maiden name of Jane, Major John Stith, Sr.’s wife. [Read if you’re interested about how babies were named in the 1700s and 1800s.]

The Stiths: Colonial Life in Charles City County, Virginia 1709-1741 compiled by Harriet Fast Scott [Interesting day-to-day account of life in those times, complete with gossip, digestive tract documentation and lots of Stith gossip!]

The Stiths: Life on the Frontier, Meade, Hardin and Breckinridge Counties, Kentucky 1804, compiled by Harriet Fast Scott [Another book compiled by Harriet Fast Scott, this one about the Stiths who moved to Kentucky in the early 1800s. Lots of names, some information on daily life and professions of those Stiths and their descendants.]

The Stith Family [Book by Charles R. Stith – a hodge-podge of early Stith anecdotes and Stiths in the late 20th century. Read for an example of modern-day Stiths.]

Web master: Jess Scott, jscott.jpg (5605 bytes). This web site available on CD.  Contact web master for details.  The CD includes the entire web site including books which are posted at 

Also email addresses available:    Again, contact web master for details. 

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