John Marlo Culpepper (Apocryphal)1

Male, #62576, (10 May 1633 - )
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Culpeper. 
Name Variation He was also known as John Harlow Culpepper (Fictional). 
Birth*10 May 1633 He was born on 10 May 1633. 
Birth of Son20 Nov 1660 His son Thomas Fairfax Culpepper (Apocryphal) was born on 20 Nov 1660. 
Research note* One Version of the "Apocryphal Culpepper" Genealogy: John Marlo Culpeper was born in England 10 May 1633. Height 6 feet‚ 2 inches; weight 184 lbs; color of eyes blue. Special marks of identification: right eye slightly smaller‚ large mole on body.
Culpepper Connections Commentary: No evidence has ever been found for John Culpepper’s middle name of Marlo, and middle names, in general, were not common until about 100 years later. According to Fairfax Harrison, The Proprietors of the Northern Neck "He was baptised in Hollingbourne‚ April 4‚ 1633‚ as ’John‚ sonne of Thomas Culpeper‚ esq.’" Estate records (Albemarle Co.‚ NC 4 Apr 1797) list the name as "Jno. Culpepper." See: John Culpeper son of Thomas & Katherine

Apocryphal :
Was appointed General Surveyor of the Carolinas under Charles II.
Culpepper Connections: John Culpeper was appointed Surveyor General by the Lords Proprietors in 1671.

Apocryphal: It was he who laid out the city of Charles Town‚ afterward called Charleston. His work as Surveyor took him to all parts of Carolina.
Culpepper Connections: Although he was noted in Virginia and North Carolina land records and in New England shipping records‚ the only surveying activity noted was in Charleston‚ SC.

Apocryphal: His democratic spirit won for him the love and confidence of the people‚ which made him the Master Spirit in the insurrection that took away the power of the self-appointed officiary of the Carolina Colonies and placed in authority officers elected by the people.
Culpepper Connections: This is obviously a reference to the John Culpeper associated with Culpeper’s Rebellion in 1677. This John, variously called "John Culpeper of Albemarle" and "John Culpeper the Rebel" was born circa 1644 and had no male descendants. See: John Culpeper of Albemarle NC

Apocryphal: Because of this‚ he was relieved of his official position as General Surveyor and the establisher of bounds to the different grants issued by the crown.
Culpepper Connections: According to Fairfax Harrison‚ John Culpeper fled from South Carolina. Some sources suggest a food shortage and others suggest that‚ his sister‚ Frances‚ and brother-in-law‚ Sir William Berkeley‚ the Governor of Virginia‚ were involved in a land deal in Albemarle‚ NC which necessitated John Culpeper’s rapid removal. As noted above‚ Bacon’s Rebellion against Gov. Berkeley took place in 1676 and one wonders if this was in some way connected with John Culpeper’s hasty move north. In any event‚ by July 1677‚ John Culpeper was residing in Albemarle‚ NC‚ probably on land owned by his brother-in-law‚ Sir William Berkeley. In December 1677‚ John allegedly usurped the government from a Collector of the King’s Customs named Miller who was a temporary Deputy Governor. In fact‚ although associated with one of the factions in the rebellion‚ John Culpepper was away from the colony in the months preceding the revolt and arrived back only shortly before it took place. He was directed by the group to be the Custom’s Collector in the place of Miller‚ and for this‚ he went on trial in England. 

Apocryphal: Was arrested‚ taken back to England‚ there tried for treason‚ but was cleared of the charge. Where upon the King reinstated him‚ and returned him to his work.
Culpepper Connections: He went voluntarily. He was not arrested until he tried to return to Albemarle. For more factual detail on Culpeper's Rebellion and John's role within it, see William Smith's Master's thesis: Culpeper's Rebellion: New Data and Old Problems. No account of his subsequent career has been found.

Apocryphal: It was on 8 Apr 1655 that he married Ruth Jane Peck--born 23 Oct 1638‚ died 3 May 1684.
Culpepper Connections: There is no record of this marriage. According to p. 24 of A Journal of the Grand Council of S. C.‚ John Culpeper’s wife’s name was Judith. John Culpeper later married Sarah Mayo.

