The Culpepers of Barbados
By Warren L. Culpepper
The Culpepers came to Barbados from England sometime between 1640 and 1660. They grew
in number and there appears to have been well over 100 living Culpepers in Barbados by the
early 1800s. They nearly all descended from a single couple, the Rev. William
Culpeper and Margaret Alleyne. Margaret and/or William may not have actually emigrated,
but it is clear that at least three of their children did.
Starting with the abolition of slavery in the 1830s, the Culpeper family in Barbados
started to leave, and there were none left on the island 100 years later. They emigrated
far and wide, primarily to English speaking lands, including the US (Massachusetts,
Pennsylvania, and New York), England, Canada,
Guyana, South Africa, Antigua, and possibly (but not proved)
Puerto Rico. There were also Culpepers found in India and Pakistan in the 1800's, but they
are believed to have migrated from England in connection with the East India Company and
probably did not come from Barbados. At one time, this writer had believed
that the Barbados Culpepers had also emigrated to Frankleigh in New Zealand.
However, researcher Mark Layne has informed us that Frankleigh was a
Culpeper home in Barbados.
While most of the Culpepers may be gone from Barbados today, there are quite a number of
modern-day Culpeppers that are descended from the Barbados line.
Since the Barbados Culpepers are of some considerable significance in any study of
Culpepper genealogy, it is important to establish the ancestry of the original Barbados
immigrant, the Rev. William Culpeper. There are also questions as to whether John Culpeper
of Albemarle ("The Carolina Rebel") descended from this family.
The balance of this page is designed to:
|Examine the evidence for The Rev. William Culpeper's ancestry, and|
|Set out all known facts about the early Barbados Culpepers so these can be used in
connection with the John Culpeper issue, discussed
on a separate page.|
Fairfax Harrison, in "The Proprietors of the Northern Neck," had this to say:
Culpeper of Barbados
"As Edmund is the only one of his generation for whom no conclusive
genealogical evidence has been found, it is possible, if not probable, that he was the
father of the otherwise unidentified William Culpeper, who (although he does not appear in
the published lists of either of the universities) was in February, 1628, presented to the
living of Wychling, co. Kent, by Sir Thomas Culpeper and Dr. William Stede as guardians of
Cromer Stede (Foster), and is named in the will of Sir Alexander Culpeper (1645) as 'my
cousin William Culpeper, minister of Wickling, or (if dead) to his wife or children.'
"This William was licensed to marry April 29, 1633, as 'William
Culpeper clerk, M. A., parson of Wychling, bach. about 28 (i.e., born, 1605) to Margaret,
dau. of the worshipful Richard Allen, D.D., parson of Stouting,' subsequently
emigrated to Barbados [hence the uncertainty of Sir Alexander as to whether he was living,
1645] and there left descendants who still persist in the West Indies and Natal (See
Oliver, Monumental Inscriptions in Barbados, 1915, p. 194, and Col. Attree's
chart, 'Culpeper of Barbados'). If he was a son of Edmund, he would be of Sir
Alexander's generation and his 'cousin' as also a likely candidate for presentation to a
living by his other cousins of the same generation."
(End of Harrison's text)
Culpepper Connections! Subsequent Proof
In February 2000, Culpepper Connections! discovered
in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) this record:
William Colepeper: Christening 23 Dec 1605 at
Sunningwell, Berkshire, England; Father, Edmund Colepeper; Mother, Marye.
[Film no. 0088422]
We believe this is conclusive evidence that William was the
son of Edmund, and the connection of the Barbados and English line is thus
The First Culpepers in Barbados
While Harrison assumes that Sir Alexander's will is evidence that William had emigrated
by 1645, there is no hard evidence for a Culpeper presence in Barbados for another 15
The early evidence for the Culpepers in Barbados follows below. All known references
prior to 1680 have been recited. If you are aware of others, I would sincerely appreciate
your letting me know. Please see Sending
Undated Genealogy. In Genealogies of
Barbados Families 1, there is a chapter
entitled, "Alleyne of Barbados", by Louise R. Allen (date written, unknown).
Within this chapter is the following:
Reynold Alleyne, the progenitor of the Barbados family, a youthful emigrant who
arrived within three years of the first settlement of the island, was the son of Rev.
Richard Alleyne, D.D., Rector of Stouting in the county of Kent.
Children of Richard Alleyne of Stowting, and Christian his wife:
iii. Reynold, bapt. Aug 1609 at Stouting, Kent. Died 17 Dec 1651 in Barbados, B.W.I.
