Stedmans in Colonial America


From the some of earliest days of British colonization of America, members of various Stedman families came to America, and they continued to arrive throughout the colonial period. Most of the families stayed in America, but a few either returned to Britain, died out, or daughtered out.


No known Stedmans were among the Pilgrims and early Plymouth Colony settlers. I said “known” because it is possible that some of the Plymouth settlers were part of Stedman daughter lines.  A family legend has it that the Captain of the Mayflower was a Stedman. Were it not for the fact that the Scottish Stedmans and the Stedmans who settled in 17th century Connecticut 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

Three well documented Stedman families immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony 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”. I have identified at least one Stedman daughter line that arrived in the same period. Several other Stedmans have been documented in 17th century Massachusetts who may be connected to the known families or represent separate immigrations.

Isaac Stedman

Isaac Stedman of Biddenden, Kent, England, was the first Stedman that I have found documentation for in America. He is the only New England colonial Stedman whose ancestry in England has been traced.

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.

The daughter line I spoke of above was from a female cousin of Isaac Stedman. Deacon 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. John Winchester is said to be a brother to Isaac’s wife Elizabeth Winchester.

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 William 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 Historic Genealogical Society.

A single descendant of Isaac Stedman, a descendant of Josiah Stedman (above), has joined the Stedman Surname DNA Project, and the DNA does not match the DNA of any other Stedman. We would like to find other descendants if Isaac to verify this unique DNA Haplotype to assure this is not the result of a Non-Paternity Event somewhere in the last 400 years.

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 1880 manuscript in the NEHGS library, that Robert came to America from Holland. It is possible that some of the unplaced 17th century Stedmans in Cambridge area are part of his family.

His large family tended to stay in Boston and Cambridge until the late 19th century. The Samuel Stedman house in Harvard Square is built on the land Robert originally acquired.

Samuel Stedman House in Cambridge, Massachusetts (1999)

A large number of living descendants of Robert Stedman have been documented; however, only one living male Stedman descendant has been found, a descendant of Dr. Henry Rust Stedman of Massachusetts, who could provide a DNA result for the Robert Stedman family. His participation will be needed if we are going to answer questions about Robert’s relationship to Isaac and other Stedman families in America or Britain.

John Stedman of Cambridge

John Stedman of Cambridge was also 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 Sussex, England; 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. He and his wife Alice are buried in the Harvard Square churchyard. Without male Stedman descendants, it will not be possible to use DNA techniques.

As mentioned earlier, his granddaughter Dorothy Thompson married into the Connecticut Burr family.

His daughter Sarah married into Rear Admiral Thomas Graves family. One of Sarah’s granddaughters, Katherine married Hon. James Russell and their daughter Rebecca married Judge John Lowell of Boston the ancestor of the famous Boston Brahmin Lowell family, ancestor of the poet James Russell Lowell and 20th century poet Robert Lowell, along with dozens of men and woman well known for their contributions in many fields of endeavor.

George Stedman

George Stedman served in King Philip’s War and married in 1674 Hannah Osborn in Charlestown, MA. He had several documented children. His daughter Sarah married Joseph Glazier and that family is quite large and well documented with living descendants. I have found no documentation on families for his other children. Evidence suggests that his son William did not survive to adulthood.  Some researchers have suggested that George was either an undocumented son of Robert or part of the Essex County Stedmans.

Thomas Stedman

Thomas Stedman married a Jane Scammon about 1685. He was living in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1680. Nothing is known of his ancestry.


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.

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 illegitimate birth.

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 other mariner families such as Robert Isbell, Capt. Thomas Foster, Capt. Ralph Parker, and Capt. William Keeney who also moved to New London at about the same time from Essex County, Massachusetts. Thomas married Hannah, the daughter of Robert Isbell, in New London; the marriage record mentions that he was a widower. It is not unreasonable to assume that he may have had a family in Essex County before coming to New London.


The majority of the colonial 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.

Many researchers have suggested that the Stedman brothers might have been of Scottish origin, in part because of their mariner background, unlike the Massachusetts Stedmans. There is no evidence to support this supposition.

Several descendants of both brothers have been DNA tested; the DNA shows verifies that they could be brothers. Further, the DNA show that no other Stedman family found so far has even a close match to these families. In fact, as of 2012, the only near matching DNA is a Hall family member from Northeast England who has a strong Hall pedigree that has been traced to the early 1700s.

