Lost Record of Abraham's Immigration to the Virginia
Lately in researching the history of Abraham Stapp and his
origins, we have begun to look back at our source documents.
In doing so, there seems to be hidden evidence that was
either forgotten or overlooked in the past.
Below, you will find a land record concerning Abraham Stapp,
one of the "founding fathers" of the Stepp/Stapp family in
America. This land deed is the oldest dated record found on
Henry P. Scalf lists this land deed on page 8 of The Stepp/Stapp
Families of America:
But what is amazing about his description of this record is
that Scalf never mentions anything about the reason why
James Gaines received this land grant! Note the blue
outlined section in the actual land deed above: Gaines
received this land tract because he brought "3 persons into
the collony" and "whose names are recorded underneath this
As witnessed in the land deed above, Gaines received 132 and
1/2 acres of land (dated March 11, 1667) by bringing these
three certain persons to the colony. Just below the land
patent there is another conveyance dated November 17, 1670,
where Gaines grants the said "residue" or the 132 and 1/2
acres to three persons: Cornelius Noell, Abraham Stap, and
So according to this record, Abraham Stap was one of the 3
persons who were brought to Virginia by Gaines in 1667;
Gaines must have granted the land to the three men for
fulfilling their time as indentured servants!
So now major research is being done to discover the origins
of Cornelius Noell, James Andrews, and even how James Gaines
was bringing these people to the colonies. Apparently
Cornelius Noell was from Holland, and we could assume that
James Andrews and Abraham Stapp were from the British Isles.
We now must find a connection between these three men. Were
they all living in a certain city, or worked for the same
person in their ancestral homeland? Or maybe they were
trying to escape religious persecution and came to the
colonies for religious freedom?
This is what we now must research!
Scalf states that "The quaint old instrument reveals nothing
of genealogical value and there is not a hint of the
location of the land" But if you look at the land record
above, it mentions that the land is situate in Old
Rappahanock County, and South of the Rappahanock River. It
also describes the land as beginning at the head of
Popoman's Branch and runs into Occupacia Creek. Below is a
map of this area with the individual creeks marked.
You will notice that Popoman Branch, or Swamp as it is now
called, runs right into Occupacia Creek. This is right where
the land description said that Abraham lived!! We don't know
exactly where the old homeplace was located, but other deeds
give a good idea on its location.
In his will dated October 2, 1710, Abraham Sr. gave to
Abraham Jr. all the land he owned 'on the north side of the
road at my now dwelling place.' In 1718 Abraham Jr. sold 250
acres of land he had inherited from his father to John Jones
for 60 pounds. It was noted that the land was located where
"Abraham Stopp, Sr. formerly lived." Scalf states "this road
was west of the old Tidewater Trail. The road referred to
was the old Mataponi Road of early Essex County, its
location in the area not definitely defined but it was
probably west of Occupacia Creek and trailed north toward
the present town of Hustle."
The map above outlines this old road, and thus we can deduce
the general location of the land from the different land
deed descriptions above.
This report written and
Stapp, Wednesday, December 29, 2004.
***(In colonial times, men would become indentured servants
in order to pay for their passage to the colonies. Usually
they served their sponsor a period of 3-7 years. By bringing
a person into the colony, the master would receive a "headright"
land grant; and thus the more people they brought over, the
more land they received. Once the period of servitude was
up, the master or sponsor would sometimes even grant land to
the servant. For more information on this subject click