Joseph Richard Culpepper

Male, #32254, (15 Sep 1840 - 15 Dec 1920)
Father*Rev. Lewis Peek Culpepper (25 Aug 1816 - 4 Jun 1915)
Mother*Sarah Ann Culpepper (21 Nov 1817 - 29 Mar 1858)
DNA* To help confirm Joseph Richard Culpepper's descent from Henry Culpepper of Lower Norfolk, we are seeking a male Culpepper descendant of Joseph's to participate in our free DNA testing project. For more information, go to:
Birth*15 Sep 1840 Joseph was born at Pike Co., Georgia, on 15 Sep 1840. 
1850 Census1 Jun 1850 Clarissa, Martha, Sarah, Sylviah, Joseph and Sarah listed as a household member living with Rev. Lewis Peek Culpepper on the 1850 Census on 1 Jun 1850 at Pike Co., Georgia.1 
Death of Mother29 Mar 1858 His mother Sarah Ann Culpepper died on 29 Mar 1858 at Pike Co., Georgia.2 
Census*19 Sep 1860 He was listed as a resident in the census report at Wesobulga, Randolph Co., Alabama, on 19 Sep 1860. 
Marriage*11 Jun 1861 He married Sarah Melvina Dean at Randolph Co., Alabama, on 11 Jun 1861 at age 20. 
Civil War*between 1862 and 1865 He served in the War Between the States between 1862 and 1865

     2nd Corporal, Co H, 31st AL Infantry.3 
Employment* Joseph's occupation: millwright. 
Birth of Son11 Feb 1863 His son Joseph W. Edward Culpepper was born on 11 Feb 1863 at Alabama
1870 Census*1 Jun 1870 Joseph was listed as the head of a family on the 1870 Census at Loachapoka, Lee Co., Alabama.4 
Birth of Son7 Mar 1872 His son Charles T. S. Augustus Culpepper was born on 7 Mar 1872 at Lee Co., Alabama
1880 Census*1 Jun 1880 Joseph was listed as the head of a family on the 1880 Census at Opelika, Lee Co., Alabama.5 
Photographedsay 1890 He was photographed say 1890 at Macon, Bibb Co., Georgia.
Joseph Richard Culpepper
Death of Spouse1893 His wife Sarah Melvina Dean died in 1893 at Macon, Bibb Co., Georgia
Photographedcirca 1895 He appeared as a son in a family photograph circa 1895.6
Joseph Richard & Lewis Peek Culpepper
1900 Census1 Jun 1900 Joseph was listed as a father in Joseph W. Edward Culpepper's household on the 1900 Census at Macon, Bibb Co., Georgia.7 
Photographedcirca 1905 He appeared as a son in a family photograph circa 1905
Left to right: Charles Augustus Culpepper Jr., Charles Augustus Culpepper, Joseph Richard Culpepper, and Lewis Peek Culpepper.
Four Generations in the Lewis P. Culpepper family
1910 Census15 Apr 1910 Joseph was listed as a father in Charles T. S. Augustus Culpepper's household on the 1910 Census at Americus, Sumter Co., Georgia.8 
Photographed*say 1915 He was photographed say 1915 at Saint Petersburg, Pinellas Co., Florida,
while visiting his niece, Dora Griffin Dean.9
Death of Father4 Jun 1915 His father Rev. Lewis Peek Culpepper died on 4 Jun 1915 at Chambers Co., Alabama.10 
1920 Census1 Jan 1920 Joseph was listed as a father in Charles T. S. Augustus Culpepper's household on the 1920 Census at Americus, Sumter Co., Georgia.11 
Death*15 Dec 1920 He died at Americus, Sumter Co., Georgia, on 15 Dec 1920 at age 80.12 
Burial*16 Dec 1920 His body was interred on 16 Dec 1920 at Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, Bibb Co., Georgia
Biography* Alabama State Census:1866 in Tallapoosa Co., AL (J. R. Culpepper 1m-20+ w/1m<10 1f-20+ 1f<10).