The Connecticut Stedmans spell the name either as “Stedman” or “Steadman” with little consistency. The Nova Scotia and New Brunswick family which descends from Thomas of New London seems to consistently spell the name as “Steadman”.

Descendants of these brothers seem to be the most numerous Stedmans outside the Southern states.

John Stedman of Hartford

Lt. John Stedman of Hartford was in Hartford about 1650 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 in 1676.

One of his descendants was 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 the 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 (born 1704) who was probably a mariner and a lawyer in New London and was mentioned many times in the Joshua Hempstead diary.

One of the challenges with Stedman Connecticut genealogy is that a number of Stedman lines originate from the coastal towns west of New London, including Groton, Branford, and others. These are assumed to originate from John Stedman (b. 1704); however no documentary evidence has been found of John’s family. DNA from a descendant of one of these “stray” lines matches that of the other Connecticut Stedmans.

John Truscan Stedman, a likely descendant of another of these stray lines, 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. A paper on these strays lines will be written in the future.

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 Manly Stedman was from this family.


At least two family lines descended from Isaac Stedman lived in Windham county, Connecticut from the 1720s.

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:

John Stedman from Bosbury, Herefordshire, England,  came to America in the 1750s and settled in what is now western New York state. His brothers Philip, William, and James also came to America at a later time. John is famous as he developed a portage route across Niagara Falls. As the portage master, he was the only survivor of a Seneca Indian attack known as the Massacre at Devil’s Hole.

John may have married but there is no evidence of a family; by 1800, he retired and returned to his home in England where he died in 1808. His brother James is thought to have died in Albany, New York in 1809, leaving a daughter Susanna who married a John Sparkman and raised a large family in Ontario. Partly because records from New York in this period are so poor, our knowledge of these families is quite incomplete.

Researchers believe that this family descends from the same ancestors as does the Shropshire Aston Munslow Stedman family. This would mean that their DNA should match that of the other Shropshire Stedmans who have been tested.; however, no descendant has yet been tested.

This is the only known Shropshire family to have come to America in colonial times; however, DNA evidence suggests at least two known Southern US families have DNA that matches that of the Shropshire family (see below). A question being researched is whether or not some offshoot of this family might have moved south.


Stedman immigration into Pennsylvania started in the late 1600s and continued through the colonial period. Immigration into Pennsylvania needs a lot of research as records are quite few. Personally, these are families that I have not researched thoroughly.

Pennsylvania Quakers

We have identified two Quaker Stedman families that came to Pennsylvania.

A Quaker Sarah Stedman married Peter Thomas in Chester county, Pennsylvania, in the 1686 and had a large family. Some researchers believe that she came to America from Lancashire, England, with a widowed mother Elizabeth and at least one brother.  I have not researched this family and would be interested in any source material on this family. There are some Stedmans in 19th century Pennsylvania census who cannot be placed who may be descendants of these families.

Richard Stedman was born about 1718 in Hampshire, England, and came to America by 1745 when he became affiliated with the Nottingham Monthly Meeting in Chester County, Pennsylvania. He had a large family that has not been well researched, in part due to lack of records. As the children left the Quaker church, Quaker records for them ceased. As much of this happened at the time of the Revolution, one may assume that they fought in that war.

The best researched (probable) descendant of this family is a Benjamin Stedman who first shows up in Madison county, Illinois in 1814 but in 1850 census was listed in Van Zandt county, Texas as age 74, born Harford county, Pennsylvania.  DNA from two of his descendants matches that of descendant  of an Israel J. Steadman, born about 1799 in (likely) Frederick county, Virginia and who lived in Morgan County, Ohio.

A researcher in Tennessee has assembled quite a bit of data on there families, but we still cannot reconstruct the early history with certainty.

Pennsylvania Barton-Steadmans

At least two Barton-Steadman families emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

Judge Alexander Steedman was born in 1703 in Borrowstounness, West Lothian, Scotland.  He, along with his brother Charles supported the Stuart cause in Scotland and escaped to Philadelphia about 1746. Along with their brother John who was in Rotterdam, they ran a successful shipping business between Germany and Philadelphia. Their ships brought thousands of German Palatine immigrants to America from Rotterdam and Hamburg during the mid-1700s. Alexander’s son Charles Stedman was a Tory during the Revolutionary War and a British Officer. After the War, he and his father returned to Britain, and he wrote “The History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War”, a definitive history of the American Revolution from the British perspective.  He died in Wales in 1812. Charles Stedman’s son John Stedman (1786-1871) wrote the famous 1857 “Barton-Stedman Memoir”.

