The October Ancestry Challenge 2013 is 23 posts in 23 days (Monday through Friday) about 23 ancestors. It’s still not to late to join us.
Ancestor #2 – John Culpepper the Merchant
My 10th great grandfather was John Culpepper, whom we refer to as John Culpepper the Merchant. He was born in 1606 in Kent, England to John Culpepper of Astwood and Ursula Woodcock, and some say he may have died in Virginia around 1674. I say “may have” because there is some genealogical confusion as to which John Culpepper was which. There were fathers, sons, and brothers all with the same name confused further by very sketchy records. Through my research, I have come to believe the John Culpepper who died in 1674 was actually his nephew, son of his brother Thomas.
Anyway, we do know John married a woman by the name of Mary and had sons named Henry (my 9th great grandfather), Dennis, James, Robert, and John of “Culpepper Rebellion” fame. At this point in history, female children weren’t noted, so between the five male births from 1635ish to 1645ish there may have been daughters born also. There is some evidence he had daughters named Hannah and Susannah, which sounds to me like a Dr. Seuss book, but the more I look at them, the more I’m convinced they were not his daughters. There is also further evidence of another girl named Abigail. I haven’t examined her records (or lack of them) yet.
A few years ago, my cousin Warren Culpepper visited England and attempted to get pictures of John’s childhood home, the Culpepper manor, Astwood in Feckenham, but they were asked to leave by the owner. These photos are as close as they got.
John is thought to be the ancestor of most American Culpeppers. He and his brother had ties to Virginia, so between the boys running back and forth to England (who kept VERY good records) and colonial America (who kept very poor records) we kind of lose track of him.
The few other details we know is that he was baptized in Harrietsham, England at St. John the Baptist Church (built in the 11th century) on 6 Oct 1606; he was admitted to Middle Temple (a law school) to be trained as a lawyer on 7 May 1621, listed in the records there as the second son of John Culpepper of Astwood, Esquire; and he probably didn’t like being a lawyer, because he took up a career of merchant instead. Darned kids never do what you want them to do.
Before 1633, he became part owner with his elder brother of a merchant ship called the “Thomas and John,” which was involved in trade between England and the colonies. Merchants of colonial America left very few records, so our research suffers, but it would appear he and his brother owned a trading company with points of presence in England, Barbados, New England, and Virginia. Maybe this is where my love of tall ships comes from.