Alexander Culpeper Surveyor General of VA1

Male, #8474, (1631 - 24 Dec 1694)
Father*Thomas Culpeper of the Middle Temple (s 1602 - s 1652)
Mother*Katherine St. Leger (c 1602 - 1658)
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Culpepper. 
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Colepeper. 
Birth*1631 Alexander was born in 1631. 
Will13 Jan 1644 He is mentioned in the will of Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court, Knight at Greenway Court, Hollingbourne, co. Kent, England, on 13 Jan 1644.2,3 
Will30 Jan 1644 He is mentioned in the will of Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court, Knight on 30 Jan 1644.4,5 
Death of Fathersay 1652 His father Thomas Culpeper of the Middle Temple died say 1652 at Virginia
Death of Mother1658 His mother Katherine St. Leger died in 1658 at Maidstone, co. Kent, England
Marriage*19 Dec 1689 He married Judith Culpeper at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London, England, on 19 Dec 1689. 
Biography* Alexander Culpeper, 1631?-1694, makes his first appearance on the available record in the will (1645) of his great uncle, Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court, Knight, as 'my godson Alexander C., son and heir apparent of my said nephew Thomas C.', with the characterization that 'whereas said Alexander C., son of my said nephew Thomas C., is yet young and under age so as it is not certainly known how he will prove.' Lacking testimony of his baptism in the registers of Ulcombe, Hollingbourne and Harrietsham, it is a deduction that he was born in 1631; for that is the year in which, alone, he fits in between the proven baptisms of his elder sisters and younger brother. He would thus be fourteen when Sir Alexander described him as 'young and under age.'

We have conjectured that he was taken to Virginia by his father in 1650 and returned to England after his father's death in 1651; certainly he was in Kent in December, 1652, when, having probably recently come of age, he witnessed the will of his uncle, William Godd (P.C.C. Brent, 120; Cf. Va. Mag., xxiii, 382). After administering upon his mother's estate in August, 1658 (P.C.C. Admon. Act Book, 1658) he was still in England in July, 1660, when he witnessed the will of the first Lord Culpeper (John Lord Culpeper 1st Baron of Thoresway). In 1664 and 1666, while the second Lord Culpeper (Thomas Lord Culpeper 2nd Baron of Thoresway) was Governor of the Isle of Wight, 'Capt. Alexander Culpeper' was his Secretary, Commander of Cowes Castle and Vice-Admiral's deputy; and, as such, in correspondence with Secretary Williamson (Cal. Treasury Papers, 1660-67, p. 627). A year later, as 'Alexander C. of Leeds Castle,' he took title, on behalf of Lord Culpeper, to the manor of Newport in the Isle of Wight (Close Roll, 21 Car. II, pt. xiii, No. 151; Cf. Victoria County History, Hampshire, v, 261).

That he went out to Virginia after Lord Culpeper gave up his post in the Isle of Wight may be deduced from the fact that in June, 1671, he was in the colony preparing for a voyage to England, when he was described by William Sherwood of Jamestown, in a letter to Lord Arlington, as 'a gentlemen of this country' (Am. & W. I., 1669-74, No. 540). On this occasion he carried also letters from his new brother-in-law, Sir William Berkeley Governor of Virginia, soliciting for him a patent for a post in the colony recently vacant by the death of Edmund Scarbrough. The recommendation was effective: on November 17, 1671, there was enrolled (Patent Roll, 23 Car. II, pt. 8 [3131], No. 16; renewed by James II under date of October 21, 1685; there is a transcript in the MS. collection known as Blaythwayt's Charters, ii, 349, now in the Library of Congress) the following patent:

