Overview of Blaine's Whipple Research Project


of Blaine's Whipple Research Project

By Blaine Whipple, June 15, 1997

Webmaster's note: Blaine passed away January 3, 2015, in Portland, Oregon. This article has been modified to reflect that event. During the time between 1997 and his death, Blaine's planned history of the Whipple family expanded to three separate publications:
  1. History and Genealogy of "Elder" John Whipple of Ipswich, Massachusetts: His English Ancestors and American Descendants. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, 2004. ISBN: 155395676-1.ISBN: 155395676-1.
  2. 15 Generations of Whipples: Descendants of Matthew Whipple of Ipswich, Massachusetts, Abt 1590-1647: An American Story. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-9801022-4-6 (4-volume set).
  3. Blaine "handed off" the third publication, about Captain John Whipple of Providence, R.I., to Charles M. Whipple, Jr., who published it as A History of Captain John and Sarah Whipple of Dorchester, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island : A Multigenerational Study of the First Whipple Family in America. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford, 2007.



My planned book on the history of the Whipple family is about the life and times of three Whipple families who left England for an unknown wilderness across an uncharted sea.

Was Henri De V. Hipple the First Whipple?

Some authors1,2 claim, without documentation, that the Whipple family originated with Henri De V. Hipple, a gentleman of Normandy of the Vale de Suere (or Vale de Suede), who was knighted on the battle field of Agincourt (1415) and given the motto "Fidele et Brave" and granted the manorial estates of Wraxall, and that the name was anglicized into Whipple in the time of Henry VII (1485-1509).

William Hodges, assistant librarian of England's Bodelian Library, responded that he could find no confirming records. The "ancient" library in Birmingham, England, is supposedly the repository of manuscripts by Dougdale and Thorpe (source of the De V. Hipple information) and an account of the aristocratic colonial families compiled by G.P.R. James while he was British Consul at Norfolk, VA. The history of the Virginia branch of the Whipple family is said to have begun at the time of William the Conqueror, and continued to the time of Col. John Whipple of the Prince Rupert's Division of the Cavaliers who emigrated to Virginia in 1662. The Birmingham library’s holdings are unavailable through interlibrary loan. I was unaware of their existence while in England, so am unable to confirm their existence. If any readers have access to Birmingham's ancient library (and the Dougdale and Thorpe manuscripts and G.P.R. James account), I would appreciate receiving copies from you.

The claim that the name was anglicized in the time of Henry VII is doubtful, as there are records which show the Whipple name (with various spellings) in 1385, 1408, 1446, 1450, 1453 1486, 1489, and 14963.

Whipples in the New World in 1638

Documents indicate that at least four Whipples were in the New World by 1638.

1. John Whipple of Dorchester, Mass. (Later Providence, R.I.)

John Whipple (hereafter referred to as young John) left England in 1632, age estimated to be between 14 and 16, and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Previous authors have identified his place of nativity as both Bocking, Essex county, England and Milford, Wales. The Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland4 lists 13 Milfords:

  • Three in Ireland, in
    1. county Cork
    2. county Armagh
    3. county Carlow
  • Nine in England, in
    1. Yorks
    2. S.W. Hampshire
    3. S.W. Surrey
    4. mid Derbyshire
    5. S.E. Wiltshire
    6. west Staffordshire
    7. north Shropshire
    8. north Devon
    9. north Devon (second place named Milford)
  • One in the Welsh county of Pembroke at the parish of Huberston and Steynton. (Its earliest parish registers begin in 1637, eliminating almost all chances of finding a John Whipple there in 1617).

No evidence has been found confirming young John Whipple was born in either Wales or Bocking.

2,3. Brothers Matthew and John Whipple of Bocking

Brothers Matthew and John Whipple of Bocking settled in Ipswich Massachusetts in 1638.

4. Paul Whipple of Providence Island

Paul Whipple, a gunner, became a planter on Providence Island in the West Indies in April 16385. Providence Island, off the eastern coast of Nicaragua, was first visited by the English before 1625 and became a privateering center against Spanish ships and possessions. The colony existed until 1641. Its first English planters were from localities where the Puritan influence was strong, especially from Essex, Northants, and Oxfordshire. Fear of the Spanish inspired Providence to build 14 forts. No ship or boat could approach without being under its guns. Gunners like Paul Whipple were enticed to immigrate with the promise of land and a salary of up to £40 annually. In 1641, Spain landed a force of 2,000, defeated the English, and sent four-hundred prisoners to captivity in Spain. Nothing further is known about Paul Whipple. He was probably killed or captured and sent to Spain.

John Whipple and the Ship Lyon

Charles Edward Banks6 says that John Whipple (hereafter referred to as young John) arrived in Boston 16 September 1632 on the Lyon, a ship commanded by Captain William Pierce. They sailed from London on 22 June and were out of sight of land for eight of their twelve week journey. Many of the 123 passengers were from the Essex villages of Bocking, Braintree, Fairstead, Halstead, Hatfield, and Nazing. Banks writes that John was from Bocking.

Winifred Ashwell7 states that both Matthew and John Whipple were passengers, as does a brochure titled "The American Connection with Braintree District."8 So does Roger Thompson, university reader in American colonial history at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England.9 He identified John Whipple as a carpenter.

The Ipswich Whipples Are from Bocking

The Matthew and John Whipple who settled in Ipswich, MA, were undoubtedly natives of Bocking. The author visited St. Mary's church in Bocking and found them in its parish records. He acquired a copy of Matthew Whipple's will, proved in 1619, at a record office in London. It states that the family lived on Bradford Street in Bocking and identifies Matthew, Jr. and John as his sons.

Holman and Marvin3 and Banks10 also place Matthew and John in Bocking. That brothers Matthew and John did not leave England until 1638 is further confirmed by the parish records that show that Matthew's sons, John (later known as Lieut. John) and Matthew, were born in Bocking in September 1632 and ca. 1635; and that four of John's children were baptized there between October 1631 and February 1637/8 (William 2 October 1631; Ann 2 June 1633; Judith 4 August 1635; Matthew 7 February 1637/38).

Only Young John Was on the Lyon

George A. Schofield11 writes that the first reference in Ipswich records to Matthew and John Whipple was 1 September 1638, when each was granted six acres of planting ground and a 245 acre farm jointly. There is no record of their arrival in 1638. No known record links John Whipple of Ipswich to the carpenter's trade. He was a successful merchant. The author believes that only young John [i.e., of Providence] was on the Lyon. He wrote Thompson and shared the results of his research. Thompson responded that he was amending his records accordingly.

Was Young John Related to the Bocking Whipples?

Webmaster's note: During the time between Blaine's death in 2015 and May 2020, ongoing research has determined that young John is the John Whaple or Whaples who was baptized 13 Dec 1618 at the St. Mary and St. Lawrence Church in Great Waltham, Essex County, England (located about 11 miles south-southwest of Bocking/Braintree). The Whipple Website has accepted that research. See "Genetic Antecedents of Captain John Whipple" by Charles M. Whipple and "Seeking the Origins of Captain John Whipple of Dorchester MA/Providence RI" for more information.

Note: Although several generations of young John's Whaple (Whipple) ancestors now appear in the Whipple Genweb and Whipple Database, a connection with the Bocking Whipples still eludes researchers. (The following paragraphs in this section are Blaine's original writing.)

Some genealogists have speculated that young John was born in 1617. This tracks with the claim that he was between 14 and 16 when he arrived at Boston. That he was in New England in 1632 is unquestioned. Massachusetts Bay records of 3 October 1632 state that Alex Miller and John Whipple were ordered to pay fines to their master Israel Stoughton "for their wastful expence of powder and shot."12 He was a carpenter apprentice to Stoughton, who also emigrated in 1632 and settled at Dorchester. Apprentices over 14 received meat, drink, clothes, and a wage if they had a special skill. Young John was granted land in Dorchester in 1637.13 While the surname Stoughton occasionally appears in the Bocking registers; Israel was not found. His father Thomas was vicar of Coggeshall, near Bocking, from 1600 to 1606, and Israel was baptized in Coggeshall on 18 February 1602/3.

