This challenge is set forth by No Story Too Small and this week’s theme is “Halfway.”
This was a difficult theme, and I looked through half-Indian ancestors, halfway to the furthest ancestor, taking up half my time in research ancestors, anyone with a name that included “half,” and every other angle one could think of. I eventually came up with Sir Alexander Culpepper of Greenway Court, Knight who made it halfway through the English Civil War. The war began in 1642 and ended in 1649. Alexander died at the battle of Bridgewater in August 1645. He was my 11th great uncle.
Alexander was the youngest son of John Culpepper of Wigsell and Elizabeth Sedley, born in 1570. His brothers included Sir Thomas of Hollingbourne and Johannes of Feckenham (my 11th great grandfather). He also had a few sisters. In 1603, he married Mary Scott St Leger, the widow of Anthony St Leger. She was quite a bit older than him and was probably already done birthing children by the time they married, so Alexander never had any children of his own. He did have a step-son who was nearly his age, and the man had a daughter named Katherine whom Alexander raised, actually naming her his daughter in his will. Technically, she was his step-granddaughter.
In his will, he also left his home of Leeds Castle (photo) to his nephew’s minor son (son of the above Katherine who married said nephew. Got that?). Anyway, he did this so if the royalists lost the war, the house wouldn’t be seized by the parliamentarians. Before he died, he changed his will to say if his nephew wasn’t alive to oversee the property, the son would not get the house. It would instead go to his cousin Lord John Culpepper the first baron of Thoresway. I don’t know why he did that. Lord John wasn’t even in the country. He was in Denmark and France guarding the queen and the royal children.
In July 1645, Alexander rode to Bridgewater to help fight against Oliver Cromwell and General Thomas Fairfax and was killed there. I wrote about the battle in my book, “John Culpepper the Merchant,” and made him out to be a war hero, but the truth is he was 75 years old at the time and it is reported that he died of illness at Bridgewater, not of battle. At least he made it halfway through the war.