I believe that some members of this family remained in America because of “stray” Stedmans that have shown up in later Pennsylvania census data; however, I can have not identified a linkage.

James Steedman, son of James Steedman and Janet Landalls, was born 1724 in St. Monance Parish, Fife, Scotland and died 1801 in Chillisquaque, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, and settled in Pennsylvania by 1768 after spending some time in Northern Ireland. His brothers John and Charles (see below) went to Charleston, South Carolina, about the same time. The most famous descendant of this family was Union Gen. James Blair Steedman  who was a hero of the battle of Chickamaugua. James’s descendants usually spell the name as “Steedman.”

We are looking for a provable descendant of this family to add to our DNA project.

Although quite a few of the descendants of this family have been identified, a few unidentified Steedmans in Pennsylvania have not been linked to this family but are part of this family or are part of another Barton-Steadman immigration.

A family legend exists that 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. 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.

As of now, I can neither substantiate or disprove any of this legend. From the limited DNA samples we already have from those supposedly descendant families, we can already show that the story is more complex, and that many of these families can be associated with other biological families. I will discuss this in the section under Virginia.

Rev. Melvin Steadman has done considerable research on this family, but, unfortunately, his information is not available to us at this time. His data may also be out of date based on current research.



Several Southern Colony Stedman immigrant families seem to have initial roots in Virginia, or maybe Pennsylvania; however, early evidence is lacking. Undoubtedly, many of the family lines I am about to document should be connected; however, we have yet to find the linkages. The earliest documentation of some of these families might not be in Virginia; however, evidence suggests that the families can be associated with families who were in Virginia.

DNA is going to major tool to understand which of these families are actually unique. DNA work so far has already identified at least four biologically different families that lived in what I call the Harper’s Ferry area in the late 1700s and early 1800s. This area includes the West Virginia and northern Virginia counties. Ultimately, we will need DNA evidence from each of the provable family lines that lived in the area.

John Stedman of Norfolk, Virginia

John Stedman arrived in Norfolk in bondage in 1737.  John Stedman, the elder, Christopher Stedman, and John Stedman, the younger, from Sussex arrived in bondage on the vessel “Forward Gally” in May 1737. I have not yet found any definitive history of these men in England before they were transported to America.

I suspect that they are the John Stedman, with sons John and Christopher, who lived in Westmorland, England in early 1700s. As Stedmans from the north of England, they may have been Scots who were involved in some of the Scottish independence movement and transported for that reason.

Christopher and his son Christopher Jr. were documented in Norfolk area through the early 1800s. Several lines of descendants have been identified who migrated to Ohio in the 1800s.

One descendant has joined the DNA project and his results are a unique Haplotype.

I discovered that a John Stedman had lived in St. Mary’s County, Maryland before moving to North Carolina where he died in the 1790s. Considering that St. Mary’s county is just north of Norfolk, I believe that it is highly likely that he was the John Stedman, the younger, who came with his father and brother to Norfolk in 1737 who has otherwise not been traced.  His son Edward had several sons, and it is highly likely that one of those sons has surviving male descendants who could be DNA tested. If a future DNA member matches the DNA of Christopher’s descendant and could be traced to one of these sons, then we might know for sure.

James Stedman of Berkeley County, Virginia

Rev. Melvin Lee Steadman identified his immigrant Stedman ancestor as the James Stedman who died in 1789 in Berkeley county, Virginia.

” James was born in 1708, as a son of Capt. Robert Stedman and Margaret Jossey. He was born in Burrowstowness, County Kinross. He married his first cousin Janet Stark (born about 1712), daughter of Mark Stark and Janet Stedman. He came with his brother Capt. John Stedman to Philadelphia in 1735, having come  to aid his brother’s business empire… By 1738 he was in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. By 1752 he was in Frederick County, Virginia. (He was in the area that was Berkeley county, now Jefferson county and since 1863 has been in West Virginia.) He laid the groundwork for what became the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, established a large Cooperage, Gun Manufactory, etc. He died in 1789 at his home, “The Heights”, which had been designed by his friend Thomas Jefferson.”