1414 [414 in 1900 Macon City Directory] (Joseph R. Culpepper 1840 GA carpenter in hh of son Joseph W. E. Culpepper).\ Census: 1910 Sumter Co., GA. \ED 111-3 (Joseph R. Culpepper 69 GA in hh of son Charles A. Culpepper).\ Census: 1920 1422 Lee, Americus, Sumter Co, GA [Joseph R. Culpepper father GA 79 in hh of Charles A. Culpepper]
Joseph Richard Culpepper was recorded living with his parents in the 1850 census of Pike Co., GA and in the 1860 census of Randolph Co., AL where he was to marry Sarah Dean in 1861. When the Civil War began, the newly married Joseph Richard Culpepper joined the Confederate Army and served as a 2nd Corporal in Company H of the 31st Alabama Infantry. He was captured at Vicksburg, when that city fell to the Union Army on July 4, 1863. The Siege of Vicksburg and the time spent as a Prisoner of War had a profound effect on his health. His father, Lewis P. Culpepper, mentioned Joseph in an 1898 letter to Mrs. B. F. (Georgia Culpepper) Burke, a niece, in Texas: My oldest son Joe is 58 years old, never used tobacco..., and [his] nerves is completely ruined. But his helth was harmed in the [Civil] War, he Lookes nearly as old as I do [82 years old].
      After the war, Joseph Richard Culpepper was noted living in Tallapoosa Co., AL with his family in an 1866 Alabama State Census. Four years later he was noted with his wife, son and daughter, and sister, Silviah Ann Culpepper, in the 1870 census of the Loachapoka P.O. district of Lee Co., AL. His occupation was listed as "millwright," a profession which he apparently learned from his father. He was still in living in Lee Co., AL at the time of the 1880 census.
      Based on census information, all of Joseph's children were born in Alabama, but at some point Joseph and his family moved back to Georgia where they were living in Macon in the 1890's. Mrs. F. D. (Betty Lee Collins) Hale preserved several entries from the Macon City Directory. In 1890/91 Joseph R. Culpepper was listed as a "Carpenter, CRR" living at "390 Clinton E. M." His son, Charles, was listed as a laborer living at the same address. In the 1895/96 directory, Joseph R. Culpepper was listed as a carpenter living at 512 Clinton Road. His son, Joseph W. Culpepper, was listed as a Carpenter living at 530 Clinton Road. Finally, in the 1900 directory, Joseph R. Culpepper was listed as a "Carpenter, Con. St. Riv." living at 414 Clinton. There was a second listing for "J. R. Culpepper" as "foreman, Macon Con. St. Ry" living at "414 Clinton, E. M." Joseph R. Culpepper was noted in the 1900 census of Clinton, Macon, Bibb Co., GA. He was listed as a carpenter and was living with his son, Joseph W. E. Culpepper. By 1901 or so, Joseph was living in Americus, GA probably with or near his daughter, Mrs. G. H. (Tallulah Culpepper) Rittenberry. And he was noted in the 1910 census of Sumter Co., GA living with his son, Charles A. Culpepper. It was probably shortly before this that the wonderful picture of four generations of Culpeppers was taken showing Lewis P. Culpepper, Joseph R. Culpepper, Charles A. Culpepper, Sr., and Charles A. Culpepper, Jr. In Georgia, Joseph Richard Culpepper is said to have worked for the railroads painting ornate Victorian railroad cabooses. A niece, Mrs. J. H. (Margaret Phillips) Dodd, wrote in a 6 Sep 1979 letter: Uncle Joe was such a kind and loving person and his eyes and lips always seemed to be smiling.... I think it was aunt Maggie [Mrs. G. R. (Margaret Culpepper) Trimble] who told me that he often chartered a street car and took the children from the orphanage to the park on a Sunday P.M. for a picnic.
      Mrs. J. H. (Margaret Phillips) Dodd wrote in a 26 Jul 1978 letter: I remember twice when uncle Joe visited us on the farm. He was busy all the time writing letters, poems and acrostics. We went to aunt Mira's once to a family reunion and uncle Joe was there. He gave a talk using pictures to illustrate his points. He did his drawings on window shades and had a frame to hang them on. I was too young to remember the talk, but was much fascinated with the pictures. He had so many and I was so eager to see him hang the shade on the frame and unroll it.
      Mrs. Dodd continued in a 9 Oct 1978 letter: I don't think I mentioned to you that Uncle Joe was ambidextrous. He had arthritis very bad in his right hand so he started learning to write with his left hand. He wrote so well with his left hand, I never could tell the difference. I remember when I would see him writing with his left hand, I would try writing with my left hand and all I had was a big mess.
