Most families with European origins have been affected by migration  The Exons are no exception.  Many migrated around the united Kingdom in search of work but a significant number left, mostly for the United States and Australia.  They wanted a better life free from the uncertainties caused by cyclical agricultural depression  and what they may have seen as the entrenched social order of rural England.

Early emigrants are more likely than later ones to have come from the Midlands, because the name was more prevalent in that area in the earlier period.  However, I do not yet have enough data to test that assumption. Certainly the first Exon to be securely identified as living in America came from Loughborough to Maryland in the seventeenth century.

North America

Emigration to North America started early.  There are two Exons in the records of apprentices shipped out from Bristol in the seventeenth century to work in the American colonies. These may well be Somerset Exons. Another, Henry Exon (known to be from Loughborough, Leicestershire),  arrived in Maryland in 1669.  I know nothing as yet of later descendants of any of these men.  There are occasional mentions of  the name in the eighteenth century, but no discernable connections between them.

The real beginning of known Exon settlement in North America is when William Exon took up land in Hancock County, Illinois in 1835.  By 1850 he and his family were joined by the children of John Exon of Banwell, Somerset and Charlotte Morgan (married in Long Ashton Somerset in 1822), who settled in the adjoining county, Adams.  Unfortunately, no connection between them is proved but it is most unlikely that they were not related.  It is not known when William and John and their families arrived.  Descendants of these Exons are found in Oklahoma, Colorado and Oregon.

The one securely  dated migration with known descendants is that of the family of Judge James H. Exon, also of Somerset origins, to South Dakota and Nebraska in 1882. (See my Notable Exons page).

There were later migrations of individual members of the family but I have not as yet been contacted by any of their families so have little idea where they settled. 

There are a couple of ethnic oddities about the occurrence of the name in the United States.  The US censuses show black families with the name mostly in the Carolinas and Georgia, but spread widely over the South.  They are possibly descended from an early Exon settler but it has not been possible to show an specific link.  There are also a number of Hispanic families with the name in Texas.  Again their origin is unknown.  


I live with my family in Australia, but we are very late migrants (1980).

All but one of the six known families/individuals who went to Australia between 1852 and 1980 (including us) have Somerset origins. The other family came from Nottinghamshire, and there is evidence of the predominant use of the Exton form in their ancestry.

Nineteenth-century immigrants to Australia mostly headed for the Goldfields area of Victoria, although none of them, as far as I know, found any gold. Later families settled in New South Wales and Western Australia.

Last updated October 7 2004