Where did the "Wignall" in John Wignall Sanders come from?

John Wignall (Winall, Wynell, etc.) Sanders (b abt 1706 in King and Queen County, Virginia) was my 4th great grandfather.  He was (perhaps) the youngest son of Nathaniel Sanders and ______ Watkins and is described as "a seafaring man". There is a reference to his as Master of the ships "London" in 1742 and "Industry" in 1751. There are also various references to him in business and property transactions in Spotsylvania County (in both 1740 and 1773) and in Culpeper County, where he bought 335 acres of land in 1749 "because of service in the French and Indian War."

JWS seems to have used his middle name more often than was usual in those days, either just to differentiate him from other John Sa(u)nders, and/or because it may have been of some importance to him.  We have never discovered the source of the Wignall name, or any relationship between the Sanders and Wignall families.  This is puzzling because there were not many Wignalls in Virginia during this period.  We're quite certain that JWS' mother was a Watkins (although we do not know her first name), and cannot find a clear reference to a Wignall anywhere in JWS lineage, unless perhaps  ________ Watkins' mother was Ann Wynell [1635->1704] the daughter of John Wignoll [1620-]

Another possibility is some connection with the Wignalls found in Barbados.  Vol 3 of Vere Langford Oliver's "Caribbeana" has a reference to a John Wignall, an inhabitant of Nevis 1707-1708.  Other volumes in the series have other isolated references to John (and other) Wignalls.  There may have been a friendship between the Sanders and the Wignalls which resulted in a Sanders son being named for a John Wignall.

John Wignall Sanders grandfather and perhaps also his father (both named Nathaniel Sanders) were also seafaring men, and the elder Nathaniel is believed to be the same person as the Captain Nathaniel Saunders of the "Golden Lion" who sailed the ship to Barbados at least three times during the 1670's

Interestingly enough, the name Wignall appears again in our Sanders lineage -- three generations and almost 100 years later.  A  second JWS, great grandson of the earlier one, was born in 1789 and married Barbara Carr Fontaine (1794-1829):

    1     John Wignall "Wynell" Sanders     b: Abt. 1706 in King and Queen County, Virginia   
.        +Frances V????    b: Abt. 1710    
..    2     Robert Sanders    b: Abt. 1740 in Virginia(?)   d: September 1790 in New Baltimore, Virginia
.....        +Ann Nash    b: Abt. 1740     d: 1812
......    3     Thomas Saunders    b: July 22, 1752    d: January 3, 1832 in Bullitt County KY
.........        +Mary Jane "Mollie" Rogers     b: December 5, 1758    d: 1847
..........    4     John Winall Sanders     b: February 28, 1789    d: June 3, 1849
..............        +Barbara Carr Fontaine     b: December 25, 1794 in Louisa County, VA    d: January 15, 1829

This would suggest the possibility of an important and enduring relationship between the Sanders and Wignall families, but we have been unable to determine who or what was involved.  The Fontaine family is well documented,  and second JWS is recorded in the LDS Ancestral File, but the researcher who put it there was unable to give us any additional information.


We would certainly appreciate any pertinent Wignall information anyone can provide. Please email John Konvalinka with any information or ideas.

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