“The research and meticulous documentation is monumental. The photographs and maps add interest and each segment of the voluminous work expands the reader’s knowledge of the descendants of Matthew Whipple’s family.”
—Jana Sloan Broglin. Certified Genealogist, Swanton, Ohio.
The goal of 15 GENERATIONS OF WHIPPLES IN AMERICA and History Genealogy of “Elder John Whipple of Ipswich, Massachusetts His English Ancestors and American Descendants is to share the life and times of one of one of America’s oldest families beginning in Bocking, England in 1560 and ending in Portland, Oregon in 2007.
Brothers Matthew and John left a comfortable civilized life in Bocking for the wilds of New England at a time when its population was approximately 16,000 English. The entire Commonwealth was considered frontier and they settled in Ipswich in 1638 when it was the frontier of the frontier. They were among the earliest settlers of what would become a great republic and a new order of human society. The Whipples were pioneering families who, over the centuries, helped push back the frontier, set up towns, lay out farms, rear families in the wilderness, and fight and trade with the Indians as they expanded the nation’s boundaries seeking the advantages this large and bountiful land offered.
Readers will learn of life in early New England and how it differed from Old England. The books describes apparel, housewares, modes of transportation, childbirth, the practice of medicine, punishment for unlawful acts, etc. It looks at religious diversity while concentrating on the Puritanism practiced by the Whipple families. It examines government, explains how land was granted, currency generated, and the Indian problem resolved; how schools were organized and foreign trade developed; how a scarcity of fertile soil, climatic conditions, and rocky land hindered agricultural development; how the numerous bays, sounds, and harbors promoted trade and commerce; and how fast flowing rivers, streams, and waterfalls stimulated manufactures.
Money was merchantable wheat, peas, pork, and beef. Time was reckoned according to the seasons, not the calendar; events were dated as “sweet corn time,” “the beginning of last hog time,” “since Indian harvest,” and “the latter part of seed time for winter wheat.” Only Deputies to the General Court, those engaged in hunting, trading, fishing, or soldiers fighting Indians, went beyond the borders of their own townships. The daily routine of clearing and tilling; raising rye, corn, wheat, oats, flax; gathering iron ore from bogs, and turpentine from pine trees left little energy for other activities.
Life was stationary and isolated with few books and little opportunity to associate with the larger world. The government ordered “dwelling houses” be built within half a mile of the Meeting House. Farms of 10 to 20 acres of arable or “meadow” land and 25 or more acres of “upland” suitable for pasturage and woodland were on the outskirts. Special use fields – “cow meadow,” woodlands, and marsh — were shared by all commoners. The pride of every family was its garden. Flax and hemp were sown for domestic use, hops cultivated for beer, the wise planted orchards, and everyone who could afford one had a spinning wheel.
Spirituous liquors and intemperance were major problems. Rum, wine, cider, and brandy were the drinks of choice. Huge quantities were consumed at ordinations, weddings, and funerals. The inn (or ordinary) was the lodging place for the traveler and gathering place for the locals. The Courts sat there and Magistrates entertained there. Common gossip of the day was dispensed at its tap room. The Sabbath congregation enjoyed its good cheer until the afternoon services and committees of the town and men of business met there to discuss affairs. A license was required to operate an inn and sell intoxicating beverages.
The criminal code regulated habits, food, drink, dress, and industry as well as individual thoughts and practice. Between 1641 and 1701, Massachusetts, Plymouth, Connecticut, and Rhode Island enacted laws naming 30 crimes subject to the death penalty. In conformance with the Mosaic code, the Court in 1646, ordered the death penalty for “any child of 16 and of sufficient intelligence who curse or smite father or mother.” A defense was allowed if the “smiting be done in defense against life and limb” or if children were raised “negligently.” Physical mutilation—branding with a red-hot iron, cutting off the ears, slitting the nose, and boring the tongue—was the penalty for 24 crimes. Whipping, gagging, and nailing the ears of offenders to the pillory were moderate forms of inflicting pain. Wrongdoers were put into the stocks, pillory, and ducking stool. Some had to wear a badge or letter indicating the nature of the offense: A for adultery; D for drunkenness; T for theft. Exposing offenders in the public square or before the Meeting House, especially on Sundays or Court days, was effective. The concept of reformation was unknown.