      Mrs. Charles (Margaret Whatley) Lee wrote 14 Mar 1979 that she had visited with Mrs. (Ola Mae Whatley) Todd who spoke of "Uncle Joe": She certainly did brag on Uncle Joe. She said he was such a good Sunday School teacher with children, said he used to have lots of pictures he would show and said they had never seen anything like that....
      Joseph's father and mother were both Culpeppers and so Joseph, or "Uncle Joe" as he was affectionately known (although, according to his half-brother, Thomas Jefferson Culpepper, he preferred to be called Joseph), became interested in the Culpepper family and ancestry. Before his father's death, Joseph tried to record any family history that his father remembered. In addition, as Joseph traveled visiting relatives, he tried to record information about the various descendants of his grandfather which would otherwise have been lost. Those notes served as the starting point for this current history of the family.
      Sometime before 1915, Joseph wrote his cousin, Rev. George B. Culpepper, about the family history passed to him by his father, Lewis P. Culpepper: Rev. George B. Culpepper Fort Valley, Georgia Dear Cousin, I wrote to Father asking him to give me all the information he could relative to his father, grandfather, etc. He knows nothing farther back than his grandfather who was John instead of Charles Marion [see Appendix A for one version of the purported history of the family that was circulating at the beginning of the century].... He says there were three brothers, John, Ben and Joseph. John was my great grandfather as was Joseph, also, on my mother's side. Ben died without heirs [no will has been found for Ben but the will of his wife, Joyce, although not specifying their exact relationship, appears to list her children and step-children Ben's presumed children]. John William [it is not clear whether Rev. Lewis Peek Culpepper had specified that his father's name was John William Culpepper or if Joseph used the William from the purported history as a way of clarifying references to his grandfather and great-grandfather] was my father's father and your father's grandfather. He married a Gillespie (instead of Laura May Jones as stated [in the version of the purported history that Joseph Richard was reviewing]...) and her mother was a Peek. In your grandfather's name, it is spelled Peeke [in the purported history], but Peek is correct for that is my father's middle name [actually spelling had not stabilized at the time and references can be found to Peek, Peeke, Peake, etc.] and I can remember it called Peek as far back as I can recollect anything. Grandfather moved from Virginia to Congaree, South Carolina and then to Edgefield [, SC] and from Edgefield to Monroe County, Georgia, and later to Meriwether County, Georgia, and to Randolph County, Alabama, where he died in 1855, when I was 15 years old [actually according to John Culpepper's 1850 census record, his place of birth was South Carolina and he was listed in the 1800 census in Lexington District, SC and in the 1810 census in Richland District, SC. Again it is not known if the reference to Virginia was a piece of telescoped family history or if Joseph Richard was attempting to reconcile the purported history with what his father had told him]. I went with my father on a visit to him [John Culpepper] when I was 12 years old... [The purported history] says he died in 1834 in Georgia six years before I was born. There were 10 children--8 boys and 2 girls [actually 11 since one baby boy died as an infant]. Frank, the oldest, went to Texas when I was quite small [1851]; died at ripe old age of 99 years, 9 months, 21 days. There were 285 of his family at his funeral out of 315. Quite a number of great great grandchildren. He had 18 children to start with. Uncle John [Jefferson Culpepper], I think, lived to be 86 [87 based on Bible record], your grandfather [Daniel Peek Culpepper] died at 31 [25 based on Bible record], as also Uncle Joel [44 at death] and Uncle Jeff [this must be James I. J. Culpepper who died at age 40 since John Jefferson's death was noted above] not far from that age. Uncle [George] Washington died in his 93rd year [correct]. Uncle William [Henry died in] his 96th year [95th actually]. Elizabeth Dean died at about 75 [71 actually]. My father [Rev. Lewis Peek Culpepper] was born in Edgefield, South Carolina and lived there until he was 7 years old. I remember hearing him state that before I was grown. My mother's father [Joseph Richard Culpepper] lived in Abbeville and the two families visited... what I have stated is absolutely correct as far back as my two great grandfathers. They [who? Is this an attempt to reconcile what he had learned from his father with the purported history?] claim there were two Lord Culpeppers and traced their lineage back to one of them. Anyway we are worthily descended, and you and I should endeavor to maintain the reputation of the family. With best wishes I remain your cousin. ___________________________Joseph Richard Culpepper
      Although his educational opportunities were limited, Joseph wrote with a fine artistic script, and loved to write colorful acrostics for his nieces and nephews, using their names as the subjects of the acrostics. Many have survived and are kept as keepsakes of "Uncle Joe." According to Mrs. Robert Joseph Culpepper, in a June 1977 letter, "in the First Methodist Church Pastor's Study is a framed copy of the first Board of Stewards which he [Joseph Richard Culpepper] did with his famous scroll work, beautiful." The following is a poem was written by Joseph Richard Culpepper: Divided I know the dream is over I know you cannot be In all the time to come the same That you have been to me. The color still is in the cheek The lustre in the eye, But ah! eve two have parted hands - Good-bye Not that I love you less For oh! my heart is sore Not that the lips that breathed your waived(? can't read), Are less fond than of you, But the unrelenting feet of time Have traveled on so fast! And soul from soul has grown away At last I think I just stood still For I had found my all But your rich life swept ever on Beyond my weak recall! And even although the voice rings sweet And clear the dear eyes shine I know no part of all thy wealth Is mine. What bridge can sad love build Across this gulf of change, Who needs must work with broken heart And fancies new and strange, Alas, it is too late The light fades down the sky, The hand slips slowly each from each Good-bye.
