Eastern Shore, VA
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Virginia Culpepper Archives
Eastern Shore:
Accomack and Northampton Counties

Accomack and Northampton Counties comprise the Eastern Shore of Virginia, part of the Delmarva Peninsula. Accomac Shire was established in 1634 as one of the original eight shires of Virginia. The shire's name comes from the Native American word Accawmack, meaning "on the other side". In 1642 the name was changed to Northampton by the English, to eliminate "heathen" names in the New World. Northampton was split into two counties in 1663. The northern section assumed the original Accomac name, the southern, Northampton. In 1940, the General Assembly officially added a "k" to the end of the county's name to arrive at its current spelling. (Source: Wikipedia contributors. "Accomack County, Virginia." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Accessed 19 Feb 2011)

Thomas Graves, (ca 1580 - 1635) gentleman, arrived in Virginia in October of 1608 on the ship "Mary and Margaret"... He paid 25 pounds for two shares in the London Company of Virginia and thereby was entitled to 200 acres. He originally settled at Smythe's Hundred, situated on the James River ten miles from Jamestown.  On 8 Feb 1627, the Governor of Virginia ordered that Thomas Graves have a commission to command the Plantation at Accomac. As an "Ancient Planter" he received one of the first patents there on 14 Mar 1628, consisting of 200 acres. (Source:  Wikipedia contributors. "Captain Thomas Graves." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Accessed 19 Feb 2011)

Records from 1635 to 1647

Most likely, all of the following records pertain to John Culpeper of Accomack Co., VA (#62121)
It is possible that this John is one and the same as John Culpeper, baptized at Harbledown (#8679)

1.  Immigration.  In 1635, John Culpeper entered Accomack at Nassawodox, now in Northampton County. He began working for Captain Thomas Graves (see above), who paid for his transportation. (Beverly Fleet, Virginia Colonial Abstracts, Accomack Co., Vol I, p25)

     Among modern-day descendants of Captain Thomas Graves, there is a dispute as to his where he was from. The prevailing opinion seems to be Ireland, but others say England. None are so specific as to identify a county or city, and none cite any primary sources for this information. Without better facts, there is no way to know if there was a connection between the Graves and Culpeper families prior to John's entry into Virginia. However, in the lengthy list of subscribers to the Second Virginia Company, Thomas Grave is separated by only one name from the two Culpepper subscribers: Thomas Culpepper of Wigsell, Esquire, and John Culpepper, gentleman. The two Culpeppers were brothers and John later styled his name as John Culpeper of Feckenham. Thomas and John were sons of John Culpeper of Wigsell.

2.  Theft. John Culpeper (of Accomack) first appears in the Northampton County records, Book 1, page 66, dated 5 January 1636:

"Anthony Willis petitioned at this Court agst. John Culpeper servant to Mrs. Graves (her husband, Capt. Thomas Graves, had died the prior month of December 1635), for killing of two hoggs of said Willis which upon examination, and the depositions of John Hinman and Robert Pestoll it is ordered that Mrs. Graves shall pay unto said Willis, one sow of one yeere and half old present payment for default thereof, and the said Culpeper to be whipt presently and have thirty lashes. Upon the examination of said Culpeper at the tyme of his punishment whether he had any confederate with him, he confessed that John Green a lone man did come to him as he was at the oven about his bread, and there enticed him to kill a sow and bring it to his house privately where they two would eat it together, and further that the said Green told him that if he could conveniently and private-ly he would kill one himself and further that the said Green had often enticed him to steal pumpkins from his mistress of which he confessed he stole four at several tymes…”

3.  Headrights.

(a) A claim for a headright for John Culpeper is filed 23 Nov 1640 in Accomack Court by Henry Pedenden.

"Whereas Henry Pedenden hath made it appeare unto this courte that their is the full and compleate somme and quantety of Five Hundred and Fiftie acres of land properlie due and of right belonging unto him the said Henry Pedenden for the transportation of theise severall persons whose names are hereunder notated. It is therefore thought fitt and so Ordered by this Court that a Certificate be accordingly graunted unto the said Henry whereby the same may be certified to the right worshipfull the Governor and Counsell att James Citty for his obteyninge a Patent for enjoying the same: John Hinchley and Marye his wife, Capt. Thomas Graves, Mr. Francis Geofford, William Deacon, Christopher Bryant, Mr. Robert Chamlett, James Standish, Marie Foxley, John Culpeper, Henry Pedenden, Christopher Brian, Richard Caynoe, James Harding, John Price, Nicholas Croockneck." (County Court Records of Accomack-Northampton, Virginia; 1640-1645, by Susie M. Ames, edit., The University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1973, p. 43.)

