Chapter I - Our Ancestors

Scalf or Scarfe

In researching the history of the Scalf family it is inevitable that one will encounter various spellings of the Scalf name. A most difficult and controversial decision to be made is deciding which name came first. Although many other spellings of the family name have appeared from time to time the two appearing most significantly during colonial times were Scalf and Scarfe. These two spellings, Scarfe and Scalf, have been used at times interchange­ably in court-related documents. It is however, the opinion of the writer that the family name was Scarfe previously. The major difficulty encountered in writing the name during colonial times was that semi-literate court scribes and clerks wrote what they heard from illiterate people.

As many students of genealogy have done in the past this author has examined Nell Marion Nugent's book, Cavaliers and Pioneers. This reference which transcribes old, Virginia land grants mentions transporters and transportees to the New World. Among those transportees to America mentioned in Cavaliers and Pioneers is Edward Scarfe who was transported to America by Peter Gill and Henry White in 1663. This Edward Scarfe is almost certain to be the ancestor of many Scalfs in America today. The author has examined a copy of the land grant issued to Peter Gill and Henry White in 1663 and the determination that the name is spelled Scarfe is absolutely conclusive. The rationale for determining that Edward Scarfe must be the ancestor of many Scalfs living today is made from an analysis of the available information.

It is certain that the Scarfe (Scalf) family was living in 1719 near the Pasquotank River in the Albemarle Sound region of what is today northeastern North Carolina. There is on record at the Pasquotank County Courthouse in North Carolina a deed showing the grantee to be one John Scarfe (Scalf). The deed was dated 1719. This deed indicates that in 1719 John Scarfe (Scalf) purchased 100 acres of land on the Southwest side of the Pasquotank River from John Smithson. The price paid was 24 pounds. This same John Scarfe (Scalf) left a will in 1751 in Pasquotank County. In his will he devised to his wife, Mary, and children: James, John, Edward, Jonathon, Israel, Anne Richardson and Mary Jones. He also mentioned in his will his grandsons: John (son of James), James (son of John) and William (son of Edward).

Henry White, transporter of Edward Scarfe (Scalf) to America in 1663, was also a resident in the Albemarle Sound area of North Carolina. John Scarfe (Scalf) who left his will in 1751 must have been a son or grandson of Edward Scarfe. The naming of John Scarfe's (Scalf) third son, Edward, was probably in honor of John' s father or grandfather.

There is a positive connection between today's Scalfs and the John Scarfe (Scalf) who left his will in 1751. One of John's sons, Israel, married first to Dinah Purdy. On February 25, 1793 Israel Scarfe (Scalf) and his wife, Dinah, along with Dinah's sister, Mary Purdy, sold a tract of land to one Benjamin Capps. The parcel of land was located in Princess Anne County, Virginia. Israel and Dinah were living in Craven County, North Carolina at the time. The land sold for 28 pounds and 10 shillings. In this indenture the name of Israel Scarfe is used. However, the signatures sealing this transaction are clearly Israel Scalf, Dinah Scalf and Mary Purdy.

As has been mentioned Henry White was also a resident of Pasquotank County. He patented 250 acres of land on the north side of the Carolina River (Albemarle Sound) in September of 1663. It is also a matter of record that Henry White left a will in the Pasquotank Precinct in North Carolina on February 17, 1696.

There is further and even more conclusive evidence connecting John Scarfe (Scalf) to the Scalf name. Another son of John Scarfe (Scalf) was James Scarfe (Scalf). In 1758 James Scarfe (Scalf) of Pasquotank County, North Carolina sold 60 acres of land at the head of the Pasquotank River by Ready Swamp to Edward Hal­stead for 20 pounds eight. James used as his "mark" the symbol when signing this deed. In 1755 this same James Scarfe (Scalf) had sold for 20 pounds a tract of land in Pasquotank County to William Ward. The deed indicates this was land James had inherited from his father, John Scarfe (Scalf). This tract of land was located on the south side of the Pasquotank River. Again the was used by James as his "mark" when signing.