      Joseph Richard Culpepper's obituary appeared in the Times Recorder, Americus, GA, December 16, 1920: Children Lay Autumn Leaves On Bier of Man Who Loved Them An old man who loved children more than anything else in this world, died in Americus yesterday. Today the children he loved so well were present at his funeral at his invitation, conveyed through a friend to whom he entrusted it a few days before his death, and upon his bier they placed simple autumn leaves, just as he wished it--autumn leaves symbolic of the well rounded out and beautiful life that had yielded at last to the chills of the nightfall of life. That old man was Joseph R. Culpepper; the children were members of the public schools of the city, nearly all of whom knew him well. His death occurred at the home of his son, Charles A. Culpepper, on South Lee street, at 8:15 o'clock last night, ending an illness of three months, during most of which time he had been confined constantly to the house. He had been feeble for a considerably longer period, however. He was 80 years of age. I have asked you to come so that I might talk over with you some arrangements for my funeral, for I will not live but a short time, he told Mr. Furlow in substance. I want the superintendents of the various Sunday schools to be my pallbearers, and I want the children of the Sunday schools, whom I have loved so much and for whom I have worked so long, to attend my funeral and to pass by my coffin, and, in their own simple way, remember the old man to whom they meant so much. I do not want any flowers, but I would like them to lay autumn leaves on my casket as they pass by. If I could but know and realize it as I lay there with upturned lifeless face and as they were trudging by and looking down at me, I would be so happy. Mr. Furlow futilely tried to turn the subject, but promised his wishes would be carried out. After his message had been completed, the aged man calmly took up the discussion of business matters with members of his family, preparing for the end he knew was approaching. This morning Superintendent Mathis announced in a brief talk to each of the grades in the public schools the story Mr. Furlow had told him and the children touched by the devotion of their friend, flocked to the funeral this afternoon, in charge of Mrs. Annie Poole Walker, one of the teachers. At the church they found beautiful red-tinted oak leaves, freshly brought from the forest by Mr. Furlow, and at the proper time they filed silently and reverently past the coffin and, laying them, one by one over its top, fulfilled the wish strongest in Mr. Culpepper's heart as life departed. Mr. Culpepper had been a resident in Americus for 19 years.... His wife, who before her marriage was Miss Sarah Dean..., died 27 years ago, and the body will be taken Friday to Macon where it will be interred beside her in Rose Hill Cemetery.... Mr. Culpepper had been active all of his life in church work, being especially interested during many years in Sunday school work. He gave hand-illustrated talks to Sunday school children in all this section of Georgia, his activities in this department being interdenominational. He was especially beloved among the children of the Americus Sunday schools.... The funeral exercises were largely attended by Americus friends of Mr. Culpepper, many coming from surrounding towns where he was so well known and beloved. 


Sarah Melvina Dean (23 May 1839 - 1893)
Marriage*11 Jun 1861 He married Sarah Melvina Dean at Randolph Co., Alabama, on 11 Jun 1861 at age 20. 
ChartsHenry Culpeper of Lower Norfolk: DNA Status Chart (Male only, 8 generations)
Benjamin (son of Joseph) Culpepper of Edgecombe Co., NC: Descendant Chart
John Culpepper of Randolph Co, AL: Descendant Chart
Last Edited14 May 2012


  1. 1850 Federal Census, United States.