(b) Possibly, a claim for a headright for John Culpeper was also filed in 1640 (exact date not provided) in Accomack Court by Nathaniel Littleton. (This claim is reported by Warren H. 'Dick' Culpeper on page 92 of his book, citing as his source: Elmer Thomas Crowson, Life as Revealed through Early American Court Records, Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC, 1981, p. 11. However, a close reading of Crowson's passage at the bottom of page 11 suggests that the reference to John Culpeper may actually be simply referring to him as one of many who entered and had headright claims, and that claim may be the one filed by Pedenden above)

The above headright(s) could be for John Culpeper of Accomack or for John Culpeper the Merchant who accumulated many headrights traveling in and out of Virginia on business.

4.  Deposition of a "sawyer." In a civil suit heard 28 Jul 1645 over the completion of a building project, John Culpeper of Accomack gave a deposition in court that he had a contract to "sawe and maule" some timber in connection with this suit:

"Att A County Court houlden at Northampton the 28th day of July Anno 1645. Present Capt. Nathaniell Littleton, Argoll Yardley, Esquires, Mr. Obedience Robins, Capt. William Roper, Capt. Phillip Taylor, Mr. Stephen Charlton, Mr. Edward Douglas, Mr. Edmond Scarburgh. The deposition of John Culpepper taken in open Court: This deponent saith That in April Anno 1643, Anthony Hodgkins made an agreement with Sir Edmond Plowden to make a partition in the store at Kecoughtan, And the said Hodgkins made an agreement with this depondent to sawe and maule the Tymber for the said partition for the use of the said Sir Edmond Plowden, and further saith that soe soone as the said Tymber was fallen it Rayned soe bitterly for sixe or seven dayes that the oxen could not be yoaked to gett the said Tymber home by reason whereof the said worke could not bee finished with as much expedition as the said Hodgkins did desire And further not. - John Culpepper."  (County Court Records of Accomack-Northampton, Virginia; 1640-1645, by Susie M. Ames, edit., The University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1973, p. 441.)

5.  A libel suit is filed against John Culpeper (of Accomack) on 10 Feb 1646, in Northampton County

"At a court held for the county of Northampton. Feby 10th 1646. Present: Argoll Yardley, Esqr, Capt Wm Stone. Mr. Stephen Charlton and Mr. Thos Johnson. This petition was presented to the Court: To the Worshipful Commander and Commissioners for Northampton County, on behalf of himself and Anna Smyth his daughter in law. In all humble manner, showeth unto you, good worships that Richard Buckland and John Culpepper hath in a most scandalous and opprobrious manner scandalized and defamed your petitioner and daughter in law by writing several libels against them wherein they cast an aspersion upon her good name which is never to be regained. And further the said Buckland and Culpepper brought unto your petitioner's house the said libel, at an unseasonable time of night. .. Your petitioner humbly craveth a redress on behalf of his said daughter for the said asparison mentioned in the said libel …” (Elmer Thomas Crowson, Life as Revealed through Early American Court Records, Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC, 1981, p 21)

    In the resulting trial (date unknown):

“The court ordered that whereas Richard Buckland scandalously defamed Ann Smyth, it is therefore thought fit, and accordingly ordered for writing and dropping of a libel by the house of Jno Hinman being the habitation of said Ann Smyth the said Richard Buckland shall the next sermon that is preached at Nassawattccks, stand at the Church door from the beginning of the 1st lesson until the 2nd be ended with a paper upon his hat, and on it shall be written in capital letters Inimus Libellous, desiring forgiveness of God, and also in particular the aforesaid defamed, And it is further ordered all Court charges required on his part, and the Church Wardens to see this performed." (Elmer Thomas Crowson, Life as Revealed through Early American Court Records, Southern Historical Press, Easley, SC, 1981, pp 21-22)