Apocryphal: To this union four children were born‚ viz.‚
     1. Annie Culpepper‚ who married S. P. Sumner and by whom six children were born‚ there being four boys and two girls;
     2. MattieCulpepper‚ who never married;
     3. Thomas Fairfax Culpepper (who has a link as a son on this page)
     4. Charles B. Culpepper‚ who never married‚ is thought to have perished at sea.
Culpepper Connections: The unnamed "orphans of Jno. Culpeper" were noted in surviving estate records (The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series, Vol. III: North Carolina Higher Court Records, 1697-1701, Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Historical Publications Section, 1971, p. 5) but only one daughter‚ Sarah Culpeper‚ has ever been identified because she was listed as a step-daughter in the estate papers of Sarah (Mayo) Culpeper’s husband‚ Patrick Henley. There is no record of a marriage between an Annie Culpeper and S. P. Sumner.

Apocryphal: John Marlo Culpeper was a first cousin to Lord Culpeper who was Gov. of VA for awhile‚ whose rule was anything but pleasing both to the Virginia Colony and to his King.
Culpepper Connections: John Culpeper (the Carolina Rebel) was a second cousin to Thomas, 2nd Lord Culpeper. See: Thomas Lord Culpeper 2nd Baron of Thoresway

Apocryphal: All, however, loved John Marlo‚ and in old age he was called father by the people of Charleston. He lived 60 years to the very day and almost the hour‚ dying 10 May 1693‚ in the home of his daughter‚ Mrs. Sumner.
Culpepper Connections: Fairfax Harrison noted "no final record of this John Culpeper has come to light" but‚ as noted above‚ John’s wife‚ Sarah‚ married Patrick Henley and they are noted in 24 Feb 1695 executing "the last will & testament of John Culpeper late of Pascotank [NC]‚ Gent. dec’d" North Carolina History and Genealogical Register, p. 259. There is no evidence that Mrs. Sumner was John’s daughter or that John died in her home.2,3,4 


Last Edited31 Jul 2011


  1. This individual is fictitious. All of the above genealogical and historical claims stem
    from a fascinating version of early American Culpepper genealogy that started circulating among Culpepper family members in the early 1900's, perhaps even earlier. Unfortunately, bits and pieces from this fictional genealogy are now widely diseminated on the Internet.
         It contained an account of a brave patriot overthrowing a tyrant, becoming the Governor of Virginia, and being called the father of Charleston.
         There was a farm boy who went to England to be educated at Oxford, and in a story befitting a book of fairy tales, he finds and marries his childhood sweetheart.
         One Culpepper marries a beautiful Indian half-breed, faithfully works as overseer on a plantation that once belonged to his ancestors, and his sons eventually receive a huge land grant as recompense for the family plantation having been stolen.
         Another becomes a highly successful orator/preacher winning many souls to Christ.
         A Culpepper daughter marries into the family of a famous American patriot. In fact, virtually all of the Culpepper daughters in this story marry quite well.
         One reprobate son was included for good measure. A whiskey maker, he changes his surname to Pepper to shield his pious mother from disgrace.
         Also, each of the major characters was described in extraordinarily precise physical detail.

    Human nature makes any reader want to embrace this detailed and rich genealogical account as the true story of his or her ancestors. And for several generations, this genealogy has been accepted by many as the gospel, and passed along to the next.
         However, modern day researchers attempting to verify the facts encounter many difficulties. Most of the assertions are without proof, but many of them should be provable if they were true. And some of the claims are clearly at odds with the historical record.
         All Culpeppers and Culpepper descendants can certainly be inspired by the understanding that we are members of a quite honorable and accomplished family. Within the provable genealogical record we can find much to be proud of in our Culpepper ancestral history, and we can do so without resorting to imaginative creation.
         The Culpepper Connections commentary on this and connected pages was primarily authored by Lewis W. Griffin, Jr. of Phoenix, AZ, and edited by Warren L. Culpepper of Atlanta, GA. It is our considered opinion that the genealogical account reported in them is completely fictitious. If you have any facts to add to our analysis, or if you wish to dispute our conclusion, we would welcome hearing from you.
  2. Warren L. Culpepper (#1942), Former publisher of Culpepper Connections, e-mail address.
  3. Lewis W. Griffin Jr. (#47), e-mail address.
  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: