Thomas Fairfax Culpepper (Apocryphal)1

Male, #62577, (20 Nov 1660 - )
Father*John Marlo Culpepper (Apocryphal) (10 May 1633 - )
Name-AltSpell This surname is sometimes spelled Culpeper. 
Birth*20 Nov 1660 He was born on 20 Nov 1660. 
Birth of Son3 Jul 1692 His son Sam Low Culpepper (Apocryphal) was born on 3 Jul 1692. 
Birth of Son3 Jul 1692 His son John Marlo Culpepper II (Apocryphal) was born on 3 Jul 1692. 
Research note*1999 One Version of the "Apocryphal Culpepper" Genealogy: Thomas Fairfax Culpeper was born in Northern Carolina‚ 20 Nov 1660. Height 5 feet 8 inches; weight 170 lbs; color of eyes gray. Special marks of identification: a large mole on body‚ a deep scar on chin.
Culpepper Connections Commentary: At this date‚ the colony did not exist. The alleged father of Thomas‚ John Culpeper‚ the "Carolina Rebel‚" became associated with this area circa 1677‚ probably because his sister‚ Frances‚ and brother-in-law‚ Gov. Berkeley of Virginia‚ had an interest in the property. Or possibly he came there as a result of Bacon’s Rebellion against Gov. Berkeley in 1676.

Apocryphal :
Was sent to Oxford‚ England‚ to college‚ where he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in May 1681.
Culpepper Connections: A comprehensive list of Oxford graduates during 1500-1866 shows no Thomas Culpeper or Colepeper receiving a degree at this time. Sir Thomas Colepeper, baronet, son of Richard Colepeper of Preston Hall, Kent, did matriculate 15 Jun 1672 at age 15, but is not reported to have received a degree.

Apocryphal: It was on 1 Jun 1681‚ just a few days after graduation‚ that he married Sarah Ray--born 18 Nov 1662‚ died 2 Dec 1724--with whom he had been in love since he was a boy of 12 years‚ at which time he had visited his maternal grandparents living near Portsmouth‚ England. It was while playing along the coast they had met and together had gathered shells. One day Sarah found a tiny mussel shell and dividing it‚ she gave to Thomas a half and kept the other half herself. Thomas returned to the colony but no one there was able either to get the shell or learn its secret. When in his last year at college they had again met‚ each demanded to see the other half. One half was found to be on a gold chain worn about the neck of Sarah‚ the other half in the pocket of Thomas. The care taken of the bits of shell told to each other more of the story of love‚ than was possible in any other way. It was not a hard task to get the consent of parents‚ so the alliance dreamed of in childhood became a reality later on. If providence ever had a hand in the affairs of love‚ surely in this case. Their life was one sweet communion‚ and when they came to the end of life here‚ neither felt like taking the longest of pilgrimages without the other. So they departed this life together and are united now in the beyond‚ if the wish of either heart was fulfilled.
Culpepper Connections: No record of this marriage has been found.

Apocryphal: Thomas after marriage returned to America‚ taught school‚ practiced law‚ and later became private secretary to Lord Culpeper‚ Gov. of VA‚ and his father’s first cousin and for whom he was named.
Culpepper Connections: According to Fairfax Harrison, "Capt. Alexander Culpeper" was secretary to Thomas, second Lord Culpeper. Alexander was the brother of John Culpeper, the "Carolina Rebel" and of Frances, the wife of Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia. Although Alexander was named Surveyor General of Virginia in 1671, he apparently remained in England and, in 1691, he willed the sixth part of the Northern Neck of Virginia which he had inherited, to the widow of Thomas, second Lord Culpeper.
     In 1683‚ the Governor was removed from his position by the King for leaving the colony without permission. The alleged Thomas Fairfax Culpepper was supposed to have graduated from Oxford only two years earlier.
     John Culpeper‚ the "Carolina Rebel"‚ and alleged father of Thomas Fairfax Culpepper‚ was a second cousin of Thomas‚ second Lord Culpeper.

Apocryphal: Was the father of two children--twin boys‚
     1. Sam Low Culpepper (who has a link as a son on this page)
     2. John Marlo Culpepper‚ who changed his name to John Marlo Pepper‚ possibly due to the fact that he became engaged in the manufactory of whiskey and desired to shield his mother‚ a very pious woman‚ from the disgrace.
Culpepper Connections: No records have ever been found with the names of Sam Low Culpeper, John Marlo Culpeper, or John Marlo Pepper.

Apocryphal: Thomas died in Charleston‚ SC‚ 2 Dec 1724.
Culpepper Connections: No will or probate record has been found in South Carolina‚ nor has any record been found showing that he ever lived there. No other record of Thomas Fairfax Culpeper has ever been found‚ either in America‚ or in England.2,3,4 


Last Edited28 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: