Early Family History

by George Carroll Whipple III

Some secondary sources claim that the Whipple family originated with Henri De V. Hipple, a gentleman of Normandy of the Vale de Suere (or Vale de Suede). According to those sources, he was granted the Manorial Estates of Wraxall for his gallantry--taking the name of Wraxall. Richard Wraxall--that is, Richard De V. Hipple--was knighted on the battle field of Agincourt, Oct. 25, 1415, and given the motto: "Fidele et Brave." Leaving Wraxall on account of persecutions the name of De V. Hipple was resumed, which in the time of Henry VII (1485-1509) was anglicized into Whipple.[ 1 ]

The Whipples in America came from Essex County in England to Massachusetts. The first to come were both named John, and they were both probably related, although no record of this exists. Both married a Sarah. Both were important men and both have often been confused. The Rhode Island John settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in the first instance. The other John settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The Rhode Island John became Captain John Whipple due to his service in King Philip's War. The Ipswich John was known as John Whipple the Elder, and the records show that he had a brother Matthew. Hereinafter the Ipswich John will be referred to as "John the Older".

A Brief Genealogy of the Whipple Family compiled for Oliver Mayhew Whipple, Esq. of Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1857, deals with the Ipswich Whipples, Matthew and his brother John the Elder. They were the sons of Matthew Whipple of Bocking, County Essex, England. It says that in 1638 they received a grant of more than two hundred acres of land in that part of Ipswich called "Hamlet" (incorporated in 1793 as the Town of Hamilton). The Ipswich Whipple House, one of the oldest houses standing in New England, is associated with John Whipple the Elder, as is William Whipple, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The John Whipple of Rhode Island also had a descendant who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was Stephen Hopkins, grandson of Abigail (Whipple) Dexter Hopkins, Captain John's youngest daughter.

  1. Dwane V. Norris, in Whipple Family Tree (Jackson, Michigan, 1993), makes such a claim on pp. v-vi. Charles M. Whipple, in Sons and Daughters of Jesse (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Southwestern Press, 1976), p. 7, indicates that it "is now obvious that the V. Hipples simply took up an already existing English name." Whipple researcher Blaine Whipple (e-mail to Weldon Whipple, 27 Nov 1999) states that there is no evidence to support the claim that the Whipples in America descend from Henri.

© 1999 George Carroll Whipple, III. All rights reserved.