Alexander Culpeper's patent to be Surveyor General of Virginia
     CHARLES the second by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, ffrance and Ireland Defender of the ffaith &c. To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting-
     KNOW yee that Wee for divers good causes and considerations us hereunto especially moving, of our especiall grace, certain knowledge and meer motion Have given and granted, and by these presents for Us Our heirs and Successors Doe give and grant, unto Our Trusty and welbeloved Alexander Culpeper Esqr. the Office and Place of Our Surveyor Generall of and within Our Colony and Plantation of Virginia;
     And him the said Alexander Culpeper Our Surveyor Generall of & within our said Colony and Plantation of Virginia and of all and Singuler the Messuages Mannors Lands and Tenements to Us there belonging or which at any time hereafter shall or may belong Wee have ordained named constituted and appointed And for Us Our heires and Successors Doe ordain, name, constitute and appoint by these presents;
     Giving, and by these presents for Us Our heires and Successors granting unto the said Alexander Culpeper full power and authority to survey Our said Colony and Plantation of Virginia and the Bounds and limitts thereof; And to performe do and execute all and every other matter and thing belonging and appertaining to the said Office and Place of Surveyor Generall, according to such Orders & instructions as hee the said Alexander Culpeper shall from time to time receive from Us Our heires and Successors or from the Governor and Councell of Our said Plantation now and for the time being.
     TO have, hold, exercise and enjoy the said Office and Place of Our Surveyor Generall of Our Colony and Plantation of Virginia unto him the said Alexander Culpeper by himselfe or his sufficient Deputy or Deputies for and during Our Pleasure, with all ffees, profitts, priviledges, advantages and emoluments thereunto lawfully belonging and therewith heretofore usually received and enjoyed; and in as ample manner and forme as Thomas Loveing and Edmond Scarburgh or either of them or any other person or persons have formerly enjoyed the same.
     And wee do further by these presents Grant and Declare That these Our Lettrs. Patents or the Enrollment thereof shall bee in all things firme good and effectuall in the Law according to the true intent and meaning thereof. Notwithstanding the not reciting or mentioning any former Gift, Grant, Letters Patents or Estate heretofore made or granted of or in the premisses by Us or any of Our late Royall Progenitors to any person or persons whatsoever; and notwithstanding any other deficiency imperfection or want of forme in these presents contained, Or any Law, Statute, Ordinance, Proclamation, Provision, Restriction or other matter or thing whatsoever to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
     Witness ourself at Westminster, vicesimo quinto die Octobris, anno regno nostro vicesimo, tertio [1671].
     By writ of Privy Seal.

It does not appear that the Surveyor General ever returned to the colony. His duty there was performed by deputies, first, Thomas Ludwell, and, later, Philip Ludwell of James City, VAl (brother-in-law No. 3), and his relation to Virginia affairs was henceforth chiefly in respect to his interest in the Northern Neck. But he appears several times in other relations to Virginia affairs. Following Bacon's Rebellion, Governor Berkeley consigned to him the indian queen of Wyanoke, when it appears that he was living at Leeds Castle, for it was there he lodged the pinchbeck majesty (Am. & W. I., 1677-80, No. 512). Again, when, in July, 1677, the old cavalier Governor was recalled and reached. England, so reduced by a 'tedious passage and griefe of mind to extreame weakness,' that he died without ever having seen the royal master he had served loyally, if not wisely, administration on the goods of 'Sir William Berkeley, late Governor of Virginia, but died at Twickenham, Middx the seat of his brother John, Lord Berkeley was granted to 'Alexander Culpeper, esq. natural and lawful brother of Dame Frances Berkeley, relict of deceased, during absence and to use of said Dame Frances Berkeley' (P.C.C. Admon. Act Book, 1677) ; and thereafter he vigorously defended Berkeley's official memory (Am. & W. 1., 1677-80, Nos. 374, 506, 512).

Except for the fact now evident, that he never married, that he held of the estate of Thomas Lord Culpeper a messuage or farm in Hollingbourne, known as Tot[nams, but lived at Leeds Castle in the household of the deserted chatelaine, Margaret, Lady Culpeper (House of Lords MS., 1695-97, ed. Hist. MSS. Com., ii, 533), little remains to record of the Surveyor General. (Actually, he did marry, see correction below)

That the planters came to resent his non-resident office holding appears from his petition to the Crown in 1678 (Va. Mag., xxiii, 397, 398), the direct attack upon him in the Assembly in 1691 (ibid., xxviii, 15) and his final complaint to the government on December 12, 1694, that Governor Nicholson had 'dispossessed him' of his office (Am. & W. I., 1693-94, No. 1593).48 This was the last act of his life. He was in London pushing a petition for redress when he died, just before Christmas, 1694. Once more Lady Culpeper journeyed up to town on a dead man's affairs: but this time it was to honour a faithful friend. She did for him what she did not deign to do for her husband: she brought his body back to Leeds Castle. He was buried in Bromfield, December 26, 1694, as 'Captain Alexander Culpeper of Leeds Castle'

Although the Northern Neck charter of 1669 recited his father's interest in the original Northern Neck grant of 1649 and subsequent death, Alexander did not then assert on the record a claim of inheritance of that interest. Following the example of his cousin, the second Lord Culpeper, he postponed such a claim until something might be made of it. The opportunity seemed to present itself in 1675 with the proposal of the Virginia colony to buy out the proprietary, and it was then, in the course of futile negotiations, that Alexander made his appearance as one of the proprietors of the Northern Neck, in a certificate (Burk, ii, Appendix, p. liv) by those who were named in the charter of 1669 that 'Thomas, Lord Culpeper, and Alexander Culpeper, Esq. by a collateral agreement with us do hold two-sixths part of the said grant.'

That this interest was kept alive also after the grant of the charter of 1688 appears from the recital of the proprietors by Philip Ludwell when he opened the Northern Neck land office in 1690 (N. N., I, passim), as

..."the Honorable Mistress Katherine Culpeper, sole daughter and heire of Thomas, late Lord Culpeper, & Allexr. Culpeper, Esqe., who cometh in part proprietor by lawfull conveyances from Thomas, late Lord Culpeper, and confirmed by the sd. Mistress Katherine Culpeper, who are now become the lone and lawful Proprietors of said tract or territory."

In this right, Alexander joined in the petition to the Crown, May 21, 1691, for confirmation of the charter of 1688, with the consequence that before his death his interest therein was officially recognised and adjudged by decree of the Privy Council (Acts P. C., Colonial, ii, 188).

The only thing his father had left him had thus become an hereditament to be disposed of by will; and, being now the last surviving male heir of the Feckenharn family, extant in England if not in fact, he felt free to make such a disposition of it as gratitude dictated. In doing this he defined his interest precisely. (Will set forth below)

By virtue of this will, of which no record was made in the colony, an undivided one-sixth interest in the Northern Neck remained a thing separate and apart from the other property rights in the proprietary to puzzle the Virginia lawyers a century later when they came to interpret the will of the last proprietor.

Correction and amplification by Warren Culpepper: Harrison was unaware that Alexander, late in his life, married his second cousin Judith Culpeper, daughter of John, 1st Lord Culpeper, and sister of Thomas, 2nd Lord Culpeper. Alexander, age 58, and Judith, age 53, were married on 19 Dec 1689 at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street in London. Thus the couple was living in Leed's Castle with Judith's sister-in-law, Margaret, Lady Culpeper. Judith died two years later and was buried on 21 Nov 1691. On 29 Nov 1691, Alexander wrote his last will and testament, and while he had no reason at that point to mention his recently deceased wife, he did leave his interest in the Northern Neck to his deceased wife's sister-in-law, Margaret who had invited them to live with her at Leeds Castle.6 
Will*29 Nov 1691 He made a will on 29 Nov 1691.

Alexander Culpeper of Hollingbourne, co. Kent, esq. All my goods to the Right Hon. the Lady Culpeper, Baroness Dowager of Thoresway, she to be extrix. Whereas, I am seized to me and my heirs of and in one full sixth part, the whole in six parts to be divided, of and in a certain tract of land in the Continent of America, called the Northern Neck of Virginia, under and by virtue of a grant thereof formerly made by his late Majty, King James II, to the Rt. Honble Thomas, Lord Culpeper, and his heirs forever, I do hereby give the said sixth part unto the said Rt. Honble Margaret, Lady Culpeper, widow and relict of the said Rt. Honble Thomas, Lord Culpeper, deceased, and to her heires for ever.
     Witns. Fairfax, John Cripps, Charles Pleydell.
     Prob. by Margaret Baroness Dowager of Thoresway, the extrix.7,8 
Death*24 Dec 1694 He died at London, England, on 24 Dec 1694. 
Burial26 Dec 1694 His body was interred on 26 Dec 1694 at Broomfield, co. Kent, England
Probate*5 Jan 1695 Probate action was taken on Alexander's estate on 5 Jan 1695 at co. Kent, England,

P.C.C. 3 Irby.8 
Will27 Nov 1779 He identified as the previous landowner(s) of land being bequeathed in the will of Thomas Fairfax Sixth Lord Fairfax of Cameron on 27 Nov 1779.9 
Biography He is referenced in a biographical note for Thomas Culpeper of the Middle Temple.10 

Family

Judith Culpeper (circa 1638 - circa 20 Nov 1691)
Marriage*19 Dec 1689 He married Judith Culpeper at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London, England, on 19 Dec 1689. 
ChartsThe 12th century Culpepers of England: Descendant Chart (16 generations, Males only)
Last Edited6 Jun 2011

Citations

  1. Col. F.W.T. Attree R.E./F.S.A. & Rev. J.H.L. Booker M.A., "The Sussex Colepepers, Part I", Sussex Archaeological Collections, XLVII,47-81, (1904)http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/sussex/default.htm.
  2. E-mail written 2007 to Warren Culpepper from Charles Andrew Grigsby, England, e-mail address.
    Transcription of Will of Sir Alexander Culpeper of Greenway Court Hollingbourne Kent 1649
    Ref: 422.
  3. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Image of will at: /archives/uk/wills/images/Alexander_of_Greenway_Court_1649.pdf .
  4. Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck - Chapters of Culpepper Genealogy, Richmond, VA: The Old Dominion Press (Privately printed), 1926, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Film #929429. Transcription available online at: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/nneck/default.htm
    P. C. C. Rivers, 157.
    Image:http://gen.culpepper.com/archives/uk/wills/images/Alexander_of_Greenway_Court_1645-1.pdf.
  5. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Image of will at: /archives/uk/wills/images/Alexander_of_Greenway_Court_1645-1.pdf.
  6. Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck - Chapters of Culpepper Genealogy, Richmond, VA: The Old Dominion Press (Privately printed), 1926, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Film #929429. Transcription available online at: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/nneck/default.htm
    Chapter 4b.
  7. Public Records Office, National Archives, London.
    Image of will at: /archives/uk/wills/images/Alexander_of_Hollingbourne_1695.pdf.
  8. Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck - Chapters of Culpepper Genealogy, Richmond, VA: The Old Dominion Press (Privately printed), 1926, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Film #929429. Transcription available online at: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/nneck/default.htm
    P.C.C. Irby, 3., Will dated November 29, 1691 and proved January 5, 1694/5.
  9. Thomas, Sixth Lord Fairfax, Will, 1782
    Frederick W. B. 4: 583
    Will dated November 8, 1777
    Codicil dated November 27, 1779
    Proved May 5, 1782.
  10. Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck - Chapters of Culpepper Genealogy, Richmond, VA: The Old Dominion Press (Privately printed), 1926, Repository: LDS Family History Library - Salt Lake City, Call No. US/CAN Film #929429. Transcription available online at: http://gen.culpepper.com/historical/nneck/default.htm
    Chapter 4: XIII Thomas Culpepper.