Married Mary Skeet.
vii. Margaret, b. 29 Jun 1613 at Stouting, Kent. Married 30 Apr 1633 at Stowting, Kent,
Rev. Wm. Culpeper, of Wychling, co. Kent. Cousin of Sir Thomas Culpeper of Hollingbourne.
She was living in 1650 and had issue:
Alleyne Culpeper (Mentioned in grfather's will)
John Alleyne Culpeper
Margaret Culpeper (Married 10 Nov 1667 Reynold Skeet of Barbados)
No source for this information is provided other than the two parenthetical
21 Apr 1650: The will of Richard
Alleyne, D.D., Rector of the parish of Stowting, proved 16 Mar 1651 in England:
"...£100 to Margaret, my daughter, wife of William Culpeper...
to be paid to Sir Cheney Culpeper and Dr. (William) Stede £200, I have
secured by lands to them... To Alleyne Culpeper, son of my daughter,
Margaret £10..." 2
It should be noted that Alleyne Culpeper is the only grandchild mentioned in the
will. If, at this time, there were other grandchildren (such as John Alleyne Culpeper, as
some suggest) why were they not mentioned in the will?
Sir Cheney was the son of Sir Thomas, who, with Dr. William Stede presented
William to the Church at Wychling. Richard's debt to Sir Cheney is one further evidence of
the close link between William and Margaret and the sons of William Culpeper of Wigsell.
These sons included Edmund, Sir Alexander, and Sir Thomas. While it can not be proved that
William was the son of Edmund, the evidence is very strong that he must have been a
grandson of William Culpeper of Wigsell.
This is the last reference to Margaret Alleyne that is known. Thus, her date of
death and even whether or not she went to Barbados cannot be determined.
22 Apr 1653: In a book on the Stede
family, entitled Stede Hill, Michael Hudson, A.M., is shown as replacing William
Culpeper as Rector of the Church of Wychling on 22 Apr 1653. However, in connection with
the next rector listed at Wychling (Thomas Conway, A.M., 1 Nov 1661), there is the
following footnote: "In the instrument for his induction, this rectory is said to
be then vacant by the death of William Culpeper, the late and last incumbent of it, by
which it seems probable that Michael Hudson was looked upon only as an intruder into it
(Hasted, Fol. ed., Vol. II, p. 511)" 3
Records in Barbados indicate that the Rev. William Culpeper did not die until
1674 (see entry below), but from the church register notation, it is clear that he had
left Wychling prior to the installation of the new Rector in 1653, and he may have
departed for Barbados by that time.
It is possible that he departed several years prior to 1653, in the opinion of
correspondent Bill Russell:
"Many Anglican churches were left empty for some period of time during this
period. The Anglican church suffered during the English civil war as one of the
"targets" of Commonwealth reformation efforts. In fact, many were destroyed by
Commonwealth armies. Because the Anglican churches had been supported by forced tithes,
there was great resentment against them by the 'average' person, especially Commonwealth
supporters, and, as their income was reduced or eliminated completely, they could not
afford to maintain their clergy.
"The period of
the 1640s saw a great deal of emigration as families sought both to avoid the destruction
of war and to move some of their younger members overseas to protect their foreign assets.
I've always assumed that this was a likely time for the Culpepers to have gone to Barbados
although they certainly could have gone later. There was a break in the fighting from 1646
to 1648. After 1650, the Commonwealth kept very careful records as to who was leaving and
effectively discouraged not only travel, but trade with their colonies. It was their only
effective way of exercising control - sending an army would have drained their defenses
and treasury and the navy was used at home essentially as a shield as the navy had been
fairly steadfast in support of the Commonwealth. Trade blackmail was how Virginia, mostly
a Royalist stronghold early on, was subdued without military effort. Barbados was another
matter, however. Because it control the main sea axis to America and was essential to
naval replenishment and because the Governor there was more active in opposing the
Commonwealth than Berkeley in Virginia, it was necessary to capture it militarily."
