The surname of STILWELL was a locational name 'the dweller at the spring where water flows constantly'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. A notable member of the name was Joseph STILWELL (1833-1946) nicknamed 'Vinegar Joe'. He was the American soldier, born in Florida. He graduated at West Point in 1904 and rose to lieutenant-colonel in World War I. He was an authority on Chinese life and an expert Chinese speaker, and was military attache to the US Embassy in Peking from 1932 until 1939. In the Burma counter-offensive in 1943 he was commander general of the US Forces in China, Burma and India, but was recalled to America following a dispute with Chiang Kai-Shek. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered to John Gilliam Stilwell Esq, of Bregsells, Capel, County Surrey. The name is also spelt Stilwell and Stillwall.
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