    Page 125, District 68, Pike Co., GA
    Lewis P. Culpepper, 33, M, Mill Wright, $400, SC
    Sarah A. Culpepper, 32, F, SC
    Joseph R. Culpepper, 9, M, GA
    Silviah A. Culpepper, 8, F, GA
    Sarah E. Culpepper, 6, F, GA
    Martha J. Culpepper, 4, F, GA
    Clarissy E. Culpepper, 2, F, GA
    Robert A. Vaughn, 6, M, GA
    Nancy Nabors, 76, F, SC.
  2. Pike Co. Cemetery Records, Unpublished.
    Vol 1 p 505 13 May 1858 issue.
  3. Captured at Vicksburg, MS, July 4, 1863.
  4. 1870 Federal Census, United States.
    Loachapoka, Lee Co., Alabama; Lines 17-21, Page 321A (20 Jul 1870)
    J Culpeper, 29, M, Wh, Millwright, GA
    S Culpeper, 30, F, Wh, Keeping house, GA
    J Culpeper, 7, M, Wh, AL
    T Culpeper, 5, F, Wh, AL
    S Culpeper, 28, F, Wh, Keeping house, GA.
  5. 1880 Federal Census, United States.
    Opelika, Page 47A, Lee Co., AL
    Joseph R. Culpepper, Self, M, M, W, 39, Carpenter, GA/GA/GA
    S. M. Culpepper, Wife, F, M, W, 41, GA/---/GA
    J. W. E. Culpepper, Son, M, S, W, 17, AL/GA/GA
    E. T. Culpepper, Dau, F, S, W, 15, AL/GA/GA
    C. T. S. A. Culpepper, Son, M, S, W, 8, AL/GA/GA.
  6. Lewis W. Griffin Jr. (#47), e-mail address.
    photo original given to Lew Griffin by Joseph Albertus Griffin.
  7. 1900 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 14, Page 320B (9), Family 261, Macon. Bibb Co., GA
    Joseph W. E. Culpepper, Head, M, Feb 1863, 37, Md 18 yrs, AL/GA/GA, Cabinet maker
    Mary E. Culpepper, Wife, F, Nov 1861, 38, Md 18 yrs, ch 1/1, GA/GA/GA
    Eva L. Culpepper, Daughter, F, Feb 1891, 9, Sng, GA/GA/GA
    Joseph R. Culpepper, Father, M, Jan 1840, 60, Wid, GA/VA/VA, Carpenter.
  8. 1910 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 111, Page 3B, Family 56, Img 182, 6 Lee Street, Americus, Sumter Co., GA
    Charles A. Culpepper, Head, M, 38, md1-9 yrs, AL/GA/GA, RR Engineer
    Minnie G. Culpepper, Wife, F, 35, md1-9 yrs, ch 3/3, GA/GA/AL
    Charles A. Culpepper, Jr., Son, M, 7, S, GA/AL/GA
    Sarah M. Culpepper, Dau, F, 4, S, GA/AL/GA
    Robert Culpepper, Son, M, 2, S, GA/AL/GA
    Joseph R. Culpepper, Father, M, 69, wd, GA/US/US, CSA Vet
    Loulie B. Green, Sister-in-law, F, 30, S, GA/GA/GA, Jewelry saleswoman.
  9. Ellaree Dean Speer records, Ellaree Dean Speer to Lew Griffin, 1977-1994.
  10. Tombstone.
  11. 1920 Federal Census, United States.
    ED 105, Page 3B, Family 56, Img 182, 1422 Lee Street, Americus, Sumter Co., GA
    Charles A. Culpepper, Head, M, 47, md, AL/GA/GA, RR Engineer
    Minnie Culpepper, Wife, F, 44, md, GA/GA/AL
    Charles A. Culpepper, Son, M, 17, S, GA/AL/GA
    Robert Culpepper, Son, M, 12, S, GA/AL/GA
    Louise Culpepper, Dau, F, 9, S, GA/AL/GA
    Joseph R. Culpepper, Father, M, 79, wd, GA/SC/SC
    Eva Culpepper, Niece, F, 28, S, GA/AL/GA.
  12. Georgia Health Department / Office of Vital Records, compiler, Georgia Deaths, 1919-1998, Online database at, 1998.
    Joseph R. Culpepper, d. 15 Dec 1920 in Sumter Co., GA.