1660: A non-footnoted article entitled The
Skeetes and Three Houses, states: "Compared with the Skeetes and the Alleynes [who
arrived in Barbados in the 1630s], the Culpepers were newcomers to the
island. In 1660, Samuel Barwick leased 77 acres in St. Thomas to Alleyne Culpeper
and Thomas Culpeper, merchants. The members of the Culpeper
family heard of in connection with the Skeetes and Three Houses were Margaret
and her brothers Alleyne and Francis, both of whom owned
land near what is now known as Culpeper Island." 4
Since this is the earliest reference to the Culpepers being in Barbados, and
since there is no evidence provided as to the source of the claim, it is important to not
treat this fact as proven. A search of Barbados records is needed to verify the 1660 date.
31 Oct 1662: Thomas Culpeper,
age 27, witnessed the will of Robert Challener. Will proved on 3 Nov 1662. 5
This Thomas Culpeper is probably the same one that leased land with Alleyne
Culpeper from Samuel Barwick in 1660, but Thomas is otherwise unknown.
He can be assumed to have been born circa 1635.
If he were a child of William and Margaret, why was he not mentioned in his
grandfather's will, along with Alleyne?
27 Jan 1663/4: John Culpeper,
age 19, said in a deposition, "On 27
Dec last deponent was sent for to write the will of Armell Gould then ye elder." In
Armel's will of 27 Dec 1663, Margaret Culpeper is identified as friend,
and John Culpeper is identified as both a friend and overseer. 6
Thus, John Culpeper was literate, which helps support the contention by some that
he was John of Albemarle.
John probably had some connection to Margaret since both Culpepers are identified
by Armell Gould as his friends. This also supports the contention that John Alleyne
Culpepper was a brother of Margaret.
John can be assumed to have been born circa 1644.
The reference to Margaret is the first evidence of any proven members of the
William Culpeper family being present in Barbados. It is not clear whether this reference
is to Margaret (Alleyne) Culpeper or to her daughter who later married Reynold Skeete.
10 Nov 1667: in St.
John, Margaret Culpeper married Reynold Skeete.7,8,9
9 Jan 1667/8: in St. James,
"partner, Peter Culpeper" was named as executor of the will of
John Everwine, proved 22 Jan 1667.10
This Peter Culpeper is otherwise unknown.
12 May 1669: The Colonial Secretary's
office in Barbados recorded a list of debtors of the deceased Lt. Col. Anthony Rouse that
included the name of Alleyne Culpeper.11
16 Feb 1670/71: John
Culpeper arrives in Charles Town (now known as Charleston, SC) via the ship Carolina
Dec 1671: Judith Culpeper
arrives in Charles Town from Barbados with her servant Alice Thomas.13
Judith is believed to be John's wife.
1674: The Rev. William
Culpepper died. This death is reportedly recorded in the Colonial
Secretary's office in Barbados.14
18 Aug 1674: Joseph Andrew. merchant, of
St. Michael, identifies in his will Alleyne Culpeper and Margaret
(Culpeper) Skeete as his cousins. 15
If they were true first cousins, then Joseph Andrew's mother must have been a
sister of Alleyne Culpeper's mother, Margaret Alleyne.
5 Apr 1675: Reynold Alleyne of St. Philip
in a will proved 27 Apr 1676, identifies, among others, Margaret (Culpeper)
Skeete, Alleyne Culpeper and Francis Culpeper.16,17
This Reynold was the grandson of Richard Alleyne, D.D. and the son of Reynold.
This is the first dated reference to Alleyne Culpeper's brother, Francis.
It is worth noting that the same three siblings that are grouped together in
other references, Margaret, Alleyne and Francis, were similarly grouped here, with no
other siblings mentioned.
1676: John Culpeper dies
according to Col. Attree's pedigree chart which also shows that he was married to
Eliza, who is reported to have a will dated 1686 and recorded in the Colonial Secretary's
and that they had two daughters: one married Daniel Boyle and the other died in infancy in
4 Mar 1676/7: Marriage in St. Philip of Alleyne
Culpeper and Mary Hedges. 19,20
1676/7: After being the widow of Reynold
Skeete for 3 years, Margaret (Culpeper) Skeete marries Francis Kirton.
(Kirton subsequently dies and Margaret married a third time.)21
1677: Edward Skeete sold 47 acres to Francis
1 Jan 1679/80: Baptism in St. Philip of Alleyne
Culpeper and Margaret Culpepper, children of Alleyne and
6 Jan 1679/80: Census of Inhabitants in St.
Philip: Francis Culpeper, 74 acres, 2 servants, and 22 Negroes. Alleyne
Culpeper, 150 acres, 3 servants, 30 Negroes.25
6 Jan 1679/80: A list of the (militia)
company under command of Capt. Richard Vintner: Francis Culpeper and Alleyne
6 Jan 1679/80: A list of the "troope of
horse" under command of Capt. Robert Jacke: Francis Culpeper (1
horse) and Alleyne Culpeper (2 horses).27
The militia members with horses would be members of both a foot company and a
calvary company. Thus, the same Francis and Alleyne appeared on both lists and do not
represent different people.
There are no other Culpepers appearing in the 1679/80 census of Barbados.
6 Jan 1679/80: Capt. Abel Alleyne
shown as the leader of a militia unit, the owner of 2 horses, 316 acres of land with 6
tenants, 28 and at least
four different John Alleynes appear in the 1680 census of Barbados.29 (Alleynes with eleven other
Christian names also appear in the census).
The existence of Abel and John Alleyne supports the theory that the Abel and John
Alleyne--named in the "Genealogies of Barbados Families" as children of the Rev.
William and Margaret (Alleyne) Culpeper--may have been under the guardianship of the
Culpepers and not their natural children.
1 Louise R. Allen, "Alleyne of Barbados"
(date written, unknown), a chapter in Genealogies of Barbados Families: From
Caribbeana and The Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, compiled by
James V. Brandow. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1983, p. 5. (Return)
2 Ibid. (Return)
3 Robert H. Goodsall, Stede Hill: The Annals of a
Kentish Home, (London: Headley Brothers, 1949) p.57. (Return)
4 Peter F. Campbell, Some Early Barbadian
History, (Publisher and date unknown. Book may be found in the Family History Library
at Salt Lake City) p. 113. (Return)
5 Joanne McRee Sanders, compiler. Barbados
Records, Wills and Administrations, Vol.1 (1639-1680), (Houston: Sanders Historical
Publications, 1980) p. 69. (Return)
6 Ibid. pp. 146-147. (Return)
7 Joanne McRee Sanders, compiler. Barbados
Records, Marriages (1643-1800), Vol.1, (Houston: Sanders Historical Publications,
1982) p. 439. (Return)
8 International Genealogical Index (IGI).
compiled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. (Return)
9 Vere Langford Oliver, compiler, The Monumental
Inscriptions in the Churches and Churchyards of the Island of Barbados, British West
Indies (San Bernardino, CA: Borgo Press, 1989) p. 194. (Return)
10 Sanders, Wills and Administrations, Vol. 1, p.
11 Ibid., p. 310. (Return)
12 John West to Lord Ashley, 2 March
1670/71 in Collections of the South Carolina Historical Society, vol. 5, The
Shaftesbury Papers, (Charleston: South Carolina Historical Society, 1897), p. 266-267.
13 A.S. Salley, Jr., ed., Warrants
for Lands in South Carolina 1672- 1711 (Columbia: South Carolina Department of
Archives and History, 1973), 53-54. (Return)
14 Culpeper of Barbados, of Bayfield
and Elsewhere in that Island. A pedigree chart by Col. W.F.T.
Attree, author of the Sussex Colepepers. (Return)
15 Joanne McRee Sanders, compiler, Barbados
Records, Wills and Administrations, Vol.2 (1639-1680), compiled by Joanne McRee
Sanders. (Houston: Sanders Historical Publications, 1980) p. 8. (Return)
16 Sanders, Wills and Administrations, Vol. 2,,
p. 6. (Return)
17 Oliver, Monumental Inscriptions, p. 195.
18 Culpeper of Barbados,
19 IGI (Return)
20 Joanne McRee Sanders, compiler, Barbados
Records, Marriages (1643-1800), Vol.2, (Houston: Sanders Historical Publications,
1982) p. 531. (Return)
21 Campbell, p. 113 (Return)
22 Ibid. (Return)
23 IGI (Return)
24 Joanne McRee Sanders, compiler, Barbados
Records, Baptisms 1637-1800, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1984) p. 456.
25 James C. Brandow, Editor, Omitted
Chapters from Hotten's Original Lists of Persons of Quality... and Others Who Went from
Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700: Census Returns, Parish Registers and
Militia Rolls from the Barbados Census of 1679/80. . (Baltimore: Genealogical
Publishing Co., Inc., 1983) p. 5. (Return)
26 Brandow, p. 123. (Return)
27 Brandow, p. 205. (Return)
28 Brandow, pp. 163,204. (Return)
29 Brandow, pp. 3,32,80,88,128,129,135,177
Last Revised: 22 Oct 2008