Lewis Scalf was the son of James Scarfe (Scalf). James and his wife, Sarah, recorded in 1745 the birth of their son, Lewis. This birth record is in the reference, Pasquotank Births, Marriages, Deaths, Brands and Flesh Marks 1691-1797. This writer upon close examination of the record found the name to be spelled Scarlf. This is merely an indication that the records do not always reflect the correct spelling of the name Scalf. What is more significant is the fact that this Lewis Scalf later used the name Scalf and also used the symbol as his "mark." Lewis Scalf used this "mark" when he signed a deed in 1836 showing that he had sold 125 acres of land in Habersham County, Georgia to Paul Rossignal. To prove the connection between today's Scalfs and the John Scarfe (Scalf) who left his will in 1751 it is necessary to identify the continuous use of the symbol through several generations. One son of Lewis Scalf was John Scalf born about 1761 in North Carolina. This is the John Scalf who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and the Scalf from whom the author and many other Scalfs living today are descended. This John Scalf, soldier, when making a deposition on his own behalf to get his military pension restored in 1839 used as his "mark" . The deposition was made in Hawkins County, Tennessee before John Mitchell, Justice of the Peace. Beginning then with James Scarfe (Scalf), son of John Scarfe (Scalf) who left his will in 1751, there was a continual use of the symbol in succeeding generations to John Scalf, Revolutionary Soldier. It will be illustrated in continuing chapters how many of today's Scalfs are descended from John Scalf the Revolutionary Soldier and therefore descended from John Scarfe (Scalf) who left his will in 1751 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina and recorded his deed in 1719.
The key to the linking together of the past Scalf generations has been the continual use of the symbol down to John Scalf, Revolutionary soldier.

Scarfe (Scalf) Ancestors

There is a definite link between the Scarfe (Scalf) name and the Isle of Man. This author firmly believes that the Scarfes who came to America had their origin on the Isle of Man. As pointed out earlier, John Scarfe (Scalf) recorded a deed in the Pasquotank region of North Carolina in 1719. In this deed it is mentioned that the original owner was one Thomas Abbington. However, the second owner was Richard Marsden who according to the "North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register" came from Douglas, Isle of Man. The author has referred earlier to the John Scalf who served in the Revolutionary War. The wife of this John Scalf was Edeah Carlisle. Edeah's grandmother had married a Bell before marrying William Carlisle. The Bell family was settled in the Pasquotank area by the year 1700 as the name is mentioned on the earliest tax roll there. The Bell name is a Manx name and the earliest Bell known to the writer appears on the Memorial Roll of the Kirk Patrick for the years 1511-1515.

The name Scarfe which later became Scalf beginning with Lewis Scalf, James C. Scalf and other descendants of James Scarfe (Scalf) began originally with William Skerfe on the Isle of Man in the year 1417. The name was on the earliest court rolls at that time. By the year 1429 the name had become William Scarffe. This William Scarffe is mentioned in the list of names of persons at the Court Held at Tynwald in 1429 and again in 1430 at the Court Held at Castle Rushen. In the manorial rolls taken in 1511 the name appears as Skerff at Kirk Lonan. The author believes this area or parish of Lonan on the Isle of Man to be the location where the Scarfes who migrated to America originally lived. Listed in the "Distinctive Manx Surnames" by the government of the Isle of Man is Scarffe.

During the past two years of researching the Scalf name, this writer has often found the Scalf named spelled various ways. An example of this is hereby given as evidence of this point.

On July 17, 1804 in Pasquotank County, North Carolina, David Scaff purchased a 60-acre tract of land from Sam Spence. A look at the tax record on this land is conclusive proof of the inter­changeable use of the various spellings of the Scalf name. Between 1804 and 1831 the spellings Scaff, Scarfe, Scalf, Scarff and Scarfe were all used to indicate the owner of the property. Beginning with Lewis Scalf (B. 1745) our line of the family has used the Scalf name.

Copyright (c) 1982 Elmer D. Scalf.  All rights reserved.