A General Court made laws and administered the government. Towns were run by Selectmen chosen by Freemen. Town meetings, usually held monthly and presided over by an elected Moderator and attended by Freemen, regulated local, political, and economic life. Selectmen were responsible for making the land grants and implementing decisions made at town meetings. Political order was determined by a rigid interpretation of theology. No action was taken without consulting the minister despite his limited knowledge on many subjects. The judiciary and recording of deeds and wills was a county responsibility. The Court’s main business was to try those charged with fornication, being drunk, stealing, lying, and to settle civil disputes. Its officers were Justices of the Peace who sat as Judges, the Sheriff, and the Clerk of Writs. The Grand Jurors, chosen in town meetings, met quarterly and drew up a list of presentments against persons or towns violating laws.
Law contrary to those of England were forbidden. The “King in Council” could approve or disallow their laws, and the Privy Council could act as a Court of Appeals and reverse local decisions. Parliament passed laws limiting their manufacturers, authorizing importation of convicts and slaves, and controlling naturalization. Alternatively, the colonists insisted the Magna Charta, their own Charters, the rather vague phrase “rights of Englishmen,” and the doctrine of natural rights limited the power of King and Parliament. This combination of lax English control and presumed rights by the colonists eventually led to the American Revolution.
Matthew, Jr. has more descendants than Elder John because Matthew had two sons and eight grandsons who married and extended his line. John’s only surviving son had three sons who married and had children. Matthew’s time in New England ended at nine years. He was 57 when he died 28 September 1647 in Ipswich. John died 30 June 1669, two months shy of his 74th birthday after a life of 31 years in Ipswich. Their wives preceded them in death and both remarried. The books include copies of their wills and inventories of their estates.
In September 1638, the brothers were jointly granted 200 acres plus meadow not to exceed 40 acres “to be divided as they shall agree” along with “six acres each of adjacent planting ground along the river.” It appears they established a division of labor with Matthew assuming responsibility for the farming while John entered the world of business, public service, and church obligations. He became a Freeman while Matthew remained a Commoner.
After becoming a Freeman, John was elected Selectman, frequently served on the Grand Jury, as Clerk of Writs for the Ipswich Quarterly Court, and eight terms as Deputy to the General Court. He was a Feoffee in trust to the unfortunate, and a Feoffee of the Grammar School. His religious service began in 1642 when he was elected Deacon. He became a Ruling Elder in 1658. He steadily increased his land holdings and at death owned a 360 acre farm and a house and approximately 100 acres in town.
John’s descendants include General William Whipple, New Hampshire Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Susan B. Anthony, pioneer of women’s rights, Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, Robert Goddard, pioneer rocket scientist, James Russell Lowell, diplomat, author, editor, literary critic, and Brigham Young, Mormon colonizer of the American West.
Matthew’s descendants include Col. Moses Whipple, the George Washington of Croydon, N.H., Levi Whipple, founder of Putnam, Ohio and anti-slavery leader, Squire Whipple, developer of the mathematic formula which made building iron bridges possible thus expanding train service throughout the country,, Edwin Percy Whipple, author, lecturer, literary critic, Chandler Whipple, one of the founders of the Republican Party, Oliver Mayhew Whipple, builder of textile, saw, grist, and gunpowder mills, Rev. William Levi Whipple, missionary to Persia 1872-1901, Charles A. Whipple, portrait painter of Presidents, John Adams Whipple, pioneer photographer, Amiel Weeks Whipple, Civil War General, Ransom E. Olds, founder of the Oldsmobile and REO automobile companies, Dr. George Hoyt Whipple, Nobel Prize winner in physiology and medicine in 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States, and Dr. Allen O. Whipple, creator of the “Whipple procedure” for pancreatic surgery.
Both books contain historical and genealogical sections. Matthew’s book includes 12 historical chapters on the author’s direct line. John’s book includes four historical chapters. The historical chapters are topical to each generation. The reader is taken back to that generation to see the ancestor’s life as it was then lived.
Genealogy doesn’t have to be dull. In these books, in addition to names, dates, and places, the ancestral stories include the how, when and where and are illustrated with maps, photographs, sketches, scanned newspaper articles, marriage licenses, death certificates, and other artifacts.
They are intended to be singular resources and are as comprehensive and accurate as I could make them. Constructive input is welcome as well as additional details on missing descendants which include source information.
Cost of the 4-volume Matthew Whipple Book is $200.00 This translates to $50.00 per volume. Cost of the one volume John Whipple Book is $50.00. Shipping is not included.