Satterthwaite to "Saterville" -
The Saterfiel Journey
from England to West Monroe

The earliest documentation of anyone named Satterfield comes from Derbyshire in northwest England about 1600. This finding reinforces the belief of most Satterfield genealogists that the family name originated from the village of Satterthwaite in Lancashire less than a hundred miles northwest of Derbyshire. Satterfield is believed to have been derived from Satterthwaite as having similar meanings from old English to the present language. “Waite” and “field” are said to have the same meaning. The old English meaning equates to “a clearing or meadow on a forested hill” which is very descriptive of the area around the village of Satterthwaite in Lancashire. The name change by some from Satterthwaite to Satterfield (or other close spellings) may have enabled a distinction between related families. Reinforcing the belief that Satterfield is a derivative of Satterthwaite is the finding of a man known by both names in archival documents. DNA testing has also shown a very close link between people of the two names. However, the Kent (much further to the south in England) Setterfields have not so far matched the Satterfield and Satterthwaite male lines in Y DNA comparisons. The recorded Satterfields and Satterthwaites of Derbyshire in the seventeenth and eighteenth century were of the yeoman class in society, essentially middle class. The men of that class in the seventeenth century may have been better off than the lower class of laborers but most likely did not own land, being tenants on property owned by the higher gentry class

The prevailing religion throughout England in the sixteenth and seventeenth century was Anglicanism or, for a brief time, Presbyterianism. However, because of the influence of a long established religious abbey in Lancashire, the Abbey of Furness, it is believed that most inhabitants of the Satterthwaite area were Catholic. One’s religion often determined the quality, or hardships, of one’s life, especially if it was the wrong religion. Because of the great religious strife in England during these troubling times a change of surname, from Satterthwaite to Satterfield, may have signified a change of religious identity also.

The first Satterfield in the Americas probably was a descendant of the Lancashire and Derbyshire families. He may have been Catholic or Puritan, but most likely not Anglican, and tired of enduring religious persecution. He most likely was a young man desirous of a more promising economic future. He probably found the prospect of land ownership in America to be worth signing a contract of indenture – probably exchanging up to seven years of his service for an undeveloped fifty acre tract in a new land. Our young immigrant to America likely arrived and spent the first years of his new life in the colony of Maryland. In the article, “Satterfield Origins” on we read “the young man would place his worldly goods in a bag, travel far beyond his home to a seaport in southern England, endure a horrible 6-8 week ocean journey, and test his wobbly sea legs at Oxford, Maryland.” “The immigrant Satterfield would have been in his teens or twenties. The Province focused its recruiting efforts on teens and twenty year olds. They wanted - most of all - men to work the tobacco. Richard Bennett, a Puritan, recruited heavily among the Puritan communities whose members were eager to escape the discrimination in England.” Richard Bennett was a “redemptioner” who grew wealthy by bringing servants to America. His grandson, Richard Bennett III, one of the wealthiest men in the colonies is “associated with the early American Satterfields”. Three of them are witnesses to provisions in his Will. One Satterfield, William, is listed in his Will as being forgiven the time he has remaining to serve.

These Satterfields in Bennett’s Will may have been sons of the immigrant Satterfield who apparently died, as did his wife, when William and his brothers were young. “William, James, and Edward Satterfield are named in early records and must have been born in the 1680s.They were probably born in the colonies, and they were probably brothers, especially given the information in John Dixon’s 1712 will. In Dixon’s 1712 will, he left bequests to James and William Sutterfield (100 acres). John and Elizabeth had ‘reared William from infancy,’ indicating that William’s parents had died when he was very young.” Most of the descendants of these brothers left Maryland heading south into Virginia and the Carolinas. One of these Satterfields headed west and is ancestor to the Satterfields of West Virginia and Ohio.  

Our Satterfield ancestor made his way to South Carolina by 1790. He may have been the grandson or, at least, the great-grandson of the emigrant from England. And, like the fathers of several preceding generations he named a son James and probably William and John. On August 1, 1808, his son, James, born in 1780, is shown in Warren County, Kentucky marriage records as marrying Catherine Landers, whose family had previously been near neighbors of the Satterfields in Rutherford County, North Carolina.

Within a year or two of 1820, in Jackson County, Alabama, James and Catherine Satterfield had a son they named James. James A. Satterfield married Laura Blass, the daughter of emigrants from the Netherlands. James’ siblings moved west to Arkansas and Oregon. James and Laura stayed with her family. Between 1858 and 1862 they had three children, all born in Mississippi. They named the first child, a son, James Henry. A second son they named William after having a daughter they named Martha. James A. Satterfield joined a Mississippi infantry regiment in 1862 and died in 1863, in a prisoner of war camp in Mississippi after being captured at the surrender of Vicksburg.  

Whether by accident or intent, the spelling of the family name SATERFIEL was begun with James A. Satterfield during the Civil War. His Civil War records show the whole gamut of spellings. Prior to the Civil War the spellings are predominantly "Satterfield" and "Saterfield", but no "Saterfiel". This unique spelling of the family name is indicative of our specific family line originating with James A. Satterfield. Researcher, Gary Duane Satterfield, declares that “no other line of Satterfields spells their name ‘SATERFIEL’”.

The soldier’s son, James Henry, was an ordained Baptist minister for many years in Mississippi. He died in New Orleans, LA, in 1927, after visiting his family in West Monroe. He apparently fell into a coma on the train to New Orleans to visit other of his children. He had been in “Big Charity” Hospital for several days when his daughter, a nurse at “Big Charity”, was informed of his being there. He died without regaining consciousness. His son, our James Wesley Saterfiel, followed in his father’s footsteps as a Baptist minister and moved his family, which eventually included nine sons, to Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, near West Monroe, in 1918 to establish his home and preach the gospel. The eighty acre tract of land “entered” by James Wesley Saterfiel in 1918 is still the home of his ancestors. Most of his sons moved away but one stayed. Today, one hundred years later, a grandson, 
five great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren call “Saterville” home.

Glenn Luttrell
great-grandson of James Wesley Saterfiel
with thanks and credit to the author of "Satterfield Origins"
and "cousin" Gary Duane Satterfield


Origin of the Satterfield name

Satterfield - Sutterfield - Saterfiel
DNA info

Genealogy of the Saterfiels of West Monroe, LA