This history would make James a member of the Barton-Steadman family and a brother to the Alexander, Charles, and John Stedman documented as part of the Pennsylvania Barton-Steadman family. However, I have not found any evidence to back up any of the assertions made above. The evidence may exist; however, so much evidence that had been collected about the Harper’s Ferry Stedmans has been seemingly lost since his early death in 1987, and the unwillingness of the family to make his data available to current researchers. One obvious problem is that Burrowstouness (usually seen as Bo’Ness) is not in Kinross but in West Lothian.

Evidence in Scotland suggests that this lineage is problematical as John Stedman of Bath in his 1857 Barton-Stedman Memoir lumps James with the other children of Capt. Robert Stedman and Margaret Jossey who died young. As James would have been a great-uncle to John Stedman of Bath, one should suspect that John would have been aware of James being in America and having married his first cousin.

The second problem is whether or not this James Stedman even existed or are the places and events credited to him actually those of various other James Stedmans. Further research is needed to answer those questions.

James Stedman, Jr. of Berkeley County, Virginia

Rev. Melvin Steadman identified James Stedman Jr. as a son to the James Stedman above as:

“James Stedman, Jr., was born about 1729 in Burrowstouness, County Kinross, Scotland. He married about 1756 Sarah Pemberton (abt 1738-1800) of an old Quaker family. He served in Capt. John Hardin’s Company, French & Indian War, 28 October 1758, from Winchester, Virginia. He was granted land in Washington County, Virginia, in 1763, and in May, 1768 added to his land in Berkeley by a Lord Fairfax Lease of 160 acres. He is mentioned in connection with the Estate Account of William Stark in Loudoun County, Virginia (15 Oct 1773-24 Aug 1772). He was Financial Agent for Lord Fairfax in 1782/1783 (Accounts filed – probably at earlier and later dates).”

Again, I have not found supporting evidence for Rev. Steadman’s history; however, enough circumstantial evidence exists so that I do think an individual of this name existed. Several sons of James have been identified by Rev. Steadman and James Edington Steadman, another early 20th century researcher of this family: Thomas, James, David, William and John.

One of the possible sons of James Stedman Jr has been identified as the John Stedman Sr. of Virginia and Sullivan County, Tennessee. He was born about 1780 and was in Sullivan county by 1814 and is the founder of a large family that continues to live in and around Sullivan County. Some evidence puts his birth in Virginia and some name connections suggest that it might have been in northern Virginia. Please note that we have no proof that the John Stedman of Sullivan county, Tennessee was the John Stedman who may have been a son of James Stedman Jr. of Berkeley county, Virginia.

A descendant of John has joined the DNA project. His DNA is a match to the DNA found in descendants of the Aston Munslow, Shropshire, family in England. The match does not imply that this family is a descendant of that family but that both families had a common ancestor several hundred years before. The only family in America that has a known connection with the Shropshire family is the family of John Stedman of Niagara Falls above.

It would be very helpful to discover if the assumed siblings of John were also shown to have Shropshire like DNA; however, we do not have any provable members of those families who have joined the DNA project.

The Pemberton Connection... One important factor in researching early colonial history in America is that the English and the Scots did not mix. The number of Scots in New England, except for indentured servants, was minimal. One of the reasons I do not believe that the Connecticut Stedmans (see above) were Scottish is because they were prominent in New England. If you read James Webb’s book “Born Fighting“, you will understand that the English allowed the Scots to settle western Virginia and the Carolinas to provide a buffer between the tidewater English colonists and the Native Americans who were constantly attacking the English.

You may wonder what this has to do with Stedman Virginia genealogy. We have three marriage between the Virginia and South Carolina Stedmans and Pemberton women. If you do a search of Pembertons in Scotland on, you will find almost nothing. Pembertons in America seem to have started out in tidewater Virginia and by the early 1700s George Pemberton III, who was at least a third generation American was born, probably in Frederick county, Virginia.