In 1988 and 1990, Dr. Charles M. Whipple, Jr. (a descendant of young John Whipple and author of the Whipple genealogy, Sons and Daughters of Jesse14 ), professor of psychology at Central Oklahoma State University at Edmond, engaged the English genealogical firm, Debrett Ancestry Research Limited (Gordon Road, Winchester, SO23 7DD, England), to search for a possible relationship between young John and Matthew and John of Ipswich. He shared Debrett's results with the author.

Debrett's examined the original registers of Bocking for the years 1575-1632. (There are gaps in the registers; baptisms are missing for 1571-2; 1581-2; 1606-55; marriage registers are missing for 1575-92.) The firm also examined the International Genealogical Index of Essex (an index to baptisms and marriages compiled by the Church of Latter Day Saints and arranged alphabetically by county) for evidence of a relationship. These sources were unproductive, so the search was extended to parishes adjacent to Bocking--Gosfield, Shalford, Stisted, Rayne, and Halstead--for the period 1600-1635 and to the indexes of the Essex probate courts. Many Whipples lived in Braintree about two miles from Bocking, but Braintree records don't begin until 1660.

The 11 Whipple wills proved between 1400 and 1700 contained no helpful information, and no Whipples were found in the adjacent parishes. However, the will of Edward Whaples (spelling was not standardized at this time; even highly educated people spelled their own names in a variety of ways) of Eastwood, Essex proved in 1610 was of interest. Whaples had a brother John and his will was witnessed by John Vassall of Eastwood whose family owned the Lyon.

Boyd's Marriage Index15 lists 19 Essex marriages between 1538 and 1837 for individuals named Whipple/Whaples; seven Whipple men married before 1618. Eastwood registers survive from 1685--too late to cross-check with Edward Whaples' will of 1610. The fact that most Whipple/Whaples families lived in a close cluster of parishes around Bocking, Felsted, and Great Waltham indicates a possible connection but no confirming evidence was found that young John is a member of the Bocking family.


1Charles H. Whipple, Genealogy of the Whipple-Wright, Wagner, Ward-Pell, McLean-Burnet Families Together with Records of Allied Families (Los Angeles, 1917). Relates to the family of Capt. John Whipple of Providence, R.I.

2Clara Hammond McGuigan, The Antecedents and Descendants of Noah Whipple of the Rogerene Community at Quakertown, Connecticut (Ithaca, NY, 1971). Relates to the family of Capt. John Whipple of Providence, R.I.

3Mary Lovering Holman and George R. Marvin, editors, Abstracts of English Records, Gathered Principally in Devonshire and Essex in a Search for the Ancestry of Roger Dearing c. 1624-1676 and Matthew Whipple c. 1560-1618. (Boston, 1929).

4The Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland Being a Complete Topographical Dictionary of the United Kingdom with Numerous Illustrations and Sixty Maps (London, Paris, Melbourne, 1893).

5Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants 1607-1660, (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co.,1987).

6Charles Edward Banks, The Planters of the Commonwealth, reprint ed. (Baltimore, 1979).

7Winifred Ashwell, Essex and the Lyon: The People Who Sailed in Her to New England in 1632 and the Land to Which They Went (Braintree, Essex, England, 1979).

8"The American Connection with Braintree District," brochure published by the Braintree District Council.

9"Social Cohesion in Early New England," New England Historic Genealogical Register, Vol. 146, (Boston, July 1992).

10Charles Edward Banks, Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England 1620-1650, (Baltimore, 1957).

11George A. Schofield, The Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich 1634-1650, Vol. I. (Ipswich, 1899).

12Ralph M. Stoughton, "The Stoughton Families of Dorchester, Mass., and Windsor, Conn.," The American Genealogist, Vol. 29, No. 4 (New Haven, October 1953).

13John Austin, Genealogical Dictionary of Rhode Island, reprint ed. (Baltimore, 1969).

14Charles M. Whipple, Jr., Sons and Daughters of Jesse (Oklahoma City, 1976).

15Boyd's Marriage Index (London: Society of Genealogists, 1980)

© 1997 Blaine Whipple. All rights reserved.