Saturday, January 22, 2011
Surname Saturday - COUNCILL
Much of my information on the earliest Councills in America is from the book A Genealogy of the Council Family in America by Emmett E. Cockrum, published in 1985. Permission is given to distribute the book, as long as there is no charge.
Excerpts from the book:
The name Council was originally Conseil (Norman French) and came to England at the time of William the Conqueror or shortly thereafter. "De gu. a la crois fleurdelisse, acc. en chef a dextre d'une rose et a sen. d'une coquille, le tout d'arg." is a description of the ancient Norman coat-of-arms. In England the family was relatively obscure, belonging chiefly to the yeoman and merchant classes. However, there is a coat-of-arms of English origin ascribed to a Counsell family. Variant spellings of the name were Conseil, Counsel, Counsell, Councill, Cownsel, Cownsell, Cownsill, Cownsil, Consil, Concell, Concill, Council, and others.
Somersetshire, Gloucestershire, County Middlesex, Devonshire, and London were the earliest locales of the family in England. John Council is the first known member of that family in America. He married his first wife, Elizabeth Drake, in Devonshire, England. She is reputed to have been a close kinswoman of Sir Francis Drake (who claimed Portsmouth, Devon, as his home). Apparently she died in England, for John Council and his grown son, Hodges Councill, commonly called Hodges Councill the Elder to differentiate him from his son of the same name, arrived in Virginia ca. 1658. Most Councils in America of whatever spelling of the surname, appear to have descended from John and Elizabeth (Drake) Council through their son, Hodges Councill the Elder. It is noted that Hodges spelled his surname with a double "l", and this spelling still survives in large parts of the family today, especially in Virginia and Maryland.
The first Councils of America were English Episcopalians. Hardy Councill (1678=1750) was a vestryman about the year 1734 of St. Luke's, or the Old Brick Church of Isle of Wight County, Va., built 1632, our miles east of Smithfield. It is claimed to be the oldest Episcopalian Church in America still used as a house of worship.
In North Carolina and elsewhere the name Wesley Council has been noted., indicating some Methodist favor. One Benjamin Council was a Methodist minister. There were many Baptist ministers among the Councils, particularly in Virginia.
We have many of the same names running through my Councill family and the Maryland location as mentioned in the book, but I have not been able to determine the parents of Francis as of yet.