Sometime in the early 1750s, Sarah Pemberton (parents unknown, supposedly of a Quaker family) married James Stedman Jr. (above), likely in or near Winchester, in Frederick county, Virginia; an unidentified daughter of George Pemberton and Judith Brooks married Eli/Elias Stedman about 1773 in Newberry district, South Carolina; and Margaret Pemberton, another daughter of George, married a Thomas Steedman (Stedman in 1790 census), likely in Newberry District, South Carolina. George Pemberton was living in Frederick county, Virginia, until moving to the Ninety-Six District in South Carolina  in late 1760s where he lived until the early 1800s when he moved with family to Kentucky, dying at over age 100 in Caldwell county, Kentucky in 1827.

Why is this important? Eli (or Elias) Stedman, born about 1750, was thought to be part of the Barton-Steadman Scottish family that came to South Carolina. Eli is not a very Scottish name, and now we find that he married into a very English family. We have also found from DNA from several descendants of Eli who were part of the large Choctaw County, Mississippi, Stedman family that they too match the DNA of the Shropshire, England, family, similar to the Sullivan County, Tennessee Stedmans! We know from DNA that these Stedmans do not match the DNA of the Richard Stedman Pennsylvania Quaker family. What we likely have is that instead of being Scottish immigrant to America, this whole group of Northern Virginia Stedmans might have English origins. More DNA testing is needed!

John Steadman of Augusta County, Virginia

A John Steadman (or Stedham) purchased land in Augusta County, Virginia in 1753. He has been identified as a son of James Steadman Sr. of Berkeley County, Virginia, without any evidence. Nothing further is known of this family. This could be the John Stedman from Norfolk (above).

William Stedman, another supposed son of James Stedman Sr., married a Hannah Vandever. They had two daughter: A Sarah Stedman who married and Peter B. Hoss and settled in Washington County, Tennessee, and had a large family and a Nancy Stedman who married a George Hamilton in Tennessee and has not been traced.

It is quite likely that some of the colonial Stedman family lines currently unattributed also will be discovered to trace back to Virginia.

South Carolina:

With the exception of the Edward Stedman, son of John Stedman of Maryland, mentioned above, I have not discovered much presence of Stedmans in North Carolina until after the Revolutionary War.

However, several families did come to South Carolina in the late colonial period. Much has been published about these families, and much of it is wrong.

Robert Stedman of Charleston

Everything written about Robert Stedman of Charleston is wrong.

The Joseph Earle Steadman genealogy identified the Robert Stedman buried in the cemetery of Saint Michael Protestant Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, as Robert Steedman, son of Robert Steedman and Janet Landalls of Saint Monance Parish, Fife Scotland.  The epitaph on his tombstone reads as follows:  “In memory of Robert Stedman who died on ye 9th of September AD 1766 in ye 43rd year of his age.  He was much respected and therefore is regretted by all who knew him.”

The ‘National Genealogical Quarterly’, December 1981, p. 282, gives an obituary of Robert Stedman: “Robert Stedman of Bow Tracey, Devon, formerly of London, who died at Charleston, South Carolina, peruke (wig) maker and planter, 1766.”

Robert Stedman did have large plantations in South Carolina; however, records found in England show that he was married and childless, and his wife never came to America. A significant legal battle for his estate happened in England after his death. He may have had a brother Charles who spent some time in America. This gentleman was purely English.

The Robert Steedman is well documented in Scotland with a wife and family there. The children that have been attributed to Robert must belong to some other family. One of those children was Eli/Elias Stedman mentioned above.

John Steedman, Barton-Steadman immigrant to South Carolina

The only son of Robert Steedman and Janet Landalls of St. Monance Parish, Fife, Scotland, who can be proven to have come to America was John Steedman, born 1715. John was an ancestor of Joseph Earle Steadman so a lot of research has been done on his history. According to Steadman, John Steedman participated in the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and escaped to northern Ireland before coming to Charleston, South Carolina, sometime before 1763 when his son George Steedman was born in South Carolina. John died in Lexington county, South Carolina in 1795.

Steadman claims, without sources, that John Steedman was married 2 times. From his first wife whom Steadman says died about 1760, he had the following children who are identified in America:

James Steedman of Chester County, South Carolina

James Steedman was supposedly born about 1743 in Scotland and died in Chester county, South Carolina about 1790. I think it is important to point out that I know of no evidence that proves this James Steedman was a son of John, and no Scottish baptismal record can be unquestionably identified as his. DNA is going to be a key factor in knowing of this family’s true ancestry. Some researchers have suggested that he could be in the family of John Stedman of Maryland (see above); I am skeptical of that.

