Abraham Stapp & James Andrews

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 him.

Land Deed

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 Pattent."*

Map of Abraham's Land

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 James Andrews! 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. Here 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 prepared by David-Alan 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.)