Note that in this transcript of the trial, John was never mentioned. Perhaps (a) John settled with the plaintiffs prior to the trial, (b) the judge dismissed John after the hearing, (c) John was found innocent and just not mentioned in the part of the available transcript in which Buckland's punishment is detailed, or (d) he was already deceased at the time of his trial,

6.  Death. John (of Accomack)'s death is implied in a notation in the 1647 inventory of Henry Pedenden's estate. Thus, he must have died after the hearing on 10 Feb 1646 but before the Pedenden inventory in 1647:

"Two books belonging to the estate of John Culpepper decd. And now in the possession of Mary Pedenden Widow, (friend and neighbor of Mrs. Graves), namely one Bible and Practice of Piety..." (Northampton County Record, Book 3, p 83; and William and Mary Quarterly Magazine XXI, 160)

Researchers who provided the above transcriptions and commentary:

1. Warren H. 'Dick' Culpepper, Culpepper's of England and America, Provo, UT, 2008, pages 89-90

2. William A. 'Bill' Russell, "John Culpeper of Accomack" document written 21 Nov 1998

Records from 1657 to 1667

All of the following were provided by William A. 'Bill' Russell

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16 Jun 1657. John Culpeper appointed attorney. Know all men by the presents yt I Samuel Stephens of Warwick County in Virga: Gent: do Substitute and depute my trusty and well beloved friend John Culpepper Gent: my true and lawful Attorney for me and in may Name but for ye proper use and behoof of Edward Prescott of London merchant to Act Execute and pform all and Singular Such Thing or things as are mentioned in a certain Lettr of Attorney granted unto me by the Said Prescott bearing date the 16th of June 1657 giving and granting unto my Said Attorney as full power and Authority in all things as I my Self may or can have by virtue of ye Said Lettr of Attorney In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set my hand and Seal this 3: day of January 1657. /s/ Samuel Stephens; Witness John Hill; Record at May ye 6th 1658; Teste John Boys Cl Cur (Source: Dr. Howard Mackey and Candy McMahan Perry, editors, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 7, 1657-1666, Picton Press, Rockport, ME, 2002, pp. 5-6)

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28 Apr 1658. John Culpeper purchases tobacco. Reced of Mr Wm Kendal in pt. of a Bill of eight hundred & 45 pds. Six Thousand pounds of Tobacco ye Sum of three thousand more in full of ye Bill [torn] ful and Just Remainder according Specialty pr me. /s/ John Culpepper; [ye] 28th April, 1658; Teste John Boys (Source: Dr. Howard Mackey and Candy McMahan Perry, editors, Northampton County Virginia Record Book, Deeds, Wills & c, Volume 7, 1657-1666, Picton Press, Rockport, ME, 2002, p. 11)

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17 Nov 1664. Headright for Tho. Culpeper sold by Capt. John Savage. Certificate is this day granted unto Capt. Jno. Savage for five hundred fifty acres of land due per rights underwritten viz: John Darrell, Jno. Heath, Tho. Culpepper, Francis Heath, Jno. Marsham, Thomas Lambert, William Swann, Jno. Eveling, Richard Sanders, James Hide, William Sivan. 17 Nov 1664 (Source: Stratton Nottingham, Accomack County Virginia Certificates and Rights, 1663-1709, And Tithables, 1663-1695, Heritage Books, Inc., 1993, pp. 12-13)

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17 Nov 1664. Headright for Jno. Culpeper sold by Tabitha Smart. Certificate is this day granted unto Tabitha Smart for one thousand acres of land due per rights underwritten viz: (twenty names including Jno. Culpepper), 17 Nov 1664 (Source: Stratton Nottingham, Accomack County Virginia Certificates and Rights, 1663-1709, And Tithables, 1663-1695, Heritage Books, Inc., 1993, p. 13)

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1666. Headright for Jno. Culpeper sold by Anne Toft. Certificate granted to Anne Toft for 7,250 acres included Jno. Culpepper – 145 names on the list 1666 (Source: Stratton Nottingham, Accomack County Virginia Certificates and Rights, 1663-1709, And Tithables, 1663-1695, Heritage Books, Inc., 1993, pp. 22-23)