Steadman asserted that James had eight children; I have identified only two of the children. I assume that many of the unplaced southern Steadmans can be traced to this family. We have no DNA members who trace their ancestry to these families; in fact, I am not sure if any male living Steadman descendants of these families are extant.

James Steedman’s known children were:

James A. Steedman was one of the children. He was born in the 1780s and moved to the Strawberry River valley in Arkansas about 1815 and died there in 1834.

Joseph Steedman, born about 1790 and died in 1857 in Rutherford county, North Carolina. After the death of his father, Joseph and many of his siblings went to live, according to Steadman, with their father’s cousin John Steedman which seems born out by John’s 1800 census listing. An issue here is that Steadman claimed that John as a son of the Robert Steedman who never existed in America. I will talk more about him later.

Joseph’s descendants have mostly lived within Spartanburg and Greenville counties in South Carolina and some nearby counties in North Carolina. Living male descendants were alive as recently as the 1990s. I suspect that a concerted search will uncover family members who could join the DNA project. The DNA result from such a descendant is very important to understanding the early genealogy.

Martin Steedman of Edgefield County, South Carolina

Martin Steedman is estimated in have been born about 1745, probably in Scotland and died about 1795 in South Carolina. No Scottish baptismal record has been found for him. He was married twice with a son identified from each marriage. In both cases, the descendants have taken the Stidham name. No known descendant has joined the DNA project to help determine if Martin is truly a biological Steedman or a biological Stidham.

Samuel C. Steedman of Laurens County, South Carolina

Samuel C. Steedman was said to have been born in Northern Ireland about 1753 and died in Laurens County, South Carolina between 1810 and 1820. We have identified descendants who were probably living today; however, no one is known to have joined the DNA project to validate this family’s biological origin.

Capt. Robert Steedman of Spartanburg County, South Carolina

Capt. Robert Steedman, was said to have been born in Northern Ireland about 1755 and died in during the Revolutionary War near Fairforest, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in the Fall of 1780. His given name of Robert is actually uncertain. His death was reported in a manuscript letter from Col. Elijah Clarke to Gen. Thomas Sumter, dated 29 October 1780: “I am to inform you that the Tories killed Captains Hampton and Stidman, at or near Fairforest.” I do not know what evidence Steadman had to link that Capt. Steedman to John Steedman. There is no evidence he married or had a family.

John Steedman’s known children by his second wife Elizabeth Anderson (c. 1735 – 1779) were all known to have been born in South Carolina:

George Steedman Sr. of Lexington County, South Carolina

George Steedman Sr. was born in 1763 near Charleston, South Carolina and settled in what is now Lexington county, South Carolina by 1790 and died there in 1838. He was a large landowner in Lexington County and was an ancestor of Joseph Earle Steadman, author of the 1987 Barton-Steadman genealogy.

There is little doubt that George was a son of John Steedman. Letters from several of George’s sons relate stories about their grandfather John and his being “a weaver of Scotland” and that “He and his family were expert weavers with the hand loom”.

However, early in his adulthood, he began using the surname Stidham or some variation. Col. Zachariah Stidham, a descendant of Timen Stiddem, was a large planter in his community; his first wife was Sarah Howard (c. 1754-c. 1820), a sister of George Steedman’s first wife Betsey Howard; his second wife was Rachel Steedman (c. 1773- bef. 1840) was George’s youngest sister; his son James Howard Stidham married George’s daughter Rachel Steedman. Sometime after 1814, he filed papers in Lexington County Court to assert his surname was Steedman

Steadman shows that George married four times. First marriage about 1783 was to Elizabeth “Betsey” Howard; they had known daughters Patience, Sarah and Hannah. Second marriage about 1795 was to Mary “Polly” Barton; they had daughters Rachel and Susan. His third marriage was to Priscilla Johnston (1768-1823) on 1 May 1804; They had sons John, George Jr., Anderson, Jonathan Gregory, and Reuben. His fourth marriage was to Elizabeth “Betsey” Besley in 1832; they had no issue.

Descendants of his sons George Jr. (1806-1885) and Anderson (1808-1869) have joined the DNA project and have been tested. Anderson was the ancestor of Joseph Earle Steadman. The results showed that they were all biologically Stidhams.




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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.


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.”.


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.