The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names

SOLES Co-ordinator's Report March 1993

By Bill Soles

SOLES as a variant of SOLE or SOULE has cropped up in a number of families, but two groups seem particularly significant.

The most interesting family using this spelling is the extensive American SOLES family of North Carolina, Alabama and elsewhere in the United States which is almost certainly descended from George SOULE, one of the Pilgrim Fathers who in 1620 left England in the Mayflower and set up a settlement at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Much work has been done on this family by one of our members, Barbara Sudworth Lyle of Lena, Massachusetts and by a non-member Jane Anders of Ethel, Louisiana, to whom I am indebted for everything I know about them.

Timothy SOLES was in Brunswick county, North Carolina in 1800 and Columbus county in 1810. Later his descendants moved to Alabama. Joseph SOULE or SOLES (both forms are found) was probably his brother. He was in Brunswick county in 1790, Bladen county in 1800 and Columbus county in 1810. (Columbus county was formed out of Brunswick and Bladen counties in 1808, so this does not necessarily represent a move). A Nathaniel SOLES was in Brunswick county in 1800 and a Benjamin SOLES in Bladen county in 1800. Their origin has not been conclusively proved but most probably all four were sons of Joseph SOULE, a taxpayer in New Hanover county in 1762 and Brunswick county in 1769 and 1772. (Brunswick county was formed out of New Hanover county in 1764 so once again there was almost certainly no move). In 1783 and again in 1789 he conveyed property to his son Timothy.

Although Joseph was almost certainly descended from the Pilgrim Father George Soule, the exact line of descent has not been conclusively proved. Mayflower Families through Five Generations positions him as an unrecorded son of Joseph SOWL senior, a great‑grandson of the Pilgrim. Joseph senior was born in Dartmouth, Mass. in 1701 and was granted 640 acres in North Carolina in 1735. But Jane Anders thinks it quite unnecessary to posit a son Joseph for Joseph senior when there is a perfectly good candidate whose birth is known ‑ his nephew Joseph, son of his brother Benjamin. Like his brother, Benjamin migrated to North Carolina with his three sons around 1735. The younger Joseph was born in Dartmouth, Mass. in 1731, just the right age to be the North Carolina taxpayer in 1762. It would seem highly probable that the elder Joseph was called "senior" to distinguish him from his nephew rather than a son. But though the exact line of descent is a little shaky, there can be little doubt that members of the SOLES family of North Carolina and Alabama are descendants of the Pilgrim, and they are recognised as such by the Soule Kindred in America.

My own SOLES family had quite a different origin. I am descended from William SOLE or SOUL who married at Reading, Berkshire in 1788. At some point he moved to Birmingham, and all his known male descendants use the SOLES spelling. His grandson Edward Ridley Soles emigrated to New York in 1842 and later went into the meat and provisions business in Woburn, Massachusetts. My ancestor was a brother who stayed at home.

In the main, my efforts have been directed at charting as many of William's descendants as possible, but I have also abstracted a large number of entries for the SOLES variant from the General Register Office indexes of births, marriages and deaths.

I am now starting work systematically trying to identify all the families using the SOLES variant on both sides of the Atlantic.

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