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19 Feb 1666/67. Headright for Ja. Culpeper sold by Anne Toft. Certificate granted to Anne Toft for 3,000 acres including Ja. Culpepper – 60 names on the list. 19 Feb 1666/7 (Source: Stratton Nottingham, Accomack County Virginia Certificates and Rights, 1663-1709, And Tithables, 1663-1695, Heritage Books, Inc., 1993, p. 34)

Records from 1670 to 1701

The following pertain to John Culpeper, Sherriff of Northampton Co., VA. It is probable that this John is the same person as John Culpeper, son of Thomas & Katherine (#8997). Unless otherwise noted, all of the following entries are from: Warren M. Billings, editor, The Papers of Sir William Berkeley, 1605-1677, Library of Virginia, Richmond, 2007

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Power of Attorney to John Culpeper. Jamestown? ca. 15 Jul 1670: William Berkeley appointed John Culpeper, Gent., to act as his attorney for the purpose of securing letters of Administration on the estate of Samuel Stephens of Albemarle. (Billings notes that this John Culpeper was bap. 1633 and died 1674 or 1675 and was Francis Culpeper Berkeley's brother. This power of Attorney has nothing to do with the Eastern Shore, but is included here as it is the first of numerous records concerning John Culpeper in Billings' book. The rest of these records are related to the Eastern Shore) (p. 378)

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Commission to John Culpeper. Jamestown, 25 Mar 1672: Commissioned John Culpeper to be a justice of the peace for Northampton County (p. 401)

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Commission to John Culpeper. Jamestown, 26 Mar 1672: Commissioned John Culpeper sheriff of Northampton County for the year 1672 (p. 401)

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Commission to John Culpeper. Jamestown, 18 Mar 1672/73: Commissioned John Culpeper to be sheriff of Northampton County for the year 1673 (p. 412)

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To the Justices of the Peace for Surry County. Jamestown, 29 Apr 1673: "Gentlemen, There is a dispute betweene my Brother (John) Culpeper and Col. Swann of the damages my Brother Culpeper may sustain by the Lease was lett by Capt. Graves to Geo. Domingo and therefore I desire that for the friendly ending of itt there may be a jury Impanelled to give their Judgements what the damages may be by a just execution. - William Berkeley (pp 418-419)

Note: While Surry is across Chesapeake Bay from the Eastern Shore, this action involved Northampton County residents. Since John Culpeper was both party to the dispute and one of the justices who should have heard this action, he apparently asked Berkeley to refer the matter to a different set of justices for handling.

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From the Justices of the Peace for Northampton County. Northampton, 28 Sep 1673. Justices John Stringer, William Waters, John Robins and John Culpeper petition Governor William Berkely commission Mr. Francis Pigot as a Justice to replace Major William Andrews, deceased. (pp. 430)

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Letter to John Culpeper, Jamestown, ca. 16 Jan 1674. "Dear Cozen..." recommends the use Col. Stringer to swear in the commissioners for Accomack - William Berkeley (p. 438)

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Commission to John Culpeper. Jamestown, 13 Apr 1674: Commissioned John Culpeper to be a justice of the peace for Accomack County (p. 441)

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Commission to John Culpeper. Jamestown, 13 Apr 1674: Commissioned John Culpeper to be sheriff of Accomack County for the year 1674 (p. 441)

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Delinquent Tithable. Accomack County, ca. Jul 1674: John Culpeper reported as "Delinquent" in the Accomack Tithables for 1674. (Thus he probably died after his April 13 commission and before the Tithables collection in June or July) (Source: Stratton Nottingham, Accomack County Virginia Certificates and Rights, 1663-1709, And Tithables, 1663-1695, Heritage Books, Inc., 1993, p. 93))

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Caveat against the estate of John Culpeper. Accomack County, 27 Jan 1674/75. "Col. (John) Stringer (acting as William Berkeley's attorney) Petitions on behalfe of the Honorable Governor that a Caveat be granted for priority of payment for the summe of Four Thousand Pounds of Tobacco & Caske against the estate of Mr. Jon Culpeper deceased he making his debt appeare." (p. 466)

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Petition of Mary Culpeper. Jamestown, 17 Jun 1675, "To the Right honorable Sir William Berkly Knight Governor and Capt. Generall of Virginia and the honorable Councell of State at James Cittv, The humble petition of Mary Culpeper Relict and Administratrix of the estate of Mr. Jno. Culpeper deceased, Whereas your honor was pleased to graunt your humble petitioner an order for  the somme of Fifty pounds sterling out of her husbands Estate in in the nature of a Paraphannalia. And whereas her sayd husbands Inventory of Estate was appraysed and reduced to tobacco. Your humble petitioner therefore humbly prayeth that your Honor wilbe please to ascertayne her a certaine somme of tobacco in the liew of her fifty pounds sterling. And your petitioner as in duty bound shall pray. - Not signed." (p. 475),

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Caveat against the estate of John Culpeper. Jamestown, 17 Jun 1675. "It is Ordered that noe private Orders passe Against the Estate of Mr. Jno. Culpeper deceased Until the Rt. Honorable the Governor & Honorable Secretarie are paid their just dues." (The "dues" were fees owed to WB and TL that Culpeper as sheriff of Accomack was supposed to collect from the county ratepayers.) (p. 476)

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Order in Council concerning the estate of John Culpeper. Jamestown, 22 Mar 1675/76. "At a general Court... By the Right honorable the Governor & Councell of State, Upon the Petition of the Burgesses of Accomack & Northampton Counties sheweing that Mr. Jno. Culpeper Sheriffe of the said Counties did Receive the Quitt Rents of both Counties in the yeare 1673 & 1674. It is ordered that next after the payment of the other publique dues soe much of the said Mr. Culpepers estate bee secured by the Administratrix as will satisfye what shall appeare hee hath received of the said Quitt Rents.  - Test Hen. Hartwell Cl.Con."  (p. 503)

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John's widow, Mary, makes a dying request about the care of her son. 28 Feb 1682 - "Upon the petition of (Capt.) Francis Pigot, since it  appears to the court that Mary (the dec'd) his late wife (formerly the wife of Mr. John Michael, Sr., dec'd), on her deathbed bequeathed and gave her child which she had by her said husband Michael named Yardley Michael to Mr. John Luke and his wife Anne for his care and tuition with his whole estate, it is so ordered". (From the Northampton Co. Wills & Orders Book covering 1679-1683 and provided by William A. Russell.)

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John Culpeper's Lands are escheated. "[to] John Custis, 100 acres in Northampton County, 24 October 1701, p. 414 [of Patent Book 9]. Escheated from John Culpeper, dec'd, by inquisition under John Custis, Esquire, Escheater etc." (From Cavaliers and Pioneers, Vol. III, p. 55)

Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850

Source: Ancestry.com. Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Dodd, Jordan R., et al.. Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850. Bountiful, UT, USA: Precision Indexing Publishers

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Jesse Culpepper and Edith S. Brickhouse married 10 Sep 1838 in Northampton Co., VA (#14)√

1870 US Census, Accomack Co., VA

Transcribed from Ancestry.com Census Records by Shannon O'Connor

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Pages 1-2, Family 6, St. Georges Parish, Accomack Co., Virginia
George W. Bell, 45, M, Wh, Farmer, RE=$6000, PE=$800,
Betty J. Bell, 37, F, Wh, Keeping house, Accomack Co, VA
Sarah B. Bell, 16, F, Wh, At home, Accomack Co, VA
Betsy B. Beach, 69, F, Wh, At home, Accomack Co, VA
Julya Notingham, 30, F, Wh, Teacher, Accomack Co, VA
Kate Culpeper, 16, F, Wh, At school, Accomack Co, VA (#224)√
Charles Mears, 25, M, Bl, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
Wm Harrison, 20, M, Bl, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
John James, 18, M, Bl, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
John Downing, 14, M, Bl, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
John Baly, 14, M, Bl, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
Rily Mears, 7, M, Mulatto, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
Obed Mears, 1, M, Mulatto, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
Fellis Mears, 35, F, Mulatto, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
Nanny Lecats, 21, F, Bl, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA
Adah Burton, 14, F, Mulatto, Domestic servant, Accomack Co, VA

Last Revised: 21 Jun 2011

 
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